To My Children…

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?

My alpha and omega, Tyrice and Chava

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.

Life is Important

As I celebrate my new year, a return to my sun rising, many are mourning loss. And as I empathize with the pain, I already understand the importance of showing love to those you love everyday because you don’t know when the last time you see them is the last time you see them. So for those you love, make the time to see them. Make the time to call them. Make the time to tell them how you feel or clear up any misunderstandings. Time is precious and stops for no one.

That is why for my birthday this year I chose to do something just for me. My birthday has been like a rose bush for me, pretty but painful, for too long. The short version – my father never bothered to remember my birthday, ever. He remembered my brother’s birthday which is 2 days after mine. From 1987 on I do not recall one birthday call. So my birthdays have always been bittersweet…

Fast forward to 2020. My birthday has returned, the bitter has lessened and the sweet is increasing and for those who choose not to see – well, it’s their loss not mine. Our time in these bodies are not infinite. So I choose to walk into my new decade, into my new season, leaving any and every thing behind who does not honor or cherish me as the divine being that I am. I am here on purpose and for a purpose.

Happy Birthday Why Yet 💜

*photos courtesy of Sean Lassiter Photography*

National Sibling Day, Easter…

Memory overload. I need to dump some of these mental files I am storing. Forgot that National Sibling Day was yesterday. Was reminded that Easter is this upcoming Sunday. Today is only Tuesday. 

Okay, I had to let that out. 

My children get along and enjoy each other’s company (for the most part). Well enough that I have pictures of them together. So here is my tribute to National Sibling Day…

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Many times when October rolls around many people are thinking about Columbus Day, Halloween, domesticviolenceawarenessThanksgiving 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 dvam imagebeginning 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

Domestic Violence Awareness
Domestic Violence Awareness

A Mother’s Job…

01-11-23-280__180Well, 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 yehudi first day of preschool1wanting 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 yehudi finished first day of preschoolrecalled 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. inspirational quotes about daughtersWell, 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!

My Interview with Lisa Sparrow and How Mental Illness Affects All of Us

sunnyclouds

Lisa Sparrow is an inspirational woman. She sat with me for an hour on my blogtalk radio show, On Why Yet’s Watch, and was completely open about her daily battle with mental illness. That in itself is bravery in my book. Mental illness is such a touchy topic to speak on because growing up we (as a society) were taught to only speak of such things in the house – especially when it pertained to a relative or close loved one. Lisa shared her story with our listeners and I am truly grateful.

Depression is the most common form of mental illness that people are familiar with. There is NO one single cause of depression. There can be a combination of causes that can trigger depression:

  • Trauma – a serious trauma that occurs early in life can change our brain’s response mechanism.
  • Genetics – mood disorders and risk of suicide tend to run in families but anyone with a genetic tendency would be more likely to show signs of depression at an early age
  • Life Circumstances – marital status, financial standing, where you live could all influence or trigger depression
  • Brain Structure – depression is associated with changing how your brain responds to hormone stimulation
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse – 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have depression

16 million Americans had a least one major depressive episode last year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression. Young adults aged 18-25 are 60% more likely to experience depression than people aged 50 and over. Unfortunately, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be misdiagnosed.

There are many forms of treatment:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • Brain Stimulation Therapies
  • Light Therapy
  • Exercise
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Self Management Strategies and Education
  • Mind/Body/Spirit approaches

Should you or someone you know suffer from depression or believe you do, seek help. There is strength in asking for help because we all need help at one time or another. For more information about depression and some of the causes of depression check out the following websites:

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Joyful Heart Foundation

To listen to the interview with Lisa Y Sparrow, listen to On Why Yets Watch with Author Lisa Y Sparrow

There is nothing to be ashamed of when dealing with ourselves or a loved one who battles mental illness.

Stay blessed.

My Baby Girl Turned 3!

Good morning. *Yawn, stretch, rubs tired eyes* Yesterday my baby girl turned three years old! Her nanna had bought her a pretty pink princess dress with matching princess shoes and she had been waiting patiently (or as patiently as a two year old can) for two months to wear them. “You have to wait until your birthday comes to wear your princess dress,” I had to remind her – at least once a week. Yesterday was the day. She woke up ready. Came downstairs, ate her breakfast and once she finished she dashed back upstairs to put on her princess dress. Princess Yehudi proceeded to enjoy the rest of her birthday in style…

Three years is a long time. And Yehudi has grown – a lot. I didn’t realize how fast she was beginning to develop her own personality so fast. I should have took notes when I was pregnant with her because she had her own mind, even then. In the womb she was bossy. Dictated what I would eat and when. Dominated my sleep patterns and positions. Physically assaulted my ribs from the inside, hahaha. I can laugh now but I wasn’t laughing then. We didn’t want to know her gender until she was born so everyone tried guessing based on the shape and positioning of my stomach. Even strangers waiting at red lights stopped to yell across the street and predict what gender baby I was carrying. She had fun tricking people. She even dictated my delivery.

When I went into labor it was normal for my fifth child. Contractions began speeding up in frequency and intensity while my body aches increased dramatically. By the time we arrived at the hospital I had enough strength to walk in and sit down in the first wheelchair that was within reach. Anticipating the cooling relief of an epidural my daughter played one her final jokes before arriving. While lying on the labor room bed and waiting for my epidural this little lady decides to karate kick my water bag AND dilate my cervix to the full 10 centimeters! Yup, no epidural for me. Then she practically delivered herself because she wasn’t waiting for anybody. Luckily the nurses were there to “catch” her as she, for her final joke before birth, showed me what the ring of fire really meant. Heh, Heh. Again, I can laugh now but I wasn’t laughing then.

She is definitely her own person. And that makes me smile sometimes. Other times it causes mounds of frustration because she doesn’t want to do what she has to do or what she is told to do. I see her laughing and blazing her own trails as a beautiful young woman and I pray I have the fortitude to allow her the flexibility to do so.

Taking The Plunge On Etsy

Okay. Writer’s block is setting in again and I am in panic mode. Especially since I am writing in spurts around my little one’s sleeping schedules (they are rebelling hard against sleep schedules). So the crack of dawn has seen me typing away for a little over a week now and sleep deprivation is fogging my brain. My determination to remain a stay at home mom, to be creative and to actively pursue work I can do from home is also beginning to wane because of the lack of sleep.

Well, yesterday I made the decision to do something that terrifies me – open my Etsy shop. I had been debating it back and forth for months. Since I love to crochet, knit and make all natural body care items I figured, eh, why not? I spent months researching how to open an Etsy shop. I hopped on Pinterest and pinned just about everything I could get my hands on relating to opening up a shop on Etsy. There are quite a bit of pins on SEO marketing as well as shop design. How did we ever get along in the world without all of these nifty ways to connect and market?

As scary as it is, I needed to do it because I enjoy being able to watch my children grow up. And should I be able to make a living at the same time then that is a double blessing! And what mom wouldn’t want a chance to be available for her children and earn a living doing what she loves? So, with the children gearing up to go back to school soon and the holidays right around the corner – give my Etsy shop a visit. And keep an eye out for more items!

All natural vanilla body butter
All natural vanilla body butter

This Oppressive Heat!

city

Okay, I know we are experiencing global warming and all but this is ridiculous! Sweating after stepping out of a cool shower?! Mother Nature we are extremely sorry that we tampered with your delicate system of balance but can we PLEASE get a slight break? I am asking on behalf of all humanity on the East Coast of the United States.

Okay. Now that I have voiced my plea I can get back to business. Or try to. Honestly, it has been so hot these last few days I was afraid to turn my laptop on for fear of a blackout. I am running two air conditioners in my house (one upstairs for the little ones and one downstairs for the general cooling of the house). I can hear my neighbor’s air conditioners running also. They have one in their basement (go figure that one) and one on their second floor.

During heat waves like this, blackouts are common in Philadelphia. Whole neighborhoods could be left to the mercy of the elements when the power company purposely shuts down certain grids (neighborhood hot spots). I used to know someone who worked for the energy company who gave me that inside tip years ago. Shh! Don’t tell anybody.

This heatwave is the reason why a home with shady trees, near a fresh body of water is on my must get list. Aside from that I really need more space. My children are getting bigger and will need their own rooms soon. I need office space so I can write during the day and stop hiding out in the kitchen at 5:00 in the morning. And I would love for the children to have access to their own grassy playground area in the backyard.

Okay, okay. Enough of my wish list. I need to do the ice bucket challenge before I melt and get back to working on Ego Trippin’. I didn’t forget about Lydia. My brain has been turned a little jello jiggly with the heat but it is supposed to cool down with a thunderstorm later on today. in the meantime I will keep reading what you guys are writing because you guys rock!

Ego Trippin’ Part 3

Thunder rumbled, rattling the kitchen windows as Lydia sat on her knees frantically scrubbing blood off of the vinyl flooring. With each crack of thunder Lydia’s hand gripped the sponge tighter until her knuckles began to turn white. The rhythmic tink, tink of the raindrops hitting the awning over top of the kitchen window was comforting. Lydia began thinking about what the nurses said to her when Nathan went to the cafeteria for a sandwich.

“Mrs. Williams, do you remember what happened to you?”
“Not really. I came into the kitchen and a strange man was there. Before I could call out for help I was knocked to the floor. I hit something on the way down and blacked out.”
Scribbling on a clip board the nurse looked Lydia in the eye. “You’re lucky to be alive. The trauma to your head could have been more severe. There was a 4 inch gash on the side of your head. We stitched you up but a vessel in your right eye ruptured and the force of the blow to your stomach ruptured your uterus which is why you miscarried. I am sorry to tell you this Mrs. Williams but we were unable to repair the damage. You will not be able to have any more children…”

“Wait… my uterus… no more children?” Lydia’s vision blurred as the tears absorbed into the patch on her eye. Instinctively her right hand went to her belly to massage her baby and she flinched in pain.

“We had to perform an emergency hysterectomy. You have 13 staples in your abdomen. In about two weeks you can come back in and have them removed. In the meantime you rest. No lifting more than 5 pounds. No standing for long periods of time. No strenuous activities. No sexual intercourse for eight weeks because of the trauma to your abdomen. You may…” Lydia zoned out as the nurse rattled off her discharge instructions. A soft knock, knock at the kitchen door jolted Lydia out of her thoughts. It was Nathan’s friend Mark. Favoring her right side, Lydia grabbed the handle on the cabinet door and pulled herself up onto her feet and opened the door.

“Damn. Nathan told me what happened. I’m sorry about the baby.” Mark said as he inched into the kitchen. He handed Lydia a bouquet of daisies to cheer her up. “If you recall anything about the cat who did this to you let Nathan know and we’ll go handle that right now.” Lydia averted her eyes as she felt her cheeks flush. Mark had always been nice to her. He didn’t know how Nathan treated her. Nobody did.
“Thank you Mark. The flowers are lovely. Let me put them in water and tell Nathan you’re here.” Walking gingerly to avoid the poking of the staples in her stomach, Lydia half-slid, half-tiptoed to the kitchen sink to grab a vase for the flowers. That’s when she saw the blood on the edge of the counter.

Nathan walked into the kitchen just then and stopped in his tracks when he saw Mark standing in his house. He looked from Lydia to Mark, sizing up the situation. He noticed the flowers Lydia had placed in the vase. Um, hm. Looking at Mark, he smiled but the smile didn’t touch the rest of his face.

Ego Trippin’ Part 1

Ego Trippin’ Part 2