My story began in the small college town of Farmington, Maine. My mom had transferred from the University of Maine to the University of Maine at Farmington at some point. During her senior year, she met and fell in love with a freshman. Knowing that my mom always considered herself fat and ugly, it probably blew her mind that this young man gave her a second glance in the romantic sense. My dad was probably considered one of the most handsome men on campus. This man was six-foot tall, muscular and had one of those smiles that lit up his whole face. Sometimes I wonder whether something else blew her mind. This good-looking man was from Nigeria. What immigrant from any country would choose to go to college in a small town like Farmington, Maine to go to college? But this one did.
Even though their relationship bloomed in the late 70s, a time when Afros were in (and I've got the pictures of mom to prove it) among white people, it was no guarantee that either family would except this interracial, intercultural couple. My dad once told me that my maternal grandmother was like a mother to him. For their part, my dad's side always praised my mom to the point Did this young couple see God’s hand in the high opinion each person’s family had of her or his socially less acceptable prospective mate? It was definitely there, God was doing one of the things he does best tearing down walls.
They soon married and had me. Just because my family was fine with the marriage didn't necessarily mean they be fine with a baby. But by all accounts, it was beloved by both sides. God broke down another wall. But this societal barrier was a tiny display of God's wall destroying power through my birth.
Nine years earlier, my mom’s body was invaded ovarian cancer. Not only were the doctors sure it would take her life. But even after the joyful shock of her survival, they were just as certain the invasive they had taken would prevent her from ever conceiving children. And not just one doctor had said it either. There were five count them five.
That was like a medical Great Wall of China. But one night, my mom and my dad gave themselves`(let me at least hope they each saw it as a love gift and not a mere duty that came along with being married) completely to each other in that sacred God ordained expression of marital intimacy. God broke down this wall as if it were a mere row of sandbags.
Six months later, I was born. That's right, I said six not nine. I came too early. Satan tried to kill me, but God only allowed him to cut off the oxygen to my brain long enough to damage the nerve impulses responsible for my motor skills.
Eight months later, mom and dad found out this brain damage was called cerebral palsy—CP to most people. This disability meant accomplishing His plan would require the breaking of another societal wall. Demolishing this one would take a while—humanly speaking at least.
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