When I was younger my mom would sneak into my bedroom in the early morning hours of January 9th, crawl into bed with me and say, "Good Morning, pumpkin! It's 5:52am and that's my favorite minute because that's the very moment that you came into the world and into my life. Happy Birthday, baby! I sure do love you, So-So."
When I went to college, no matter the amount of partying I had done as January 8th turned into January 9th, I always slept with the phone beside my head - waiting on her call.
Sometimes they came and I slept through them, but as soon as I woke I would check the answering machine and there was my mama's voice, lightly admonishing me for sleeping through her call but still reminding me that 5:52am on January 9th was her favorite minute. Sometimes they came and I would pick up and simply chat with my mom as the sun started to light my pocket of the world. As we talked she would always remind me that no matter what we had gone through, she loved me so very much and wanted all of my big dreams to come true.
I haven't gotten a call for my last nine birthdays and I'll never get one again. Like so many, many other things, drugs took those calls from me. I miss them deep in my soul. I think a lot about my mom and all that we went through, the sublime and the tragic, on my birthday. I believe that my mom still whispers to me on the day that I came into the world. This year she reminded me that although it is sometimes grueling that I need to keep writing our story because people are being touched by it.
Last year, I wrote President Obama to let him know, that as someone who had had drugs take away my mom and her 5:52am calls, I appreciated his efforts in attempting to tackle the monster of drug addiction.
He wrote me back.
His letter arrived on January 9, 2016.