Thursday, July 23, 2009

"What If?"

Oh, my boys,
the "What If?'s" are hard to shake.
Like waves, they just keep washing up, to the shore of my consciousness.
I try to lull myself to sleep, in the hull of the ship on this sea,
in the comfort of the here and now,
but they are endless.
Despite our best efforts to live in the moment,
and regardless of our intentions to live for the future,
the past is still right there behind us.

The "What If?'s"
fuzzy around the periphery.
The thick dusty grime, the dirty hot sun, the air thick with burning rubber,
in Cite Soleil.
The distended bellies, like rocks, sitting between your spine and my hip.
I pull you closer and I try to push it away,
but it --like Haiti-- is always there.

We have to move forward, we have to be free, but still, there they are.
They happen in the smallest of moments.
And in the most profound.
I squeeze my eyes shut and shake my head
intentionally to shake them away.
It is too much to ponder.
The "What If?'s"

It is completely surreal.
But it is real.
It is in the little things --
the giddy grin I see when you first put on a pair of brand new shoes;
the arms outstretched in utter security when you lay there asleep in your bed;
the look of concentration as you wind your way through the maze.

Oh, my boys,
you would never have had those shoes,
that security,
that space in your mind for pencils and Saturday morning moments.
Oh, my boys,
I cannot even think it,
how different the mazes would have been.

Oh, my babies,
it shakes me to the core.
The "What If?'s"
and the tremendous juxtapositions
of what is and what might have been.
And the truth of what will never be for
oh so many.


Haitian-American Family of Three said...

This made me cry, such beautiful writing on such a intense subject.

In regards to your last post, I think about this a lot too, the shift from a cute baby to a older child to an adult and the fact that out in the world my daughter will be judged and treated based on her beautiful brown skin and honestly it kills me to think about anyone, ever saying or doing anything hurtful-even though we've already experienced much, much more racism then I was EVER expecting. The best thing we can do for our kids is to be aware and teach them how to deal with comments and belief systems of people who are (for a better word) ignorant.
Thank you SO MUCH for making this HAITI week because as you know, Haiti is always, always in my thoughts as well.

Malia'sMama said...

The what if's some to me too. About my own child. About me, without her.
In honour of Haiti week, any time I comment, there shall be a word or two in Kreyòl, too. so: yè te pase. Se joudi-a ki impotan, e ou ap bay yo bèl demen yo, tou! :)

Amanda said...

This gave me shivers. As I wait, and wait, and wait, and wait for my son, the things that I'm missing haunt me.

Candis said...

Beautiful, HBJ. And chilling. Our adoption agency recently began facilitating Ethiopian adoption, which take well under one year to complete, in contrast to the lengthy Haitian adoptions, which are unwieldy, interminable, and agonizing for parent and child alike.
Had that option been available to us when we first inquired about adoption... I don't even want to consider the outcome for our son and the sons and daughters of adoptive cohort, had we the other option at the time. (My husband was in tears about that possibility.) Vive Ayiti!

T & T Livesay said...

Merci Anpil -
Tout moun renmen sa bel.

T & T

kayder1996 said...

You commented on my blog that you had been wanting to post something similar to a topic I posted on. Well, I have a post about this exact thing sitting in my draft file. I have found myself thinking things like this alot and trying to wrap my head around how Kenson's birth mom fits into the "What ifs" as well. ie my child has so much more both tangible and non tangible things but by saying so, am I saying his mom couldn't have been a good parent? Now I'll have to finish tweaking it and post it. Again, what a thoughtful post!