Guest Contributor: Mimi Bond
“The baby is coming now!” Denise yelled.
I was born in the ambulance.
She named me, Mirlande Taina Allien. Mimi for short.
My biological mother, diagnosed with mental health issues, resides in a residential home where she has to be watched and take prescribed meds.
Cloraine, my biological mom’s older sister, was married and had three children of her own. She became my legal guardian about a month after I was born because my biological mother couldn’t take care of me in her mental state. I referred to my aunt as Mom from day one, but I was always taken to visit my biological mother every so often so I‘d know her as mom as well.
At about six months in, my Mom Cloraine, with work at 6am in the morning, three other kids to take care of, and church duties. She decided to ask if I could go live with a Christine, a family friend and her mother. They gladly accepted. I lived with them from the time I was a baby to to 6 years old. I called the two of them Mommy Christine and Mommy Monique. From what I can remember, my time time with them was good.
For first grade, I moved back with Mom Cloraine, her husband ‘Dad’, and ‘my siblings’. While I loved living and growing up with my family of origin, I felt like the outsider most of the time in the house. I tested the boundaries, had a bit of a temper, got disciplined but never really got the other side of things. Struggling to feel loved, to belong, and feel accepted was the hardest part of my childhood.
Mom Cloraine’s husband, was the only ‘Father” I had in my life but he was old school. By that I mean there was no affection. No hugs. No I Love You’s. No long conversations. Mom Cloraine, while she did her best to take care of me, it was mostly for my physical needs; food, shelter, clothes. While she loved serving the community and helping people, she and I struggled to connect lovingly.
If someone really wanted to get under my skin they’d tease me about our interactions. My ‘brother’ who was 5 years older, was the most closest sibling-type relationship I had at the time. He introduced me to music and singing. My older twin ‘sisters’ were grown and out of the house and doing their own thing by the time I was old enough to understand stuff.
As my faith in God grew, my outlet became singing and writing. As a young girl, I also learned how to pray with Grandmother when I’d visit her on weekends. She would pray every day at noon and knew my struggle at home. A lot of my love tank got filled by her. She gave me the hugs and kisses and was like a mother too.
“I can’t wait until I’m 18 and then I’m out of here!” I’d say as I would cry myself to sleep after a fight with my Mom Cloraine.
I was struggling to find the earthly love I was craving so desperately. Love from a mother, a father.
I find it somewhat ironic that I had so many mother figures and was still searching for this.
When high school rolled around I started dating as a pursuit of that love. I wasn’t focused on school and I didn’t know if I’d go to college. Our high school had a daycare center on site. I able to take an early childhood education class and work some hours in the daycare alongside a lead teacher. I loved those kids! The lead teacher said to me one day, “You have a gift with children… You should go to college… become a teacher! I’m going to write you a recommendation letter.”
She insisted that I take that step and fill out college applications, despite my grades. The encouragement from her was exciting. I figured I had nothing to lose and I knew I wanted out of the house. Remember that “When I’m 18 speech?”
So, I did what she said and guess what, I got my letter of acceptance in the mail and packed my things for Wheelock College just after my 18th birthday.
One semester down, second semester begins and I get a call. It was my Mom Cloraine and the message she left was this.
“Mimi, Come home Tuesday, We’re gonna have a family meeting. I love you!”
Wow, I thought. “ I had never really heard her say, “ I love you.” “It stuck with me so much… and she called me Mimi!” I kept telling my roommate at the time, which was hardly ever.
Unfortunately, we never got that family meeting.
I got another call on the Monday morning before the meeting,
My siblings were waiting for me in the car.
“We’re going home…Mom passed away.”
It was so sudden. I had wished for 18 years to be accepted, to be loved in the ways I needed and I wished for years to connect with Mom and love on her the same and now she was gone. I didn’t get a chance to have the relationship I wanted with her. I grieved.
“Because you’re Mom passed away, she was the head of the family, you’re now in charge of your biological mother.” they said.
Thoughts flooded my mind.
I’m not a mother. She’s the mother.
Who’s going to take care of me?
To never truly feel the constant love of a mother, yet feel the loss of them at the same time was incredible, the burden of it all fell on my 19 year old shoulders likes weights of lead. That was over a decade ago. Time has passed.
Now I am a stay at home Mama to two children whom I love very much. I spend most of my days mothering, caring for and teaching them. I call Mommy Christine who is just Christine now to say hello when I think of her. My grandmother passed away. And I call my biological mother to check-in a few times a month. My biological mother always closes the conversation with, ” I miss you, I love you Mimi.”
Most days, I’m not able to receive this. Not because I’m cold to it. But because it feels like affection coming from a stranger, someone I’ve never really met. It’s like her words cling for something else to hang onto.
When she says I love you, she expresses the affection piece I need from a mother…. What a mixing pot of emotions! There are so many thoughts. But I’m left with one constant one; “Where do I go from here?”
This is the life I have lived and it’s part of my present reality. As I continue to grow in Christ, I’ll strive to attend to my biological mother. I’ll continually show gratitude and love to others who are there for me, love on people just as they are, and continue to move towards healing. Healing by grieving for what’s lost, accepting what’s been, renewing my mind in God’s word for the future, and loving myself all of me and not waiting for others to.
“For God formed my inward parts; He wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.…” Psalms 139:13.
Why I wanted to share my story now is this… And this quote comes to mind.
“An arrow can only be shot forward by pulling it backwards…”
As I go backwards a bit to process my upbringing, I know for sure God has heard my cries and has been with me every step of the way. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about these women who have impacted my life. I’ve been digging into my identity now in Christ… He’s been blowing my mind with how loved and accepted I am! I don’t always see it at first but that’s the truth, the words to ‘hang on to’.
Everyone has a story. God can continue to pull you back and launch you again and again! “The baby is coming… it’s coming now.” she shouted. God’s the arrow puller. He’s doing the aiming. I’m the arrow. GOING… where? I don’t know but I have FAITH that “God will continue to supply ALL my needs according to his glorious riches.” Philippians 4:19
I’m being launched forward by my FATHER in heaven. He’s taking care of me.