The beginning chapters– Drops of blood

You have to check out http://www.lynzrealcooking.com if you haven’t already done so. Whew! Her personal stories will have you ready to buy the rights to her life story and sell it to Hollywood. Not to mention her beautiful food recipes and photos. Check her out!

lynz real cooking

Outside temperatures in Riyadh dipped down, making life inside the villa bearable. The door stood ajar and the brown plastic window remained cracked, both bringing a much needed breeze but also giving another point of entry for lizards and cockroaches. After six weeks in Saudi, life had improved dramatically but it still seemed we were living a make shift existence, one that I assumed had been left behind in Seattle. See See and Foof ran around the villa playing made up games, bed pads were stacked to make forts and reinforced with pillows and blankets. The older boys attended Arabic school, struggling with the language and behavior of both students and teachers. I walked down the street to pick them up at the end of each day, listening to stories that fueled my frustration and posed the question, “why had we come to this place?” Contractions came and went as I…

View original post 1,188 more words

Randomness on Leap Year!

Yes, it’s the last day of February and leap year. How awesome is that? I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of purpose and actually well rested. So, let me tell you six random things on this beautiful leap year day.

  • My son sang with the Sunbeam choir at church yesterday for the Black History Month Presentation. He looked so cute in his little dress shirt and bow tie. Very handsome. However, he continued to wave at me and his family most of the performance and at one point in the service I thought he had caught the holy spirit with his dancing and singing. It was hard to tell. I just smiled at the boy who gives me so much joy.
  • I didn’t see Mr. C this weekend at all. Can you believe it? It’s the first time in 5 months that I haven’t seen him on a Saturday. It was weird. He felt bad, but it was cool. I hung out with my girlfriend Saturday night for some much-needed quality time. She’s trying to convince me to come to Vegas in May and as much as I want to I can’t do it. It’s not the money as much as the time frame. I can’t do it then. Ugh!
  • I took off my acrylic nails and got a manicure Friday night. My nail tech is the best. I make bi-weekly hair and nail maintenance a part of my budget. I am now rocking my “real nails” and hopefully I won’t bite them off. It truly is a bad habit. But, don’t my nails look cute though?

image

  • I’m in full party planning mode for Munch’s 8th birthday party on April 30th. His birthday falls on a Saturday this year and he told me that he wanted a pool party. All the dang swimming pools are booked on his birthday. I was explaining this to him and he said, “What does booked mean?” Ugh! I hate those type of questions because I feel like I can’t explain it to him in 7-year-old terms. We are having a Sonic birthday party.
  • I got some boxes and started taping them up this weekend for the move. I have so much to do and I’m looking around overwhelmed. I am praying for strength because moving sucks and it can be a lot. I just have to keep motivating myself to do something everyday so that I won’t be crunching it at the last-minute.
  • It’s the last day of Black History Month and I didn’t get a chance to highlight some of the people who I wanted to. I thought okay, I can spend time over the next 12 months highlighting some folks of notable interest. I don’t have to stop in February. I can keep going and that’s what I’m planning to do. People that I know. Some that I don’t that are making a difference in the community.

 

That’s about all the randomness going on right now. I hope you have a wonderful Monday and leap year!

 

My Baby is Black and Beautiful

Yes, he is. Can you tell that I’m proud? Just a little huh? This week has been a rough one, but I’m happy to say that we finished the PTSA program last night with my sweet munch doing an awesome job.

The PTSA program was a hit. All the children and performances were wonderful. I love his school. They encourage these children and let me tell you that the PTSA is very active and encouraging to me as a parent. For that, I am thankful.

Munch looked handsome for the ladies last night. Which is what he said. He actually told me that he wanted to wear this shirt and tie because he would say “Good-bye men and Hello Ladies!” WTH? I was floored.

He did look handsome though and his black is beautiful.

Here are some pictures:
image
image
image
image</a
image

image

If you would like to check out his video of the performance, you can watch it below:

 

Parenting isn’t Perfect

Thank you so much dear readers for all of your comments over my last post “I’m Failing Too”. The outpour of love, support and encouragement has been invaluable. You really are my village and I’m encouraged by that.

I wanted to share this great comment from a reader about my post:

Thanks for that insightful dialogue. I wish I knew what you’ve already grasp while raising my son as a single parent. He and I would have a better relationship and he would not be burden with the guilt of being a failure and responsible for everything and every body. You see as being a stressed out single parent I was quick to point out how his actions and attitude and wants and needs contributed to my already stressful and guilt ridden life. I wished I had taken more time to enjoy the wonderful and amazing young boy he was and let him now he was wonderful just the way he was and gotten him the help and support he needed along the way.

First, I was so thankful that she read and responded to my post. But, I wanted to say this to her and all parents out there…parenting isn’t perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. It gets hard. We just hope we don’t damage our children too much along the way.

I completely understood where she was coming from. My mother was a stressed out single parent after my dad left. It was hard. She took out her anger, stress and frustrations on me because I was the oldest. She may think of it differently, but that was one of the reasons that I didn’t want to have children. I was afraid of being a single parent.

Nothing is ever guaranteed. You get married and you don’t expect to get divorced or to have your partner die. These are life events that could totally change you. Adjusting is hard for some. Easier for others. I have a confession…it was hard for me too.

What changed? I knew when my marriage ended that I would never, ever, ever let my son feel like I did growing up. I was going to partner with him. I was going to make him feel loved, valued and appreciated. I was going to constantly remind him that he mattered to me and that my life would be nothing if he wasn’t in it. So, I do.

That may be why everyone thinks I’m a great mother, but I try. I try daily. However, it isn’t easy and some parents succumb to the stress. It is so easy to do so. In my mother’s case, she was busy working 3 jobs to keep a roof over our head, clothes on our back and food on the table.

This didn’t leave her with much time to love, cuddle and nurture my little spirit. She was busy being the financial provider, disciplinarian and educator. She wore multiple hats and that didn’t allow her to be what I needed.

As a child I couldn’t understand the enormous amounts of stress she was under and how that played out in her parenting. It just created a wedge between us where I wanted to escape. I wanted to get far away from my “mean mommy” and find someone who could love me. But who? My dad wasn’t around.

When I met and married my son’s father I knew that he wanted to have children. More than anything he wanted to be a father. I agreed. We sat in pre-marital counseling and the Rev. asked “Do you know what her biggest fear is?” He replied “Yes, she’s afraid of being a mother. Which is crazy. She’s a phenomenal aunt and great with children.”

When I agreed to have children my biggest fears played out during my pregnancy and in the early stages of raising him. But, he was fine. He was doing things in his own time. I loved him for who he was…God’s gift to me.

When my marriage ended, I tried to protect him as much as possible. Some days were good. Some days were bad, but I never wanted him to feel like it was his fault. I keep children out of adult’s business and I’ve cried more times alone in my room while he was sleep only to wake up, wash my face and fix him breakfast. Life will go on.

I try not to let the stresses that I endure affect him. It’s easier said than done, I know, but I don’t want him to feel like I felt. That is my driving motivation to be better. To do better. I don’t have it all together and most days I feel like I’m winging it, but trust me it will get easier.

We just have to love and do our best. Parenting isn’t perfect. Each child is different. Each situation is different. But, you will survive.

And So It Begins

Today is going to be a L-O-N-G day. Munch’s project was due today. No exceptions. It was another rainy day in Maryland and I had to use a large trash bag to cover his project up so that it didn’t get wet. We worried over that this morning at 7 am. But, I’m happy to say that we completed it.
image

 

I told Munch to return the trash bag today so that we waste not want not. LOL. Don’t judge me. I ran outside to tell the before care driver to please make sure that Munch doesn’t leave his project in the van. It can’t be late or he will get a zero. He said okay. Kisses good-bye to my beautiful son and then I had to rush to get ready.

I had a follow-up doctor’s appointment on my right shoulder that’s been bothering me for the last month. I had the MRI’s done on Monday so I was anxious to find out what the heck is going on with me. The pain was subdued now because of the medications. I can actually go a whole 24 hours without a pain pill.

The results were inconclusive. No major damage. No spinal damage. No pinched nerves. He recommended therapy 2 times a week for the next 4 weeks and then follow-up again. Ugh! I then rushed to work in another rainy mess of a day.

I get to work and begin working and looked down to check my messages and found out that my son left his book bag in the van. The front office called me. Ugh! A call and a couple of text messages to the director of the center. He needs his book bag. His lunch and Tae Kwan Do uniform are in it. The director called back to say he would bring it. I called the school and said that Munch can eat at the cafeteria because I have money on his account.

Tonight is his presentation on Maya Angelou for the PTSA’s Black History Month Program. I’m excited. I wrote the speech yesterday and we worked on it last night. My best friend said, “Let me see it. She was your literary hero so the report is probably too long.” He cut it in half. Ugh! Munch will probably like it better.

I will let you know how it worked out tomorrow. Wish us luck!

 

I Will Try – And So Should You

I’m writing this post in response to Jacqueline’s Tuesday Trickle over at A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales. Every Tuesday she does a ‘Thinking Corner’ sharing positivity and encouragement. Love the idea. So, here’s mine…

Sometimes I feel like enough is never enough. How much more can I give? How much more can I take? I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I’m drowning. I can’t seem to get ahead. I feel like I’m failing. Why can’t I seem to get through this funk?  I feel like giving up.

Anything sound familiar?

Yep, that’s what I was feeling until I read Jacqueline’s post this morning. I was driving into work this morning and talking to my best friend and explaining what was going on with me. I wrote a post today about how I feel like I’m failing my son.

I uttered “I feel like giving up” in a low voice. He said, “You can’t give up. You have to keep fighting. You have to keep going.” I mumbled “Okay” and got off the phone to listen to gospel music.  I started to pray in my car. With gospel music blaring and tears streaming down my eyes and the rain pounding on my windshield.

I was having a true “Come to Jesus” moment. I was praying and crying and driving (which I don’t recommend driving in hard pounding rain and crying) but God was interceding on my behalf. I just kept on saying “God, I surrender all”. Because sometimes that’s all you can do.

Surrender all. God allowed me to come in safely to work and read Jacqueline’s post and be inspired to know that I have to keep on keeping on. When the mountain gets rough and it seems impassable I have to remember that there are angels watching over me. That I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My message to you is simple…Try and don’t give up! We all get overwhelmed. We all feel as though we are failing, but I promise you that our break through is coming. We have to keep pushing on. No one said it would be easy, but I promise you like my grandma said, “Trouble don’t last always”.

Your being able to read this post today is proof of that. Wipe away those tears and know that you are not alone my friend. We will be victorious!

I’m Failing Too

So, I read this great post from a fellow blogger, Deborah the Closet Monster. Please head over to her blog and check it out. But, I wanted to write a piece about her angst that she’s failing her child. I have a confession… I feel that way sometimes.

Heck, many of you reading this post may feel that way too. Working mothers constantly feel like we’re failing our children. Maybe it’s hormones. I don’t know. But, it hurts like heck.

Especially when your son gets a “D” in math. Yep, a “D”. My baby boy got his first “D”. He has no concept of letter grades. He asked “Did I do good? Are you proud of me mommy?” “Yes” I replied. I shuddered when I looked at the report card. He’s 7. He needs help. I knew it. I watched him struggle. I hired a tutor. Too late.

It’s hard being a working mother. A working mother that enjoys working and knows that she’s a better mother because she works. It is hard as heck! No, I’m not trying to say that working mothers should get a pass (okay maybe I am) but what I’m advocating for is the ability to be able to work and raise our families without something or someone suffering.

I thought it was just me. I thought I was the only woman in America suffering from being a working mom, cleaning house, washing clothes, doing homework and then having time for me that includes dating, girl time and sleeping. Mr. C. said “You like to sleep”. I responded, “Yep, I do.” I’m exhausted all the time.

Sleep rejuvenates me. There are days that I don’t get enough and I feel like I’m depriving myself of my God given right to rest. So, life suffers. That load of laundry is still packed high, I need to pack up my house because I’m moving, I need to take down my Christmas tree (don’t judge me) and I need to figure out the next 60 days.

It’s almost Spring and Munch is registered for swim classes that start the first weekend in March and spring soccer. Oh, he still takes Tae Kwan Do and has tutoring. He has church school and sings in the church choir. When he’s not busy with all those activities, I’m helping with homework and projects.

Right now as I’m writing this post, I’m supposed to be sending questions to two women that I’m interviewing for black history month, working on Munch’s oral presentation at the PTSA’s Black History Month program tomorrow night and finishing up his latest IB project for school on natural resources. Oh, did I mention that he’s in a French school and the whole thing has to be in French? Yep, I’m busy.

I’m not alone. There are are a lot of us suffering in silence. How do we balance it all? I don’t have anyone to share the household chores with me. I don’t have anyone who can tag team and work on a project while I write the presentation and cook dinner. It’s due on my week, so it’s my responsibility.

It gets overwhelming. But, we have to do it. We have to stop feeling guilty about what doesn’t get done and focus on what gets done. It’s called parenting. I don’t care if I don’t get on the recommended 4 websites the teachers want him to access each night. I don’t have time. I have to make sure that he eats dinner, does his homework and has the recommended rest in order to start the day over again.

Your recommended websites are a  great tool to supplement classroom learning, but I have no time to log on each night. I started creating worksheets to provide supplemental help in Math. It’s still new to us. I’m tired of feeling like he’s never going to get math. He will. Someday. I will continue to work with him. I will keep paying a tutor and I will keep encouraging him to try his best. I’m not going to stress. I will throw a load into the laundry, kiss and cuddle munch and help with his project and oral presentations.

Munch gets sad when we talk about the “D”. He feels bad. I told him that it’s okay. I will get him help and I will work with him. He looks at me sadly. All I can do is love and encourage him in spite of feeling like I’m failing him. Because he won’t learn everything at the moment he’s supposed to, but I promise you that he will learn it.