I’m Thankful For My Grandmother

A sickness kicked my mother in the belly in 1992 while she was getting her hair done by her friend Tina. My mother walked to Johns Hopkins Hospital, got seen, and found out that she was pregnant. The wind danced around my mother as she marched her pudgy belly down Monument street, heading back home. Although my mother was now eating for two, she didn’t bother to change her unhealthy eating or drug habits. For 9 months I kicked, screamed, cried, and gagged in a cocaine and heroin wrapped placenta. My life was non-existence way before my sugar brown eyes kissed the sun light.

June 3, 1993 my mother gave birth to an “at-risk” youth. My mother couldn’t stay sober long enough to get a job, let a lone raise a child. Around the time of my birth, my grandmother had just been offered a job promotion that she later declined. Not only did she decline the job offer, but she quit her job and started a career as a daycare provider so she could keep the cash flowing and so she could work out of her home to take care of me, my mother, and the other children who came later.

I hit many stumbling blocks growing up: selling heroin and cocaine to my friend’s parents and grandparents, joining a gang and being blood affiliated, and getting arrested — all before I hit the 9th grade. However, I have many friends who had it worse growing up.

In Baltimore it is almost impossible for young people to grow up in the city and not indulge in “trouble.” Trouble whispers. Trouble screams. Trouble becomes your best friend. Trouble becomes your enemy. No matter what trouble is disguised in, you will have a date with her, one day; while living and dying under Baltimore’s skies.

Despite the issues I faced growing up: abandonment, child neglect, mental abuse, and the trauma of loosing friends and family to murder and prison cells; I’ve had so many friends who struggled much more than I did, while having less. Less food in the pantry. Less love behind the peephole. Less clothes in the closet.

Some of my friends were raised by both parents and some weren’t. Most of the time their parents were present physically, but not spiritually and emotionally, therefore they were absent, leaving my friends to raise themselves.

I live in a city where children take care of themselves, then get enough money and enough age to take care of their parents and grandparents.

My grandmother played an important role in my life and always made sure that I had the basic needs. I’ve never starved, like many of my friends. I’ve never had to jam pistols to skulls in return for money, like many of friends. I’ve never been homeless, sleeping in the cold rain, like many of my friends. I’ve never had to drop out of school to be “the man of the house,” at age 14, like many of my friends.

If it wasn’t for my grandmother I would’ve been living and dying, like many of my friends.

In many black communities grandmothers have always been the backbone of the family, and the community.

Whatever I end up calling this piece; a letter, a song, or a poem, it is to give thanks to my grandmother. If it wasn’t for the love she had for my mother and her unborn son in the early 90’s, I would not be the person I am today.

Always remember to be thankful for what you have because someone else out there has less.

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