Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Chance to be a Better Mom by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Dan 1977ish
My son, Dan, planting a flower garden for me.

This post is dedicated to all of the children raising children in the seventies. Becoming a mother at fifteen taught me two things: my love for my son is unconditional and my son's love for me is unconditional. We are connected by love. We are so close we have telepathy phone calls. Go ahead laugh, but once or twice is coincidence, what we have is cosmic.

I realized the other day that I'm sixty and my son is forty-five in December and we've missed decades of time together. I hope I have at least a good twenty years left in my life, but we never know. Que no? So I'm going to write about the things that matter to me. Instead of complaining about Donald, I'm going to stay positive and hope for a better day. I'm going to write about mistakes I've made and about unconditional love for someone. 

This is the truth. I have a past and it was troubled. I was one of those girls that was described as wild. So naturally, I was drawn to wild men. What happens when you mix a wild fourteen year old girl and one wild nineteen year old boy, you guessed it, a wild baby.

First, let me explain. My son and I are fifteen years apart. He is 45 this December. I turned 60 in April. He saved me. He gave me a reason to live when I had lost hope, faith, and love. The moment he came from my womb and into the wild world, I knew it would be the best thing that ever happened to me. It was. We've been through trials and tribulations together. I wasn't always the best mom. He wasn't always the best son. We made mistakes. We were wild. 

But with maturity, a new attitude began to emerge. I quit drinking 27 years ago and he has been incarcerated for the last five years and has changed from a drug user to a man I am very proud of. I'm often asked how did you cope with your son being locked away in prison for five years. My answer is simple. Don't do the crime if you can't pay the time. He paid the time. He will be coming home this month and my husband and I are happy to be rejoined with our son. 

Dan is a hero. He saved lives many lives. He had a drug addiction and it almost ruined his life. But, he went to prison, got his GED, began taking college courses for credit, and learned new job skills. He stayed clean and he stayed out of trouble. He earned his freedom by proving he has changed. 

I'm writing this story because I have something to say. The truth. If going to prison for five years is what it took for him to find peace, then I'm sure it will all work out for him. He lost five years of being with family and friends, but he learned how to communicate, how to follow rules, how to be productive and give his time and energy to helping others. He made it. He survived. I don't know how I survived except, that's not true. That's bullshit. I know how I survived. I pretended to myself and no one else that he was away in the military, or away at college, or traveling the world. We had letters, email, phone calls, and visits but as happy as I was to see him, leaving him there and going home without him broke my heart. I didn't deal with reality. I lived in denial. But I survived and so did he.

Now we are on the journey of a new life and a new chance to be better human beings. The love has always been there but for the first twenty years of his life I was an alcoholic. And for the last twenty years of his life he has been a drug addict. This will be the first time we are both sober. Free from addiction.

I'm looking forward to this opportunity to discover our future. I believe everything happens for a reason. There was a reason we were apart for five years. We now have the rest of our lives to prove to ourselves that we deserve to be happy for the second part of our lives. Wish us luck. And love. 


  1. My son gave permission to post this and he said he cried happy tears when he read it. I'm so proud of him and his will to survive and thrive.

  2. What a brave and beautiful post, Juliana! I know you must be proud of Dan, and I'll bet he's really proud of his mom. Wishing you both rich, happy years to replace the wasted ones.

  3. Brave post . . . I pray for your strength and courage as you and your son continue your commitment to this new path in your lives.

  4. What a moving and honest post.... it shows two survivors who have grown together