I don’t know what I would have done if I was in my mom’s shoes. She loved my dad and wanted to work things out, but after confronting him about the affair he didn’t want to save the marriage or attend marriage counseling. There had been a lot of fighting and difficulties with their cultural differences during their four year marriage. She had no choice but to move to her parents’ house in Maryland and face life as a single mom with my two year old brother and me, a six month old infant.
I don’t remember anything about those first six months of life. I’ve heard the stories of my birth on an icy February day and of how both my parents thought I was dying one day and rushed me to the hospital only to find out that I was bleeding from my ear because I scratched myself so badly. I don’t remember any fighting, and I don’t remember any happiness either.
Fortunately my mom was an educated woman and talented musician and had a supportive family to help her out in her time of need. My grandparents took care of us for two years until we were able to get an apartment in northern Virginia. There were pictures taken of me in a floral suit and bonnet on the beach at Ocean City, MD. there is grainy old video of me and my brother playing in the yard (and him hitting me with a plastic bat). There was another elderly lady who took care of me sometimes. My uncles and cousins lived nearby too.
My mom was a music (strings) teacher in the public school system, and we were able to get an apartment on our own when I turned two. I have some memories from the two years we lived there. I remember swimming at the pool at the apartment complex. I remember the long hallway that my mom says I would run down at night so I could get to her room. There are cute pictures of a miniature version of me dressed in pink footsie pajamas in my crib.
I started pre-school when I was two, and I remember the my mom dropping me off and picking me up. She wore a dress coat with fur lapels, and I loved how soft they felt on my little cheeks. One of the grown ups at that preschool pulled out one of my teeth!
When I was four (and my brother was six), my mom bought a single family house in northern Virginia. In fact, she still lives in that very same house. It’s a two story brick house at the end of a hill that dead ends at a wooded area that connects to some of the local parks.