I met my husband in February 1982 I was 19. He was my older brother’s best friend, so he was always around. I never had any intention of dating much less marrying him! He was a soccer star in Jamaica with lots of groupies and children from two previous relationships. He was charming and relentless. Two qualities that proved impossible to turn down.
We wed on July 21st, 1984.
While on our honeymoon we were both feeling tired right out the gate. After all the planning and the excitement of our big day, we thought we were just exhausted. All we wanted to do was sleep!
We stayed at Couples Resort in Ocho Rios Jamaica, a beautiful all-inclusive hotel.
Our first morning we were greeted with breakfast in bed. A spread with some of our favorite Jamaican dishes, fit for a king and Queen. We were excited to get started, we jumped out of bed, and indulged. The first bite was scrumptious the second even more so. By the third bite, I started feeling nauseous and experiencing cold sweats. I was about to throw up.
My husband, who thinks he’s my psychologist and my primary care physician, suggested that I take deep breaths, have a mint and even said I may have been eating too fast. Nope, I had to run to the restroom, it all came rushing out. What a nightmare, how could our honeymoon start like this? The next few days things remained the same, sleeping all day and no desire for food, the thought of eating made me feel sick so we decided to check out early and head home.
Once we got home some family members and friends suggested I go get checked out by a doctor. Other’s suggested a pregnancy test. A pregnancy test!? Yup, turns out I was two months with child. No wonder my custom made wedding dress didn’t fit quite the same as it did at my previous fittings.
February 26th, 1985, born on her due date, Sanya Leanne was such a blessing in our lives. She was a busy baby but luckily in Jamaica, it’s the norm to have help, we call them “helpers”. They live with you and assist in caring for your baby. I was rocking and rolling, I had a good rhythm! At eight weeks I was back to work and working out. After about six months I noticed I wasn’t losing weight as quickly as I’d expected. I knew I couldn’t have been pregnant, I was still breastfeeding and everyone told me quite frankly I could not get pregnant. Well….
At this time, in Jamaica, finding out the gender of your baby wasn’t very common. Nothing like the extravagant gender reveals of today. We found out at birth! Born May 25th, 1986, Shari Lee was an exact replica of my first baby. It was a tough delivery and I know it might sound crazy but I was so sad to do all the work to have the exact baby twice! I got over it quickly and we were so happy to have another healthy baby girl. She might have looked a lot like Sanya at birth but she was a completely different baby. She was calm and easy going. The day we brought her home, Sanya was so excited to meet her that she jumped off the bed and fell on her head. That day paints a pretty accurate picture of how my girls would turn out. Sanya; always celebrating and jumping head first and Shari the cool, calm skeptic.
For the majority of my girls’ life, I was a stay at home mom. I dropped them off and picked them up at school every day. I would bring lunch to their school hot and ready. Even if it meant taking meals from the same restaurant but going twice. All their friends knew me as the cool mom. In some cases kids don’t like overbearing moms but my girls were the complete opposite, they always enjoyed having me around.
We always knew Sanya would be a track star. She started dominating when she was 7 years old and never looked back. Throughout her journey, she always wanted me there. When Sanya went off to college, with Shari one year behinds, we thought we would be the traditional empty nesters. They both went off to the University of Texas and by the end of Sanya’s sophomore season, she decided to become a professional athlete. One year later she asked me to quit my job and manage her full time. As scary as that was, I did it. My husband and I packed up our stuff and moved to Austin to continue supporting her.
Simultaneously, Shari who was always fascinated with hair decided to leave school early as well and pursue her cosmetology license. After working at a salon for two years my ambitious 22 year old decided to open her own salon. She asked me to help with all the decor and management.
So now I’m managing an athlete that travels the world and managing a salon six days a week.
On top of that, I’m their interior decorator, I’ve designed both their homes as many times as they’ve moved. I’m their chef as both my girls refuse to learn how to cook their favorite Jamaican meals. I’m their chauffeur every time they call me to go somewhere as they like to claim that I’m “the best driver”. I’m their pageant mom. They like to say I’m really tough on them but they still solicit my advice before going to even the smallest events. I’m their confidant, keeping most of their secrets, sometimes from each other.
The funny thing is both my girls operate like they’re an only child. They demand so much of me and they’ve never known a life without the other. Sure Sanya was here 15 months prior but if you ask her what had for lunch last week she has no recollection so I’m positive she doesn’t recall a life without Shari.
After both their first careers ended and they became moms I was sure we would be those empty nester I always dreamt of. We’d be back to focusing on each other, traveling the world and popping in on our grandkids from time to time. WRONG! Instead, they’ve all moved closer, they show up unannounced in their robes and headscarves and demand their favorite Jamaican foods at least twice a week.
When I travel I have to pack extras for my girls, and by my girls I mean Sanya. I have to bring extra tank tops, underwear, and an outfit since in most cases she’s never prepared even though she’s overpacked .
When they were getting married I went to all their dress fittings, cake and food tastings, meetings with the planners and whatever else you can think of. I was in both their delivery rooms when they had my grandchildren. I was actually the only one to witness Shiloh’s (my youngest grandsons) birth at 3 a.m.
For the first year of my grandsons’ lives, my kids wouldn’t go anywhere without me. As long as they were making a move I had to be ready to make a move too. I can’t think of a time, significant or not so much, that I haven’t shared with my girls. At times I think they still think they’re children when it comes to dealing with me.
As much I love being a mom, being Sanya and Shari’s mom at times in my life was my identity. I can’t help but wonder
I think it really is because now, although I have no issues ditching my girls, I could never move away from my grandkids!
Are you a grandma? Can you relate? How do you feel about motherhood? Leave your comments below!!!
I’d love to hear from you.
P.S to answer my own question. This morning (before I submitted this blog) I got a call from Shari at 8:12 am telling me she was in a desperate situation. While at work, her flat iron broke and she needed me to drive to her house get another one and bring it to her at work! I got it done immediately!