Breathe Life - The Jose Vilson

Breathe Life

by Jose Vilson on August 24, 2008

in Jose

I took a good look at a little girl, cocoa-brown-skinned, with pony tails on her left and right side of her head. Her face had rather round features. Average-sized little girl. Her pupils were round and black, innocent and longing for her mother and father. She wore a pink dress, a sparkling wristband, and a plastic wrist-watch on her other wrist, a watch that hasn’t and won’t ever be set to real time. She hugged her mother’s leg with her soft hands and arms, tired from playing with her friends all around the room, closing her eyes tightly indicating to her mom that she’s ready to rest. Life is easy then. Yet, my eyes swelled and became flush with sorrow and pride.

She reminded me of my own mom.

The woman who birthed two sons, with the same round face and eyes, soft hands, but more fully grown and mature, tired too from the hard work she’s endured to keep the world’s ills. Her only joy comes from her offspring successes she never could. She was once that little girl, in Dominican Republic, with a stronghold of women who she called “mom” when her mom wasn’t around. She became less of that little girl in Miami, and started to blossom as a young woman, working hard for her father, who at once trusted her with his entire life but on the same end, treated her like the other women he was around.

She was girl no more in between time in Miami and New York when she moved with her mom in New York with her future in her womb and not a cent to her name. While her maternal side of the family took liberties to tolerate her and disown her, she decided to try and make it on her own. She promised her only son at the time, her only companion for four years of this struggle that there wasn’t a job she wouldn’t take, a fire she wouldn’t endure, or a man who would prevent her from getting me to excel.

Decades later, she’s aged gracefully, even if her feet haven’t always let her walk as fast as she used to. She’s seen many highs and lows, a few presidents, 2 apartments, the birth of another son, and a light at the end of a 26 year old journey, raising this author into her strongest supporter. She’s a worry wart, a nervous wreck, a bit of a nagger, with a voice that’s at one moment shrill with excitement and another calming like the matriarch. Every woman makes mistakes, but no one will ever say she wronged another human being. She’s overly generous at times.

And while some Black men think dating their fellow Black women is akin to charity (ugh), my mom (a Black Dominican woman) responded with a solemn vow that, if a Black man wouldn’t treat her right, she’d raise two men who would treat their women right. She’s seen 1/2 a century go by, from a little brown girl with glowing eyes to a woman who smiles at the simple things, glad that she’s done her part to grow boys to men. Even with our disputes, I can’t help but be thankful for the woman she had to be to make me and my brother the men we are.

At some point in her pregnancy, she was given a choice. While I couldn’t choose her, I’m honored that she chose me. Happy birthday, Mom.

jose, who doesn’t like to preach death in his songs, but breathe life …

p.s. – Interesting that her first name is Spanish for “miracle …”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

THEflyGIRL August 24, 2008 at 2:44 pm
Sylvia/M August 24, 2008 at 2:51 pm

This is such a beautiful tribute to your mother. She is blessed to have a son who loves her as much as you do.

Sylvia/Ms last blog post..point [welterpoint]

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Jackie August 24, 2008 at 3:10 pm

What a beautiful post!

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Danielle Vyas August 24, 2008 at 3:34 pm

As I tweeted, Jose thank you. You have masterfully capture the sweet essence of your mother’s determination, dedication and strength. It is more than apparent that she has fully taken on her responsibilites and raised you right.

Thank you so much for sharing. I can understand how hard it is to write from such a personally profound place but doing so connects your readers mind and soul.

In light and Love

Danielle
Modern Musings

Danielle Vyass last blog post..Dedicated to Those Who Served: Broken Return

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e. August 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm

How very beautiful. Tell your mom I said happy birthday! Oh and thanks for the shout out. :)

e.s last blog post..“Beggars can’t be choosers”

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Hugh O'Donnell August 24, 2008 at 11:54 pm

As others have said, a beautiful tribute. Happy Birthday to your Mom.

Hugh O’Donnells last blog post..Recovering from Family Vacation

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Sugarlips August 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I co-sign the others’ comments to this blog. Your words were quite beautiful. You had me a bit choked up with those last few lines. :) She’s lucky to be so loved in return.

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bygbaby August 26, 2008 at 1:17 am

Wow, this is avery captivating & inspiring piece!!! From what I perceive of you, I say your mom did a damn fine job.

There is nothing like a strong Black by your side, ahead or behind you.

Bygbaby

bygbabys last blog post..Ice Cream Dreams

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Ana September 1, 2008 at 11:48 am

What an excellent and beautiful post.

Saludos,
Ana

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mzvirgo September 2, 2008 at 7:34 pm

That was beautifully written.

mzvirgos last blog post..If you care….

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