A mother’s love knows no bounds… and apparently, neither does a son’s appreciation.
A mother’s love knows no bounds… and apparently, neither does a son’s appreciation.
In honor of Mother’s Day this past Sunday…. lol! “Salon Talk” with a toddler is totally adorbs!
Standing in line to early vote today, I turned to my husband and noted, “You know? This is her third time voting in her two and a half years on this earth.” Her would be our daughter, Emmanuelle. She doesn’t let us call her “Emmy” anymore. She’s way too mature for that, it seems 🙂
With the exception of voting in the primaries (which I do, but my husband doesn’t since he votes independently of party lines), we always go to the polling places together as a family and exercise our civil liberties. Of course, I think of the African American freedom fighters before me who helped secure our right to take part in these elections, but I also think of my daughter’s generation and the generations to come.
As a woman, I also feel that it is my responsibility to be a good role model for other young ladies when it comes to practicing my civic duty and that that starts at home, with my own child. There are so many issues that affect us as women today that we need to take a stand on, lest someone else does – and by ‘someone,’ I mean someMEN.
When you vote this year, I encourage you to bring a young person along – be it your own child or a neighbor or a family friend. Explain to them what the process of voting looks like, what research you did into the candidates and referendum on the ballots beforehand, and why you feel the way you do on whatever topics you feel strongly about. Encourage questions and dialogue and be open to educating and being educated. Who knows when a question can turn into more.
Growing up, I was the only black kid in my class – from 1st grade through 8th. Actually, I was the only Person of Color period (save for when when one other black student came and left for a year in 4th grade and another came and left during 7th grade).
My class was small – just 17 to 18 students at one time – and my classmates were nice. The class was too small to not all be friends, really, so by and large, it was fine – except the feeling of being “other.”
The questions I would get were the isolating factors.
“Why is your hair like that?”
“Why are your lips so big?”
“Why is your butt so big?”
“Do you tan?”
All questions I was asked repeatedly over the years. The problem was not only with the questions, but with my lack of answers – not for them, but for myself.
Because I did not see myself reflected in my immediate environment, my child mind did wonder:
“Why IS my hair like this?”
“Why can’t my lips be smaller?”
“Why do I have a booty already and curves when the other girls don’t?”
At least I understood that I do tan – and burn, even. So, I guess there’s that.
As confident as I was – and I was confident, being the top of my class and super outgoing and involved with everything – my insecurities about my racial identity were rooted solely in the fact that I saw very little positive imagery of blackness around me save for my own outside circle of friends and family.
TV shows weren’t showing it. TV News surely wasn’t. And the books I read all had white protagonists for the most part. People of Color – especially children- were largely depicted in unflattering ways if depicted at all.
In high school, there were more Black people and now finally Hispanic and Asian as well, which was refreshing. There still weren’t a lot at my school, but I was happy to finally not be the “only anything” in class. High School and beyond was really when I felt the coming of me – bold, challenging, assertive, and no longer insecure about my own personal pride or beauty.
I made a couple promises to my future self at that time as well, recommitting to those promises again in college, and again post college as a young working woman, and yet again as a wife and mother.
Those promises included making sure that my future children went to a school that was culturally and racially diverse, as well as being top-performing academically. I vowed that my children would never be the “only anything” in school and that any school that they went to would be representative of the United States at large. If the Black population of the nation was at 13%, then the school’s student body population would have to be at least that too.
The second promise I made to my future self was to bombard my children with positive imagery of their strength and beauty as Black people from infancy. I mean, I was reading children’s books with black protagonists to my baby when she was still in the womb and had an entire library of said books on the shelves before she even came home from the hospital. Beyond that, at this age – almost three – when her concept of beauty and self is still just forming – I make sure that all of her dolls are Black as well. While I truly believe all people on this planet are indeed beautiful and all women in particular should be celebrated, there’s such a lack of appreciation for Black women and girls’ beauty in this world, I want her perception of beauty to be planted early and by ME, not by what she will see in most TV commercials, movies, books, toys, games, etc. etc. Eventually, as she gets older, I am sure that my daughter will have a whole beautiful rainbow of colors from the palest white to the deepest hue of black, but for now – it’s all about the Black dolls alone.
I was so happy to come across Malaville Dolls yesterday – a line of fashion dolls in the vein of Barbie, but that celebrates black features, including big, fabulous afros and coily curls galore. Made in South Africa, the dolls ship all over the world for a $28 shipping fee and come in at just $20 a pop. I bought two yesterday as presents for my daughter and will buy more as they become available if my daughter enjoys them, which I feel like she will. I was never big on dolls, but my daughter? That’s another story! lol!
I am so happy that dolls like these and hashtags like #blackgirlmagic are investing in all of our children and teaching them that Black is indeed Beautiful and shouldn’t be maligned. I am also happy to see my white friends and other POC take to the dolls as well for their children, which is heartwarming and necessary too, and helps to balance out the singular image of beauty that we see for the most part. Kudos to them! It’s tough to think outside of your own experiences sometimes and parents who do this do just that. These movements of self love and these parents who embrace the universal beauty of all people, make it just that much easier for me to raise my daughter as the gorgeous little miracle she is, brown-skinned and coily, curly hair like her mom and maybe even her own child one day down the line…
Married people at times, especially happily married people, can make very crummy friends. It’s true. I’m guilty!
We don’t mean it. It’s just that you get caught up with the day-to-day hustle and bustle of managing work, home, and just basic survival and your friendships start to sustain by text messages and Facebook. You feel like you caught up with your friends, but you really haven’t. Maybe you haven’t talked to them in several months. Maybe you haven’t really talked to them in a year!
Last week, I had the opportunity to catch up with a dear friend of mine, Imani, whom I hadn’t seen in about that long. My daughter’s godmother wanted her overnight, so I thought it would make for a great date night for me and the hubs. Only, my husband had a reunion with his frat brothers on the books that slipped his mind, so I quickly realized I would have no hubby and no baby for an evening. It hasn’t been that way in ages!
I reached out to Imani, and, like the beautiful, awesome woman that she is, she didn’t make me feel guilty for not reaching out sooner or with more regularity. Instead, she was the sweetest and most gracious friend I could have asked for, making time to meet in the midst of her own uber busy week so that we wouldn’t miss each other again.
We had great conversation, thoughtful differences of opinion, and more times than not, just good, symbiotic vibing! That one night out with my girl reminded me of how much my friends matter and how we have to make time for ALL THE PEOPLE who count.
It’s easy to put family first – as we should. No one would challenge that. However – it is important to put friends up there too. Friends understand us in a different way than our spouses even… not better, but different. There’s a comfort in these relationships that is akin to a sisterhood or brotherhood, meaning it needs to be invested in and nurtured as well. The only way to do that is time – true, quality time. Sure, make time to talk and text and facebook or whatever, but do more – meet, greet, have girls’ night, guys’ night, etc.
I am making a commitment to myself and to my friends to just be a better friend. I am sooooooo very blessed to have these people in my life – people who know and love and support me whether it’s that they see me all the time or hardly at all. That is a gift and one not to be taken for granted.
When Janet canceled her tour back in April to work on ‘family planning,’ there was a lot of kick back on the interwebs saying that she was far too old to try and conceive. Now that she has successfully conceived, the naysayers still have something to say
Boo, that dude! For real. BOOOOO!
No one should ever give up hope or lose faith in God’s plan for them and their families. Creating a family at any age is a beautiful thing and how and when people choose to create said families is their decision. Who knows what challenges Janet faced when trying to conceive? For all we know, she may have tried years ago, but it just happened now. She is fit, healthy, happy, and fully prepared and mature enough to embody the true patience you need to be a great parent. I mean, look at her? Just GORG!!!
For couples who have been told they couldn’t conceive or that it would be difficult, know that doctors are not the be all, end all of your story. When I was 32 closing in on 33, doctors told us that fibroids I didn’t even know I had would likely ruin our chances to have a baby right away. They said if we were able to conceive (they feared one fibroid in particular would crowd a baby’s space to grow in utero), I may not be able to carry to term (another was significantly blocking a baby’s way out). I worried for about a half a day before heeding my husband’s advice to not operate out of fear, but trust in God’s faithfulness. After all, He has gotten us this far, why go back on trusting Him now?
And you know what? When we did conceive it was right away with our daughter and the pregnancy was by and large smooth sailing, until the very end – and even then, God came through beautifully and expectedly. She was huge too at 9.5 pounds – God’s exclamation point, I say. I imagine God saying, “Not only am I going to give them a baby, I am going to give them a big, ole healthy, whopper of a baby to make a point!”
We were fortunate. Others have more troubles and the heartbreak they have to endure is unspeakable. All the more reason every child is to be celebrated and loved and adored, for their existence is a gift. And for the parents – whose union of love created this child – this time is yours, whether you are 25 or 55. God will work it all out. For those parents who have angel babies or couples who feel like they have waited too late to try for whatever reason – it’s never too late – whether that’s conceiving or adopting or fostering or just being fully present and there for a child in need. Never give up on your hopes of being a parent.
In all matters, what God has for you, God has for YOU. Know it. Live it. Love it!
Congratulations, Janet and Wissam – and congrats to all of you reading this who are trying to build your families. I am claiming success for you in advance! Praise and celebrate God’s work in your life IN ADVANCE and watch Him show allllll the way out! You may have a 10-pound ‘exclamation point’ of your own sooner than you think!