Munch Turns 8

Happy Birthday to My Little Prince!

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My Dearest Munch:

As we are celebrating your 8th birthday today I just wanted to write you a note to tell you how extremely proud of you I am. I’m proud of the little boy that you’re becoming. You’re smart, creative and easy going. For that I am thankful.

I’ve always referred to you as my anointed gift and each day you continue to remind me how God has blessed me with being your mother. From your infectious laugh, your angry pout and your determined spirit you continue to challenge me to be better. I am and I will. 

I pray that you know that no matter what I love you. I may be stern some days and frustrated at you but know that it is because I know that you can do better. I want you to be better, but above all I want you to try. That’s it. Just Try.

Life isn’t fair. You’ve endured your share of heartaches and disappointments, but I promise you that our God is the same always. He never changes. So with that in mind there are 8 things that I want to share with you on your 8th birthday:

  1. Try your best. I know I keep saying this but it is so true love. Your best is good enough for me when I know you’ve tried. You have to try knowing that sometimes you will fail and that’s okay as long as you’ve tried your best.
  2. Be not afraid. Don’t be afraid to speak up when people are doing things to you that you know are not right. Speak up and use your words and voice as a way to correct or call attention to the situation. I don’t want you to ever be afraid of telling someone when you feel that something is wrong. Be not afraid love.
  3. Grades matter, but your ability to comprehend the work matters more. I don’t care if you get a C in math if I know that you tried your best and in the end you struggled but you finally understood something. This is an important lesson Munch. Your grades tell one part of the story, but you need to understand the work first and foremost. 
  4. You don’t need a lot of friends. I see you get discouraged when kids don’t want to play with you or they don’t want to be your friend. It’s okay. You have to know that not everyone will like you. Some will even resent you. That is their issue and not yours. Don’t worry about it. Keep being polite and just focus on the people who want to play with you. 
  5. Don’t stop dreaming. Dreams are an integral part of life. You must have dreams Munch. Dreams matter. Your dreams matter. Never stop dreaming.
  6. Give it to God. I know that last year caught you by surprise when Bailey (your dog) died. You didn’t understand. Your tears and wails about why won’t God raise Bailey from the dead like he did Jesus broke my heart. But, God hears all and sees all baby. He knows your pain and in time that pain was lessened. Keep giving it to God.
  7. It’s okay to be different. I know that you feel like an outsider sometimes, but it is okay to be different. Each one of us was uniquely created and what makes us different is our differences. Respect those differences and embrace them.
  8. Mind your manners. I know that we keep working on this, but I think it is important that you say  “yes sir”, “no ma’m”. I want you to continue give respect daily. 

My sweet boy, I want you to know that 8 is going to be different. We live in a different home. You’ll be spending more time with me than with your dad, but you need to know that you are loved tremendously by both of us. Your school will change. You will make new friends. You will be okay and you are more than enough.

Love, 

Mommy

The Light

I can smell him before I see him. He enters my room looking for me. First, under the bed and then in the closet where I’m hiding. I can hear him coming towards the closet door. I close my eyes and wait. I don’t want to do it again. I don’t like it. I know that if he finds me he will make me do it again. Tony. I hate Tony.

Tony or as he tells me to call him “Uncle Tony” is mama’s new boyfriend. He is big, dark and strong. He stinks. He smokes and drinks dark colored things out of a red cup. Tony comes to the closet door where I am hiding and grabs my hand. He pulls me to the bed and makes me lie down. “Lift your gown up girl” he says loudly in my ear.  Tears roll slowly down my face. I lift up my gown and he smiles. Uncle Tony has crooked teeth. I hate Uncle Tony.

“Yeah, I like that. You’re so pretty Cassie. You look like a princess.” I hate princesses. Princesses are evil. Princesses get bad things done to them. But, I hate a lot of things. I hate princesses, dolls, the boogey man and police officers. I pretty much hate everything, but Jacob.

Jacob is my only friend. No one knows about Jacob.  Jacob says I have a light and I must let it shine. Jacob tells me that he sees me and God is going to help me. Jacob goes to church. I don’t. Jacob taught me a song about my light.

Mama tells me I don’t have friends. She says that Jacob is not real. She says no one likes me and I can’t have friends because I’m not allowed to go to school or play outside.  But, I know Jacob is real. He teaches me things.

Uncle Tony starts to touch me. Slowly. I cringe with disgust and turn my head. I wish that he would hurry up and leave me alone.

I start to sing. I sing slowly and in a low whisper. The only song I know. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” The smack is hard on my face, “Shut up gal! I can’t concentrate!”

My face hurts and tears begin to fall down my cheeks. I can’t see. I can’t see through the tears. The door opens and I hear a loud bang. I jump. I scream and cover my ears.

I see Uncle Tony hit the floor. I close my eyes hard to the sight of the red ring forming on my floor. Uncle Tony’s eyes are open. I cry harder.

Jacob comes to my bed and shakes me. “Cassie, it’s me! It’s me, Jacob. You’re okay Cassie. I got him.”

I open my eyes and Jacob is smiling. Jacob reminds me about my light. I smile and start to sing. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Loudly.

I look down and see my mama’s gun in my hands and continue singing at the top of my voice “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

 

© Tikeetha Thomas

Father’s Daughter

This is a piece that I wrote in December of last year

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I am my father’s daughter were the words that ruminated in my mind as I boarded my plane home from Tennessee last night. I smiled. I felt the peace settle into my spirit and realized that I am truly happy. Happy to know my father.

I shared my story earlier this year about how my father was an absentee father and how I learned to forgive him. I did forgive him. We started to build that bridge and get closer. I thought we had all the time in the world until he asked me to call him. It was early October.

I did call him. “I have cancer daughter” were the words that he uttered. I broke out in tears. The sobs of a child in mourning were muffled as I covered my mouth and closed my office door. “What” I stammered. “I have cancer baby” he replied. I went numb. He talked about seeing the doctor and his acceptance.

My dad had accepted that it was okay to not want to do treatment. I’ve lived a long life he says. “Dad, you’re 60, that’s not long” I muttered. However, he seemed okay with that. He was tired he told me. He wanted to die. I wanted more time. I wanted memories. How could I make up for the last 31 years missed if he was checking out? How could we get to a place of peace?

I realized a critical point in my life. I had to try. I had to truly forgive and get back to knowing this man. That’s all I could do. I cried. I left work in tears because I couldn’t bear the thought of the man that I was publicly admitting that I loved to not be here anymore. Time was slipping. Time was invaluable. Time was what I wanted. More time. I booked my flight home to Tennessee the following month and began about the task of making sure that I could create some memories.

Memories were just what I created over Thanksgiving. I spent days with my dad and family. Laughing, crying, eating and just visiting him. He spent many days in a melancholy mood obsessing over the past. He was remorseful when he talked about seeing me in 2004 and how he ignored me. He let the tears roll down his face as he said, “I’m so sorry baby”. I smiled and with tears in my eyes I said, “I know daddy. I forgive you. The same God that has granted me grace and mercy all these years has given me the gift of forgiveness.”

I learned so much about my dad and my dad’s family during my brief visit that I am in awe that it took this long. This long for me to know my dad. To know his family. To know his life. To hear him openly talk about his other children with other women. There are at least eight of us. I am the first born girl. The oldest girl he says with pride.

I don’t know if I’m happy that there are so many children that I don’t know, but what I do know is that I will no longer hold on to the past. I will no longer hold him hostage to the pain in my heart because time with him is of the essence. The time we spend is more valuable than holding on to the pain. In this space between peace and forgiveness is a grown woman who openly proclaims that I am my father’s daughter.

I have his eyes. I have his stubborn nature. I have his laugh. I am his. He is mine and even though our time is not known, I promise to spend every minute loving and appreciating this man for who is now.

© Tikeetha Thomas

Saturday Evening Interview 4-23-16

Check out my interview with Lisa from Life Of An El Paso Woman

Life of an El Paso Woman

Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a good weekend so far! I took a little break from Saturday Evening Interviews but…I’m back! Today I have an interview with Tikeetha Thomas from A Thomas Point of View. Tikeetha blogs about being a single parent, her life and so much more. You can check out her blog here. Please help me welcome Tikeetha here on Life of an El Paso Woman!

ME: I know you’ve been blogging for several years now. What’s kept you blogging for several years? Life. Or the fact that it is free therapy has kept me blogging for several years. I took about a 5 year hiatus where I occasionally blogged (once or twice a year) when I had time. I was a new mother and juggling work and my husband’s diagnosis. At the end of my marriage, I realized I was drowning. So many emotions were being played out…

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Rumblings From The Weary One

Hey folks,

It’s been super busy, but I wanted to just let you know that you are missed and momma’s tired. I am trying to read each and every post so bear with me if I’m late or out of order. I thankfully can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to.

Updates…

  • I hired movers on April 18th to do my move instead of using my friends. Why? Because people get tired and say that they are going to help you, but they don’t. It may not be their fault, but I needed to vacate the premises on the 23rd and clean up. I rented the U-haul and used their Moving Help piece and loved it. My best friend supervised the movers and they moved me in and out in less than 3 hours. How awesome is that?
  • Speaking of awesome, I have to say a HUGE thank you to my two best friends, Sam and Nikki, for all of their help. Sam has been coming over for the last month taking out boxes and bags of items to be donated. Nikki has been coming over with her OCD having self and packing boxes to perfection. They both have some form of OCD and they were making sure things were done while I was at work on Friday during the day.  The night before the move, Nikki came back and we finished packing and moved all the boxes to the living room. That made it easier for the movers to come in and move us quickly. Didn’t I tell you they were wonderful?
  • I’m exhausted though because I’m living in a sea of boxes. Munch is with his dad this week so I will hopefully have his room set-up and ready for him when he returns on Friday. We’ll see. I’m lifting boxes and going up and down stairs getting steps in that have never been recorded on my step tracker.
  • I did get some quality time with Mr. C on Saturday for dinner and hanging out. Very cool. He actually met my mother. Weird, but true. My mother says to him, “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve heard so much about you, but did she tell you about her fabulous mother?” Really mom? So, you see why I don’t lack in the confidence arena right?
  • This week will be busy with me cleaning the former residence, voting (our primaries are today), hopefully squeezing in a couple of workouts, trying to do dinner with friends and culminating with Munch’s 8th birthday extravaganza on Saturday. He has swim class Saturday morning, a soccer game right after and then his party later on. He’s going to be both exhausted and excited so I’m going to try and get a nap in there for him. However, he has asked that I bring cupcakes and juice boxes to school on Friday because his class likes them and he wanted to do something special with them. Are you serious? I’m doing it, but dang. I’m tired.

That’s my week in review. I hope you’re enjoying some of these scheduled posts. I promise to respond to each and every comment. Please bear with me though because I’m a little weary.

Excited

So, this happened….

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Restored Ministries is one of my favorite blogs. The blog gives it like it is by sharing personal stories of failures, successes and how God moved in you. I’ve said it before that I’m a Christian and I love reading all kinds of blogs. This blog speaks to me about where you’ve been and where you can go when you just trust. It’s like God is whispering in your ear and you have that Aha moment and your life comes into focus.

I’m excited to share my story with them and I will be sure to link back here. Please check out this blog of faith, hope and strength. Trust me you will be blessed.

Bucket List Update

This is an update to my original post on a bucket list for Munch. I wrote this list over 4 years ago. He was 3 at the time. I wanted to update you on some of the items.

I read on a parenting website about parents creating a “bucket list” of sorts for their children. The “bucket list” is things they would like to do with their children before they become adults. I was surprised at some of the responses from parents from fishing in Alaska to an African Safari to making sure to kiss and hug them every night before they go to bed. So, reading this article got me to thinking…what things do I want to do with Munch before he becomes an adult?

I came up with a list of 21 things that I would like to do with Munch by the time he’s 21. It is in no real order except number one. I would like to accomplish each and every item with him. I know that technically he will be an adult at 18, but we all know that you’re not truly an adult until you can legally take a drink. Here is my bucket list of the top 21 things I want to do with Munch by the time he’s 21:
  1. Tell, show and help him understand about God. I want him to see and recognize that we are not alone and that God is the center of our life and all things are possible through him. He needs to experience the church, the Bible and learn to have unmovable faith in God. Update: Munch is on his way. He accepted Christ as his personal savior and got baptized last year right after turning 7.
  2. Take him to Europe. I love the thought of traveling to Europe to explore the countryside, architecture, the Louvre, the Vatican and all the other landmarks that I have only read about. I want fourteen days so we can spend it on a trek through Europe just exploring.
  3. Take him on a trek through the slave trade. We know we came from Africa, but where? I want to chase our ancestry back to Africa and follow the trail from Africa to Portugal to the U.S. I learned when I was in college that my ancestry could be traced as far back to Portugal. I want to go further.
  4. Teach him to appreciate his heritage and explore many other cultures. I think you become well-rounded when you know many different civilizations other than your own. After all Mahatma Gandhi said, “No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.” Update: We spent a great deal learning about Black History this year. Since he’s learning French we’re going to incorporate French speaking blacks into our curriculum. There is a lot to cover and he’s only 7, but we’ll get there.
  5. Teach him to speak another language fluently. Oh, how I wish I could speak another language fluently. The world is ever changing and the gift of being bi-lingual is one that he will appreciate throughout his lifetime. Update: Munch is in a French speaking school so he actually knows how to speak French fluently now. I am giving him two more years of solely French and then introducing Spanish.
  6. Take him to explore two states each summer. He needs to travel out of his comfort zone and see America the Beautiful. I want to increase his love for this country. Update: We haven’t done this. But, I’m taking him to Florida and Tennessee this year so he will get some exposure to places outside of his normal day to day routine.
  7. Teach him how to swim. This is one item that we will never falter on. I can’t stand the thought of him not knowing how to swim. Update: He’s in swim class and is in level 3. He takes his exam at the end of the month and hopefully will move to level 4. There are 6 levels in the program. Yay!
  8. Teach him how to share. I want him to share not only his toys, but his time, his wealth and his abilities. I want him to know that God loves a cheerful giver and it is your right as a human to help others. Update: LOL. He’s an only child so this is a work in progress. 
  9. Take him to the Caribbean. I want to watch him stick his feet in the water and his toes get sand in between them on the beaches of Mexico or the Bahamas. Update: He’s been to Mexico and I’m looking at taking him to the Bahamas next year.
  10. Take him to Disney World. I think that every child should experience Mickey’s hand on theirs or running through Cinderella’s castle. After all, he looks at my wedding photos (with my tiara) and says, “My mommy is a princess”. Update: He’s going to Disney in November.
  11. Teach him how to fight. I know many of you think fighting is bad and I agree that violence doesn’t solve anything, but I want him to be a strong fighter physically and mentally. I want him to learn how to defend himself against a bully. The best lesson I ever learned is that once you knock someone out, they don’t want to fight you anymore. Update: He’s in Tae Kwan Do, but I will introduce boxing at 10.
  12. Teach him how to love. I think children are taught the fundamental principles of love from their parents. However, now that his dad and I are divorced. I worry that he will not see how adults are supposed to love each other. I guess in the divorce, I want him to know that heartache is a part of life and that you have to keep trying and never giving up on love because God never gives up on us.
  13. Teach him how to forgive. This is one lesson that is often overlooked when it comes to parenting. We are so busy teaching our children not to be bullies, play sports or play an instrument that we forget that they ultimately need to know that forgiveness frees you to move on. If God forgives me for sins how can I not forgive others?
  14. Teach him the importance of family. Your family is what you make it. It’s not always blood, but it could be your friends who become your family. We have a great group of people who love and support us at every turn and we want the same thing for Munch. We want him to see that he needs to strengthen his familial bonds and keep in touch via handwritten letters, emails, calls and visits.
  15. Take him to Spain. I love the country of Spain and even though I can’t remember it much from childhood, I think it is a beautiful place full of great food, people and culture. I want him to swim off the Canary Islands.
  16. Teach him how to cook and sew. I know he’s a boy, but come on. He needs to know how to hem a pair of slacks and cook himself a meal so that he won’t have to wait on a woman to do it. He needs to be self-sufficient.
  17. Teach him the importance of money. I think that all parents should strive to teach your child how to balance a checkbook, credit and debt. It wasn’t a lesson I learned and I had to rebuild. I don’t want him to do a trial and error process. I want him to get it from the beginning. Update: He got his first check from his Grandma last Christmas and I took him to the bank to deposit it. He was so excited. I normally just transfer money into his account each pay period so I guess I never thought how important the whole check and banking thing would be. I’m proud though.
  18. Teach him about politics. Not what political party he should be a part of, but the necessary fundamentals of our government so that he can be a concerned citizen that believes in exercising his right to vote. Update: His dad and I always take him with us to vote. Let him see the democratic process in play. Election day for us is April 26th.
  19. Teach him the lesson of defeat. Life is not fair and you won’t win at everything, but understand that you are the captain of your soul and it’s not always the destination, but the journey. Learn from every loss and regroup. I want him to know that you don’t have to be perfect, just try your best. Update: This is a work in progress. He learned this when it came to getting his first “D” and with losing soccer games. All we ask is that you try your best and your best is always good enough for us. But, this is going to take time because there will be many more losses.
  20. Teach him the importance of abstinence. Abstinence may be a distant memory or myth in some circles and I know he may never listen to me, but I want him to know that his body is a temple and that if he waits on a wife, he will be giving her the best gift ever…the gift of him.
  21. Take him to Las Vegas to celebrate his 21st birthday. I want his last birthday party to be one that I throw for him and 21 of his friends in Las Vegas.
Whew! That is an exhaustive list. I hope that I can cross of all of the things on his bucket list. So, what’s on your child’s bucket list?