Another Mother’s Day without my children... who were forcibly taken from me by an unjust family court order issued in the Hennepin County Family Justice Center.
I grieve the loss of my children every day. In the midst of my pain is a bright shining star… My daughter painted this beautiful picture for me of an orange star surrounded by yellow and purple flowers (my favorite color!).
Inside the star she writes: “Mommy. Mommy. Thank you for the Easter gifts. You are the best mom no one would disagree I think. Happy Mother’s Day! Love.“
(Heart sticker added to protect privacy of child)
From the day she was born, my daughter has brought joy into this world. She is lively as a firecracker but at the same time, enjoys quiet and time alone. She has a quirky sense of fashion that makes her one of a kind. Loves to laugh and tell jokes. And has the gift of writing like her mama (storytelling is a trait that has been passed in from my father’s side of the family for generations).
My daughter was born at a time of mourning – my Uncle died the year before. My Uncle was special to me – he loved family and brought us together for reunions. He shared stories about our family, and our history. And was known for his generous laughter. He was a figure who was larger than life in every way…when he gave hugs you could disappear into the warmth of his arms. My Uncle was attending a family reunion when he died suddenly of heart failure. My Uncle died on the land that my ancestors worked as slaves, not too far from the cropper’s cabin where he was born, and within walking distance of the colored’s cemetery where his Mama is buried. It was just like he packed his bags and went on home.
A year after my Uncle’s death, my daughter was born… and the tears of mourning turned to tears of joy. Literally. When my daughter entered the world, she did not cry as most babies do – she laughed. I will never forget holding my daughter in my arms for the first time – her face was pink and perfect like a rosebud. She had straight black hair that stuck up in all directions. And when she curled against my chest, our breathing fell into one even pattern and our heart beat as one… she will forever have a place in my heart.
When my daughter took her first steps, she did not walk – she ran. She became an adventurous toddler always climbing, jumping, doing death defying leaps from on top of whatever she climbed on.
As a child, she loved to curl up in my lap and read stories. I taught her how to write poetry and to say her bedtime prayers.
We played “Pretty, Pretty Princess” and dressed her brother up in a tiara and sparkly jewelry. The princess turned punk when my daughter took a liking to Avril Lavigne… the emotional lyrics sung to pounding drums and intense riffs suited what my daughter was going through at the time..she didn’t know all the words because she was so young but she would wave her hands and in her sweet, girlish voice sing “Changes!“.
My daughter has experienced, and witness some very ugly things, that no child should see. She has been abused. She has been homeless. At age 5, she has been ripped from the loving arms of her mother by a family court judge who threatened that if I did not comply with the order, and send my daughter to live with an abuser, that she would send police to take my daughter by force. I thought it would be better to send my daughter quietly, and not put up a fight. That this would somehow lessen the pain… I could not imagine the police showing up at Kindergarten to drag her away. In reality, nothing could lessen the pain. My daughter is haunted by memories and questions from that time. She does not say but I can see through her silence, that she wonders why I gave her away… she does not understand that I had no choice.
It pains me to think of the times my daughter cried, and was all alone and I could not comfort her. Or the times she has been sick and I was not able to be at her side, nursing her back to health. It pains me that she is growing into a young lady and man who has no respect for women is raising her. I wish I could take away the pain and rewrite her childhood… but this a story beyond the reach of my pen. This is a poem that will never be beautiful or inspiring – but instead will cut like shards of glass. Lyrics so bitter that it is best this poem remain unspoken.
Yet in the midst of my pain is a bright shining star… it is the love my daughter and I share, that has not been dimmed by the darkness around us. She has not given up on me. And I will never give up on her. I will be the “best mom” for her in the ways that I can.
~ “Emily Court”, May 2017