“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” — Sophia Loren
To guarantee total control, my boyfriend needed power over the only other human I loved as much as him: my son. My new man had a plan.
My mom was babysitting my son while I worked. The arrangement with my mother was simple; she watched my son while I went to work. I paid her phone bill and gave her a little cash.
Mom took him to pre-K twice a week. The other days she would each him phonics or my younger siblings would teach him counting.
He loved being at grandma’s house. He was the only small child in a house full of 8 older children. Because he was cute as hell, they were eating out of his hand. My boy was my mom’s first grandchild. She treated him as a precious piece of gold that could do no wrong.
My guy told me to remove my son from my mother’s care and enroll him in a daycare that was closer to his place. That way, I could pick my kid up and stop by to see him every single weekday.
Although the children at the daycare were two-, three-, and four-year-old’s, they looked like tiny gangsters. Their little faces were dirty. Their noses were running. They had on mismatched outfits some clean, some not so clean. Their pants were hanging down around their butt cheeks. But they were well-fed and playing.
I enrolled my son as requested. It was the cheapest daycare I’d ever had — five dollars a day, cash upfront. You dropped your child off and handed a five-dollar bill to the old woman. She would watch your child until you returned. Some kids seemed to stay all night, but not mine. I picked him up every day after work.
He appeared to be okay with this arrangement… for about two weeks. One day I came to pick up my polite and well-behaved three-year-old; I couldn’t tell him apart from the other children. He was dirty, nose running, wearing mismatched clothing that he was not wearing when I dropped him off.
Another little boy had on his matching outfit. Wait. What?
I walked in and confronted the old woman. She responded that she didn’t know what happened.
During the day, my child had been undressed and redressed, and she did not know when or why? Oh, hell no. Her lack of knowledge was too much. What kind of mother was I?
What kind of path was I putting my only son on? There was no pre-K, no grandma sitting and patiently teaching him phonics, no learning numbers at your uncle’s knee. I had an epiphany; I needed to get my baby out of there. Now.
I grabbed my son’s hand and ushered him out with a pretense of getting ice cream. Instead of getting ice cream, we took public transportation to my mother’s home.
I walked into my mother’s house and apologized fiercely, literally begging her to keep my son for me again. Thank goodness, she agreed.
After I dropped my son off at my mother’s house, I got right back on the bus and went back to the Henry Horner projects. When I walked in without my son, my man was not pleased. He questioned me. I explained that my mother had begged me to let him stay with her because she missed having him around.
This upset him. He crossed his legs and stared at me.
“I asked you to keep the boy here,” he whispered. His eyes were fire. He was trying to tell me I was violating an unspoken rule. If he wanted it, that’s the way it would be.
Being naïve saved me. I told him that my boy was not learning anything at that daycare. I was so sincere that he recognized that I was not defying him but, in my perception, saving my kid. I sat on his lap and kissed him. He relaxed into the implicit promise of hot sex later.
It was only later that I realized that the entire time he was talking to me about the daycare, his fists were clenched. Wow.
I shudder to think of my son’s path if I had not removed him from that daycare. I shiver about what could have happened.
Thank goodness I loved my son enough that his impending future penetrated my love haze. I saw what path I was putting him on, and I did not like my actions, so I changed them.
Another read: You Can Recover From an Irresponsible Love Blunder
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