Stay Gold!

brilliant ideas, MOMMY THOUGHTS, parenting

I caught a glimpse of my son today in usual form: aloof, mouth wide open, probably thinking about basketball. I immediately thought about how beautiful he was. You know, he looks like me, but lighter skinned. People have always said he’s my twin. But he’s different than me in so many ways.

We were driving home on our usual afternoon commute from West Oakland to South Richmond. Normally we’d be full of conversation, but today Apple Music serenaded us with hits from Janet Jackson radio. Among the jams were Michael’s “Beat It” and Mariah Carey’s “Don’t Forget About Us”

Traffic was heavy and I found myself yawning constantly. I looked at my son who seemed to be doing the same. If I asked him what he was thinking about he’s probably bring up a 3rd down during some college football game from two years ago and explain to me what he would’ve done differently. (He loves sports btw). I laughed in my head imagining what our conversations would be like in years to come. We talk about everything from sports to God to gummy bears and homework. Our minds often wander. That we DO share in common.

I wanted to, in that moment, preserve his innocence so he could stay this free forever. I know that there’s a point in a young boy’s life when that ends and I am aware, that for young Black boys that day comes even sooner.

He’s not like most 8 year old’s whose eyes tell a story of tough times and mannerisms that demonstrate their eagerness to fight an invisible war. He’s carefree. Naive. Empathetic. Friendly. Curious. He’s my baby.

I ache, already, for that day when some little heffa breaks his heart or shit gets real and someone close to him dies; the day he realizes we live in the ghetto and that top ramen isn’t as fancy as I make it out to be. I’m cringing for the day he understands that being Black is both a badge of honor, and a target.

He understands now, as a child would. But one day he’ll be a man.

I looked at my son again and loved him harder. Loved him more because this world won’t. Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” was playing. And as I glanced back on the highway he says to me, “Mommy you’re my greatest love of all” and he meant it. Every word. I said “You’re my greatest love of all too!” and he felt it. I knew he felt every single word.

I know it is said that nothing gold can stay, but I’m hoping you are the exception.

Drifting on a memory….

love & beauty, Uncategorized

My first night at college I couldn’t sleep. I needed police sirens to lull me to sleep.I was uncomfortable being in a room full of girls having shared a bed with brothers for many years of my life. I didn’t know these people; this environment. Richmond to me is like a village where everyone is related to somebody and no one is really a stranger. We are a familial people: sisters, brothers, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandmamas and mamas and daddies, baby daddies and baby mamas. It was reassuring to get a text in the middle of the day or night that simply said “so and so got hit.” We’d gather in the street and watch; shed tears and reminiscence. We’d stay in the street long after police arrived. We’d wait until the ambulance left or the coroner arrived. We bonded through our grief. At least we thought we were grieving. Violence and its residuals were a part of life; a part of us.

But college is different. There is no shared history; only individuals. And while I prided myself on being an individual, I wasn’t sure if THIS individuality was for me. Did anyone other than me know the difference between a gun shot and a firecracker? I couldn’t sleep.

It wasn’t until years later when I returned to Richmond that I made the connection between what I now know as trauma and my childhood. The re-entry was difficult. Every block a painful memory. Every person carrying with them a sad story. It’s overwhelming to say the least but this is home.

I now attempt to be nostalgic about the past and remember the “good ole” days. I tell myself now is different but it really isn’t. The street been unsafe; Kids have always been wildin’ out; people die everyday b. I want to see the youth as our saving grace, but they are just as naive and all-knowing as we were. Unintentionally ignorant.

I wonder, if I am of any use to them. Like me, they are dreamy believing all good is accompanied by bad. They are simultaneously fearless and fearful. But I want better for them.¬†This is why I’m here. This is home. I’m trying to sleep.