martes, febrero 28, 2006

Throwing Up for My Daughter Raeden

Throwing up, for my daughter Raeden, was not such an unusual occurrence that it would frighten her (or me) if it happened to happen at McDonald’s on a Saturday afternoon in La Jolla, CA. In fact, throwing up, for my daughter Raeden, was such a usual occurrence – and had been for all 15 months of her beautiful life – that when it did happen at McDonald’s on a Saturday afternoon in La Jolla, CA, no one was frightened except for everyone but us. Partially masticated, thoroughly processed pieces of hamburger and french fries made wet with the water used to wash them down and the wonderful mystery-fluids of Raeden’s baby insides, for some reason, were just too much to bear for the folks at McDonald’s that Saturday afternoon in La Jolla, CA. I like thinking about that day because it re-members for me, the right that Raeden and I have, that I forget (and that she hasn’t been made to forget, yet) to be where we are as we are, whether throwing up or swallowing the shit we get at McDonald’s on Saturday afternoons in La Jolla, CA.

One bite into my quarter-pounder with not-exactly-cheese, I look up to her eyes starting to water and that cough that’s almost a warning, and ask, “Do you need to throw up, honey?” And she answers with the first splat of it. No fear. No tears. She keeps eye contact with me, reads my reaction that tells her it’s all o.k. It’s all o.k. Let your body do what it does. You don’t have to be afraid.” I say, “Go ahead, honey.” “Do you have some more?” She does. She has more and more and more. Enough to soak herself and the pictures of Ronald McDonald and Hamburglar on her high chair with. Enough to flood and spill out over my cupped palms, which I hold out to her. She retches into them. But still no fear. No tears. No shame, despite the woman at the next table wishing it on us. I hear a shameless “Isn’t she going to do something?” And I answer by holding Raeden’s vomit, lovingly. I say, “It’s o.k. It’s all o.k.” And it is. It is despite the snap I feel in me. And it is, even as the familiar disgust of all eyes on me with my brown baby tinges my calm with rage. Raeden is now done. But I decide that I’m not.

I am grateful for the wheels on her high chair that make it easy for us to travel the long way around the restaurant, passing every table on the way, to the trash can. Gliding happily, we sing “twinkle, twinkle little star,” a little louder than usual. I help Raeden out of her clothes, free her from their sogginess, announce her peanut-butter skin while she giggles with the pleasure of it. I am grateful for this moment we are making, for our harmony at show time. Because they are still watching us. I toss Raeden’s shirt in the trash can and enjoy the gasps. How can we afford to throw clothes away? They wonder. When are we going to leave? “Ooops. We forgot to order Daddy’s food. Have to stand in line.” We do. I pull her from her high chair and decide I’ll take care of the drying liquid on her face when we get home. I’ll wipe my hands then, too. In the meantime, we’ll stand in front of this 60-something white man hating us and take our time figuring out how it was that Daddy said he wanted his hamburger and what it was he wanted to drink. “Wave to the nice man, Raeden.” She does, giving him a triumphant smile. He wants to spit.

This has been a guest post by machafemme on the occasion of the second Radical Women of Color Blog Carnavál.

Submitted to the Radical Women of Color Carnival :

4 comentarios:

sonrisa morena dijo...

wow!!this is sooooo beautiful...i'm crying as i'm writing this. i want to have those experiences with my kids...i want to be a mommy so bad!!! okay gotta stop...this was beautiful

smarttalk777 dijo...

I love this post too. I love how you reacted not with anger at those ignorant folks with no empathy or compassion for a sick child (cuz I would have wanted to be mean and ornery) but focused on the love for your daughter...and made what could've been a horrible experience into a beautiful one. If we could only do that with all the bad experiences in our lives...or have someone like you be there for us...Dang, I am mad I didn't submit, but if this is representative of March's Carnival, I CAN'T WAIT! Kudos Mami

Blackamazon dijo...

Wow that's just sad and uplifting at the same time. " Are you okay" how about is the small child obviously losing herlunch okay ? I say brava !

cindylu dijo...

Damn, she deserves a round of applause. To tell you the truth though, I think my nose would be offended, but I'd try to be sympathetic with the momma.