Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Many Moms of Maya.

Maya’s had many moms even before Verna died just a little over two years ago. Out of necessity, both Verna and I needed help because Maya was born six days after Verna’s first cancer diagnosis. Without assistance, Verna could not have survived chemotherapy and I my full-time job as an auto broker and support system for Verna.

First, there was Jane, an angel and our night nurse five evenings a week (I subbed in the other two nights) who taught Maya without using the cry-it-out method to sleep through the night within four months. She and Verna also hiked together and talked and talked.

The mantra of “It Takes A Village” has been overwhelmingly true for me for 7 years because family, friends, and strangers have been invaluable. From food delivered to our doorstep, to money, to babysitting, to shoulders to cry on, we cope[d] and thrive[d] because of people’s generosity.

No one has benefitted more than Maya. Miguel has had me, and the bond we forged when I was an at-home father for six years. Maya has me, but there are some things for which the learning curve has been inordinately steep.

A few weeks ago, before school started, I dragged Maya to my office for a photo shoot. The Home Office had authorized a picture taking session with residents, families, and cute kids for our new marketing brochures. I rushed into the office, with Maya, her hair uncombed, her choice of clothing more suited for day camp, which is where she was heading after the session.

“What is she, homeless?” asked one of my co-workers, who was helping to coordinate the day. She ordered me home to get a brush and a dress. By the time my co-worker was done Maya looked radiant.

So I’ve been thinking lately about all the moms Maya has even if she still implores me two or three times a week, “To just bring me Mommy, down from heaven. I want her here right now.”

There’s Michele, who has been caring for Maya since preschool with her husband and two children, one of whom, also Maya, is Maya’s best friend.

There are Fernanda and Liz, who live in our neighborhood, and watch Maya on Fridays and Mondays, respectively. Between them they have five kids. There is Torhalla and Renee, each with two kids, who host Maya for play dates and sleepovers. There was Reena and Rhea, two teenaged sisters, who volunteered after Verna died to play with Maya on a regular basis.

There are my three sisters-in-law, Liz, Donna, and Amy, who shop for clothes and toys with Maya, cuddle with her, take her on adventures. And there is Shauna, my neighbor, who may not have her own kids, but she paints Maya’s nails, invites her for the night, gives her bubble baths and braids her hair.

As I see the journey of my life stretched out like a ribbon of highway, I know Maya may actually get another Mommy, one with whom she already has a great relationship, baking muffins, cleaning house, and playing library.

But there are no guarantees, so Maya’s many moms will always be there to do what I cannot do and what Maya craves: braid her hair, support her fashion sense, and nurture her in a special female way. And for that I am very grateful.

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