Out and about
The day before Fatima sped into this world, something spotted on the ultrasound put everyone on edge. In the 30 minutes of labor, a team of doctors gathered in the delivery room, giving Yvette Jones only a brief peek at her blue baby girl before whisking her away. Two days and many tests later, Jones, of Park Forest, learned what lay ahead. Fatima had congenital heart failure and without surgery would die. She underwent open heart surgery at 11 months old.
Jones remembers the terror. But that terror is tempered by a strong faith and love. So much love, in fact, that Jones, a 43-year-old single mom making life work for Fatima, now 4, and Samuel, 8, turned it into a book, I Know I Love You. She describes the book (available at amazon.com) as a journey of recovery.
How do you handle being a single working mom? "It’s busy. I’m always on the go, no time for me. It’s them, work, taking care of home, making sure dinner is ready, breakfast is served, homework is done, reading before bedtime, activities for them." She says she always tries to be happy and positive. "I just don’t have time for being negative or sad. I just like spending the moments for what they are. If it’s a difficult time, take it at that and just find ways to make it better."
What did you learn from Fatima’s illness? "I learned that really life is too short to waste, to waste on negativity."
Why did you write the book? For more than a year she says she kept notes about all the ways Fatima said she loved her, from the swings at the playground to the entire universe. The writing felt therapeutic, she says. "It was really about just getting the story out there, letting parents know there is a brighter tomorrow." She now offers child-parent writing workshops to help other families write their own stories. Information is available at publishedauthors.net/yvettejones or by e-mailing her at IKnowILoveYou@comcast.net.
Her advice to parents: "To love your child endlessly, unconditionally, pour everything you have into them, let them know that they are loved, let them know that they are safe. Let them see happiness, let them see joy."