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Growing Up Bronx

Growing up Bronx: All of my parents

Growing up, I didn’t have only one mother, or one father, I had many. Of course there is only one biological “Mom,” and one “Dad,” but in reality for us, there were many.

This means that as my life long friends lose parents, so do I. Last night I had a dream about one of my best friend’s mom. The details are not mine to share, but I miss her terribly. I shed tears for her, and love her dearly. You never realize how much you love these folks until you get older. The last time I saw her she came over and gave me a big hug, it was a beautiful thing. We’ll never share that again, but I’ll never forget that.

As kids, we see parents as authority figures, the ones who regulate our behavior. As adults, we see them for what they are, our parents, our protectors, the ones who guided us to become who we are today. Only now can we truly appreciate their worth, and sadly, more often than not, as we age and come to these realizations, they soon leave us.

I remember my buddy’s mom screaming at us, getting mad because we were making noise, or jumping around. Young teenagers, being teenagers. She was tough with us at times, but she always showed us love. I remember loving her food too! Sometimes she’d bless me with some of her home cooking, and as I write these words, I smile to myself. We only spoke a times as adults, and now I wish that I had spent more time with her. I can’t tell you the number of times that I said to myself, “You have to visit her.”

Ironic how this keeps happening to me, isn’t it?

I recently wrote a piece, where I stated that I wish I could talk to my dad once more. I feel the same way about her, and I have felt similar regret with the parents of other friends whom I love dearly. One of them had this whistle he would do, and no matter where we were, w’ed hear it and know that my boy’s dad was looking for him. This is how we did it before cell phones. Again, that is not my story to share, but I miss him very much.

Last time I saw one of my buddy’s dads, he came to shake my hand, I slapped it away like “get the hell out of here,” and I went in for a hug! We are family man, we can shake hands after, but I want a hug! There is another mom whom I connected with on Facebook, and she often teases me, calling me fat and ugly. LOL. I hadn’t heard from her in a while, so I dropped her a note recently. She said she was fine, and that she sees my ugly mug everyday on her timeline.

If you love the “old folks” who helped raise you, let them know. Now more than ever, I realize that they will not always be there. To those that are gone, I will always love you. Those that are still here, if you ever need anything, count on me, so long as it is in my power, I will always be there for you.

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