In My Dreams
Why does Jamaica have such a special place in my heart? I lived there for a total of only about nine years. I have called many other places home: Colorado, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Toronto, St. Croix, Australia, California, Boston, Cape Cod. But still Jamaica draws me back again and again and again. And I even think of being buried there, or at least having my ashes scattered in the Caribbean Sea off the coast. The excuse I give for this persistent connection is that all three of my children are Jamaican by birth.
Yesterday while pulling weeds I discovered why that particular fact has such a grip on me. It is because I LOVED being a mother, a young mother, the mother of young children. Those indeed were the most vibrant and intense years of my life. They could have been the happiest were it not for their father being brutally violent to me and to them. Indeed, the violence and his irrational behavior caused much pain, grief, and mental and physical suffering to all of us …. sometimes near to the point of death. Were it not for the shadow his behavior cast on that time of my life, I cannot even imagine how joyous it would have been. What persists are the warm memories of being totally devoted to my babies, attentive to every move and sound they made and the memory of feeling important, vitally important to the children I loved so much. Unfortunately my memories of that time also include many regrets: regret that I wasn’t a better mother, that I didn’t protect them from their abusive father, regret that I did not provide them with carefree and happy childhoods.
In retrospect it appears that their childhoods were a happier time for me than for them. Maybe I feel so connected to Jamaica because of my fervent longing to do it all over again, and to do it right! But that only happens in my dreams.
The compensation which gives me some relief is knowing my grandson has the carefree and happy childhood that my own children missed. The pattern has indeed been broken! The flaws no longer bind.