We Had A Baby Last Night

“If I can’t eat, neither can you.” Those were the last slurry words she spoke to me before she fell asleep from the epidural she swore she would never get. That’s an entirely other story I’ll tell at a later date. We’d been at the hospital since 9:00am and the doctor told her not to eat anything. What should have been a routine check up turned into the doctor telling us to come straight to the maternity ward.

“You’re about to have a baby.” He said with excitement.

No bags were backed, we were in separate cars, both planning on heading to work. Now we were being told we were about to have a baby one week early when she wasn’t even dilated past three centimeters. After a couple hours of running around and making arrangements we were in the birthing room arguing about the pain medicine she swore she would never take.

“If I can’t eat, neither can you.”

I waited until she was good and knocked out before telling my mom I was going to get something to eat. The least I could do was wait until she couldn’t see me eating. Memorial Hermann in the Heights is a weird location. It’s close to a million restaurants but almost none of them are in walking distance.

Walking distance for New York maybe but not for Houston.

But right next door to this massive Hospital is a small Mexican restaurant. No flat screens or fancy tables. No granite counter tops or 12 dollar margaritas. Just cold Coronas in a big ice chest and tequilas I can’t name. Starving and needing to get back to the birth of my first son I ordered something quick and then something happened.

You know that thing that happens in the movies where the music gets dramatic and you know the story is about to take a dark turn. My mother’s name popped up on my caller ID. If you knew my mom you’d know one thing about her, she never asks me for anything. That means seeing her name meant I knew she wasn’t calling to ask me to bring her some food.

“Dr. Ahmed is here. There’s something the matter with the baby’s heartbeat, it’s dipping too low and they can’t wait for it to stabilize. They need to perform a C-section now! You need to get back here Demez.” Ten minutes ago we were laughing and anticipating my son coming at six in the morning. Now at 8:30pm they were telling me if they didn’t perform this emergency C-section he might not make it here. Throwing a twenty on the counter and running back to the hospital I stepped off the elevator and as soon as I walked into the room there were nurses and doctors everywhere prepping her.

The epidural was causing her to shake uncontrollably and the anesthesia was making her nauseas and sleepy. With her eyes barely open and squeezing my hand she asked me, “Do you remember your promise? If it’s between me and Lennox, choose him.” For months she’d been telling me this and for months I’d been telling her that nothing was going to happen. Now here we were with her having a bad reaction to the epidural she didn’t want to get and my son’s heartbeat dropping with every second.

“I remember what I promised you. I got you. I love you. Nothing is going to happen.”

My mom and sisters helped me put on my sterilization gear. I followed the doctors and nurses to the operating room. This is the part that literally shook me to my core. Up until this point I was sure everything was going to be alright but they put me in a waiting room that felt like purgatory.

I’m alone in this waiting room and there’s one bench and no one else can be in this room. The nurses tell me to wait and they’ll come back for me. I can see my family and her family on the other side of the door every time it opens begging me with their eyes for answers I don’t have. At this point I don’t have to be brave for anyone. Not for B, not for my family, not for her family. I’m alone and now I have nothing but my own fears. What if my son doesn’t make it onto this earth? What if his mother doesn’t? What if neither of them do? Closing my eyes and praying to God for what seemed like the first time in months all I asked is that they both make it out okay.

The operating room is cold and sterile and quiet. They walk me over to her and ask me to keep her calm, to make her laugh. I’m supposed to make her laugh when she’s terrified and shaking. Cool, let me do my Kevin Hart impression while his wife is delivering a baby. I tell her to remember our trips, to think about the first place we’ll take Lennox. I tell her to focus on me and to focus on what it will be like to hold him.

In the midst of me talking I hear the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard in my life.

I hear Lennox Noire White crying. At 9:13pm on 6 August 2018 I hear my son crying for the first time. Cleaning him up, they place him in my arms since B is still being operated on. He’s 6 pounds 11 ounces and the most beautiful boy I’ve ever seen. A thick head of curly black hair, incredibly quiet for all he’s just put us thru and my world.

An hour later his mom is wheeled into the room on her bed and holds him for the first time.

That was my Monday.

That was the story of how I almost had a heart attack trying to say hello to my son.

The Forgotten Child

The Forgotten Child

When I was a boy I would sit on the laps of my mother and aunts, looking at the stars, fascinated by the night air. I wouldn’t stop crying unless they took me outside.

When she was a girl her father showed flashes of being the greatest man she’d ever known before he was the first man to break her heart.

When I was a boy I went to live with my mother after she graduated college, only to cry myself to sleep because I wanted to go back to the only home I’d ever known. My grandparents picked me up that same night.

When she was a girl she went and lived with a new family, learned new things, saw new things. A new father, a better father. Until she wasn’t there anymore, until she was back in the darkness. She felt like she deserved the darkness.

When I was a boy I thought I deserved the world.

When she was a girl she felt guilty for getting the world. What makes her special? Why the happy meal and her own room when they weren’t sure if the lights going to be on.

When he was a boy he wrote love letters to girls.

When she was girl she wrote love letters for boys, so her and her sister would have something to eat.

When he was a boy his parents took in the child of a friend.

When she was a woman she took in the child of a friend.

He saw that boy get bigger, healthier, happier.

She helped that boy get bigger, healthier and happier.

When he was a boy he saw his parents cry in the doorway as they took the boy away. The look of helplessness in their eyes knowing his life would never be the same.

When she was a woman she watched them take him away. His smile fading as the memories of his happiness fueled their disdain.

Compassion, compassion in it’s truest form often comes from the ones of those that received very little of it. The forgotten child is often the child that grows up to be the adult that wants to save the forgotten children.

True compassion and selflessness comes with heartbreak. You often find yourself protecting everyone, sacrificing for everyone, giving to everyone. When it’s all over, who has given to you? Who has sacrificed for you? Who is protecting you?

Even as a hero, the forgotten child is often forgotten.

 

mezz2

 

Six Months Ago Today

img_0173It’s been six months since we buried my grandmother and in my mind and heart it feels like it was yesterday. I still live next door and on more days than I can count I come home looking for her to be outside watering the plants or sitting on the porch. I see her so vividly rocking her feet, a hat on her head to shield her from the sun.

The vision usually last a second or two before reality hits me. If I’m being honest, things have not been easy since she’s been gone. With her death a certain peace and tranquility I felt when I found myself getting angry or disappointed is now gone.

There are nights I pray, days I pray, that I can get it back. At times I feel myself slipping from reality and those that love me. I find myself isolated and cold, even in a room full of people. My only outlet, my only relief being my writing.

Are these feelings me just stumbling until I get back to the man I was or are they feelings that will just grow over time and take whatever goodness and sanity I have left? We live in a 15 second world. People will give you a day or two to grieve but that’s all you’re going to get. After that they want you to be normal, to do your job.

Sleep has become a privilege I no longer have access to. At 3:30 this morning I found myself tossing and turning, then I found myself lying on the couch, then I found myself sitting outside. My body weary of drinking, no sleep medication because I have to be at work in a couple hours. So just there, hoping for rain, hoping for sunlight. Hoping for something that would allow me to feel something.

I’m behind schedule. I need to get back to work. Just some random thoughts from a random writer.

Trying to Keep My Faith

IMG_0001It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. Awhile for me is a week or so. I just woke up this morning with the desire to put my words down. For me faith is knowing something is going to happen or believing in something even though it hasn’t happened yet.

I have really good days and I have bad days. More good than bad but if I’m being honest there haven’t been too many good days lately. The funny thing is because of these bad days I keep feeling like I’m losing my faith but once I take a step back I realize my faith has been keeping me going.

Growing up my grandparents always told me to watch the company I keep. They told me that I didn’t need to travel in packs. “If you’re going to get in trouble, get in trouble by yourself.” My grandfather loved saying that even though I never actually got in any trouble. I regret that now. I regret not being more open to friendships.

There are times when I just need to talk, have a beer on the back of my truck with a friend and just talk. I never cultivated those friendships so here I am. That scares me.

I’m at a point in my life where I have no doubt I will be a success professionally. My writing is evolving, my readership is growing every day. I’m going to put out three novels this year and all of them are different. I’m at a point in my life where I’ve always wanted to be and sometimes I wonder if there’s a trade-off? Did me being a loner help me with my writing but made me anti-social with everything else in my life?

I once read that every great artist is tortured. That you can’t be a writer without pain. I always thought that was written by people who didn’t know how to write. Now I understand it. Now I understand that in order to find the words you have to live in the darkness.

 

Saying Goodbye… For Now

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Dear Mama,

I saw you for the last time today on this side. I know that wasn’t you in that coffin, not really, but today I said goodbye to you and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Before the viewing, before the funeral, I was there as soon as the church doors opened. I just needed to talk to you, to see you before everyone else. I needed to be strong for our family and the only way to do that was to get my tears out of the way early.

Tears don’t make you weak, you taught me that.

What makes you weak is not knowing when it’s okay to cry and holding that in. What makes you weak is not putting your faith and strength in God to get you through the tough times. You would have been so proud of us, so proud of the family. We stuck together, stayed with each other most of the day. I even drove half way around the world to be with Kelecia and Alexis tonight. We haven’t hung out like that as adults in forever. I’m not sure we have to be honest with you. It felt good, it felt right.

I find myself coming home looking at the house next door, wondering if you’re looking out the window and then it hits me like a mountain falling on an ant that you’re not there anymore. You knew when I was sad without me having to say a word. You knew when I was broke without me having to say a word. You knew when I needed a hug or just needed a friend.

Everyone probably feels like they have the best grandmother in the world and you can add me to that list. I don’t know if I’m a good man, I believe I am but even when I wasn’t, it was you that held me down and made me understand what I could be.

You’ll never see my children play in the yard or dance at my wedding. You’ll never see me walk across the stage and get that degree. You’ll never… Actually, I’m wrong. You’ll always be watching, always be my guardian Angel. I have so many words, so many stories but in the end, only three word stories matter most. I miss you. I love you. I’ll look out for everyone.

I’ll see you on the other side.

Love Always and Forever,

Mez

Dear God; I’m A Flawed Man

IMG_0128 Dear God,

I can be insecure at times. If I’m being honest at 4am on a Tuesday morning I can be insecure a lot of the times. I wonder if I’m ever going to be the writer I see myself being in my head. I wonder if I’m ever going to be the husband or father I make the characters in my stories out to be. My insecurities are masked by my talent, by my ability to stop people from getting close to me. My insecurities protect me from my fears.

Fears that consume me. Fears that I drown in the unrelenting sea of bottles that have come to comfort me. Fears that hold my confidence in their hands like the oceans hold fish and ships. Fears that I’m not sure I will ever overcome. Fears that aren’t based in race or religion or sex but fears that are based in emotional and mental uncertainty.

Why is it that I was created this way? Why is it that I can’t see what everyone else seems to see in me? Does it make me weak? Does it make me undeserving of the life you’ve given me? Sometimes I don’t know where I’m going or where I’m destined to be. Sometimes I don’t know just how much my life matters or is going to matter in this world. There are times I’ve looked for signs, prayed for guidance only to feel more lost than when I first fell to my knees.

Last week at this same time before the sun rose I stood on a beach letting the waves wash over me looking out into the horizon trying to see my future. Trying to see if I could be a man better than my father, trying to see if I can be a man better than the man I am now. As the sun rose and my eyes burned from the salt and the tears I couldn’t see it. Falling to my knees in that sand I felt as though. I felt as though I felt nothing which is the worst feeling in the world.

Will I lose everything dear to me, everyone I love? Will I forsake the love you have for me and fall to doubt, envy, insecurity, fear? Or will I rise. Will I grow into the King’s blood that pumps into my flawed heart?

I write about relationships and love. I write about life and responsibility. And even though I have an amazing woman in my life and an amazing family at times I feel as though they’re all an illusion. A dream that turns into a nightmare when I awake and they’re no longer going to be here.

For a man that prides himself on not really needing friends and being able to spend hours and days alone just writing; the thought of being alone in this world scares me more than standing on a beach with a sword waiting on a thousand ships with 10,000 soldiers bearing down on me. Death doesn’t scare me, war or tension don’t scare me. But the idea, the thought of dying unaccomplished or alone scares me to death.

This morning, I just want to talk to you God, write to you. To ask that you don’t give up on me. To ask that you don’t allow me to give up on myself. I will keep fighting with your help. I will keep living with your help. I just need you.

In Your Darling Son Jesus’s Name,

Amen

~ Demez

Believe You’re Worth Everything You Desire

  Comfort. 

Comfort is a great word. When I think of comfort I think of a pair of boxers fresh out the dryer after a hot shower, a cold beer, my couch and a good game. For some comfort is a pint of Blue Bell, thick fuzzy socks and stalking their favorite people on Instagram. Comfort can be an amazing thing but it can also be dangerous to growth, success and passion. 

When you become comfortable at a job or in a relationship it’s human nature to take your foot off the gas. It becomes the most logical thing in the world to believe you are we’re you’re supposed to be. That’s where belief has to come in; the belief that you can soar past your station in life. No one can believe in us like we can believe in us. Like we have to believe in us. 

Social media leads so many into a false sense of accomplishment. I’ve had hundreds or likes on a post or hundreds of shares on a blog and it’s a good feeling knowing people follow you but it no where near compare to the feeling of receiving a check. Of having that belief that if I stop giving away my services for free; that people will still buy into me. If you desire greatness in life there’s no formula that allows you to jump the line. Invest in yourself, put time into your talent, support others and network and just work your tail off! 

At the age of 32 there are days where I feel like I haven’t accomplished a thing. Days where my confidence and aggression and sense of hope feel like they’re fading. Then there are days where I see the horizon. I see the progress. I see the company and writing growing and evolving. Either way on either day I’m never losing the belief that I can get where I want to get. I’m never going to doubt that God has a plan for me and that plan includes any struggles and missteps I might endure. 

In every great man or woman’s life there has come a point where they decided the risk was worth the reward. Some sacrificed steady jobs, some the loves of their lives and some their piece of mind. That’s a decision you’ll have to make on your own. 
Demez F. White