and no one called to say “hey while you’re out, pick some up” knowing that I have this baby who needs her milk. knowing that they use the milk just as much as she does. the milk is done. and as I pour the last of it in her bottle I feel myself get mad. I’m mad because it’s done and I thought ahead to purchase another bottle, but if I hadn’t, this would be it. and I would fuss and they would look at me like “well, why are you carrying on like this. we didn’t mean it. you know we didn’t mean it. it’s not big deal.” the milk is done. and I’m mad. and I feel the pressure in my chest and head and I stop and breathe because I realize it’s not about the milk being done. it’s not about there not being enough milk. it’s about me being tired. it’s not about them not thinking enough, it’s about me always having to think ahead. it’s not about the milk not being enough. it’s about me not being enough. or feeling like I’m not. It’s about me continuously being in planning mode -continuously checking my “gps for the best and fastest route” to take, while everyone else is in cruise-control. It’s about me trying and ending up in these proverbial traffic jams…watching the time and wondering when will I get to where I want/need to be. Why are they in cruise control? why don’t they care? It’s about me constantly putting myself off, constantly putting my needs off. constantly putting what everyone else needs and thinks ahead of what I need.
who taught me to do that? where did I learn that trait?
It’s about me continuously counseling myself. continuously in my own head ….this is o.k. ….. God is giving you all that you need to survive these moments. even the the gps moments….to think ahead to stop and pick up the milk and the bread …… because you are the provider. God provides for you so you can provide for your household. He gives you the strength to do it all.
the milk was done and so was I.
because in that moment all I saw was me doing…..and doing…..and thinking….and planning…..
and after placing my palms on the counter and taking a deep breath and counseled myself into the “everything is o.k…..things could be a lot worst….my home is still my safe haven that I look forward to being in”… I continued.
the milk was done. but I wasn’t. I continued my nightly chores and got ready for the next day. I continued my moment of mom and head-of-household. I continued planning and moving. I continued.
…for the pain of the loss of our children
15yr girl found at the side of the road
15yr old boy found trapped under an SUV
15yr old boy leaving a party with his friends shot by police
my soul is screaming
what is happening?!
why can’t they be allowed to live?!
why is it so easy to take their lives?!
why aren’t they valued?!
why did you not THINK before you acted?!
did you go grab something to eat after you threw her out your car and kept going?
did you sleep after you left the truck ON the boy?!?!
did you write a report that justified your shooting of yet another black youth?!
did you forget that you were a child once? a child filled with hopes and dreams and goals? a child that made promises to himself? a child that wanted to be loved and valued and validated?! how could you take that away from them?!?!?! from us?!
“mom can I go with my friends…to the school dance…to the party…to hang out…cause it’s been a long week and we’re all tired from studying and tests and quizzes and we all just need a break…so can I?” and my soul screams “NO! because you are MINE and I love you and I CAN’T LOSE YOU and these uncaring bastards out in the streets don’t care about you! STAY HOME. NEVER LEAVE! I’ll keep you safe!”… but my heart sees and understands… and my mouth says “yes baby. just text me. and be safe. and don’t take any moment for granted. and be very aware of your surroundings. and be safe.” and you pray with them before they leave and you pray while they’re gone. and you pray a prayer of thanks when they return…because they returned. and you thank God for protecting them and for bringing them back.
then you listen to the news and you’re reminded of the sadness and the hurt and the pain of the mothers, burying their children and you know that it’s ass-backwards because it goes against the “natural order of things” and what is that anyways? the “natural order of things“. is there order? or is there just life and death. and you simply deal the best way you know how? because now, there are too many parents burying their young, vibrant children whose lives were taken mercilessly… and my soul is screaming…
GOD WHERE WERE YOU?!?!?!
I’m aggressive. I’m hard at times. I don’t listen to anything you say. I don’t hear you. I don’t understand.
The thing is I do. all of it. I do. The thing is you don’t understand that I honestly wasn’t born a mom. I went through all the years you’re going through. I work hard and sacrifice a lot of my own self so as to give you a life of ease… I went to school in the hood. Period. I know what it’s like to have to go through metal detectors and get my book-bag searched every morning. I know what it’s like to be in the halls, the class, the cafeteria, the city bus and watch a random fight break out. I know what difficult school days are. I know what it’s like to walk home CAREFULLY from school because these fools and the stolen cars were reckless and they killed a lot of kids (including themselves) with their reckless driving and they were a part of my afternoon walk… I know how to live at one end of the block and stay on that end because literally a block over, the drug dealing was rampant and well-known. I know what it’s like to have the boys come at you because you’re different and you look different and act different. I know what it’s like to have to say “man no! I’m not going home with you and hell no you can’t come over! I don’t want my momma/daddy to kill me!” I know. I know what it’s like to listen to the other girls tell their stories about who they’re doing and which chic is coming after their man….while I figure out how best to pass this drafting class and electronics class. And get my work done for physics and chemistry classes because I know one or two of my friends are going to be looking to me for the answers the next day, so I was succeeding not only for myself, but for them also. I know. I also know what it’s like to keep up with my guidance counselor so I can choose the best college for me. I knew how to make those appointments and stick with them without missing out on any important class assignments. My parents didn’t go to college but they were hard-working and smart and the older siblings were already off to college so I figured it out. I know.
So I work hard and make sure we live in a “better” neighborhood. Rent would be a whole lot cheaper 20 minutes down the road, but I want you to feel safe, so I work hard, and choose other…. “mom, you just don’t get it. you don’t listen...” but I do. Mom you don’t understand how hard these classes are. Oh but I do. been there. Mom all my friends are coupled up with somebody or other. I understand. But what you don’t hear them tell you about is the pregnancy scares and how many different STD’s they’ve contracted on account of being “coupled up”…
I hear everything you say and more. I hear what you don’t say. I hear what you feel. I hear what you feel. Do you get that? Without you saying a word, I hear you. I know who you are. I know who you have been. I see who you’ve become. I see you at your crossroads. I hear what you feel. My child who’s been an A student all the way up till high-school is tired. I get that. She feels pressured. I get that. The closer she gets to having to choose a college, the more she lets go of trying…She’s scared of going off…away. I understand. I hear what you feel. I hear what you don’t say.
Allow me to help you choose your next path. Remember this: you are a black woman. No matter how pretty you are, you are a black woman. In this political climate that we’re in, you will be seen as that. Black. Woman. Double Jeopardy. Create a life that will make them WANT to choose you. HAVE TO CHOOSE YOU. The colleges. The jobs. The applications don’t have your pretty face on them. The applications have your name and your qualifications. I chose your name carefully. No one can look at your name and assume your race and culture. Your name alone requires further review. Now the qualifications attached to your name are totally up to you. Choose your path -not as another black chic trying to make a living- but as a young woman who will do great and marvelous things. Don’t allow the fear of success to cripple you. Allow it to pique your curiosity to reach for more…greater. Be the success you were meant to be. In this political climate that we’re now in -that we’re facing- you can’t afford to be anything less than great.
I hear what you feel. You feel afraid. It’s o.k. I know. I promise I understand. And I promise it will all be o.k. because no matter what, you’ll never have to go it alone. I’m here. I love you. Forever.
This is what happens when you get a chance to run away for a couple hours to see a movie. Didn’t notice until I was IN the movie theatre. 😁 shamed? Worried? Self conscious? NO MA’AM/SIR. But I sure enjoyed the movie! Then strutted around ROSS in my mismatched shoes like a BOSS! :):):):)
P.S. I’m pretty sure I just deleted a comment, maybe two, and I have no idea how I did it. at any rate, THANK YOU FOR READING!!!
that over the past year and a half I have forgotten MANY moments. Its like one minute I’m laying in the hospital -the doctors discussing if I can wait a few hours or if this is going to be now- and the next minute she’s running around laughing and talking/babbling back, giving mean face and hugs and kisses. The cliché rings true: where has the time gone? She’s in the room with the teen girls, on her toy cell phone, dancing to hip-hop and giggling. She’s learning letters and numbers, shapes and fruits…she’s amazing. Where has the time gone… I feel like I have forgotten so many moments. But I will never forget what it felt like having the doctor’s hands inside my open belly, my body shifting as she removed this tiny person from me. I will never forget hearing my baby’s cry for the first time and me saying “that’s the sweetest sound ever”. I will never forget that little face next to mine.
I realize that I have forgotten many moments and its o.k, because there are those moments that I will never forget.
When there’s something “unusual” that makes even the doctors tilt their heads to the sides in the confused-puppy look and they put you on medication with the instruction to come back in a couple weeks… “if it’s gone, great. If not, then we’ll know how to proceed.” Breathe.
You keep on going because even though it remains at the forefront of your mind, you have no time to worry about it. You look at your children and you know you have to keep going. You hear your parents inquire about it and you know there’s concern…so you answer and soothe their fears “I’m o.k it’s getting better” and it’s the truth. Should it be much further along in the “better”? Yep. But you keep that to yourself. No need in having them worry. And while you’re parenting and working and parenting and planning, you’re also making all the necessary doctor appointments because you need all of them to be on the same page. No confusion.
You keep on going even though the process is slow, it’s steady. You keep on going. You keep on living.
I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know exactly what to do. It’s the honest truth. They’re not out running the streets. They’re not on drugs. Not cussing (too much…at least not around me) I have no worries about their physical health. But their mental and emotional health…. all they do all day is play on their phones. I have yet to see one take the initiative of “let me check online to see if there’s any class work I can catch up on while I’m home…” or “let me finish this book I’m halfway through…”. No, they’re on their phones. Texting and FaceTiming with friends and playing pool…with each other…even though they’re in the same livingroom! Smh.
I leave them be, because prior to them getting out of school I stayed stressing them and my damn self about the grades and the assignments and ‘what can you do to make this better’ and communicated with the teachers reminding them not to mistake mine for “just another one”. Let’s talk. Tell me what’s going on…because mine can’t fall through the cracks. So it honestly feels good to not have to question for a few days. Sigh…. I just need them to understand the importance of success and in setting a clear path for yourself.
I think I’m going to go back to sleep now for however long before my tiny one wakes up and demands our day to begin.
Parenting teenagers can be mentally exhausting. These perfect tiny humans are born to you and you raise them with such love and care and you continuously express the importance of education and success and choosing friends wisely, carefully. You see them take heed to all this for many years. They show good decision making. They stand up for what they believe in and defend the rights of their friends. All this makes you proud. Overflowing. They show that birds of a feather really do flock together in positive ways. Then suddenly one day, your perfect tiny humans who grew up to be marvelously intelligent small people are now teenaged strangers. And you’re looking at and communicating with them and thinking “who are these kids??? where are the ones I’ve been raising?” and you actually hear yourself say “I don’t know who you are, but I want my kid back.” And you walk away from whatever version of that conversation is -the same conversation you’ve had 174 times in 174 ways- feeling so tired. You sit in the quiet of your car or your bedroom and you think, where did I go wrong? How did I foster this new personality? Then you think, but they’re really not the worst. They could be SO MUCH WORSE. And so you give thanks for the temporary insanity. Because yes, this has GOT to be temporary. Then you go into fix-it mode. Because success is NOT an option. Not before and definitely not now. Not in this political and racial and environmental climate that we’re approaching. SUCCESS IS NOT OPTIONAL. So you find different paths and make new rules and remove as much distractions as possible without stripping them of all communications. And you once again stress the importance of education and success. And you walk away exhausted. Again. But you know you can’t allow them to give up and settle for mediocrity. You know you can’t give up on them. Yes, parenting teenagers is exhausting, but it’s worth it.