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Sunday Soliloquy: Shoplifter Children of The World Unite and Take Over September 13, 2009

Filed under: Poverty,Sunday Soliloquy,Welfare — afrocity @ 11:00 AM
Art By Walter Williams

Art By Walter Williams

For me there is no childhood which to return.

We are all possessed with the God given the right to live, love and create.  Procreation is a gift, with golden strings to your heart. One that comes with the price of sacrifice but the reward is great.

adoption-sf-1It is time for me to make a difficult decision about becoming a mother. I am not getting younger. Should I or shouldn’t I be a parent? If the answer is yes, how should I become one? Should I have my own child? Someone that is of me and looks like me? A little Afrocity?  A tiny person whose eyes are like my mother’s.  Or should I give a home to a child that needs one?

For quite some time now, I have spent my Sunday mornings writing to you about my misadventures. The events surrounding my childhood fell far from  Kodak worthy accolades.  Mother and I endured tough times.  Now deceased, she still is alive in me and represents the most difficult relationship of my life. I am still drowning in her womb. The question remains can I save myself in order to save another?

It stings to think that I stole for a woman who should have been stealing for me. There was nothing legal about the way I was raised. The pattern of neglect demonstrated by my mother was hidden behind a façade of withdrawal and aloofness. Working together as a team, we never let anyone in too close for fear of being exposed as a parental sham. You would see us on buses, riding until the conductor told us it was the end of the line. We would sit in Greyhound bus stations, while waiting for nothing but daylight. I was the child that stuffed a package of Oscar Meyer Bacon in my coat as my mother pushed a shopping cart containing a purse with no money.  “Big Business owes us,” she would tell me. “not the other way around. It is not stealing when you stick it to the corporations. They steal everyday from little people like us.”

One time she got caught. We were in a store called Zayre’s. Mother had a package of Rice a Roni in her pants. The door beeped as we left the store. As the security guard came over, she urinated on herself right in front of me and everyone else.  In the security room, the officer examined the contents of my mother’s TWA flight bag. Out came the Double Stuff Oreo cookies and Wyler’s drink mix.

“How old is your child?” the guard asked.

“Twelve.”  Mother’s head was down. She would not look at me. Her pants were wet. I knew she must be uncomfortable.

The guard looked at me. She felt sorry for me. “You know I could send you to jail and this child would have to be sent to Child Protective Services?”

Say something mommy. No go. She was silent, almost in a state of shock so I spoke.

“Please don’t I would have to go into foster care and I might get raped by some old woman’s husband.”  Mother told me never to go to the authorities for food, shelter or anything. The alternative was foster care where I would be beaten or raped. Many of the foster mom’s were frigid barren women who secretly loathed children and wanted us for the government check. Their husbands were sexually frustrated men hoping for young girls like me. Virgins, no less to molest.  My relationship with mom was sacred. She would never forsake me as long as I kept our secrets safe from meddlers.


“What?!?” exclaimed the guard.

Tears went down my face. “I can’t go to foster care! I want to take my mother home with me!!!!”  Heat came all over my body. “Why are you doing this to us and you are black too. You got your cookies back.”

I went to my school bag. The guard had not checked it. I pulled out a box of Nilla Wafers , a toy doll figurine, a bottle of Flintstones vitamins, a small salami roll and a jar of apple butter.

Suddenly mother came out of her self induced hibernation. “I did not know she had those things.”

The guard discovered that we were fucked up enough all on our own without her interference. We promise to never do it again and she let us go warning us to never come to the store again.

The lesson I learned that day was threefold: 1. Never get caught. 2. Never put my mother in jeopardy 3. Never let them see you pee.

Adopting the Older ChildOn the way home, mother uttered nothing for a long time. We were embarrassed for each other. Also that was our meal for the next week that was stolen from us by the guard. Bitch. What did she care? It was not like we were hurting the company. Why couldn’t my mother be a security guard? These were all the stupid thoughts of a bitter young girl who had just been busted for stealing a box of Nilla Wafers.

Mother, touched her pants, now dry from the July heat. A faint unpleasant odor wafted my way. The familiar smell from Chicago subway stations. A sign that we had become nothing more than bums, just more functional at concealing our dysfunction. We would have to clean her up later, but something was poking her in the side. It was a Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar- something that I could not have because I was allergic to nuts.  Handing it to me she said I could pick the chocolate from the nuts.  I shook my head and went into my own little stash.  Everything had not been completely emptied from my school bag. There was still a box of Uncle Ben’s condensed rice and a bent can of Carnation milk.

She smiled at me. Yes we were damaged goods.

Autographed Letter Signed,


27 Responses to “Sunday Soliloquy: Shoplifter Children of The World Unite and Take Over”

  1. Stilton Says:

    Wow. The power of this piece is just overwhelming. I grieve for the little girl you were, but celebrate the woman she became. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey…and please let us hear more.

  2. Leah Says:

    There definitely is a child out there who desperately needs you!

  3. tammy Says:

    You’re writing is just amazing. I am new to your blog, and can’t believe I am daring to post again and on such a personal subject, but one thing that immediately jumps to my mind is that you seem to be asking should you become a mother, rather than what steps you should take to actually do it.

    I am childless by choice, (I’m a lazy heifer!) and it seems to me that if you’re asking, you probably don’t really want to yet.

    I think you would/will make an awesome mama, but I think when you really want to, you’ll know it.

    PLEASE don’t post this; I feel foolish presuming to “speak” to you about such a personal thing when I don’t know you, but I did want to let you know what I thought about it.

    • afrocity Says:

      Tammy, when you press the submit comment button your posts automatically post. I have nothing to do with that.

      Thank you for posting and the sentiments expressed in your words have crossed my mind. Motherhood is not a decision to be taken lightly.

  4. Well hon? I’m pretty much flabbergasted. You will know when the time to become a mother arrives, and I believe that you will be a fine one.

  5. IslandLibertarian Says:

    This may sound old fashioned, but I hope there will be a “father” included if you do decide to have children.
    I understand the empty spaces of a fatherless home.
    I’m sure you do also.

  6. gs Says:

    Presumably you’re talking about having a child without marrying. My impression is that there are data which indicate that single motherhood often has subpar outcomes and is a serious national problem.

    But every guideline has exceptions and I’m guessing that you’re one of them.

    I marvel at the wisdom, strength, intelligence, grace, and talent in these pages. Part of that is due to your environment and the choices you made in response to it–but part is due to your genes.

    Both parts would be valuable to future generations.

    If you decide to have a child, please consider having your own.

    • afrocity Says:

      Lots of single women adopt. Some children, especially girls who have been sexually abused, prefer single moms.

      • Afrocity:

        Does the struggle that you witnessed by having one adult in your life as a youth motivate you to have a male partner in a committed relationship or at least a broader extended family context by which to take responsibility for a young person under your wing before choosing to do so?

      • afrocity Says:

        Everyone is motivated to be in a relationship but a two parent family is not necessarily the answer to having a well brought up child. The Menendez brothers had two parents and so did Jeffrey Dahmer.

        My mother did not fail me because she was a single parent. There were other issues there and not having a dad was the least of my problems.

      • Afrocity:

        I am not trying to bash you into conformity. However you threw up two gross exceptions (Menedez and Dahlmer) while ignoring the far larger galaxy of evidence that proves the point that – Two committed adults focused upon raising a child on average will have a better go at it than does one individual.

        As a resident father in a committed relationship I know for sure that absent 2 adults my kids, my wife and I would not be able to do a fraction of the things that we do both for the kids and in our professional lives.

        It is my view that “the Reproduction of Children” means setting up a reference model upon which they should be directed to grow to (ie: at age 16) and then setting up the environment which has the most optimized chances of leading toward this end. All the while dealing with the exceptions (ie: an untimely death)

      • Dan Ortiz Says:

        CF is it your intention to imply that Afrocity would be a bad parent because she would be a single mom? What cave did you crawl from? Your judgmental & until we talk to your kids we have no means to know what type of parent you are. Not constructive feedback but biased & unfounded judgments about single parents. The lady’s point was that bad kids can come from a home with both parents. If I hear ya right you think kids should stay in orphanage until they secure 2 parent homes.

      • Dan Ortiz:


        If I am biased then BLAME GOD!!! (or Evolution and the series of accidents that it created us into – if you are a non-believer)

        Until technology makes it otherwise – a human being is created from the genetic material of a MAN and a WOMAN.

        Getting a child through gestation is only part of the issue.

        I said NOTHING about her being a “bad parent” as a single mother of her own choosing.

        I refuse to fall into YOUR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS and accept that I am “biased”/”bigoted”/”judgmental” by stating the FACT that on average the two same people who created the child, remaining together in a committed relationship with them BOTH focused upon rearing the children provides the best environment for their child.

        What is perverted about my statement?
        That it is slowly slipping from being the rule but instead the exception and thus I need to be more accommodating?


      • Dan Ortiz Says:

        CF has this view of parenting that is old fashioned & not realistic. Here he is bringing up political correctness when he is the one who bashed single parents. The thing you post seem judgmental because they are.

      • Dan Ortiz:

        The day that a human of the female gender can CREATE a baby by herself is the day that I will drop my “Old Fashioned” and perverted thoughts and thus MINIMIZE the importance of the MALE HUMAN who assisted her in this feat in raising this child…….as YOU have.

        What you think of as some enlightened state that you have reached while I remain in the stone age – I see as YOUR derailment from the clear facts at hand regarding what is clear throughout human history.

        What we see today is the female’s NECESSARY ADAPTATION TO A DYSFUNCTIONAL CULTURE. By necessity there are more women raising children that they CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SOMEONE ELSE – ON THEIR OWN!!!! You will to make accommodations to this dysfunction. I hope to reverse it with the hopes of correcting the fractured relationships between man and woman by addressing it at the societal and cultural level where the problem resides.

        In your world of NON-JUDGMENTALISM the BLACK COMMUNITY (in particular) has been allowed to have this fissure that precludes more STABLE, LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN.

        If attacking your way of thinking and thus being perceived as JUDGMENTAL TO YOU is what is necessary to correct things then GIVE ME MY ROBE AND GAVEL.

        I don’t want to be an INDIVIDUAL judge.
        I want our COLLECTIVE CULTURE TO MAKE JUDGMENTS and thus be free from the whims of an individual MAN who is flawed and subject to mockery by those who’s ultimate goal is to REMOVE CULTURAL STRICTURES so they can DO WHAT THEY DAMNED PLEASE AS INDIVIDUALS.

        At what cost will you maintain your individualism, Mr Ortiz?

  7. I’ll join in offering unsolicited advice. Looks like fun. Ignoring it is totally your perogative.

    1) Whatever you do, don’t listen to people who tell you “don’t do it”. Ninety nine percent of the time they are looking at it from their personal perspective. It must be looked at from YOUR personal perspective, and you are the best one to do so.

    2) If you decide “yes”, do it whichever way you decide. Trust yourself. Adoption is wonderful, but you should never feel bad for wanting a different experience.

    3) You will not parent like your mother did. Like all parents, you will start out brand new and write your own story for your own child, be it better or worse than what you experienced on the receiving end. Believe it–just believe it! It will be 100% in your control. Don’t let those fears that keep you company factor into any future decision on whether to become a parent or not. I love your stories about your past, too, but this is your future you are talking about–it has the potential to be beautiful, because YOU will be creating it!

    4) Feedings every three hours for weeks on end suck big time. So do vomit and temper tantrums. But I wouldn’t trade it all for a trillion dollars!!!!

  8. bob Says:

    You’d make a great mom. You do what your heart tells you to do.

  9. Holly Says:

    It is odd when we all think back and compare stories of growing up and how some with tragic backgrounds survive and become incredible human beings, while others continue to fall, sometimes until death.

    I had a good childhood, so I cannot say that I share your experience, but I do thank you for sharing. It is the process of sharing that allows us as individuals to create an atmosphere of understanding, compassion, and respect. I respect your truths, your openness, and your ability to overcome.

    As to the idea of adoption, my little sister is adopted. I was 15 and she 10 months when she came into our lives. She literally is the best thing that ever happened to my family; she united our family, became a second chance for my father, and was my best friend. True story, during my senior year of high school I had a free period, so I would drive home everyday and eat lunch with her and watch Dragon Tales…she was three years old. =) To me, there is no difference between adoption and a child in the womb. The experience may be different, but the love is equal. Good luck.

  10. Maggie Says:

    Afrocity, I am a mother of 3 sons. If you are ready for a child, then you will know that the time is right. Someone suggested looking to adopt a girl that has been sexually abused, and I think that is not such a bad idea… you have been there and you might be able to be a good influence….

  11. Me Says:

    1. Children need mothers and fathers. And I say this as someone who had a really scary father. But it’s true: fathers make a difference. My grand unified theory of parenting: moms are all about safety and security, and dads are all about dealing with the big bad outside world. Since my dad failed to teach us about the big bad outside world, turning our home into a scary place, I have trouble with that every day. Besides which, it is simply not possible for a woman to intimidate her daughter’s dates.

    2. If you do decide to do this, adopt. There are thousands of children out there in need of a stable home, as you well know, and yes, some of them in foster homes are being raped and otherwise abused. Give some child some measure of stability he would not otherwise know.

  12. soupcity Says:

    I think any child in your life would only be enriched by you, afrocity. The fact that you have bared all these painful things and have faced them and dealt with how they have impacted you show a maturity and grace that a lot of mothers don’t have. As a mom of three I do have to say it is the hardest but most rewarding thing in the world. Good luck and like bob said, follow your heart.

  13. bob Says:

    There is also the option of becoming a foster parent. There is a great demand here, and the state usually picks up some of the financial burden. My wife, who has worked in Health and Welfare, suggested I mention this.

  14. Irlandese Says:

    I just love when a whole lot of people with no personal experience with something tell someone else what or what not to do (heavy on the sarcasm).

    Afrocity, I chose to become a single parent back in 1992 when I conceived my daughter as a *gasp* single woman. How and why are nobody’s business but my own, but boy o boy, did people feel free to tell me how they felt about it. I think you should do what your heart tells you to do, and everyone else can GO HANG. You will be a wonderful mother, and any child would be lucky to have you.

    For the record, my daughter is now 16 and is a straight-A student, a talented musician, and a gifted artist. Not bad for just a self-employed stylist with nothing but a high school diploma. Heh heh.

    Some of you folks need to get off your high horse. Seriously.

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