The 3rd of 4 Birthdays – Ms Teju’s Day

They say you resemble me.


Years ago in Jamaica

when you were still an infant

a great aunt upon seeing you

for the first time


But is little Opal same face on this one.

Dem cut from de same cloth! 

Are we cut from the same cloth?

How are we alike?

How do we differ?

Today, 24 years after you were born

I reflect on carrying your for nine months,

trying to bring up what stands out during that pregnancy.

I remember your birth clearly, especially when your brother and sister and grandpa and grandmother

came and saw you in the hospital the next day. I remember how you clung to me, and I wondered if

you would ever detach yourself.

I remember being frantic, doing the edits on my dissertation while I breast-fed you.

I remember thinking how incredible enormous is the human capacity to love and to protect because I love you with every ounce of blood in my body, and I didn’t think this would have been possible with two other children.

I remember long after you had your own room, every night I would wake and find that you had again crawled into my bed, your arms and legs flung over me.

I knew you would be the last child I would bear, and I was willing to give you the world, and still am prepared to do so.

opaltejugradGirl child of my womb

daring, ferocious, womanist

you’ve always loved the world

and wanted the best for it

in that regard we are similar.

Not afraid to try and fail and try and accomplish

Not afraid to demand your full share and more

Not afraid to go where others have not gone

You take risks

Your allow yourself to be stretched

Your love is a square knot

You will neither betray nor abandon friends

You are my daughter

and your birth is also my birth

another realization of self

another opportunity to teach and learn

to dance at life’s many miracles

and say thank you

for bringing you into my life

thank you for showing me

what is possible in those we love

But mostly thanks you for the enduring love and connection; thank you for what is yet to come.


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