Parenting from prison hasn’t been an easy task for me. I went to prison when my son was 3 and he’s 9 years old now. I have to say that I do have a close relationship with him and a bond out of this world but things tend to get stressful at times. My son is currently living with my mother and she’s done an excellent job raising him. To be quite honest I’ve been able to do my time with a piece of mind unlike a lot of women that I’ve ran across in the system. I come from a stable family and I had a good upbringing so my son is in good hands. Now that he’s getting older he’s starting to go through his little growing pains in life and it’s hard for me to talk to him the way I really want to in a 15 minute call. My son has been through a lot thus far in life. His father passed away in federal prison on 9/9/2006 when he was only 9 months, so since that day I’ve been a single mother. All my son really knows is me so when I had to leave him it broke my heart. It’s hard being a mother away from your child in prison, especially when you have a lengthy sentence like I do. I was sentenced to 120 months and this has been an interesting journey for me. In here I have my good days and my bad days. I’ve missed all my son’s first and those are memories that I will never get back. I never was able to take my son to his first day of school, I’ve never attended a football game, basketball game, or any other activities that’s he’s participated in. I even missed his kindergarten graduation so I’ve missed out on a lot of major mile stones in his life. I’m thankful that I’ll be returning home soon and he’ll only be 10, but I tend to feel guilty for missing out on so much of his life. My mother and I have a wonderful relationship. I appreciate how she includes me in decisions that have to do with my son and she comes to me for guidance as well. She’s never made me feel like I’m less of a mother because I’m not physically present in my son’s life.
Times when my son needs to be disciplined she follows suit in what I feel should be done and I do the same for her as well. We never go against each other when it comes to my son, we’ve always stuck together and made decisions based on the best interest of my son. Now that my son is getting older he’s starting to get a little anxious and he’s ready for me to come home. It’s hard to explain to your child why you can’t come home. Then it’s even harder to explain to your child what you did to get here. Eventually I’ll explain to him why I’m here but right now he’s too young to understand. I don’t want my son to make the same mistakes that I did in life and I want to provide a better life for him. I want him to do the things that I never got a chance to do and I want him to perform at his full potential in life. At the tender age of 9 it’s hard to explain to him the dreams that I have for his future but in due time he’ll understand. I try to lead by example even from prison. He get’s excited when I talk to him about the classes and the programs that I’ve taken. Thus far I’ve graduated from Cosmetology school, I’m on the Federal Fire Department, I’m currently taking a paralegal correspondence course and I’ve taken basically every computer class and education class that this particular prison has to offer. I don’t want my son to think that I haven’t done anything positive with my time. I want him to see that even though I’m in prison I can still accomplish things and come home and have a thriving career. I have the best son any person can ask for. My son has beat the odds and is a intelligent young man whose great at football and basketball. He’s won MVP several times, championship games and he’s won awards in school for his academic achievements. Sometimes I want to ask my son how him not having his father in his life and me being absent for so long has had an affect on his life. I feel that conversation should wait until I get home because It’s hard to get any alone time with him on visits. A lot of my family is usually there and I think he may want to talk in a more intimate setting. This time away from my son has had a major affect on my life so I know he’s been affected as well, but I don’t know to what extent. Kids are very smart but sometimes it’s hard for them to express how they feel so I’m going to be patient and I’m not going to put any pressure on him. Lately a lot of people have been asking me am I going to get my son when I get home. The answer is yes and that’s because my son wants to come and live with me. The bond we share is like no other and if you didn’t know me you wouldn’t even be able to tell how long I’ve been gone by the relationship that we have. My mother is like a second mother to my son and I don’t have any plans on up rooting him from his comfort zone. So to make things easier for all of us I plan to stay with my mother until I get on my feet, that’ll provide enough time for my son and I to bond. Now if my son wanted to stay with my mother when I got home, even though it’d be a hard pill to swallow I’d let him stay.
I wouldn’t dare force my son to stay with me if he didn’t want to, my mother is all he’s known since he was 3. My mother has raised my son longer then I have so I’ve always left that door open for my son to make that decision himself. It just so happens that he wants to live with me and I’m cool with that. When I left my son was a little boy and when I return he’ll be a young man. I’ve missed out on a lot but I have a lot of time to catch up. Yes I don’t have the memories from when I was gone but we have plenty more memories to come. This prison sentence hasn’t been easy but it’s my son whose kept me grounded and focused. Whenever I’ve been in a situation to where I could lose good days or privileges such as the phone and visits, I think of my son and how my actions would affect him. I live for my son and I’ll die for my son so there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. I try not to focus on the negative things and focus on the positive because it could’ve been way worse. I thank God every day for being my guiding light through this bid. Without the strength that God has given me and the unconditional love that my son has for me, I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through these last 6 years. I’m thankful and grateful and looking forward to my future and my second chance at life….