As a child
My mother moved to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies, when she was sixteen. She met my father and had me when she was twenty-five. The first nine years of my life, my mother and I lived with my maternal grandparents and three out of seven of my aunt and uncles. This is a memory that I have of me and my mother that I enjoy. When I reflect on it. I see a mother supporting her daughter even when it made no sense to her.
I remember sitting on the window sill of our two story home in Brooklyn, New York. My little legs would hang out the window above the over hang, while my mother held onto my shirt. The purpose was to say “hello” to all of the pedestrians walking past my home. I couldn’t be more than five or six and some how I understood that people needed to hear hello, to be acknowledged.
I missed them in the morning while they were on their way to work. So, I made it my job to welcome them back home to our, Flatbush neighborhood. My mom would hold a book in one hand and my shirt with the other, as I joyfully said hello to everyone.
I was small and my voice was little. As they walked by they would hear ‘hi’ and look around to see who was talking. Most people did not reply, so I would shout louder. I watched as it seem to baffle them. I began to think up a better plan a more effective way to get my greeting across. Prior to convincing my mother of allowing me to sit on the window sill. I would greet our neighbors from our living room window. I felt that they could not hear me because no one acknowledge or responded back. I would have to shout and that was not working out very well for me. We didn’t live in a very safe part of New York so saying hi from the front door was not allowed. The window sill had become my last resort.
My grandmother unknowingly came to my rescue. She called my mother from her master bedroom down the hall. My mother made me come back inside and wait for her to return. When she left the room I realized that this was my chance. I climbed out onto the overhang quickly walked the eight feet to the edge and what perfect timing, a lady was walking towards my home. I laid on my belly popped my head over the ledge and happily shouted hi, while waving my hand.
The poor lady nearly fainted. She ran to my front door as I rushed back inside. My mother was back in our bedroom in a flash. Let’s just say that was my last adventure for sometime. A few days later people who walked past our home daily to and from work began to stop by and ask what happen to the little girl who told them hi each day?
One lady told my mom that she had been working at a very stressful job and she had a particularly hard day. She was walking home feeling terrible that day was her worst. She said she heard a little voice tell her ‘Hi’ and it completely lifted her spirit and she will never forget that.
As an only child I did a lot of self reflecting. I stared and studied human behavior. I couldn’t help it. I did it without thinking of it. Something that I learned is that humans are amazing. God made something so complex, yet so simply in a beautiful package and one of the most important things is to be acknowledge. We crave it in our spirit and when we get it. That peaceful feeling that comes over us, heals so many emotional wounds.
After so many people came by and my mother speaking to the lady. She let me resume my mission this time I obeyed my mother. It was our compromise. I insisted on saying hi from the second floor when i was in doors. it was the best way for me to see people walking towards my home.
What I have walked away with from this memory is the love and support my mother showed to me. Not very many mother’s would allow their child to hangout at the window to simply tell a stranger hi. They may not understand why their child would want to do, something that just seems silly. When I asked my mother to do this she seem to understand that it was very important to me and for that I will always be grateful to her.