early years

To be a mother has been the only “career” I ever wanted. I liked being pregnant even with the downside of back aches and heartburn. It is what I have believed God wanted for me. We had two girls and our boy was the youngest and the last. A tow headed, blue-eyed little guy who, even as a little guy, was muscle bound and felt different in my arms than the girls did. He had the build of a boy. We named him Michael Brandon Heath.

Childhood was to be for my children something delightful and filled with goodness and love. There would be no drunken daddy or hitting and slugging my children. I would be the mom I always wanted to have. Somehow I would make up for my own dysfunctional family by having a family who thrived under my care. They would want for nothing, especially love. And so the “dreams of an everyday housewife” of being there for my husband when he came home from work, by being the mom who kissed the boo-boos, baked cookies, and went to every school function ….I was the mom of all moms. I have never regretted my ambition to be so and now I know why God gifted me with that desire. In looking back, I could not have lived with the guilt of being anything less.

There is a difference between raising boys and girls. Each posed their individual challenges. I suppose the personalities of each child played into how they learned, how they reacted to experiences, how they received and gave love. Love, being the basic of all instincts, was lavished with affection and caring. Nothing in that regard was ever held back. There was no abuse as in delivering blows or neglect of health. My children were my world and I wish that I had been able to prevent the world from intruding on our bliss.

I know that my son was a sensitive and caring, kind boy. He was a good looking kid whose fairer looks perhaps made him an easy target for those who would bully him most of his school years. I will never understand why people are so mean….why children are cruel. It is something I rose above in my own childhood, probably because it made me more resilient to be from a family where you had to survive the cruelties of your own blood. I can only speculate.

When we chose the name “Brandon”…I thought it would look good emblazoned on a football trophy….a good, strong name yelled from the stands. And so it was, that our boy played the game with enthusiasm and dedication from the time he was eight years old until high school and even practiced for a time with a semi-pro league. He never got to fulfill his dream of playing for a college. All the factors that would make that possible were not meant to be. “And so life goes on, my precious boy.”

Brandon was a lover. Little girls would call our house even in the first grade and leave their cute, girly, giggly messages on the machine. I saved them, as I saved every single little note that came stuffed in his jeans pockets or his lunch box. Little boxes to be marked “yes” or “no”…do you love me, Brandon? He was popular with the girls but he had lots of guy friends, too. Those who picked on him were few but persistent.  I remember one time when I was putting him to bed and he already had a “tummy ache” which was in preparation for the next school day.  It was the first time I knew there was a problem. I asked him what was going on and he told me about the boys who were treating him badly in Mrs. Davis’ first grade class. I will never forget their names: Javaris, Montaye, and Keithen. I told the teacher who said she would handle the matter. “Oh, Brandon…the world is filled with this sort. How can I protect you, my sweet boy?”

(to be continued on another day when tears don’t blind)


  1. We are supposed to protect them; as moms, it doesn’t matter that they become who they are and make their own choices. We don’t lose the feeling that we should have known, should have done something. But we couldn’t, you know. I’m just thinking of you; I know – and somewhere deep down, you know – that you are a good and loving mom and you did exactly what you were supposed to do. Sending you so many hugs; no one can know what you feel, but there are so many who suffer along with you. My heart is with you.


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