I held him in my arms. In awe. This little black boy was mine. I couldn’t believe that I did this. That God allowed me to be the vessel for this little prince. My son. I stared in amazement.
His color hadn’t come in. His melanin would be a rich coco brown. A combination between his father and I. I smelled him. I kissed him. I loved him. I couldn’t describe the feelings that I was experiencing. It was surreal.
I created life. A trying delivery and I couldn’t really bond with him. I couldn’t find the strength to hold him yesterday after his birth. The drugs. They were plentiful and being pumped in my IV. I was sore from the C-section and they didn’t even get me up to walk.
“You need to rest mama” the Ethiopian nurse urged. I sighed. I was exhausted. I could barely explain the overwhelmingly feeling of being drugged and unable to lift my arms. Many visitors came to see this beautiful boy. Our joy personified.
He just slept. No worries. No cries. Just sleeping in peace. I couldn’t believe it. I smiled that night that I went to sleep. Times were changing. My son was born at an important time. We had the first real candidate Barack Obama running for President. I prayed that he would win. He was a black man. My son was black. I wanted him to see himself in Barack and I wanted to tell him that he could be anyone or anything in this world and truly mean it. He could be President of the United States. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
I just snuggled more. Kissed more and prayed that his life is as God has planned. I thanked the Almighty for hearing my pleas when his life was in jeopardy. I thanked him for giving me joy. For giving me this black boy that I would love and protect with everything in me. One day.
One day. He was one day old. Would he be safe?
This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “B” is for Black. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.
I announced last week that I would be participating in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April and that you could sign up to participate from now until April 1st. This is my first time participating and I’m excited to announce my theme. My theme for the month of April will be:
Mothering While Black
I will be writing it in a journal theme and trying to share with you thoughts about mothering while black. I hope you like it. As stated, I will try to keep my posts to once a day as to not overwhelm your inbox.
Sign-up for the challenge and let me know. I would love to follow your posts as well. See you on Sunday.
That being said, me being a creative man, I gravitate toward things that are colorful and vibrant. By colorful, I mean that literally and figuratively. Women of color just astonish me. That means, Indian, Native American, African, Latin, Arabian, Polynesian, Asian and anyone else I left out.
Why do I Love Women of Color?
Not just because of a skin color, but because of the heritage, the culture they all come from and the history of said culture.
From the beauty and vocals of Dorothy Dandridge, to the dancing grace of Maria TallChief. Or, we can easily tout the powerful presence of Eva Peron or Tejano vocalist Selena Quintanilla-Peréz. What about the eminence of Hatsheput or the Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement Rosa Parks? I find all of them the most attractive. Not just physically but on a much more profound level.
What About That Look?
That being said, I can’t leave out the physical aspect. The facial features, the various skin complexions, tones, contours and hair textures. Did I mention the accents? There’s nothing like a Latin woman born in the Northeastern section of the United States. Or, a woman born in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic or Costa Rica. What about the culture and beauty of an African woman from Nigeria, Somalia or Ethiopia? The storied history behind those countries’ women and all that comes with the heritage. What about an African-American women from all-over the United States? They themselves bring a certain uniqueness that I find most sexy.
From their level of intellect, charisma and fortitude, to their independent yet humble nature. That melanin carries historical perseverance and pride, while the tensity of their hair represents the strength of their people. How can you not find that beautiful?
These women are more than just a beholding of beauty to me. They are the very definition of perseverance and inner strength. Which, is so much more significant when you view women of color. You must look beyond the surface.
Women of Color Are Profound
Think of the native African or even the African-American woman and what they or their ancestors endured and continue to encounter in today’s society. Slavery, War, Segregation, Racism, Sexism, Discrimination, Genocide are all trials embedded within their beings. When you look at a woman from these cultures, you have to see more than a face. More than pulchritude. More than sexual commodity to be had. They are the essence of overcoming an oppressive state of being.
Women of color are born into a world where they are automatically at a deficit because of their gender. Even with the feminist movement and the rapid advancement of women’s rights on the rise in the United States and other countries. Women are still at a bigger disadvantage than their male counterparts. Add to that, a lot of these women are born into cultures where they are beneath the men and have to scratch and claw their way to prominence. There’s a certain beauty in that… a certain sex appeal. And a definite strength.
In a earlier blog I spoke about, “Dating and the Plight of the Black Woman.” I highlighted the literal canyon of obstacles black women have to overcome just to be seen as intelligent, desirable and beautiful in the dating world when compared against women of other cultures. To give you a small example, I want you to do something for me:
Pull up another window on your phone, tablet or laptop.
Do a google search on, “beautiful women.”
Click on images.
What did you see? What did you notice?
5 out of the first 100 images are of women of color. I would’ve gone farther, but I chose not too. You have already received my point. Women of color are not considered, “as-beautiful-as…” white women. This is the deficit that women of color face. They already have to work 5 times harder just to be viewed as beautiful. Can you imagine how difficult that is, in the world of modeling and fashion alone? That is unacceptable. However, as shown above, it’s a harsh reality for women of color.
That is how black beauty is viewed the world over. Vogue, Elle, GQ, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar, and more… rarely place women of color, let alone black women on their covers.
I for one, believe that all women are beautiful in their own unique way. No matter how they pull up in a google search or if they regularly grace the cover of internationally syndicated fashion magazines. Women of color will always be beautiful to me, inside and out.
A moment of truth…It was Trayvon Martin’s death that made me scared for my son’s life. I was sitting there watching the news and seeing his mother’s face filled with so much pain and anguish that something broke in me that day. How could someone gun down a child? It wasn’t the first time it happened, but this was a local member of the neighborhood watch. It left me wondering how had this country changed. What could I do to protect my son?
In reality, it was nothing. I mean the country had elected the first black president in 2008 and we were worse off than I could ever imagine. Racism, hate and anger seemed to be spewing at him. But, I had a black son. I had a son that would grow up knowing that he was born in the year where America made a decision to elect a black man to the highest position in the country. Anything was possible. I believed my son could do anything and be anything at that point.
But, the country seemed to change. The color of his skin made the closet hate mongers realize that we as a people couldn’t be kept down. We could do or be anything. He endured. He endured people trash talking him, his wife and his children. However, something changed when Trayvon died. When he announced in that press conference that Trayvon could have been his son, I realized that he was acknowledging his blackness in a way that was never done. He was a father before he was a president. He was a man.
It was in that moment that I accepted that my son would always have a target on his back. I held him tighter. Many more deaths. Many more boys and men. Tamir Rice was only a few years older than Munch. I couldn’t understand. Philandro Castille and the country was in an uproar. It was a long hot summer. I was angry and wanted to do something. I am a mother to a black son. I had to save him. I proclaimed that I didn’t endure multiple attempts at pregnancy, bed rest and an emergency delivery to let him die on the streets like a dog. I had to stand for something. I had to do something.
But, what? Last year, CNN reported that black men are nearly 3 times as likely to die from police use of force than white men. I was scared. How could I keep my son safe? How could I help him to understand why I don’t let him play with toy guns. Why I advocated for clothing that showed him as an innocent non-threatening black boy.
It was at that time that someone added me to a group on FaceBook called Mothers of Black Boys United (MOBB). This group was amazing. I saw articles on advocacy. I saw support and concern from mothers all over the world. I saw women united for the sole purpose of making sure their black sons had an opportunity to grow up.
So, I joined. Not just the FaceBook group, but the organization. I wanted to make a change. Not just talk about it, but be about it. MOBB advocates to change how young black boys and men are perceived and treated by law enforcement and in society. I was now part of a mission to protect our black boys. It was bigger than me. It was a community of mothers committed to make a difference.
Yesterday was #givingTuesday all over. Many of you gave back with your charitable donations. It’s still time. Still time to give and help raise funds for a worthy cause. Can you please join me by donating to MOBB? Just click this link: Donate to MOBB
Your support is invaluable. As little as $1.00 can make a difference. Thank you for supporting.
I had an amazing weekend. Busy, but I got everything I wanted to do done. LOL. You like that right? Everything that I wanted to do. Not everything that I should have done, etc. But, it was perfect.
However, I wanted to tell you what happened when I picked up Munch from after care at school on Friday. I missed the heck out of that little boy. It was like my world was set right laying eyes on that beautiful kid of mine. He smiled this big grin and gave me a hug, but I knew something was wrong the minute he hugged me. What’s wrong I asked? “Nothing” he replied. I said, “Munch, I know something is bothering you baby. What is it? What is wrong?” He then told me how he got in trouble today in after care. He said that they were lining up for snack time and a young boy (in kindergarten) yelled out that he wanted to be second in line, but Munch beat him to be second in line. The little boy said to Munch, “Hey, that’s not fair. I wanted to be second.” Munch replied “Life’s not fair”. He said that the little boy was upset and then told the director. Munch said that he didn’t yell at the little boy. He said “I said it matter of fact mommy. I wasn’t mean or yelling” but the director told me that I shouldn’t have said it.
His little eyes were wide with fear. Fear that I would be mad at him. I said “Munch, you did nothing wrong. You were right. Life is not fair and as long as you weren’t mean to him, then you are giving him a dose of reality.” Was I wrong? I don’t think so.
Munch is very sensitive and feels for everyone, but I’m trying to toughen up his exterior to know that not everything will work out for you. You can try your best and still fail and you know what? That’s okay. Life’s not about being fair. Life is about doing the best you can and being a good human being. No one is going to give you anything.
But, could Munch have just given him the spot? Sure, but should he have too? The child wasn’t going to not get a snack. He just wasn’t second in line. I know that some people make think it harsh that I support what he said, but it’s cool. I believe that we should be good people, but we shouldn’t deny ourselves if we choose not too.
I would have been more hurt had the child not gotten a snack and Munch didn’t offer to share his. The reality is that I’m raising a black boy in a “post racial society” where many people think racism is dead. It’s not. He may get pulled over for being black and even though it may not be fair, you need to know how to act. He may be unfairly judged in the classroom or on the streets and it’s not fair, but it is the way it is. I’m teaching him how to survive when life’s not fair, because that’s all you can do.
Being a mother is how I truly learned to love. Today’s post is about my son whom I affectionately call Munch. I wanted to tell you why I love this little kid so much.
There are many reasons that I love this little 8 year old boy. But, I wanted to share 3 of them with you now. I hope I can explain in words all that this little boy means to me.
First, this little boy can always make me feel better. No matter how bad my day is or how I feel like giving up, I know I can’t. Just by looking at me with his big brown eyes and smiling. I instantly feel the warmth and love and know that nothing matters more than being in this moment with him. Last month, I got some difficult news and I was really distraught. I was so angry and hurt and I felt lost. I allowed myself the normal 72 hours to bemoan my situation and then remember that my help comes from Jesus. It was difficult though. But, Munch is my reason for never wanting to give up. No matter how hard the situation or life appears, I have to keep going. His concern for me and others make me love him even more each day.
Second, Munch is a child that doesn’t like change. That’s been one of the hardest things for me. When his dad and I divorced, he would always say “But, you are my family. If you’re divorcing does this mean that I have no more family?” Wow! He was only 5. We would reassure him that we are still family. We just won’t be married or living together. I think he understood. But, over the years he’s been able to adapt better than I can imagine. His ability to adapt despite adversity is another reason that I love this boy.
Third, Munch’s need for affirmation of his success is endearing. One of the things that I never heard from my mother while growing up was how proud she was of me. I never heard it. I guess you could say you should’ve assumed it, but is that realistic for a child? Nope. It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college and I was walking across campus and a maintenance woman stopped me to say hi. She told me that your mom is so proud of you. She’s always reading the student paper to see what you’re doing as part of this organization or what you’re talking about. She brags about you a lot. I was floored. I never heard that. I was almost 20 and and I didn’t know she was proud of me. However, I knew that when I had children that I would acknowledge their successes often. Praise them for their accomplishments no matter how small so that if I should ever have to discipline them, they know that I don’t think the worst of them. I’ve done that since becoming a mom. I celebrate every milestone and give words of encouragement and accolades for everything and anything. He loves it and his need for affirmation of his accomplishments may seem troublesome, but I love it. I love celebrating him.
I love being a mom and my son makes me love it even more. Motherhood changed me. He changed me. I’m proud to say that my first #loveuary is for my son.
Who do you love? Tell me about it. Better, yet if you would like to blog about it, Ritu is hosting a #loveuary challenge. Please head over to her page and check it out.
Munch had his guitar lesson this weekend. To say that it was good would be to lie to you my dear friend. It was awful. I was stressed out with his lack of attention and wanted to scream “F**k it, let’s go!”
But, I didn’t. I sat through the most excruciating 40 minutes of my life. I mean it truly was worse than labor.
Because my dang Munch acted a monkey fool. He refused to hold the guitar correctly. He didn’t know how to hold the pick. He seemed so uninterested. It drove me crazy. Never mind the fact that he said he wanted to play the dang guitar.
He slouched in the chair. Refused to follow the instructor and just seemed to give up. But, the worst part of this…he liked the lesson and wants to continue it.
I couldn’t believe it. I was so upset and confused. I asked him “Why Munch? You seemed to not ask questions and just sit there when the instructor talked to you.” He responded, “I didn’t understand what he was asking.” I asked him “Why didn’t you ask him to repeat it or tell him that you didn’t understand?” Guess what my Munch says?
Because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
I slapped my forehead and said “What? You didn’t want to hurt his feelings?” He replied “Yes”. I explained to my budding rock star that he isn’t hurting anyone’s feelings by not asking questions. That is the key to life. Speak up when you don’t know something or you’re confused. Don’t ever just sit there and let them talk over you, especially when I’m paying for it.
I called Mr. C in frustration and he calmed me down. He was with his son who is 17 and plays the trumpet and he asked his son about the guitar. His son said that the guitar is a hard instrument and most children start off with the violin, flute or piccolo. Mr. C said, “See, it’s a hard instrument to learn. Just calm down and ask him does he want to take guitar lessons.”
Now, let me explain. I wasn’t expecting him to be the next Lenny Kravitz or anything. I just wanted him to show interest. I wanted him to be exceptionally astute during the lesson and just really decide if this is something he wanted to do or not. However, that wasn’t the case.
I was livid. I also didn’t know how I felt about the teacher. He was sort of young. In his 30’s. I don’t know if he had enough practice with children (especially those with no prior music experience). He kept calling him kid. He wasn’t really interested in warming up to Munch only showing him what to do.
I don’t know. This whole experience left me feeling weird. I want my son to do it if he wants. Mr. C suggested that I start off with our local parks and recreation and let him take music lessons there first. Mainly because he thinks it will be easier with other kids and less stress. I agreed.
He also suggested since Munch is ambidextrous that we take him to a guitar store and let him see whether or not the left or right guitar works better for him. He has truly calmed me down. I kissed Munch telling him that I love him and we will continue lessons if that is what he wants. He said yes.
That being said, I registered him for guitar classes through my local parks and recreation center and classes are weekly on Monday nights for an hour starting on September 12th. We’ll go to the guitar store in the next couple of weeks and figure out a guitar for him. I may rent it to see if he likes it and to confirm if he wants to play the electric (like he said or the acoustic). I’m optimistic that he’ll enjoy the lessons, or at least I hope so.