Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Grace Street

My husband woke me up from a very sound dreaming sleep this morning. He usually tries very hard to be quiet but after 32 years of marriage, I hear him. However, I didn’t this morning. I guess because I have been sleep deprived and this was good sleep.

I get up with near perfect predictability and fix his bowl of oatmeal every morning. He doesn’t like oatmeal particularly but he’s been on a cholesterol reducing diet for a while. I fix the oatmeal for him the way my mother fixed it for me when I was a kid, with milk, on the stove. No micro oatmeal here.

Some mornings I want to play possum and just stay in bed. He wouldn’t care. He’s not demanding about his oatmeal. But love gets me out of bed and to the stove. Occasionally I really do oversleep. I thought that was the case this morning. My husband leaned over and kissed me. When your prince gives you a kiss, you wake up.

My initial reaction wasn’t princess like. I thought geez I was sound asleep. Then for a split second I thought oh, this must have been one of those mornings where I overslept. Then I heard him say congratulations.

Congratulations! For what? My husband’s not prone to sarcasm like I am – so this wasn’t a congratulations you overslept… Then he said our son’s* been accepted to Medical school. My mood instantly changed. I had the biggest smile on my face. I don't remember what I said if anything. Joy was present.

I’ve been debating what to write about in this blog for a while. I’ve done a few “series” about my life. Readers seem to like them. I also am working on a book about my life. I want people to read the book so it has been hard for me to decide how much to write.

I had thought about writing about the birth of this son. About the miracles we saw. About the pain we experienced. Now with his official acceptance to medical school, it seems like a great idea.

Over the next few days I’ll be telling my story about his birth. After he was born, I kept a journal for a while. Like many of my mementos and things, they’ve been lost in moves, theft and the house fire. But I remember it well. Mother’s are like that. My mother told me once that birth is very physically painful but when you hold your child in your arms for the first time, you completely forget.  She was right.

This son is my sixth child. In the family constellation, he is sandwiched between sisters. My pregnancy had been terrible with him. My husband was planning on leaving to return to his native country. I was stressed all the time wondering how I would survive with six children.

Nathan was now a rebellious adolescent. The years of abuse he suffered had taken it’s toll. His siblings that you have already met in this blog, Jason and Bethany, also struggled with feelings of rejection knowing that they had a father somewhere who had abandoned them. Nathan remembered Alvin. Jason had some memories. Bethany didn’t know until her brother told her one day that the man she thought was her dad, wasn’t.

There were two other precious girls in the family. It seemed I was very fertile. Following natural spacing, these girls were two years apart and their soon to be born brother would fit the pattern as well. By the time he would be born, his siblings ages would be 14, 11, 8, 4, & 2.

We lived in Hannibal Missouri of Mark Twain fame. Our address was 2007 Grace Street. There was little grace in Hannibal. It was a terrible time for us as a family. Bethany said the other day that she remembers when we left there. She said none of us were sad. She said it was like hallelujah, we are finally getting out of here.

My husband taught Vocational Agriculture. I worked at Mark Twain Mental Health. We should have been seen as respectable professionals. Instead, because of prejudice and provincialism, we were never accepted anywhere we went, especially the church.

Join with me on a new journey of my life. You’ll be surprised, you’ll be amazed. At times you’ll need a Kleenex. Such is the story of Joyce Lighari.

*I’ve been asked by some of my children not to use their names in my blog. They are young professionals and in a day when people’s names are routinely googled before job offers, I suppose I understand. I also respect their requests. For that reason, I will also not use the names of my younger children.


  1. CONGRATULATIONS to you Latif and especially your son! This is such good news

  2. Thanks for putting a link to your blogs on facebook. Once again, your blogs are part of my summer reading. Congratulations to you, Latif, and Nathan. Obviously, you have been a great example of persistence and commitment for your children. I'm hoping we can get together sometime. We seem to keep missing each other by minutes. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Joyce, please write a book (an autobiography)!


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