Patria-Kaye Aarons | My sunshine is gone
Stepmothers are mean. We all know them to be evil wenches with a trademark hideous, hairy mole somewhere on their faces and an annoyingly piercing nasal voice. Cruelty is what they are good at.
Think Cinderella's stepmother who turned her into a maid; Snow White's stepmother, so jealous of her beauty that she orchestrated her murder; and Hansel and Gretel's stepmother , who near-starved the children to death and abandoned them in the woods. That's the general stuff stepmothers are supposed to be made of.
My entire life, I've only wanted to be a mummy. I've said it a million times: My ambition in life was to send my family through the door with clean clothes and with full tummies. My maternal desires overshadowed my every personal and professional accomplishment.
I never imagined that motherhood would have become my reality through being a stepmother. Two years ago, a little ball of sunshine and his daddy came into my heart. I became a stepmother far removed from the types I had read about.
In 2015, I met a man named Kwasi and his son, Rovene. If I'm going to be honest, his son was the reason I decided to date him. The first picture I saw of Kwasi had his son in it. They both looked deliriously happy, and the cheeky glimmer in both their eyes made me imagine they'd be great company on a road trip. Soon afterwards, I was able to prove my hunch correct. I loved that Kwasi declared Rovene up front to me. He made it clear how important his son was to him and that the two were a package deal. Fine with me.
Long before I fell in love with Rovene's daddy, I fell in love with Rovene's laugh. It was a deep-in-his-little-belly, can't-breathe, full-of-life laughter. I did everything to make him laugh.
His daddy was his idol and he possessed so many of his traits. A little shy, a strong sense of family, a leaning towards things technology, and a dislike for onions and cucumber.
He had this little lisp that made everything sound better.
Rovene grew to be my everything. Every dream I had for the future had him in it. I spent my days planning our next adventure and my nights reading bedtime stories and doing homework and playing family board games and laughing. We laughed a lot. I used to love standing by his bedroom door and hearing him and his father say prayers at night. I just felt right.
I became every bit a mummy. I knew I could never replace his birth mother in his life, and I never wanted to. That little eight-year-old had so much affection to go around. None of his four parents ever needed to feel unloved by him. We each had a special relationship with our Rovi, and as if he knew our time together would be short, he gave us personal and unique memories to cherish.
On Tuesday, January 9, at 8:08 p.m., we lost our baby to dengue. As his four parents hugged each other at Bustamante Hospital, we all knew that our sunshine went with Rovene. He took our very light with him.
Now that my baby is gone, my belly burns. His mother Sherell, uncle AndrÈ, daddy Kwasi and I will never do enough good in this world to have deserved to be his parents. In 2015, I became a stepmother, and it was the most beautiful experience. Even as I mourn, I'm thankful to his mother for sharing him with me half the time. And I'm thankful to his daddy for letting me into his inner circle and giving me the happiest, most fulfilling two years of my life. I thank Kwasi for supporting me through pain, even as I support him, now that our sunshine is gone.
Fly away, Rovi. We carry you in our hearts.