Life of Regrets

It is at the end of a man or woman’s life that they really begin to ponder things. Did I live a good life? Did I enjoy it? Was I good person? Did I leave the world a better place than when I found it?

Or at least I hope that is what we’ll do.

I have been thinking a lot about the life yet lived and the mistakes that we make when faced with the possibility of death. No, I’m not dying. I’ve been sick, but I’m recuperating. That’s why my posts have seemed erratic lately. Please bear with me.

But, I told ya’ll last week that my daddy had a pace maker put in and I was worried about him. His family was calling and asking me about a living will and what do I want to do with the surgery and being his decision maker. I started freaking out. What do you mean? Is he conscious? Can’t he make the decisions on his own? I don’t know about the will. He mentioned it a few times, but I’ve seen or signed nothing. Ugh!

I was overwhelmed and frustrated to say the least. I was told they would call me back and they didn’t. I just called the hospital and spoke to his nurse in ICU. He was conscious. He was able to make the decisions on his healthcare. He wanted the pacemaker.

I got answers. I was happy that the hospital was being very concerned about my dad’s health. They took down my phone number and called me. There was a wonderful nurse who told me she was trying to let the social worker know what my daddy needed when he went home. He needed a nurse. He needed help. He didn’t have a phone.

She asked me about my dad’s military service. My dad said he was a vet. He is. He is a vet. He was dishonorably discharged. The nurse said “He told me he wasn’t dishonorably discharged and he has papers to prove it.” I sighed. It was 1:30 in the morning. I responded in exasperation “My daddy is an alcoholic. He’s had a drinking problem all his life or at least for the last 35 years. Too much drinking and smoking. His brain cells are gone. He can’t produce any paperwork and I’m too tired to argue.”

She was sympathetic as I explained that I am the only one of a possible 9 children still speaking to him. One out of 9. That’s his life. So, I have no reason to lie. He’s broke and sick. He’s one of the forgotten. I just don’t know how to feel.

She understood. She listened as I explained that God had told me to forgive my daddy. That God told me that it in order for me to be blessed I had to let go of all the pain my daddy caused by not being in my life. She said “Me too. I know exactly what you mean.” She said she would help him. She would exhaust her resources.

Apply for Medicare. Do everything she can. Thank God for her.

She didn’t have to go above and beyond. It was appreciated. I wasn’t there. I knew at that moment that I needed to go home to see about him.

I talked to him the next day. He was moved to ICU to his own room. I called and heard his voice. He’s alive. He’s able to make his decisions. I told him the calls I received from his relatives. He said that he knew.

I was exhausted. Emotionally and mentally. It’s hard loving a man that you don’t really know. I’ve spent 11 years of my life with this man and 31 without him. It’s hard trusting him to not come in my life and hurt me again. I’m not his only child. I’m one of many.

My dad said that he wants me to contact his other children. To reach out to them and ask them to talk to him. I won’t. I can’t.

I feel that God gave me the message in order to move me from the pain to the promise. He may not have given my siblings that message. It’s not for me to clean up my daddy’s mess. I’ve said to him that he needs to find a way to clean up his own mess. That you can’t ask me to do what you should have done a long time ago. Be a man to your children.

I know that he’s living a life of regrets right now, but I can’t help him. We are all responsible for the choices we make. Good, bad or indifferent, you have to know that there will come a time when payment is due for your negligence. I wish that his regrets were more of the life not traveled, but I know they are more about the man he wasn’t and the forgotten children.

He Likes

The way I kiss him.

The way I hold him.

The way that I explain difficult concepts.

The way that I spoil him.

The way that I believe in him.

The way that I scream his name.

The way that I tickle him.

He also likes…

The color of my lip gloss.

I smile.

It was bright red that day.

I replied, “It’s not gloss, but lipstick”

I bent over and kissed his perfect face

He had a pair of red lips on his face

I smiled

“I love you Munch”

“I love you too Mommy” he replied.

Kisses

He likes many things about me

My kisses are what he’ll remember

When he grows up and leaves me to find his own way

I will remember the day that I wore red lipstick

Not my usual lip gloss

And kissed the face of my sweet 8 year old angel

Red kisses

Red

The color of red

Blood is red

The stain on his shoes when he scrapped his knee

The blood gushing from his nose bleeds

I pray

That the color red

Will never be more than sweet kisses

On his face

Or scrapes when he falls

Or random inconvenient nose bleeds

I pray for no red sheets draped over his body

As he lays in the street

A victim

A child

My child

Who liked my red kisses

© Tikeetha Thomas

These Are Perilous Times

I didn’t want to write this. Another post about the injustices of those who are supposed to serve and protect killing two men last week. The videos. Social media. I couldn’t. I was too emotionally drained. Angry. Frustrated. Scared. Heartbroken.

So, I prayed. I prayed for healing for our nation. I prayed for the families of the victims. I prayed for the families of the officers who committed these heinous crimes. I prayed for the officers murdered in Dallas. I prayed.

In times of trouble there is not much I can do but write, protest and pray.

I can use my words to talk about the things that black parents feelbut you know.

I can talk to you about how I’m afraid for our black men dying at the hands of policebut you know.

I can talk to you about how I feel about our black girls dying too – but you know.  

I can tell you how it feels to be the mother of a black boy – but you can probably guess.

So, what is the purpose of this post? To simply ask you to look through a different lens. A lens outside of your own. Take me for example…Let’s see, you know that I love my son more than life itself. That he is the reason that I truly understand God’s love because he gifted him to me. You know that. You know that I spoil him, chastise him, kiss him, run him back and forth to the many activities and I record every moment of his life. Afraid to miss anything.

He is valuable.

He was wonderfully created and made by God.

Just like each of you.

But, I can’t understand why in this country we wear blinders and act like racism doesn’t exist. Let me break it down for you…It does. I’ve experienced it first-hand.

Do I believe that every white person is a racist or that every situation is about race? No, I don’t. Many black people don’t believe that either. But, I need you to understand this…we have to stop acting like we can’t talk about race or that racism doesn’t exist. 

When you can justify the killing of two black men as “they were probably doing something wrong” you’re part of the problem.  When you can write about someone’s past as fact and they are the victim,  you’re part of the problem. We have a problem people. Let’s own the problem and find a solution. 

Will you ever understand what it feels like to be black? No. No more than I can imagine what it’s like to be white, gay, Jewish or Muslim but that doesn’t mean that I don’t empathize with other human beings when things happen in communities outside my own.

We’re all human.

We all matter.

We were all created by God!

A righteous and just God that I have faith will heal this hurting nation.

Can you understand that?

I, like most black parents, fear for my son. I fear that he will be presumed guilty if he ever encounters a police officer. Judged on the streets and not the courtroom. He will be judged not by a righteous and just man. But, by someone who will see his beautiful skin color as a threat. It won’t matter that he’s a child or that he has no criminal background. He will be assumed guilty because he is black.

So, I want to know that the public servants (law enforcements) who may encounter my son treat him fairly. The way that they treat others who look like them. If they do shoot my son unjustly, I want the person to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It’s that simple.

Do you know what it’s like to not let your son play with certain toys because you don’t want him to get gunned down like Tamir Rice? No toy guns. No real guns. Even though you have a right to bear arms in this country, the second amendment wasn’t designed to protect you Munch!

That’s what I have to explain to him. That’s what I have to tell my son someday. Our dirty laundry that the history books leave out. Do you tell your children the truth about our country’s history or do you omit it hoping and praying for better days?

The whole “if you don’t know your history you’re bound to repeat it” rings in my head. Are we repeating history? Silently. This thumping with the songs from my ancestors playing lowly in the background…We Shall Overcome!

We shall overcome.

When we stand united.

When we stand as one loving people knowing that we won’t allow the bad apples of our society to taint our generation.

To stain the fabric of our humanity.

We shall overcome.

 

Black Woman Dating

I follow a blogger, Bougie Black Girl, who I absolutely adore. So, while strolling Facebook on Monday night I saw this post:

I was actually floored. Why? Because it seemed like she was suggesting that in order for a man to recognize your worth he had to pay for a pricey dinner. Really?

I get that women undervalue themselves when dating, but when did my value become synonymous with how much you’re willing to pay for dinner? I tend to look at dating as a preview of whether or not we’re compatible. I will never ask you to spend $300 on a first date or any date where we are not in a relationship. If you choose to do so, then great, if not, I will enjoy my scallops just the same at McCormick & Schmick’s without you having to break the bank.

Many people don’t make it past a first date. Whether of their choice or mine, I don’t like to waste any one’s time. So, I will pick a place that is family friendly with a lot of witnesses, affordable to me and is well lit. LOL! My first date with Mr. C was at The Cheesecake Factory. Why? Because I wanted to go there. I had recently discovered that they had a fit menu and I wanted to eat healthier and drink healthier. He was cool with that.

I think the issue of black women accepting less than they are worth (think Netflix and chill) stems from us never having known our true value. It starts with us loving ourselves and providing for ourselves. I’m not taking anything away from a man not being able to provide, but a man paying for a $300 meal tells me nothing about his character, his finances or his ability to provide long-term for me. What was his childhood like? What are his spending habits like? Does he have money saved for retirement?

I get that we don’t want to date anymore “broke a** men” but in order to change our mindset we need to heal from our bad experiences. Release and reflect on our choices and accept that they were our bad choices. We learn from them. We move on. We move beyond the BS into making better choices. For our future. For our children.

Now, before ya’ll get your panties in a bunch and say “Well, T I want him to know that I’m the prize and he can’t just be cheap with me” I get it. Did you tell him that? In your conversations. I mean you can learn a lot about a man by just talking to him. Does that mean he will listen? Nope, but neither does breaking his bank. I would rather a man take me somewhere he can afford (that is within my dining standards) than to splurge on something that he can’t and then be disrespectful by asking for sex afterwards.

Dating is supposed to be fun. It’s the courtship of getting to know and respect each other. It’s a process. No amount of money spent will guarantee that you actually enjoy the date.  Take your time and meet people who first respect you and secondly will pay for dinners. It doesn’t have to be super expensive. If you don’t know what a Michelin star is should you really be asking a man to take you to a restaurant that has 3 Michelin stars?

I’m just saying.

Will I go out for dinner at McDonald’s? Umm, nope. But, I will go to Friday’s or Ruby Tuesday’s if it’s not a pay week. I’m versatile.

A Tired Black Woman

Dear Black Man,

I’m tired of you and everyone in America trying to tell me what beauty is. I am beautiful. Because I am one of God’s greatest creations. My beauty is not defined in how I choose to wear my hair or the clothes on my back. My beauty is both spiritual and physical. You don’t have to recognize it. You don’t have to appreciate it. You don’t have to even accept it. But, you know what I need you to do?

Stop trying to tell me that I’m not beautiful because I choose to perm my hair or color it. Stop trying to tear me down and say that I can’t accept criticism. Cause you know what? I can. I do. Every single day. When I go to work to take care of the children that I have to raise on my own while you live your life. You know the children that I carried for 9 months. The children who have your eyes or my lips? Those children.

Those children that are being gunned down in the streets or on the playground. Those children that are being unfairly or harshly disciplined in their schools. Those children that are being shuffled into Special Education because they are too active in the classroom. I’m working to raise them.

To try and teach them self-love and how to interact with law enforcement. How to be respectful of all adults. Of how they should notify me if there is a problem with a teacher or another student. Of how to stand up for what they believe in but not too much to draw attention that they become a target.

I have to go to work everyday in corporate America after waking up alone and getting our children fed and off to school. I work my butt off at a job that doesn’t pay me what I’m worth but I don’t complain. I look at graduate school programs during my lunch break, send emails to the teacher about our children’s grades or schedule doctor’s appointments.

Oh look, it’s been 3 years since I had my last physical, mammogram or PAP smear. No worries though. My personal health is not important right now. The kids are up on their shots, I am running for PTSA President and I am able to send our son to sleep away camp for a couple of weeks this summer. Wait, let me schedule our daughter’s hair appointment, pick up the dry cleaning and get home to do dinner and homework.

I’m exhausted. It doesn’t matter though. I still have to review homework. Clean the kitchen, put the kids to bed and log on to my computer and check work emails. I have to prove my worth, by showing my boss that I am always thinking about work. I am after all…superwoman. I’m supposed to be both invincible and invaluable.

Later that night when I finally drag myself into bed, I will cry myself to sleep because you aren’t there to hear my tears. I will pray that God will heal your heart and spirit against me. Because I am not your enemy. I also pray that God doesn’t harden my heart to you dear black man. Because if he does, what do you think will become of our children’s future?

Signed,

A Tired Black Woman