How often, as parents, do we really sit back and marvel at our children? We birth, nurture, protect, provide, and guide them into adulthood, but do we really just look at them? As the people they are?
Today I am doing just that. As much as possible anyway. As I type this, it is exactly 9:10 am EST in the United States. 20 years ago today I was pregnant with my twin sons and sitting in Thomas Jefferson University hospital being prepped for induction. You see, I had fed my twins so well during my pregnancy that they didn’t want to come out, lol. Yet, they were too big to stay in and I made the mistake of watching a cesarean section video on YouTube. Nope. I told my doctor she would not be slicing open my innards. I already had insecurity issues with my body so a C-section was a hard no for me.
I had gone into false labor twice (at work) over the last few weeks but at 3 cm dilated, the hospital kept sending me back home. My preschool students were fascinated at watching my body change over the months and had adopted my babies as theirs, especially since two of my parents were also pregnant. My co-workers were concerned about me working, the deacons in the church had been trying to convince me I needed to be on bed rest for months (because of how huge my stomach grew early on) but my doctor said I was perfectly healthy to work up until I deliver. In hindsight, I think my doctor was excited to see how far I could carry as all of her previous twin deliveries never exceeded 26 weeks. I was induced at 35 weeks.
My pregnancy was normal for me. No morning sickness but constant hunger, and constant cravings. I did experience nausea when I tried to eat some of my favorite foods like shrimp fried rice and any kind of chicken. My boys said those were hard nos for them, lol. Their personalities were distinct even then. My eldest was pretty chill. Twisting and turning mostly to get comfortable. My youngest was energetic and constantly hungry. My stomach growled as I was eating most times.
Now, as young adults, I see them watching to see which direction they want to go in life. They are quiet and introspective, for now, until they discover what lights them aglow. I am excited for when that moment comes and they flourish in their passion. I knew this phase of life would arrive but it is as bittersweet as the day of their birth. I was excited for their new chapter yet sad that our chapter, in that capacity, had ended. Work and bills will always be there as a reminder of responsibilities but remember to take time to enjoy your children before they branch off into their own lives…
I was neck-deep in knitting Christmas gifts these last three months and am finally able to take a break. All gifts were well received and appreciated for being hand-made by me. It was truly a labor of love. Commercialism has definitely slapped a huge price tag on the holidays and many go along with that, but for me I always strive for meaningful gifts. Something truly desired or needed. Or a combination if possible. That’s my love language.
That’s the underlying meaning of these holidays, honoring family and friends and expressing that. Understanding and accepting that we only have this moment, right now. Tomorrow is not promised, and yesterday is history. In this moment right now I choose to give and accept the love given to me. Simple right? Not always, but when you work on it one moment at a time you create a hand-made life that you love like your favorite cozy blanket.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, remember to show love to yourself and your loved ones while you can. Appreciation and love feels wonderful any day of the year.
Thank you for choosing to begin your journey through me. As the vessel to nurture you and bring you forth into this world, I accepted the responsibility. Not a light one either.
Each day from the moment I knew of you, my decisions have caused me anxiety. Am I teaching you the right things? Am I nurturing enough? Do you REALLY know how much I love you?
Even now, as the ‘original kids’, you have reached that milestone of adulthood and I am terrified. Did I show you enough love? Was I affectionate enough? Did my failures in love dissuade you from seeking it? Did I inadvertently pass down hurts that were passed on to me?
Motherhood is a strange emotional ride. The never ending roller coaster. More so for me as I am still trying to figure out my combination lock to life. It feels like the calculus class I took multiple times as a freshman in college and never passed. Some days I feel like I am drowning in the center of the ocean and other days I feel like I am sprinting down the coast with warm sand under my toes.
Amidst the tears, uncompromising expectations (of self) and unpredictability, I wouldn’t change being a mother. It took 20 years to appreciate my stretch marks, but I earned every one. Thank you to all of my children for choosing me to be their mother.
My youngest child started preschool today. My last born, my last first day of school and I didn’t cry. The reality that my son’s external educational journey has begun is stirring up mixed emotions in me. We’ve waited a long time for this day but now that it’s here I don’t want my baby boy growing up too fast.
And that’s what it is. Today marks the end of his baby days. The hugs, kisses and snuggles will soon be traded for friends, toys and school crushes. I’m not ready, but I’m preparing. My daughter, who’s going into kindergarten this year, is already writing love letters to some boy from her class last year. Surprisingly, I didn’t react. I listened as she read her letter. I observed my daughter and then reflected on my personality at her age. Damn. She is like me, but bolder. She’s a lot more gutsy than I was at five years old. I feel like time is getting away from me.
This is a very different mental space for me. My children are growing, my parents are aging and I’m in the middle of life’s upward escalator unable to backtrack. Transitions. These moments kind of sneak up on you unexpectedly. But they are necessary. I don’t always like them, but I understand they are catalysts for growth and change. And we all know that change is the only constant.
Many times when October rolls around many people are thinking about Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas plans. Many times the quiet woman nursing bruises is overlooked. The timid woman in the office is ignored. The mother who averts her gaze when picking her child up from school is mistaken for being stuck up. Many times this is not the case. Many times she is trying her hardest to avoid abuse at home should she not return fast enough, should she be caught or suspected to interact with others. Our job as a community is to learn what the warning signs of domestic violence looks like. Our job is to speak up and speak out to end the cycle of domestic violence in our communities.
The media always portrays domestic violence as always being physical violence, like when Rhianna’s image flew across the internet after Chris Brown abused her. Yes, that is domestic violence but that is not the only form it comes in. Because society believes that is the only face of domestic violence many women stay silent for fear of being ridiculed and judged for not resembling Rhianna. In all cases of domestic violence the beginning stages include emotional and psychological manipulation. Loving words and gestures while slowly, methodically, and quietly separating the prey from any and all forms of outside support, i.e. friends, family, loved ones. Once the separation is complete then the loving words turn into judgments, put-downs, insults, ridicule and cruelty. The longer this stage is allowed to continue unchecked and unchallenged the more dangerous the situation becomes. In the most dangerous cases sexual and physical abuse begins.
Recognize the mental and psychological abuse: “You’re fat. Nobody’s gonna want your fat ass!”; “You didn’t have anything when I met you!”; “Everything you have is because of me!”; “I saw you looking at that person, so I know you slept with them!”; “You ain’t shit! Everything you think is an idea that came from me!”; “If you try to leave me I will call the police and have you arrested!”; “But baby I said those things because I love you. I NEED you! I can’t be without you!” Other forms of domestic violence include financial abuse, and sexual abuse. Being in a relationship does not entitle anyone to sex. NO means NO! Another misconception is that only women get abused. It is rare but men can also be victims of domestic violence too. Recognize the signs, ask careful questions, lend a listening ear and offer genuine help. Especially when children are involved. Children learn what they live. If you or someone you care about is in an abusive situation call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (from a secure phone line) for help: 1-800-799-7233
Well, I have been fighting back tears all day today. Happy tears. Tears of joy and acceptance. My little girl is on the road to growing up and growing independent of me. She has started preschool today. Gone are the innocent days of her looking solely to me for her answers. Newly arrived are the days of testing the rules and challenging her limits (more than she already does).
I dropped my daughter off to school this morning half hoping for, but not really, some resemblance of her wanting to miss me. Not a screaming fit or anything like that but just some sign that she would miss me during the time that she would be at school. I received a good bye hug and kiss and off she ran to play with her new school mates. Not a glance back was had. Not a ‘mommy don’t go’ like some of the other kids. In a way I guess that means I have raised her to be independent so far and that’s good – right? Could it mean that she couldn’t wait to get away from me and school is a welcomed reprieve? A mother wonders sometimes.
I believe she is courageously independent and well adjusted for a three year old. More wise than her years and in her wisdom, did not cry when I arrived to pick her up this afternoon. She was excited to return home and when I asked about her day she told of some of her adventures with excitement in her eyes and laughter in her voice. She recalled that she had meatloaf for lunch and a banana with her breakfast! She told me that a little boy took a red ball from her and the teacher said to him, “Give Yehudi back that red ball!”
Yehudi is asleep now. She is eager to wake up and go back to her school so she can play with her friends some more. She is excited to sing the alphabet song with her peers and to recite the story time rules we have here at home:
rule #1 – sit down quietly
rule #2 – put your hands in your lap
rule #3 – listen and enjoy the story
How can you not enjoy story time with easy to remember rules like those? Then on twitter this afternoon I found this inspirational quote to cheer me up. Well, it’s time for me to pick out her school clothes for tomorrow and begin to plan toddler activities for Chava for this school year. He’s one now but he’ll be three and headed to preschool before I can blink!
I received a happy phone call this morning. School starts on September 8, 2015, according to the school’s director, Mr. Nick.
My daughter excitedly stated she wanted to go to school all by herself. *Tears* She is growing up so fast. She worked very hard to learn how to go to the bathroom. (I’ll post more on how I potty trained her in a future post. I’m going to need it as a reference for when I potty train my baby boy).
Excitement and my son steadily trying to tiptoe into the kitchen, is blocking my thought process.
So, last night I indulged in one of my favorite shows: Flip or Flop on HGTV. I sacrificed sleep because I love watching the transformation of the auction homes in California’s neighborhoods. Seeing the different construction and design elements fascinates me because I love watching construction. When I was a young girl I wanted to learn carpentry but was quickly told that was no profession for a girl. BOO!
Tarek and Christina look like they have so much fun, even when their budget is stretched to the max, while working on a flip property. Well, they may or may not realize this but each project they take on is an inspirational story to all of their viewers: Love what you do, and do what you love. That is a great lesson to share with others be it directly or indirectly.
My goal for my children is to be able to instill in them the passion to follow their dreams and the courage the defend those dreams. Even should that be against me! Thanks Tarek and Christina!
A few days later Nathan met up with Mark at the Red Roof Inn on Roosevelt Boulevard. Mark was sitting in his Black Acura MDX listening to All Eyez on Me by Tupac when Nathan tapped three times on the tinted window. “Aye man what‘s good,” Nathan smirked.
“Come on man, let’s go relax. My girl Diamond is in there and she brought out all of her best girls.”
“Is Ruff Ryder in there?”
“You know it. I told you, Diamond brought all of her best girls. You need to relax after what you‘ve been through. We‘re in room 313.”
“Then let’s go.” Nathan stepped back from the car so Mark could get out and they began walking towards the hotel.
Mark called Diamond after he left Nathan’s house three days ago. He was positive that Nathan was the cause of all of Lydia’s ‘accidents’ and miscarriages. Just like with Georgia. Nathan didn’t know that Mark bought the plane ticket for Georgia and her son to leave and gave her money to start her life over in California. He knew Nathan was insecure about getting older but not to the point of targeting young girls so he can manipulate and viciously abuse them. After explaining what he saw at Nathan’s house with Lydia, and telling about Nathan’s treatment of Georgia, Diamond was all too eager to get even.
Nathan walked into room 313 and smiled when he saw the variety of women waiting. In the far corner of the room on a chaise lounge, sat a slender Thai woman dressed in a pale pink, sheer baby doll trimmed in fur. Her tight nipples were visible from where he stood at the door. She smiled at him and gave him a thai bow. Sitting next to her was a curvy Puerto Rican mami, with fiery red hair and a Caribbean blue thong on with matching bra and boots. A set of twins, Russian, were teasing each other on the floor wearing matching white leather one pieces. Sitting on the floor in front of a desk near the window was an olive colored Italian beauty. Large, almond shaped eyes and dark hair accented full breasts cloaked in an emerald green velvet gown. A black velvet choker with a chain attached drew the attention from her eyes to her full breasts. The chain led up to a leather handle held by a deep chocolate woman with curves like Nikki Minaj and Kim Kardashian who sat on top of the desk dressed in a black leather cat suit and boots, watching everything.
“That bitch must be Diamond. Sitting there like she run shit. Hmph. She better watch her step. I’m no body’s punk bitch,” Nathan thought as he eyed her up and down.
“You must be Nathan.” Diamond extended her hand as she rose up from the desk and stepped towards him. Nathan looked her in the eye, “Yeah.” Pulling her hand back she smiled and waved her hand at her ladies, “These are my ’diamonds’. I have cultivated each of them to be skilled in pleasure, be it their own or someone else’s. I understand you are a fan of Ruff Ryder. She is unable to be with us today but I am sure the rest of my ladies can thoroughly entertain you in her absence.” Nathan began smiling, “This bitch think she slick. She fucking with the right one. She mess around and I’ll have her bent the fuck over, fucking her in the ass to let her know I’ll fuck her up.”
Diamond recognized an egotistical, bitch-ass man when she saw one. It had only been fifteen years since she got up the courage to dispose of her own after living in a tortured hell for ten years. Her elite ‘diamonds’ were very skilled at entertaining customers such as Nathan…