Just Stand

Hello Loves! Long time with no hear or read. I’ve missed all of you and I can’t thank you enough for your checking in on me during my long hiatus away from this blog. So many things have happened to me and I’ll be sharing more about it in the coming weeks. It was crazy how many people found me on FaceBook or even reached out on Instagram and Twitter with concern. You just don’t know how wonderful you made me feel.

Nothing is wrong, I’m just juggling my hectic life and preparing for court next week. We’ll talk more about that later. But, what has been going on with me? So much has happened these last four months.  I had a woman on my staff pass away in September. She was an amazing woman who was a great staff member with an eagle eye for detail. I thanked God every day that I had inherited someone so detail oriented and knowledgeable with systems.

With her being gone, my team and I entered our busy season and tried to deal with the loss and get things done. I am happy to say that we did. My team is great and I’m thankful for all of them. Even when I’m not there they still get the job done.

Munch entered fifth grade this year. It is an adjustment because he now has 3 main teachers. His homeroom teacher teaches science to all 5th graders and social studies and health to Munch’s class. He has a math teacher that teaches math to all the 5th graders and a French teacher for oral and written communication and French reading. He’s struggling in math and French and I’ve put him in private tutoring. So, we are at the center 4 nights a week to make sure that he’s staying on level.  Do you know how hard that is?

French is crazy because the words that he is supposed to know at 10 have grown. Not just in French but in English. Many nights are spent going to dictionary.com to look up the word’s meaning and explaining it in English and then researching it in French. We’re trying to use it in a sentence to further his understanding and I feel so unprepared. Let’s just say that French this year has been hard work. However, with all that I’m proud that Munch is putting forth his best effort and I’m proud to report that he has earned a 3.4 for his 1st quarter. These teachers are so patient with me because I’m emailing every two weeks with questions, comments or concerns.

With so many things happening I still found time to grant write for the school’s PTA and just enjoy life. I’m still single which is crazy because I haven’t gone on one date since Mr. C and I broke up. I’m just not emotionally ready. Not that I’m still trying to get back with him it’s just that I have a lot going on and I’m not mentally ready to let another man in my space right now. It could be the cold weather too. LOL. I have no idea. But, I’ll be back on the dating scene in 2019.

I’m active in my sorority and just enjoying this thing called life. Christmas is in 20 days and I’m done shopping. Can you believe it? Munch still believes in Santa and I’m happy the magic continues one more year. I’ve reconnected with old friends and created new friends who have encouraged my soul beyond regard. My FaceBook friends and I actually met this summer. We had a ball.

Finally, I need to stand still. I’m learning to be more thoughtful and just stand in the midst of chaos and allow God to give me peace when all hell is breaking loose around me. 2018 has been one for the books, but I’m reflecting on how I’m approaching my 44th year next month and there are still so many things to do and so many things to say. I’m praying that the words will flow freely and I can let you into this brain that won’t shut off some nights. Bear with me.

How have you been old friend?

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

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Sex and the Pre-teen

In this motherhood journey I’m often caught between a rock and a hard place. I’m balancing what I should share with Munch and when. It’s a juggling act. Do I want to take away his innocence early or wait until later? I’m rambling about…the sex talk. I’m wondering, when is the appropriate age to talk about sex with your children?

I have a boy and for all intents and purposes he’s still pretty innocent. He turns off songs with bad words in them or inappropriate subjects. He still watches Disney Jr. and Nick Kids. He just recently started watching The Thundermans on Nickelodeon about a superhero family. I’m wondering if broaching sex now will change him somehow.

My mother never talked about sex with me. I learned at school in the sixth grade with all the other children. Not that I was thinking about sex or anything, but I had started my cycle before then so I had no idea what was happening to me. It was as though the sex talk was somehow taboo.

Children are growing up faster now than when I was a child and I don’t want Munch learning something from the kids at school or in the streets. I want to give him all the information to make informed decisions. I want to teach him how to love and cherish his body and to not treat sex as a rites of passage. It’s your body that is a temple that we should use to honor God.

But, I don’t want to be naïve and think that he may never do it, so I struggle with how much to tell him and when?

My best friend has a son one year older than mine and I asked her had she talked to him about sex? She said no. He’s not mentally ready yet. So, I’m wondering do we wait until our children are mentally ready to have the sex conversation or do we overload them with information now in hopes that they will choose to not engage in sexual activity until marriage?

Yes, Munch knows about his body and boundaries. I’ve made sure that he calls his genitalia by the proper terminology. I’ve explained that a doctor can only examine you with mommy and/or daddy in the room. He is now getting shy and embarrassed when a doctor has to examine his penis during his annual visits. However, is it too soon to have the sex talk?

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Gifts of Gratefulness

I’ve been really going through it lately. Being introspective. Being in prayer. Being observant of the things and people around me.

I’ve had this writer’s block and I didn’t know what to say. This mood. This is a funk that I’m in. It’s been rough. But, in my funk I had an epiphany as to what I should write about…being grateful.

So, that’s what I decided to do. Write about what matters to me. The moments of gratitude that I have that never ever seem to diminish no matter what is going on around me.

One of the things that I’m most grateful for is Munch. He’s amazing. A few weeks ago, we had a packed weekend of activities including a paint night. He had been asking to attend and I was happy to oblige.

But, he’s also a ten year old who still gets upset about things. He acted out when he didn’t like his photo that he was painting and he wanted a whole new canvas. I was fit to be tied at his behavior.

I politely explained that is not how it works and it is supposed to be fun not stressful or perfect. He was not understanding. It made it worse when another parent said “I love your duck”. He replied with tears in his eyes “It’s not a duck it’s a dolphin.” She was awesome because she didn’t miss a beat and said “Oh, it is a dolphin, I’m sorry I couldn’t see because your mom’s arm was in my way.”

I smiled. Just like that. She made my son feel better. Mothers do that right? They sense the uneasiness in a child that may not be their own and they come in and try to soothe their spirit. I smiled and said “Thank you.” He sighed. He was still disappointed.

It was distressing to watch him unravel over a painting. I tried to comfort and talk to him. It wasn’t working. He asked to throw his picture away. I said no.

Later that evening when he was speaking to my mom she asked him how it went. He explained that he threw a tantrum because he was upset over his painting and how I was hurt at his behavior. She asked him what happened. They talked. I think he began to understand.

The next morning he apologized for his behavior. He said he loves me. He hugged and kissed me. I said “Okay”.

I know Munch is still young so he doesn’t understand the gratefulness of spending time alone with Mommy or being appreciative and accepting of his choices, but it didn’t make me love him any less. I was grateful for our one on one time. I was grateful for our mutual love for art. I was grateful for making memories. I was grateful for time.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Parenting Fail: Cleaning Out The Closets

A couple of weeks ago I was frustrated by all the clothes and toys that Munch had outgrown and the fact that I had yet to set an appointment for Purple Heart to come pick them up. With a steadfast determination I selected my appointment and packed up his room of too small clothes, brand new jeans and shirts (I forgot they were in his closet and had never been worn – please don’t judge me) and toys to donate. I needed to have order in the chaos of his room.

Now, before I go further let me pause and tell you that my son is a stuffed animal hoarder. He truly is. He needs to be on a show. He doesn’t care if there is no room to sleep on his bed. He loves stuffed animals. In the last year he had over 100 stuffed animals and played with maybe 5 consistently. His favorite is this stuffed dog that he got for his second birthday that is still holding on. I’ve washed and sewn up the holes multiple times. It needs to be refilled with stuffing. But, that dog (whom he affectionately named Puppy Thomas) remains firmly on his bed as he sleeps with it while at my house.

As I began to get the toys and clothes bagged up, I left the stuffed animals on his bed alone. He slept with them and they weren’t bothering me, but the rest had to go. I needed to make room. All in all there were 9 bags of clothes, shoes and toys that were put out for the van to pick up that morning.

Munch watched me lug those bags down the stairs and out the front door with nary a question or look. I had to get it together. I was on a mission for some form of organization and Munch didn’t question it.

However, that didn’t last long.

Last night when I was tucking him into bed (yes, I still do that) he asked about the bags of stuffed animals. I felt like a deer caught in headlights. “What about them Munch?” I said. “Well, where is it?” he questioned. I replied “Munch I donated them to Purple Heart a couple of weeks ago. You saw me take the bags outside.” He said “But Mommy, all my stuffed animals were in that bag.” I reminded him that he hadn’t played with any of the animals in the bag in the last 11 months. He said “Mommy, my Alvin and the Chipmunks were in the bag. You got those for me last Christmas.” He started crying.

I didn’t know what to do. I mean I went through the same thing as a kid when my mom started donating my toys behind my back, so I could relate to his 10 year old pain. Had I become my mother? The giver of things without my input or knowledge?

I tried to comfort him and explain that I didn’t look in the bag and that I didn’t know the Chipmunks were in the bags. Truthfully, I should have because isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? Remember to do everything?

Those are his favorite plush animals and he watches Alvin and The Chipmunks on Hulu faithfully. I didn’t know what to say. I felt bad. He hugged his puppy and just cried. He asked “Are you going to give away puppy one day?” “No, I would never give away puppy” I told him. I kissed him good night and told him how much I loved him. He sniffled and muttered “I love you too.”

I felt heartless and did the only thing I thought could make this better. I caved and went on-line to order them again. I remembered ordering those stuffed animals for Christmas 2016. I remembered Munch being so excited to get them because he loved the Chipmunks. I went in search of these particular plush animals. I found them on the Fisher Price website and on Amazon. I ordered them on Amazon because it was free shipping and with my discount I was able to get them sooner and with free shipping. Crisis handled.

I needed a drink. But, I didn’t grab a bottle of Chardonnay. Instead, I went into his room and told him that I’m sorry and that I ordered him Alvin and the Chipmunks again because I knew how much he loved them. I told him it came with Brittany. He smiled and closed his eyes.

All is well in the house tonight. It may not be well tomorrow or the next. But, I am loving the fact that I went from villain to hero in 10 minutes. I guess I’m doing something right?

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Be the Man You Want to See

I was listening to the radio yesterday and the morning show host was talking about how 40% of women are leading single parent homes and how he got into a discussion with a gentleman that said that women can’t teach boys how to be men and that they coddle them. The gentleman said in particular, black women coddle their sons and don’t raise them. Can we have a frank discussion on this issue?

Do I have your attention? Good.

So, let me state the facts. I’m a black mother raising my son on a shared custody agreement. He is being raised 50% of the time in a single parent home. Now, I’m not going to argue logistics because yes my son’s father is in his life, but I’m still single. That means on my time, it is imperative that I cultivate an environment where I am both nurturer and disciplinarian. Where I am leader, mother, teacher, spiritual advisor, nurse, etc. Oh, and if that’s not enough I need to make sure that I’m giving him the best opportunities to be successful.

Seven days at a time. Seven days to make sure that I’m doing all that and then some. I cook breakfast each morning, fix a hearty lunch, review homework and enroll him in engaging and beneficial activities. I take him for Mommy/son dates, pay for field trips, camps and make sure that he’s getting sufficient exercise. Exhausted yet?

But, I don’t complain. I love my Munch and I want him to grow up and be a faithful, dependable, kind man who remembers his faith in God and has great moral character. It’s a lot but I am thankful for this opportunity and I don’t take it lightly. Now, here’s my issue…

Where are all the men?

Many men who make these comments about women not being able to raise a son are not stepping up to help them out. They complain about an issue when in fact they are part of the problem. How is it a woman’s fault when they are doing the best they can under the circumstances? Do you think women want to be single parents? Some do, but many don’t. Where is the man’s responsibility in this picture? How do you know the man in question knows what it means to be a man? Did he have a man who was a good man teaching him to navigate manhood?

I’m exhausted from hearing that women (especially black women) are the main issue with many of society’s problems. We aren’t. We are the backbones and many times bread winner in a two parent home. We get tired. We need help. What are you doing to help? Are you a mentor? Are you volunteering your time to young men without fathers? Are you spending time with your women friend’s male offspring? Showing up at little Timmy’s baseball game or Max’s lacrosse game? What about Jonathan’s spelling bee? Were you there?

My truth

I’ve been separated from my ex for five years. In that five year time, not one of my male friends has EVER stepped up and spent one on one time with Munch. EVER. NEVER EVER. Why not? Why is it that I have some of the most educated, kind hearted and morally correct male friends and they don’t seem to think about standing in and being a role model for Munch? I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply because they don’t think about how I can’t teach a boy how to be a man. Maybe it’s out of sight out of mind. They don’t think about Munch. They see me busting my butt to attend every school meeting, PTA meeting, volunteering in the classroom or on field trips or at the school, paying for tutoring, coordinating play dates, paying for private flute lessons, swim lessons and boxing and think I have it all under control.

I do.

But, my son could always benefit from positive male influence. Be the sane person when his parents are stressing him out. Be the one that shows up and encourages him for his event. Be the man that he calls when he wants to take about things. Be the man that gives him true and direct advice to life’s problems or concerns.

But they don’t. We are invisible. We are invisible to many until Munch grows up and leads a less than desirable life. Then it will be my fault.

I’m not giving up on my son. I know that I’m not alone. I will pour everything that I have and more into helping him navigating boyhood to manhood. I will enroll him in mentoring programs and give him opportunities to have positive male influence.

I am not alone. I am one of many women. I am raising a son. I nurture. I coddle. I discipline. Our children need mentors. Stop complaining and get to work. You know what it takes to be a man. So, be a man and give unselfishly of yourself. You might just see how your presence makes a difference.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Get a Plan

My visit to the ER was the scare that I needed that had my worst fears going at 100 miles per hour. Death. Heart attack. I had to make a change.

I am still restricted from working out due to surgery, but I needed to come up with a plan. It hit me the following week when I had Munch with me.  I noticed that Munch struggled to get out of the pool. He was literally throwing his body on the pool floor and trying to lift his weight up out the pool. It was rough to watch.

Two things happened when I saw that. First I realized that he was not utilizing the ledge in the inside of the pool to step on (which was weird as heck) but second I realized that we both needed to get healthy and increase our upper body strength. This was my opportunity to do it with Munch.

So, I reached out to my fellow blogger, David, over at Chape’s Fitness and asked for some suggestions. You know what? He gave them to me. He gave me some work out plans to help strengthen my ten year old son’s upper body. We had a plan. So, the next thing was to figure out how to tell Munch.

I casually mentioned it to him last week that we needed to work on his upper body strength, but I don’t think he got it. So, when he comes home tonight we will talk about our fitness goals. We will do this together. Not just Munch.

My plan is for us to do the following:

• Step on the scale and write down our weight

• Follow the plan that David sent over together

• Walk the track at the high school down the street when the temperature goes down

• Go to the pool together

• Eat more fresh veggies with our meals and less carbs (he loves rice and I love bread)

• Hydrate by drinking our water

• Track our steps – I just bought a Fitbit and I’m looking to get Munch one.

I don’t expect it to be easy, but I’m hoping that he will enjoy just doing these things with me. That it will allow us the opportunity to get meaningful workouts in and just enjoy getting healthy together. I need to strengthen my core, keep my heart strong and be here for Munch.

I want us to both be healthier. I’m not trying to kill him, but I want our health to be a priority. I want to model the behavior that I’m trying to get him to adopt. Healthier choices. More exercise. Keeping our heart healthy and living longer.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

My Heart Hurts

A couple of weeks after my surgery I went to the emergency room. I had woken up the day before with chest pains. It was this severe pain right above my heart. I felt dizzy and out of breath. My mother was insistent that I go to the doctor’s. I had just returned to work and couldn’t miss a day. I figured I would be fine. After all it was a Friday.

Later that night I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable. I couldn’t find a position that helped. I finally dozed off only to wake up the next morning feeling like crap. My chest hurt worse. It felt like an elephant was stepping on my chest. I was struggling to breathe now. I was scared.

I caught my mother before she went about her normal Saturday activities. I needed her to take me to the emergency room. Something was wrong. We got in the car and headed to the hospital. The doctor scared the hell out of me when she mentioned that I may have a blood clot because I had just had major surgery two weeks earlier. I started to cry. I said “I have a 10 year old son. I can’t die.” She said “Sweetie, if it’s a blood clot, you’re in the best place and we can test and treat it immediately.” I just laid there praying that it wasn’t a clot. Munch needed me.

I started thinking about life and death and all the in between moments. The times when I was too tired to do anything because I was busy burning the candle at both ends. The times when I forgot to feed my own soul. My family has a history of heart problems and what if something is wrong with my heart? My heart history is bad on both sides of my family.

This was bad. I was only 43. I needed my heart to be okay. I prayed.

Many tests later, I found myself in a morphine haze and still in pain. The nurse said if the morphine wasn’t working then it probably wasn’t a blood clot. She was saying that morphine increases oxygen in the blood. Okay, I just remember that morphine was the good stuff only reserved for end of life patients and here was the hospital giving it to me like candy. The doctor came in and said that everything looked good. It didn’t look like I had a blood clot and my heart looked fine. She suggested that I follow up with my primary care doctor and apologized for scaring me.

I sighed. At least I wasn’t going to die. Not today.

I left the emergency room in pain and went home to sleep. I was exhausted from the day spent in the ER and drugged up off the morphine. I just wanted the pain in my chest to stop.

I spent the weekend in bed and sent an email to my doctor’s office for an appointment. I spent time with my primary as he accessed my hospital test results and informed me that everything looked good. I told him about my dad’s and my family’s history of heart issues. I explained that I was scared that something is going to be wrong with my heart and he’ll tell me too late.

I told him I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to have a heart attack and I wanted to watch my son grow up. I needed him to make sure that I was okay. That my heart was fine.

He said he would. He recommended a stress test based on my family history and then repeated what he’d being saying to me the last couple of years. I need to get the weight off. I need to stop letting people and situations stress me the hell out because my blood pressure is getting higher and stress can affect my heart health. He suggested a low dose blood pressure medicine. He needed me to get control of my weight and stress.

I had no choice now. No more excuses. It was time to put up or shut up and do what needed to be done. He said we can wait until I get the all clear from my surgeon to resume exercise. We scheduled my stress test and it was time for me to make a change.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

*Mothering Violence

I had to share this post because I’m a mother and in between watching your son grow up, shuffling him to activities and helping with homework and watching him sleep at night, you pray that you will never ever have to bury a child. But, this mother and many mothers do have to bury their son’s.

via *Mothering Violence

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Random Thoughts – 06.20.18

Last week I was drinking some water and spilled half the bottle of water on my computer. My computer won’t cut back on. I sighed. I complained. I wanted to cry. Heck, Munch did cry because he wanted to play a Sonic The Hedgehog game on my computer. I didn’t stay in the place of despair.

I quietly said a prayer and ordered a new computer. It’s been 3 years. It was unfortunate, but I’m going to be spending a lot of time this year writing and blogging so I need a working computer. I also need to work with Munch this summer with typing as he will now be typing his papers for English class. I guess it died when it needed to. But, thank God that I could afford another one.

I’m feeling better mentally and physically. Mentally about my break-up and physically with my body. I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in years. I can’t wait to get back to the gym. I learned some interesting things about my body during this process, but it was all good. I started making a list again – yes a list. A list of qualities that I want in a partner since it’s been a while dating other people. Ya’ll know I kissed a lot of frogs before meeting Mr. C, so I’m not looking forward to the frog kissing stage, but I’ll be dating.

I’m probably looking more to spending this summer living my best life and focusing on me and enjoying each day. I have some things planned with Munch and I’m getting serious about my book. I’ve done the outline and I’m just trying to get the short stories together to develop it into the masterpiece I pray it will be.

I have a busy summer with Munch. Between his swimming, private flute lessons and summer camp I’m adding tutoring at Mathnasium so that he can stay fresh in math and that he can work through these word problems. I discovered this year that Munch likes to just work on a math problem on a computer, but he won’t pull out a piece of paper and pencil and work the problem first before answering the question. This leads to many failed tests. That’s something we’ll be working on.

Between the beach and the trip home to Tennessee it will go by quickly. I won’t be taking any long trips because I exhausted leave for my surgery and I’ve only been at my job for two years so I don’t have much leave. Oh, today is my 2 year work anniversary. I still love my job. I consider myself blessed.

That’s about it for the random things in my life right now. How are you? Any exciting plans?

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.

Your Shoes are Fake – Continued

In last week’s post I explained how Munch was hurt because this girl at school was telling him his shoes were fake. Sitting in the car listening to my young man hurt about something that I never thought he would have to deal with really punched me in the gut. What do fourth grade children know about name brands or fake stuff? Where do you even buy fake tennis shoes? Who are the parents of these children and what values are we teaching them.

I called a few of my male friends to get their perspective on the situation and what I should I tell Munch. The advice was pretty much consistent because they have sons who went through something similar or they were young men who dealt with this at one point in their lives. They said to tell him to ignore it.

But, one of my friends who was born and raised in Washington, DC said that other areas around the country are not as “up on the latest fashion and tennis shoe styles as the Washington, DC metropolitan area”. He told me to explain to Munch that “if someone comes up to you more concern about the shoes you’re wearing and the clothes on your back more so than the content of your character or who you are then that’s probably someone you should not play with.” Great answer, right?

So, I told Munch exactly what he said and he seemed to take it all in and just listen. But, when he saw my brother the next day and my brother complimented him on his shoes Munch said “But, people are saying my shoes are fake”. My brother told Munch that there is nothing fake about his shoes and he had a pair when he was in the 11th grade. He explained that they are Jordan Trunners and designed for runners. He told Munch “to tell the kids that his shoes are not fake and his uncle owns many pairs of Jordans and that they are real.” Munch seemed to accept that.

It’s funny because in many ways Munch seems to accept what other adults tell him over me because he views me as always loving him and telling him what he wants to hear. My brother made it better for Munch. Although, I wish I could have, I’m thankful that Munch knows that there are men there who will tell him the truth. Ugh, I wonder what 5th grade will be like.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page @mskeeinmd.