My Firstborn’s Hand

Here’s the whole episode, just in case anyone missed it. I guess I don’t want to get too much into it. I thought it was wonderful how they acknowledge our resilience, acknowledge our deep history of fighting for what is ours, and yes they acknowledge how it was taken away. We, as Lakota, know the whole reason why we suffer is because of our defeat of the 7th Cavalry. But that is the past and the focus of the whole episode was on our future, which are the children. And that is the way it should be. (Wakanyeja-sacred gift from God, in other words, our children)

The episode really hit home with me. Especially seeing how alcoholism hurts the children. I had so much “time” to think about this while on the inside, and believe me, EVEN though it was the last place on Earth I wanted to be, I knew I was lucky to be there. And the reason why, because of my children. I want to type something here from my journal last year when I was locked up.

My Firstborn’s Hand

I just got a newspaper from home. I saw the article on my boys and their football game. it was their first and they won. I immediately scanned the paper looking to see if either one made it in any of the pictures. Then I saw it. A hand. And a boy, whom the hand belonged to, he was barely in the picture, but I knew that hand anywhere. It was a hand that used to curl around my index finger as dark eyes smiled at me in amazement. A hand that held mine for support as he took his first steps. It was my firstborn son’s hand. I called home and confirmed it, it was him. As his mother, I knew it already, my instincts told me I made that hand.
It was also the same hand that grabbed mine and pleaded with me “Mom, please stop drinking I already lost too many people in my life because of drinking. They died, Mom.”
He was right, he lost so many in a row on his other side due to drinking.
I couldn’t stop because I was stupid, selfish and grasping excuses out of the air. I’m going to prison, I told him, I’m scared, I can’t stop. All dumb, all worthless, and I told my firstborn no. That is how far beyond any rational thinking I was.
I knew when I saw his hand in the newspaper, that even though I wasn’t there, he was glad his mom was in prison, because I was alive. See I was missing his games, but in reality, if I wasn’t in prison, I would be drinking. Instead I’m here and sober. My spirit is getting healthy instead of dying. I will be able to watch him play ball again.

In the same newspaper, in the obituary section were 3 people I had at one time or another drank with. Ages 52, 41, and 34. Here I am 38, locked up, but alive.
I thank God today that I am in prison, that I am sober, that I have my life. I can’t wait to be free and grab my first born’s hand and tell him I love him.

That was in my journal last year, written sometime in September. Toxic addictions are such a horrible way to waste precious life and in the process hurt our children. Thank God I was sober today.

It always was and always will be about our children. I hope anyone else in recovery or struggling with alcoholism or any other addiction can take from the 20/20 episode what I did.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” American Indian Proverb


2 thoughts on “My Firstborn’s Hand

  1. This is why your blog is one of my favorites. Your honesty and self-awareness is inspiring. I have always believed in you and always will. I am proud of you, and I admire your cultural pride. Keep fighting the good fight, sister…

  2. When things get easier….someday (lol) my sons and I want to write down and publish what the whole experience was like for as, as mother and child. We hope it will help other incarcerated parents and their families. Of course, that’s if we ever quit fighting about what the title will be. 🙂

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