Q5 Aug09

Q5

A woman. Two men. A scream from a basement hallway. And so his story began. On January 17th 2012, a little baby boy was making his way into this world after a stranger named Moses heard the expectant baby’s birth mother scream from a rooming house on Mt. Pleasant Avenue in Newark. The man went downstairs to the basement to find nature taking its course – not waiting for a hospital, not waiting for an ambulance, not even waiting for another woman . . . not waiting for anything. He ran outside, flagged down a Newark police officer and, with Moses unwrapping the umbilical cord from around the newborn’s neck, both men helped as ZZ was welcomed to the world. http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story… That was the easy part. After then, decisions and circumstance – the one thing that brings everyone to where they are in life – presented moments that were joyous, sad, frustrating, uplifting, and wondrous. Issues and events showed that his mom was unable to care for ZZ. Our family was notified immediately about him since we were blessed enough to have adopted ZZ’s older three-year old sister Mariposa just last year; this after being graced with our first son, Rashad (who is 21 years old) becoming a part of our family 10 years ago. Two weeks after being born we visited with him to see if we would welcome him to our family and grow up with his biological sister. I recall when he was first handed to me – I had my hands stretched out and was turned away talking with my wife Lis as she reassured me I would not break him. As I felt him around my hands I remember saying to his foster mother that she could let go because I had him. She said, “I’m not holding him.” He was so light! I could not believe how light he felt. His eyes darted around the room, every once in a while catching my glances. After a couple of minutes, holding him against my chest, we both just went to sleep on the couch. Simpatico. There was no question if he was coming home, just when. Fast forward to May 2012 when he finally comes home. So many things could be said about being there for so many ‘firsts’ and of witnessing treasured moments but suffice to say that the wonder of family is an ever-changing landscape of amazement. Now we fast forward to today, August 9, 2013. Although he was a member of our family the moment we met that February day last year, today was the day that society legally and officially recognize him as a Qersdyn. We went to court, raised our hands, a few magic words were said filled with henceforth and therefore, then tada, he became a Qersdyn. From Adam till now and from the North Pole to Antarctica with every latitude in between, there have only ever been five people with the last name Qersdyn on Earth and today we welcome the latest Qersdyn to our clan, making it Q5. For two people who – when we got married – said to each other, “Children? Nah.” life sure has a way of making things lively. Decisions and circumstance. It is what got us here and what will get us to where we are going. So, ladies and gentlemen, without any further ado, we formally and joyously introduce and announce the arrival of Ezekiel Jewelyn Umanzor Louis...

My Father Is The Man Jul24

My Father Is The Man

My father is the man. Lemme splain . . . Issa too mucha, lemme sum uppa. Tonight’s soccer game was a semi-finals match for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The teams? Honduras vs. USA and my father is an American citizen originally from Honduras. He loves America. He came to the US legally in 1968 and quickly joined the Army. He has unquestionably demonstrated his allegiance for this country to a degree most others, fortunately, have never had to do. When asked about tonight’s game he said America should win but whomever wins is the best team. Underneath the hip hip hooray I could tell a part of his heart routed for the place he came from. Maybe he saw the faces of young men who, like, him, may have been born dirt poor in an already poor country; and when I use the term ‘dirt poor’ I mean that the floor in my father’s home (which was a tin shack) when growing up was the dirt. He grew up poor but – more importantly – he grew up loved, he got himself an education, learned English, got married, filed his papers for America, came over, joined the Army during Vietnam, had a son, came back home, started working as a custodian in AT&T and worked his way up through the company to retire a few years ago as a computer system analyst responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of nationwide networks. Homeowner, worker, husband, father, grandfather, American. My father is the American Dream. Still, tonight’s game may have given nostalgia to where he came from and how far he has come. A heart longing for a country that is struggling but gave him his drive and foundation on life and the nation that gave...

America @237 Jul03

America @237

For those who do not know, I volunteer to teach ESL and have done so for almost five years now. It started in Roselle, moved to Roselle Park, and now has expanded to Elizabeth. Tonight at class we started having our dialogue section where people have conversations. It was in question/answer style with questions such as “Where are you from?” “When did you come to America?” and a student inadvertently misheard a question and answered what he liked about America. So we asked the question around the room. People came up with answers such as work, pay, order, safety, variety, choices . . . It basically came down to one word – opportunity. The opportunity to make good money, the opportunity to go where you want to, the opportunity to find a job, the opportunity to buy what you want, to live where you want; all the opportunities we, Americans, sometimes take for granted. In class there is a man who is in his mid-70s who has a broken hearing aid and can speak English minimally, but he still comes. There is a young man from Japan who was born in Peru and is here for only three months but still wants to improve in speaking English. There is a young woman who is starting a new job tomorrow and needs to brush up on her communication skills so she can use it for her job. There is a mother who wants to learn English to help her children before school starts again. All these people want to learn a language we take for granted and see things in America that we take for granted. People who come from a country where they wait up to three hours for the police to show up,...

Live The Dash Jun17

Live The Dash

LIVE THE DASH A father of three . . . words I honestly never thought would be used to describe me. So today is Fathers’ Day. For me, today is a day to reflect on fatherhood and all the joys and responsibility that come with that one word – “Dad”. That one word has been used to express everything from happiness to “Help!” to frustration to anger to love. Funny how kids pick up on that – knowing how to say it so you know what they mean. To be a parent is probably the hardest thing in this world to be – of having someone need, really need, you. The word need is used too often nowadays to mean ‘really want’ but children need to be fed and loved and comforted and hugged and kept safe and taught . . . A father needs to do all those things, and more, everyday. I guess it holds true that a man is not defined by what he has but by what he takes care of. Children listen and learn from what their parents do (more than what they say) and we, the parents, are torn between our greatest wish for our children – to protect them from the world – and our greatest responsibility – to prepare them for it. I look back at the years I had growing up and the times I took for granted one of the only true heroes I have ever had in my life – my own father. A man who I am blessed to still have in my life. I think of all the things he said and did and how I refer to his words which were backed up by his actions when I, myself, need...

XI XI Mar30

XI XI

After 13 years as part of our family, we made the decision to give XiXi, our pet cat, rest after she endured through months of labored discomfort which became a consuming pain. This photo of our hands caressing XiXi was taken just after the moment her existence transformed into a memory. She was held and comforted in her last moments by those who loved...

March 27, 2010 Apr12

March 27, 2010

A LETTER TO THE NEW PRAGUE HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BAND It’s amazing how what we do affects others and the things we think are unimportant, end up having the most meaning. Now, visiting New York City is a highlight for everyone and although I live in the Elizabeth area and love where I live, Elizabeth, New Jersey is not one of those “must-see” places in anyone’s itinerary. It’s just a place. But not that day. That day, March 27th, 2010, my family was walking around the Jersey Gardens Mall and arrived just in time to hear you begin your performance. If you look, you’ll see that in the videos there is a precious 19 month-old baby named K who had lived with my family for a year — a year to the date as a matter of fact. She loves Classical Music. You can tell by her applause throughout your performance and how upset she got when we had to leave. To offer some personal background, my family had attempted to adopt K and make her a permanent member of our family. Well, things didn’t work out that way. After a long process, the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) had decided to remove K from our home and unite her with a maternal aunt. We were heartbroken. The heartbreak was compounded when we were called on March 23rd by DYFS and told that K would be removed from our home two days later on March 25th. We wouldn’t be able to have friends and family say goodbye to K. But through some providence, on March 24th, we were granted an extension to have her stay with us until March 29th. We were blessed with four extra days with our precious K. Four...