I was born on Market Street. I was born right in downtown.
MW: Is there a hospital there?
No, I was born right on the street.
MW: Girl, what?
That’s what I’m saying. Everybody has a story and it's amazing the fact that I… I rarely tell my story because it's impactful. My birth certificate says 1617 Market Street. My story started from there, and I went to a hospital for children from like birth until I was a year old, and then I got transferred out and put into the foster care system. I was cared for by nuns the first year of my life. Knowing my story and being able to still adapt and live in this city and be here through my challenges and hardships -- it's a blessing.
MW: Did you ever reunite with your family?
Yeah. My mom and dad, they had five kids. They were together 37 years. My mom -- I lived with her -- she passed away. She had pancreatic cancer. She passed away when I was six months pregnant, on her 56th birthday. She passed away that day. She was scheduled to come home and be on hospice but she didn’t want to come home, and we all felt it. She told all her kids that she loved us and that she was going home. It was really hard on me and my siblings. We fought. We fought the whole year. But at the end of the year, we all separated and went our own ways, and that was the best thing we did. Because we all got jobs.
MW: So breaking apart and coming back together made your relationship easier?
Yeah, because we all got jobs, we all got our lives together. We needed to get space and not be cooped up in the house trying to kill each other, mad. It's a beautiful thing to have that. I never expected for us to be this strong, where we’re working and not struggling and giving up and letting depression sink in. We went through those phases -- losing our mom, having our dad cry for a year straight. That was his soulmate. Even though they made certain choices, they have to live with them, and they lived with them together. So it's interesting to hear my father say that he still loved us even though he wasn’t able to keep any of us. Because yeah, they had five kids. She had one boy and four girls. And we were all raised in the foster care system. You would never know it… and it's crazy how they stayed together that whole time. Even though they didn't raise me and I wasn’t with them everyday, they didn’t miss any holidays. Every time I seen them I seen them together and they was always happy. In love. And that’s the only thing that mattered, was that they had each other. They couldn’t raise me and I accepted that for what it was. I still loved them for what they were and I always wanted that love that they had.
And I used to tell my brother, okay, what if we lived with mommy and daddy. You think we’d have what we have now? The knowledge? The respect? You know? And he was like, you’re right. And I was like, see? We can do better. What we learned was more powerful than what our parents would have taught us. We didn’t have to see them out there like that. We didn’t have to go through any of that. We got to see them..
MW: At their best…
Yes. At their best. Roses do grow from concrete, you know what I’m saying? After my mom and dad got clean and they got my youngest sister back, they did buy a house in Antioch and they did get on their feet and I am very proud to sit here and say that.
When I lived with the nuns I had my own baby book. And they had literally had my whole little life, my whole first year, in that baby book. They told me how I came to them, how I was born on the San Francisco streets and how when I came to them I had the most big, beautiful brown eyes.
MW: You were loved.
Yeah, and I was innocent. And my fiance had acknowledged that. He told me how sweet and kind I was, and he made sure that when we got together that I knew that people couldn’t just talk to me any kind of way. He said, I’m not going to let you fall victim. I give my everything to my family and he seen that. He said, you are so kind and patient to your family, cooking and feeding and catering to them, and they’re hurt, but you’re pregnant and you just lost your mom. They should be helping you. He was so protective and comforting throughout my pregnancy and he told me, like, you know, you might not have enough money right now -- because we had to spend so much on the funeral and stuff -- but he just reassured me that my daughter came first overall. Even though my family was grieving and needing comfort, she needed me more. He said I shouldn’t have to struggle with my baby. He assured me that I could just be a mother and not struggle, and I love him for that. Because he showed me the same love that my mom and dad had, that unconditional love. So I’m happy.
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