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When I first moved to Forest Park 13 years ago, I wanted to contribute and be involved in my community. Driven by the support I received from influential people in my life, I ultimately made the decision to join Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. If you are not familiar with the program, you can learn more at www.bbbs.org.

I mentored a young girl living on the west side of Chicago; age 12 at the time. She was kind of quiet and pretty much kept to herself. She was a good student but did not have an older sister to guide her girl power. We learned about life together for six years. My little sister and I are no longer a part of the BBBS program, but it did provide us with a bond that will last forever. I am proud to say that my little sister (now age 27) attends college part-time, works part-time, and mothers two beautiful, twin girls. As a new mom, she still comes to me for advice. My poem is inspired by her.

I said single … not incapable. Apparently fatherhood is escapable.

But motherhood is forever, sweet baby and I together.

Against earth, wind, and fire, I bring love, patience, and desire.

Unconditional love, God built me for this knowing nomad to be man’s middle name.

No matter what the season or reason, I realize newborn and I must fly.

I must soar through the land of sleepless nights, 10 hour work days, and 12 hour credit semesters.

Vacations exist for families with fancy second homes and timeshares.

I have only time to share fairytale stories before bed.

I have only money to afford unlimited hugs and kisses.

I said single … not incapable, not incompetent, not illiterate, not without compassion.

You can judge me, but you can not budge me.

My mission: to transition these infants into positions of prominence and power.

It is my nature to nurture, my purpose to persevere.

I have infinite wisdom except for the enigma of why man does not stand with his family.

Now I have the stigma of a single mother; scars across the corridors of my corazón.

Alone, but not lonely, the eyes of my daughters gazing only on the future.

They will explore places that I will not travel. They will entertain people that I will not keep company.

My tears will water their souls and allow love to grow with deep, thick roots.

I said single … not incapable. I am Earth pregnant with the essence of effervescence.

Indeed, powerful and strong enough to yield life from my womb.

A monsoon of love overlooking faults and flaws will remain my gift and my curse.

I burst at the seams with dreams of making the impossible possible.

Positively, my offspring will spring and flourish.

I pave the pathway for my next generation of womanhood.

The shameless guest of honor on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Although I have been abandoned, my exile landed me in paradise.

Therefore, approach my island with respect and support.

Replenish my oasis with optimism and laughter.