Thursday, April 1, 2010
Cherish: New Outsider Girl Cherish is a young mother, trying to complete high school and still raise her son Jonah with love and attention.
Cherish: “But I don’t like school. I want to stay with you,” my son says, pushing out his lower lip.
My heart breaks for just an instant, and then I’m back on task.
“Jonah, you have to go to school. Mommy has to go to school. Same as every day. It’s the same every day! Come3 on baby, why do you have to do this to me? Put on your shoes.”
“Jonah!” I break. I grab him hard and pull him to me. I shove his feet into his sneakers. “You don’t need me to dress you, Jonah. You’re a big boy.”
He clutches at me, but falls when I move back too quickly.
Great, now he’s crying. Great, that means there will be no time to make my lunch or get to my first class on time, and it’s all his fault and I hate—
Pulling him into a hug, I say, “It’s okay, baby. Mommy’s here. I love you so much, baby.”
“Can I go with you today? I want to stay with you,” he says, pouting again, tears stopped in their tracks on his cheeks, guilting me until I wipe them away with my sleeve.
I’m angry again. Everyday we have this stupid argument! He thinks I don’t want to be with him, but I am with him almost all the time. After school, I don’t do my homework, I play knights and pirates with him. I read to him, I bathe him, I feed him a fucking butter sandwich because he won’t eat the grilled cheese with bacon that I made specially for him. I watch “Tutenstein” and “Little Bill”.
And after he’s in bed, when he gets up at ten o’clock, when I’ve finally has time to start my own homework – when he comes out of our room into the living room and my mother yells, “Jonah get your ass back in bed this minute!” and he tilts his head, smiles and says, “One more hug kiss?”…
I drop everything, and I hug his scrawny body, kiss him on the lips and tuck his head under my chin so I can suck up the scent of baby that still lingers in his hair even though he’s already four.
I will never graduate if I don’t get to school. I will get another zero today on my homework.
“Quit babying him Cherish,” my mother says.
“Please can I go with you?” Jonah asks me. “You can walk with your friends and I’ll be really quiet.”
I laugh at that.
“Hey,” I say. “How about if instead of Gran driving you, you walk with me and my friends.”
“Cherish, honest to God in His Kingdom, how you gonna ever make something of your life if you don’t start teaching him life is what it is and get used to it, so what it sucks! Get yourself to school girl! Come on Jonah. You with me.”
Zipping Jonah’s hoodie, I say to my mother. “Naah Ma, he’s with me today.”
She looks at me like I’m the stupidest child who ever walked the earth. She rolls her eyes. “I’m gonna be late for work,” she says. Leaving, she doesn’t even stop to kiss her grandson.
I pull him close. “One more hug kiss,” I say. We hold on tight for each other, believing that no matter what anyone says, we’re going to make it.So what if we’re a little late.