Ode to Boy- 20 Years Old
I was working for Chef Paul Prudhomme at the time and I dutifully gave birth on July 13, Chef's birthday. I wasn't quite prepared for the fast and furious labor and delivery (under 4 hours) and it was bitter-sweet event because none of my family were there. My dad hadn't gotten over his anger over my interracial marriage (remember, this was when interracial relationships were not so commonplace) and he forbade my mother to go to the hospital when I went into labor. I had been banished from the family home since the wedding and had spoken to my mother by phone but hadn't seen her throughout the pregnancy until the ninth month. My sister lived out of town and came to the hospital the next day, saving me from the utter despair of feeling completely abandoned by my family at the time when my own new family was taking form.
It took about three months of my mothers constant urging before Dad relented and released me from exile. I was so proud of Willie on that day when we went to my parents' house for the first time after Alex's birth. Willie could have been bitter and resentful; he could have been cold and aloof and it would have been well warranted. I'm sure my dad knew this and was probably a little uneasy about the visit. But instead Willie walked in with his head held high, hugged my mother hello (they were always on good terms), then walked over to my dad with a smile, and firm handshake and a warm greeting. My dad was completely disarmed. They both relaxed, conversation ensued, they watched a Saints game together, and by the end of the afternoon they were like old friends. And on that day my dad fell in love with the baby Alex, just as the rest of the family had. Just as I had on July 13, 1988.
In so many ways, Alex is everything I hoped he's be. He's independent, smart, sensitive, funny, loving, and he's his own person in every way. He's never been in any kind of trouble and it's been a great comfort to feel I can always trust his judgment.
We didn't spend this day together because he had plans with friends and I missed him, but we'll celebrate tomorrow.
Thanks, Alex, for your love and your light and for coming and changing the world in many beautiful ways.
NOTE: It must be a special day because not only did I post something here, I posted a whole bunch more pictures of Alex past and present on Flicker tonight, too.