Twenty-six years have brought many changes to my home in the mountains of East Tennessee: one of the most important of these changes being the slow dissolution of what I call the ‘racial divide’. This change had just begun to take place when I found myself a frightened pregnant teenager growing up in the small community of Shell Creek in Carter County, Tennessee.
It was 1977 and of the few hundred people in town, I was certain I would be the first to have a child that was half black and half white. My parents divorced when I was ten years old, so I grew up in my grandparents’ home, a place filled with love and acceptance. My grandparents had never imparted any type of prejudice, racial or otherwise to my young mind. However, I knew the Baptist church Grandma attended every Sunday warned against bi-racial relationships.. My grandparents were devout and sincere in their faith so they accepted this way of thinking. Would my family ever be able to accept this child I was carrying? I didn’t think they could at the time so I kept my secret. Telling the child’s father was out of the question as I knew he was not interested in me or our child. My pregnancy was a bi-product of youth and ignorance.
The summer of 1977 passed quickly for me and the child growing inside me. I thought of the baby as a boy, although I had no idea what sex my baby was. Sometimes I wondered what he would look like. Was he smart? What would he become? Mostly I wondered how my family would react to him. How in the world was I going to raise a child alone? Being only sixteen, I was still a child myself. I knew I had only a few months to discover an answer to my question.
By late fall I was b...
... middle of paper ...
...nge. As she removed the tiny diaper, I saw what appeared to be a large bruise on the little boy’s bottom. My heart raced and I saw red in both eyes.
“What have you done to my baby?” I screamed loud enough to wake the exhausted woman sharing my room. I lifted my sore body from the bed with angry force.” Where did he get that bruise?” I demanded. The startled nurse looked at me like I was insane.
“That’s a Mongolian spot, very common in mixed babies,” she explained. “It’s not a big deal. I promise no one has hurt him.”
At that moment I knew I loved the little boy like I’d never loved before. I would protect him with my life, giving him all the love in my heart. I had to figure out how to be the mother he deserved.
Logan and I left the hospital together the next morning. Logan is in Iraq fighting for freedom and I came home to the mountains I love.
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