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.

It Wasn’t Love At First Sight

MOMMY THOUGHTS, parenting

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It wasn’t love at first sight. On Sunday, July 13, 2008 when I rushed to the hospital to find that I was in labor, panic set in. This was really happening. And it was REALLY happening NOW! I wasn’t ready.

When I held my son for the first time I didn’t love, but rather, the weight of responsibility. Having come into the world six weeks sooner than expected, it is an understatement to say I was ill prepared. All I could think was “we didn’t even have the baby shower yet!”

I laid in that hospital bed literally trying to figure out how to make a dollar out of 15 cents, wondering if his dad and I would work things out and thinking of how we would get home. Love, was the furthest thing from my mind.photo

Like most new mommies, I went home and tried to figure it out. I stepped into my new role with caution. I wanted to be intentional about everything I did. I didn’t just want to be a mom, I needed to be the best mom. All my child needed was to be fed, clothed, changed and held. This I learned quickly.

I read somewhere that its easy for parents to love the children that are most like them. But for me, I think I love my son the most because he is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. He’s not my mini-me. He is courageous, confident, humorous, intelligent, friendly, caring, generous, and articulate. He’s not afraid to ask for what he needs and when he asks, he is certain that he will receive it. This is not something, within six years, I could have learned or taught him. He’s well liked among his peers, observant of their behaviors and concerned about their well-being. He takes joy in helping others  and does so often. Everyday he teaches me what REAL love is. Not because I deserve it, but because that’s who he is.

20140521-084421-31461764.jpgI value our relationship. We are not a traditional pairing. We talk about everything as we are both full of questions. Last night, we talked about heaven. He was curious as to what happens after you die. (I should mention here that we recently saw the movie Heaven is for Real. Great film!) He says, “So if you go to heaven when you die and heaven’s in the sky, why do they put the people in the ground?” Rather than fill his head with my beliefs, we talked about different theories of which he had several. He settled on “maybe they wait in the ground until its their turn to go to heaven.” He smiled after he said it as if he now had all the answers to life. I smiled too. We held hands until he fell asleep.

Nights like this make me appreciate the responsibility I dreaded in the delivery room. Going through all those embarrassing mommy moments helped me to be the type of mother I am today. I guess the take away here to appreciate life, don’t sweat the small stuff, love your kids or any other cliché’ you can think of when it comes to parenting. But, I guess I just wanted to take the time, outside of any special occasion to say I love my son and I’m glad I’m his mom.