Category Archives: childhood
A few days ago, my eldest child flew home to visit albeit briefly, so we could see each other before he went off to handle his real purpose for being here- his fraternity and the brothers he formed a deep bond with. I was with him for less than 12 hours but we squeezed priceless moments within and my soul and heart were full when he left.
I wrote about this son a while back in a post where he had an encounter with a police officer https://lawfultrainer.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/innocence-of-a-child-forever-gone/
Even as we worked diligently to be certain he was okay and told him to keep achieving, he continues to defy and exceed any expectations anyone could have of him.
Quite simply, he’s determined to succeed and writes 5 and 10 year plans to keep his purpose in the forefront always. So earlier this year, 2 weeks before his 24th birthday, he had already graduated from college, works for a Great company that values and relocated him to another state and after just 11 months of living in said state, he closed on his very 1st home.
As remarkable as that was, he also bought that home with no financial help from his father and I. In fact, he insisted it was something he wanted to see if he could do and he did. We couldn’t believe how disciplined he was to save by not buying a new car when he graduated from college even as his peers were stunting with new rides all around him. He paid his bills on time and kept his credit score in a place many adults do not have and he stunned the banks when they saw he really saved and had a stable job at his age. Once he bought that home though, I flew in and helped him to furnish and buy appliances. He smiled and said I was “such a mommy” as if that was an insult!!😂😂😂
He is now 24 and as I listened to him discuss what his next set of plans entailed, I teared up remembering all he had gone through to get to this point and that his adversities only made him grow to the place where he is an incredible advocate of his rights and can see things from a point of view most miss.
He is a really quiet and profound cat that I am so proud to call SON. I caught a brief glimpse of his need for parent love when he walked up to hug me and just laid his head on my chest for a good two minutes. It was cathartic and healing to us both.
He credits his tenacity to having parents who aren’t afraid to work hard and achieve-he astutely learned certain traits we carry that he found to be beneficial in business and life and built upon that. I have no doubt we haven’t fully begun to see what he will accomplish. and while the house was filled with both my children and all their friends, when the nest emptied and those birds flew back to where they came from, they all left a piece of their love joy and peace with me..
Parents- raising children is the most challenging thing we will do and it never ends. We want to protect our children from danger and harm while we coach them on being able to thrive in environments away from us. If we could, we would shield them and keep their innocence firmly intact but life doesn’t work that way.
On this day, I pray you have the courage and strength to do what you know is right for your children and to seek advice when needed.
Those babies we carried and nurtured will one day become adults. How they get there depends upon you in those early years of learning and growth.
Dueces and mad love,
Either God has a sense of humor, or I’m crazy. I’m placing my money on God. Every single morning between 2 0r 3 am, I awaken like clockwork. I kinda know why but more about that later.
So I’m up as usual and happened to check the space where my siblings and I chat daily to check in with each other about our lives, what’s happening with our aging parents etcetera.
I clearly wasn’t prepared for the conversation I began reading but I felt a chuckle bubble in my soul, that erupted from my mouth into full blown laughter as I read comment after comment that went from The ridiculous to the sublime.
You see, 2 of my siblings were trying to get a third to look beyond the scenario of dogs being taken to church and to the altar to be blessed by a priest and see the lessons within but she was so STUCK on what our Jamaican culture dictated that she couldn’t see why this particular scenario was happening. The hilarity that ensued, warmed the cockles of my tickled heart!
They teased her mercilessly and she wouldn’t budge but reminded them that she is able to look clearly enough at something and if it didn’t make sense to her, she wasn’t going to do it no matter what her wretched siblings said to the contrary 😂😂😂
The older we get, it’s become apparent that we have similar traits to either one or both of our parents that we SWore would never happen.
We prayed and asked God daily to let the idiosyncratic cups pass us by but alas!😂😂
Our father has been a sage offering all kinds of advice and lessons within everything he sees and encounters. It drove us nuts as children but we have some of those same tendencies. Some of us more than others and I ain’t pointing no fingers. Ha!! He also believes in using natural ingredients for everything. It better come from the earth or he ain’t touching it. This is the man that went to the dentist and they could find zero plaque on his teeth because his regimen daily with brushing and flossing lasts a good 15 minutes after each and every meal.
I can’t make this stuff up.
Our mother is a class act who was steadfast in teaching us how to grow up and be responsible and classy women that wouldn’t compromise our souls for anything. She is much quieter than our father who talks from the minute he awakens until he falls asleep and she is the ying to his chatty yang.
Our childhood friends love our parents and we couldn’t understand their constant craving of two people we tried our best to never cross hairs with but as we all age, we see the value in how they raised us to look after each other, showed us that prayer is a powerful tool, that giving back goes beyond the basics, that we are to treat others well and lord were they ever excellent examples of how we raised our own children.
My sisters are the solid backbone to my very existence. They hold me accountable like only siblings can, they show up in ways big and small no matter what is going on and they pray hard when I take off on another adventure that I will return unscathed because none of them wants to be the one to explain to our parents, why they allowed me to go off on what they would consider a reckless folly.😂 As if anyone could stop me and they know this from raising my precocious self!
Our mommy celebrates another turn around the sun today and as I give thanks for her being here with us among the living, I also give thanks that she raised four girls into beautiful women who found their purpose and continues to walk with mankind in our own unique ways. She is an excellent grandmother to 4 grandchildren as evidenced with my oldest son dancing with her in the featured photo. She dotes on them in ways that makes us wonder who she is because the drill sergeant mother became the pudding pop Grandmom.
Family is a blessing and it’s wonderful to live to a space where the value of it can be fully appreciated even in the roughest of times.
Love and appreciate yours in ways big or small- meet people where they are-try not it judge but seek to understand and always remind yourself we aren’t going to be here on earth forever so make the best of each moment we have here.
Deuces and mad love,
Today is my momma’s birthday and so with much gusto, I picked up the phone to call her early knowing that she would already be on her zillion mile walk. when she answered the phone, the strangest thing happened- my eyes began to well with tears as I jovially wished her a happy birthday. You see, my mother is in her 70’s and like most elderly parents, faces health challenges that she continues to tackle but I had a reality check that punched me in the gut, that my mother can not and will not live forever.
This lady though…
Best grandmother ever. you better not say a thing about her and let her grandchildren hear. my own two sons could light the earth’s hemisphere from the sheer joy on their faces when they see her. No matter how many times I have seen it happen, it still amazes me. look at my oldest son’s face as he dances with her this past June at our wedding..he is absolutely peaceful around her..
Without thinking too hard about it as I spoke with her, I began sharing my gratitude for her love for us all, how she guided and protected us from all kinds of things- how I channel her every time I step outside my door dressed like a lady and woman who knows my worth, how I think about her as I raised my sons and that I owed my success as a parent and adult to her because she is a stellar role model.
I shared the things I didn’t understand in the moment, became crystal clear to me as an adult and that I would continue to honor her in word and deed through my own actions while knowing she is not expecting perfection.
I couldn’t thank her enough.
I was a difficult child to raise. For my parents anyway. I was respectful, learned all the societal norms easily but had a social justice mind-set that was not to be rivalled with. And yes, I was also an average child who pushed the boundaries of what could and should be done.
I flew out of her womb it seems, with a mind of my own and as early as anyone can remember, I spoke up about the things that seemed slanted and unfair. No amount of spankings could deter me either. It finally dawned on my parents that I wasn’t just being wilfully disobedient, but that I truly believed in the choices I made. It was August of 2014 when I flew in to visit them, that they sat me own and both said I confounded them as a child and adult because if I deemed something worthy of doing, nothing stopped me. My jumping in an F-16 with the US AIRFORCE Thunderbirds made them throw their hands up in the air in shock and amazement that the child they raised with strong convictions, became the adult who never strayed from that path.
My poor mother all at once tried to remove me from earth and protect me from myself.. and I thanked her profusely for it all. I love my mother more than life itself and told her I needed her to understand that before she leaves this earth. I could not have asked for a better role model and I know all the tools I have in my arsenal of life, comes from her, the giver of MY life.
My siblings and I forces of nature after being raised by this little woman who could invoke the fear of God in you with a stare and she still does it too, just not to her beloved grandchildren who walks on clouds of love always. it makes us shake our heads but I am thrilled those 4 young people feels daily, the joy of having the love of a grandmother.
Happy birthday mommy- I am half the woman you have been to so many and each day we are graced with you on earth, is one of grace and I am eternally grateful..
My childhood came full circle a few days ago, when someone I had lost contact with 28 years back, popped up and every memory I had of my young and teen years came rushing to the forefront like it was yesterday.
You see, We lived on what was a quiet suburban street filled with upper middle class families who worked hard and raised decent children with substance. That meant that the girls who hoped to be anything other than ” loose” worked hard to follow the regimented instructions we got from our parents while remaining average teenagers as much as we could.
Those of us who enjoyed very few freedoms that our other peers were given without regard, often felt baffled and unheard by what we considered overly strict parents.
We had gorgeous friends who had no curfew, could attend any parties they wanted to and allowed to wear whatever they desired. I could hear them at night while I was tucked in bed reading a book and wondered what a great feeling it must have been for them to have so many freedoms.
My parents would always tell us that ” freedom isn’t free and if you give away all you have without leaving anything to the imagination, when it came time for us to get mates, we would suffer for it. I thought they were nuts but here we are almost 30 years later and the fruit that bore from the trees are quite telling.
Many of us who were under strictly supervised homes, grew up on firm footing. We had convictions, worked hard, stood for something and understood our value. We faced trials like everyone else but we also knew we could find our way through and were not afraid to start over or look at things differently.
Some of our friends who were allowed all the freedoms they wanted as teens, are now adults who are slowly beginning to realize, a pretty face and a sexy body alone does not a long term and fulfilling relationship make.
These friends are sitting in marriages that have long stopped serving them or their spouses but they remain miserable because they never thought of anything beyond finding a man to support the life style they were seeking.
There is no voice to speak up, no grit and determination to be a change agent outside of being diligent mommies who are inadvertently teaching their offspring the same messages.
Smart is the new pretty and it’s about time. Men are seeking women who can not only hold intelligent conversations about most things, she challenges him through her actions to always strive for better.
If you have ever wondered why a woman who is far less attractive than you seems to have everything you desired, it’s because she used her brain not her beauty in everything she says and does.
So the next time you stand in a Mirror flipping your hair and pouting your lips just so to garner attention, be sure to remember that what is inside that head is way more valuable long term and give yourself the gift of stretching your brain to learn, experience and explore the world beyond your face.
That 28 year reminder came full circle and I was able to say thanks to my parents for keeping us from a life of mediocrity. The lessons we learned back then are the rewards we are reaping today.
My youngest son was born 8 weeks early at 3lbs 14 oz. But we were thrilled to see that other than his tiny size, he was very healthy. So after five days in the hospital, he was sent home. He needed doll diapers but ate like a hearty new born. No one would touch or hold him except dad, my mother and his brother who was 4 yrs old.
It is the relationship between the brothers that prompted this blog..
My oldest son knew instinctively that he had to take care of his little brother and that he did beautifully. He fed him, hugged him, helped to dress him after a bath and would put baby powder under his thick neck as he grew and became chubby. His baby brother adored him and for many years would only address him as “brother” even as he knew his name and could say it.
One day when they were 6 and 2 years old respectively, I sent them outside to play with the warning to be careful and watched as they went and began to play. I quietly checked on them
Every few minutes and it was one such check, that I saw something that seared in my brain as a beautiful memory.
The baby was watching his brother ride his bicycle around and was begging him for a ride. He stopped his bike and said ” mommy will kill me if you get hurt but if I put you on the handle, will you be careful and hang on tight?” The younger one looked up at him grinning and said ” I promise bwother!! I will hold on and won’t fall!”
I watched, rooted behind the blinds because my gut told me, to leave them be.
The older child helped his sibling up and off they slowly went. The joy on the baby’s face was indescribable as his brother concentrated and was carefully riding his brother around with his brow furrowed. He kept saying to the baby ” hold on for dear life! Mommy will be mad if you get hurt!” The baby kept saying ” I’m holding on!!”
They rode just a short distance and they were able to get down safely. The baby ran and hugged his brother’s legs with a big thank you and he patted his head while grinning with relief.
They went on to seek insects in the grass and I never shared with them what I saw that day.
They are now 22 and 18 years old. One has graduated from college, the other is in his first semester at college.
They remain close and share things I may never know about, but teaching them as babies to take care of each other, continues to pay it forward.
Today told me for certain that I have indeed found my calling in life..
I was asked to speak to a group of young people at a local high school
(That will remain nameless for now) who were suspended and a part of their plan for getting reinstated was to sit and listen to people who looked like them about what it took to be successful in life.
Oh yeah, their parents had to accompany them.
I knew I was in Oz when I got to the school and as the young people were leaving, all I heard were words not worthy of printing. I cringed inwardly with sadness but kept going and eventually found the room I was to be in.
The folks started coming in and the attitude was downright hostile. Parents arguing they don’t have time for this and some of the girls were saying things like
” we in here to listen to this Bitch? My momma going to cuss her out and we will get to leave.”
Clearly, they were in for a treat.
I waited until they settled down, pulled up a chair in the center of them, opened my mouth and laid them all out so flat, not only could you hear a pin drop, the parents were asking to be mentored along with the kids.
The Principal walked in an hour later thinking he was going to have to keep order and his mouth fell to the floor.
He said one of the toughest judges in the city walked into that school and gave up and walked out. He was shocked at what he found.
I’m going back there. Every Tuesday that I’m in town for the entire school year. Those young people needed support and they needed to know I was not the Sista to run game on..
We have got to expect more of ourselves no matter how low we may feel in life.. Everyone left respectful and said thank you after the girls asked for these sessions to keep going…
Say what now? 😜
That was by FAR, the toughest experience I ever had with young people and parents but what I know for sure is this, no matter how crazy a situation seems, if you command the respect with your presence, miracles can and will indeed happen.
I bet you not one of them will call me a bitch anymore AND they will think twice before they use it carelessly among themselves too..
My mother is the best. I call her every morning before 6 a.m. So we can have our daily chats. While it’s usually the mundane that we discuss, hearing her voice brings me such joy and if I dared to miss a few mornings due to work, I get attitude and an earful when the calls resume. I take it in stride because she has come to enjoy our chats too.
This morning, I’m giving her the news that three of my friends mothers transitioned which has left me with trying to navigate three funerals, as they are all on the same day.
My darling mother says ” that reminds me; I want no crying at my funeral. Please bury me in a beautiful red frock, red shoes, red undergarments and if you can find a red casket, I will take that too. Let the folks coming know they are to wear NO purple, black or white as those are funeral
Colors. Everyone should wear bright vibrant colors. I want my 4 grandchildren to be pallbearers as they are old and strong enough.”
I’m looking at the phone gasping for air and giggling because she is just stating things as she sees them with a threat that she will be most displeased if we fail to follow her orders.
So I asked, ” mommy, since you insist on having this conversation what would you like us to sing?” This mad woman chimed in ” hey! None of my girls can sing except you so please do not let the other three squawk until I sit straight up!” I laughed until tears leaked from my eyes at the thought..
What I believed would have been a sad conversation had some levity because my mother is clear, she cannot live forever and she prefers to go out on her terms. I love that about her.
I could not promise her that I wouldn’t cry but what I could do, was give her exactly what she required and I would wear a red frock to boot!
Love my momma and these daily chats are being stored for a time when I can no longer hear her physical voice..
If you are fortunate enough to still have your parents among you, love the hell out of them and forgive what you can because they won’t be with you forever..
Imagine this scenario if you will: man meets woman, falls in love and decides to take her with stars in his eyes, to meet his family.
He is happily introducing her to everyone but his new girlfriend feels a tad funny because there is a “vibe” in the air she can’t put her fingers on. She smiles, answers all their questions and pretends to not see the furtive eye glances between family members.
Months go by, and it feels like maybe, the family are now accepting the new girlfriend. She learns her man is the backbone of the family and everyone calls him for everything. This piques the interest of the girlfriend because it is assumed that all it takes is a phone call for her love to drop everything, including her, to see about their needs.
As time goes on, he becomes more involved with his girlfriend and while he is still available, he is no longer as accessible because he is building a life with her and creating a family of his own.
And then, it happens. His mother, begins to make snide comments that since he has his woman, they can’t find him and it’s beginning to feel like he is a stranger to them. She goes further to say, this is how every woman he ever had, took him away from them and she sees that his girlfriend may be too strong of a personality for her son, who is easily “manipulated “when he’s in love.
The smiles and hugs they had for his woman, becomes half-hearted hellos and once warm embrace are now so cold, she needs a blanket to recover.
Try as they might, the family cannot “rid” themselves of this woman, who by all accounts, has made their son very happy.
It’s is a few years into the relationship and the son decides he wants to marry his girlfriend. Folks have just now gotten downright hostile and begin leveling accusations that their dear son/brother/ nephew deserves better than a woman who would keep him away from them.
Man stands up to his family and in no uncertain terms, let’s them know he sees what they are doing, he’s grown and is capable of making good sound decisions without their input. The family backs off because they don’t want to lose him but his poor girlfriend/wife has never been treated the same or has to spend years proving herself.
Sounds familiar to anyone? The
Scenario above has played out a thousand times in households where mothers feel no one is good enough for their child and will go so far as to create a wall so thick and high, thereby forcing their grown child to choose.
It is a self defeating habit that must cease if you want to have peace in your families. We all have choices to make. We all make mistakes. We all learn from them
But life cannot be handled for us by meddling family members. It makes no earthly sense that a grown man, still has to report to his mother daily or she will be upset. Something is very unhealthy with this scenario and it all begins when our children are yet small.
We have a small window to raise them but the ultimate goal is to make them self-sufficient beings who will make good choices in life. If the choice Is removed through coddling, meddling parents, too many people stand to lose too much.
Do your job. Raise your children and then stand down.
I attended a funeral service recently and what I witnessed, was a strong reminder that we only get a few years to raise and spend quality time with our children. Once we let those years slip by, we may, depending on the adult child, spend the rest of our lives and even into death, paying for it.
About nine years ago, I met this wonderful elderly lady who walked over and told me that I had something within that would turn the world on it’s ear. She did some digging and learned that I had two boys and was told, that they were good children who were loved.
This sweet lady, told me that the world would be ready when they finally discovered my gifts but she had one request; that I finished raising my sons first before allowing the world
To sweep me away into a vortex.
I stared at her strangely because back then, I was a mommy working hard to raise decent children and had no aspirations of any kind other than to teach English at the secondary level.
I told her as much and she smiled, nodded her head and said with a twinkle in her eye ” your presence is powerful in a way that I have yet to see in too many people but because I know you will be sought after sooner rather than later, heed my words about your children.”
She went on to describe how she and her husband dined with President Jimmy Carter, were heavily involved In Politics at the local, county, state and Federal levels, got invited to many functions and she carved out a strong political name for her family while he ran the family business. By all accounts, they were extremely successful and by the time they both realized the children they loved were on the back burner, it was too late.
The resentment was incredibly high and one child who is now in her fifties, despised them to the bitter end. My friend says in retrospect, she believed buying very nice things, living in a very nice house with a nanny and traveling to wonderful places, made up for the lack of time and attention.
The sadness in my friend’s eyes, made me vow to never put career and wants above my children. The results have been nothing short of wonderful and before my dear friend slipped fully into dementia, she could hug me with tears to say ” well
Fast forward to the funeral; one of her children got up and said she despised her parent even as he laid in repose. She felt he was hard and uncompromising and loved their mother more than he loved them. She shed not a single tear and seemed almost gleeful. Even in death, she defied his last wishes.
Broke my heart.
Parents please; listen to your children. Spend quality time with them while you can. You don’t get a second chance in those formative years between birth and sixteen. Your money means nothing when they feel alone with no adult support.
You can always be famous, successful etcetera but don’t find yourself spending your golden years trying to buy the love of children that you had free of charge.
I thoroughly enjoy sitting amongst teens and quietly listening to the things they deem cool, daily interactions with each other and the joy they find together sharing stories.
But man oh man- I heard a tale last week that made me sit straight UP bug eyed and with an incredulous look on my stupefied face!
A young teen was relaying this story to his brothers about a girl
Who called him last week after he deemed their friendship over, to say she was pregnant.
Messed him up for a good minute. Like cold sweat-hand wringing- ” my mom is going to make sure I never use my phallus ever again” messed up.
After he got past all of that, he texted the girl asking for proof. She sends him a picture of the pregnancy test. Still not sure because this girl has a history of lying in the past, he asked for the results of a blood test.
A couple days later, she sent him the blood test results on official Temple University stationary and all the proof he could need.
His goose was cooked.
Not sure what else to do, he turned to his older brothers before going to face his mother and they began, through a friend who was also pregnant, to ask this young lady a series of questions.
She got indignant with him.
He smelled a rat.
On a whim, he googled ” pregnancy tests” and Lo-and-behold, the picture She sent him, was an exact replica of what he saw on google.
He was starting to get heated, so he went back and looked at the results from Temple Hospital. Called the Doctor in the letter head. Does not exist. The numbers she used for blood count etc were clearly not ones a professional would use when looked at with the trained eye.
He had been taken by the oldest trick in the book used by desperate women.
When he called her on it, her delightful response was this- ” so you just gonna stop talking to me for this one little lie?”
At this point in the story, I am cracking up but fell over when he said this- ” two weeks later, I got a text from one of her friends that she died and was given the time, day and church for her funeral. I didn’t respond because this was the 3rd time she faked her own death”
As I’m shaking my head at the sheer deviousness of this 16 year old girl, I asked to see the Evidence she presented him with and I gotta tell you- to the lay person, this stuff looked legit.
Poor young man learned a lesson the hard way and I would dare say, be more careful where he lays his head. He did tell his mother after it was all over and his brothers were laughing their heads off at the memory..
Which leads me to this- the power if the internet is such that folks can fake all kinds of things anymore. Use your intuition. If something does not feel right, stop, wait and Check your facts several ways.
This young man could have been taken for money to pay for an abortion or saddled with a child that was not his. He got lucky this time and hopefully his experience will
Stop some of you, young and not so young, from getting caught up I the devious wiles of a woman hell bent on no good.