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My Lesbiana Girlfriend Got Me Pregnant
I don’t know what it’s like to hold a baby in my hands that has just been born out of my womb, and unless my love Erika ever miraculously is able to fertilize one of my eggs, I will never know that miraculous feeling everyone talks about. I do know how important it is to be held by those you love but in my new years as a lesbiana Mami I have found it peculiarly challenging to express the affection and tenderness modeled to me by my parents and grandparents.
In 2005, after both my paternal and maternal grandparents had died, I was on a road trip down to visit some of our elders with my parents. Like when I was a child, I lay down in the backseat of my mom’s car, while my father drove. Mami had her petite legs and small feet on the dashboard and they both looked out onto the highway and held one another’s hands right above the parking break, on my mom’s purse which she put there to cushion. Being that the deaths of my grandparents all happened one after the other and all within just a few years, my parent’s cheeks were heavy and they both wore a sadness so wide it cast a shadow over their smiles and what used to be bright eyes. I was in out of sleep during our four and a half hour drive down to the Rio Grande Valley, passed the stubby palm trees I remember used to be as tall as the sky before the big freeze on 1983, and passed the five or so fruit stands which withered down from at least twelve since then as well. At one of the speed traps, I think in Falfurias, Mami asked my Dad to stop. I sat up to see if we were there yet and found us parked in the center of a big lot framed in king-size, bright-color, fuzzy blankets, strung up by a clothes line and swaying in the Gulf Coast wind. Mami hopped out of the car and Dad watched her do her thing. Wearing the same shoes he bought in Leon, Guanajuato 10 years before, it was clear Dad was not a shopper. Mami, on the other hand loved to shop and especially loved everything that was homey, or for the home, which is why we stopped to look at these huge cuddly blankets. I followed my mom who stared compassionately at the black Selena blanket with the late Tejana singer’s king-sized portrait printed on it in black and white fuzzy fabric. I stood behind my Mami, transfixed on the silly fantasy of the beautiful Selena cuddled up beside me in bed every night. She eventually walked away and stared intently at each blanket one by one as if she was among the grand halls of the MET, looking in on the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century paintings of Soutine, Matisse or Picasso. She admired the cartoon blanket work of Betty-Boop and Hello Kitty, moved on to the Al Pacino blanket art of his portrait in burgundy, white and black threads, and than last and certainly not least, decided on a rose and creme colored blanket with the print of several enormous open roses collected on thorned branches and surrounded by mint green leaves. I saw a Laura Ashley knock-off but I didn’t dare tell my Mami that because she saw home. I was still standing in front of Selena when Mami motioned, with her waving arm and snapping finger, to the blanket salesman sitting in a nylon weaved blue folding chair I remember my dad had for fishing in the 80’s. The salesman stood up and briskly walked over to her in front of the rose blanket. They chatted and pointed in every direction until they finally pointed over at me. Almost immediately after their chat, the man walked away from my mom, peppy with a hop in his step, over to the back of a beaten up, white storage truck, threw open the door, slid down the ramps that seemed to slide right out from the bumper, and walked up into the darkness of the truck walls. Mami fumbled inside of her purse and through the million pockets that aligned the inside. The man walked down the truck ramp with one rose folded blanket wrapped in clear packaging in his right hand and another black folded blanket in his left hand, also wrapped in clear packaging. They made the exchange of folded bills and folded blankets, crossing a few words none that I could make out except the emotions of thanks expressed in the nodding up and down of each of their heads. When the exchange of goods was final, Mami turned to me with the giddy and teeth baring smile of a child, holding up the Selena blanket up closer to her chest so I could recognize her gift. I smiled with the exact same teethy joy and met up with her halfway between the walls of swaying blankets to help her walk both back to the car. Dad was happy mom was happy and after throwing our new blankets in the back, we continued on our trek to visit familia and hear a few last stories from our elders.
Back on the highway, I lay right back down in the back seat. My parents resumed their regular romantic handholding. Mami’s legs were again on the dashboard but this time instead of looking out the window rested her head back on the bucket seat and faced my father. Dad lifted his thick, brown, ranch hand and cupped her forehead heavily. Hollow sounding sobs fell out of her mouth. Dad dropped his hand over her heart and Mami continued to sob. The side of my face laying against the leather back seat slipped around and startled me into the same tears. Eventually Mami couldn’t hold herself up anymore and crouched her upper body down into a ball toward her knees, catching her tears on her lap.
I wanted to wrap Mami up in her new fuzzy blanket, and hold her like a spoon until she was able to catch her breath the same way she used to when I got spooked by the pale little girl ghost sitting at the end of my bed at night. There were even a couple times in my teenage years when I ran to her bed and was already too big to squeeze in between she and my Dad, so he would slip her a kiss, slide out of bed in his calsones and stumble to my room and my empty twin sized bed too short for his feet. I was lucky to have my mom hold me like a spoon when I was too old to be held.
Mami was still crying but after a few exits, lifted her body back up. My Dad murmured in a low voice and through tears of his own, “I know, honey. I know.”
“We aren’t anyone’s baby anymore,” my Mami said.
My throat tightened and I felt her loneliness and longing for the longest moment of my life.
At 64 both of my parents were longing to be held and cared fore like a baby again, to belong to their parents, but they had each died and left them like “orphans,” my Dad finally said.
I was lucky to have love and affection from both of my parents. Also lucky to have the same great gift of being babied from both of my abuelas and from all my tias.
Daddy stopped at a rest stop and I closed my eyes to pretend I was asleep. Both my Mami and Dad got down and I lay there feeling the abandonment they were feeling and wept the same. The memory of my head cradled in Buela’s lap asleep, on this same voyage to visit her nietos and primos, accentuated my sadness and craving to be babied. The car-doors re-opened and my sadness evaporated when Mami slowly and gently tossed the black Selena blanket, still folded in half because of its enormous size, passed my head and over my body. She leaned in over me, cupping her arms around my shoulders and kissing me more times than I was able to count all over my face, wet with tears and still pretending to be asleep.
Today, as a new mother my memory amplifies the importance of affection and the value of tucking in your baby to sleep, no matter their age. Unfortunately, the scars left on my memory from the inaccurate attacks I endured by television, radio, religion, teachers, co-workers and even family members, proclaiming that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-people were perverted and disgraceful, affect my “affectionate” and loving nature. When I started teaching, thirteen years ago I remember an elder teacher and my assigned mentor told me, “Leave your door open all the time because for you it is even more dangerous to be left alone with a student,” meaning that I was more likely to have relations with them because I was gay. Every year I heard the same from teachers, even from other gay or lesbian teachers. Those years were so disheartening and surprisingly calloused my tender side.
This morning, in the midst of my writing, Big J, our sixteen year-old woke up on her own to study for a final exam she has in Geometry (summer school) and the calloused lesbiana Mami walked passed her on my way to the coffeepot and said, “good morning sweetness.” She reciprocated with a quiet and still drowsy smile. After returning to my desk, to review these words, I rekindled the tender Mami inside of me who kissed me all over my face even though she wished she was being kissed by her dead Mami on that very day when she realized she was no ones baby. I stood up and walked over to my new daughter to see her focus as hard as she could on her math, even so early in the morning. If I would of had a blanket I would have wrapped her in it and held her like a spoon until she fell asleep. But instead, I stood over her at the wooden kitchen table, scooped her upper body in my arms and kissed her little forehead over and over. Her body fell into mine and she rested with me, no doubt feeling as safe as I did in my Mami’s womb. Thanks to Erika, I was impregnated another way, with love, and finally I know the miraculous feeling of being a Mami.
© Anel I. Flores 2011, All Rights Reserved