Survive

I am a survivor. We are all meant to survive. The thing is that you can never give up. It is not in our nature to give up. We must keep pushing forward, no matter the situation. It’s in our blood. We survive.

Our capture.

We survived.

The slave ship.

We survived.

The auctioneer’s block.

We survived.

The heat.

We survived.

The beatings.

We survived.

The rape.

We survived.

Child bearing.

We survived.

Our children are survivors.

I am a child of a survivor.

I too have survived.

Child molestation.

I survived.

Rape.

I survived.

Sexual assault.

I survived.

Marriage.

I survived.

Divorce.

I survived.

Infidelity.

I survived.

Loss of a loved one.

I survived.

September 11th.

I survived.

The NYC blackout.

I survived.

Job loss.

I survived.

Poverty.

I survived.

Survival is in my blood. Nothing can stop that which God has destined for greatness. Trials and tribulations may come but we were meant to survive.

 

This post is inspired by the Daily Post. The word prompt was survive.

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/.

 

Munch and the Health Department

So, this week has been one for the books. I have to tell you why it is the third week of school and my son has been banned from attending until the Health Department confirms that he is okay to go back to school. I am home with munch this week and then his dad next week.

Here’s the story:

Remember when I posted that my son was sick last month? The post is here: https://athomaspointofview.com/2015/08/06/no-one-like-mama/ if you missed it. The recap is that my munch got sick last month and we took him to Urgent Care and then to his pediatrician that Monday. They said it is probably a stomach virus and that it would pass. (The same thing the Urgent Care said) and to only come back if he has blood in his stool. He did by the following Wednesday and labs were ordered by his pediatrician. A stool sample (thankfully his dad had to collect this) was submitted to the lab the following Saturday. Munch came back to me that Thursday night because his dad got sick.

Sick dad and now I had to stay home because munch was sick and couldn’t attend camp. Oh, the joys of parenting I proclaimed! I couldn’t miss a week of work prior to vacation so I sent him to camp that Monday because his diarrhea wasn’t as bad as it had been and he seemed a lot better. I called the pediatrician that Wednesday and asked had the labs returned and the nurse looked and said some had come in and it was negative for E-coli and Salmonella. She said that was good and the rest of the labs still hadn’t come in. “Okay” I responded and thought, they’ll call me if something is wrong. Packed and headed to the beach.

While on vacation I received a text from the pharmacy saying that munch’s prescription is ready for pick-up. This was on Saturday. Okay, no big deal. His inhaler is on auto refill and it must be time to pick it up. We enjoyed our vacation and came home and I received another text from the pharmacy reminding me to pick up his prescription. Okay, I thought. I need to get it. The next day my prescription reminder came through and I headed to the pharmacy on August 24th to pick up our prescriptions.

I put the bag on the table and started getting his first day stuff together to deliver to his dad’s house. Munch started school on the 25th and then came back to me that next day. I cooked dinner, gave him a bath and put him down to bed. I opened the prescription bag and realized that it wasn’t munch’s inhaler in the bag but a liquid prescription from a doctor I had never heard of. The next morning I called his pediatrician and spoke with the nurse about the weird prescription and she informed me that the doctor’s notes indicated that she left a detailed voice message and called in the antibiotics. I told the nurse I didn’t get a message. She said that she would have the doctor call me back.

The doctor called me that afternoon and apologized for me not getting her message. She said that she had left it on my home phone. Really? I was on vacation was what I told her. She said, “Oh, I’m sorry. Well, his initial lab results came back and indicated Shigellosis and the lab said that they had to send it to the state lab to confirm.” WTH? I listened as she continued and said that “The state lab confirmed that munch had Shigella”. “Umm, are you serious? We’ve just been at the beach with my family. Is he contagious?” She said, “Probably not if no one has been sick and to please just give him the antibiotics now.” “Okay”. I called his dad and told him what the pediatrician said.

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella (shih-GEHL-uh). Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Some people who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others. The spread of Shigella can be stopped by frequent and careful handwashing with soap and taking other hygiene measures. -www.cdc.gov

Fast forward to Monday when I returned home from the pageant to find a letter in my mailbox from the Health Department asking me to contact them. I called the Disease Control Specialist mentioned in the letter and she indicated that she had been trying to contact me but it appears they have extra numbers in my phone number. I told her that she could have called my son’s pediatrician and gotten my numbers from them.

She indicated that munch can’t go back to school until their lab has confirmed that he is infection free. “What the what?” I asked. I said, “Munch is in the second grade in a French Immersion program. He can’t miss school.” She said, “I’m sorry. I wish your pediatrician would have contacted you prior to school starting and had you start the antibiotics. You will need to take two additional stool samples 48 hours after he finishes the antibiotics (no earlier than Friday). After the first stool sample is collected, you must wait another 24 hours until you collect another one. You then have to bring the samples to our lab to confirm that he is free from the infection. That usually takes 3 to 4 business days.” I sighed, “So, at the very earliest he can return to school is September 21st? “Yes” she confirmed.

I cringed inwardly as she stated I could come to her and get the information and collection kits or she could bring them to me. “Bring them to me” was my response. She brings me letter putting me and his dad off work and notifying the school including the collection kits. I made copies of the letters for my employer, sent an email to the teacher, principal with a copy of the letter and one to munch’s dad.

I’m having a mini-breakdown right now. Bear with me. Munch goes back to his dad tonight so his dad has to take off next week. It’s frustrating, overwhelming and ridiculous that this is happening right now and not last month, but the thing I remember is that my baby is okay and that his dad has to collect the stool samples again and deliver them to the Health Department. I’m trying to be encouraged in that fact.

Shigellosis from the CDC’s website

 

Ah, the joys of parenting!

My Random Musings

A Song for Brennan

Because I am a mother. Because I am black. Because I feel pain. I wrote this piece.

 

“A Song for Brennan”

Almost seven years ago, I birthed a king

Difficult conception, difficult delivery, but I had faith

You see I knew death from diseases that you weren’t supposed to get

I knew what it was like to see someone you love lying in a casket as people wept

Silently

 

But I prayed

I prayed for peace

I prayed for my seed growing in my womb

I prayed for you my son

 

I imagined your face being a combination of me and your daddy’s

I imagined singing you to sleep every night with songs I created in my mind

Why?

Because Rock-a-Bye-Baby scared the hell out of me

No way were you going to be up in a tree in a cradle

With the dang wind blowing?

What kind of foolishness was that?

Mess I said

Besides I knew I would never let you fall

 

My job was to protect you

Like wings of an eagle, I would always be there

You were the angel in my womb

God’s favor over my life defined

My chance at redemption

 

I changed

I became a fanatic

Reading everything I could get my hands on

I wanted to nurture you physically, mentally and spiritually

I vowed to protect you

Always

No greater love

 

It’s been an incredible journey my sweet boy

You’ve taught me how to love beyond measure

You challenge me

You inspire me

You love me

You question me

 

But I’ve lied dear sweet boy

Not because I wanted too, but because I had too

I couldn’t tell you the truth when you asked me about the police

I smiled away my tears as allergies when you caught me crying

I laughed and kissed you and said “Mommy loves you so much”

When you questioned the sadness in my eyes the next morning

 

“Is it me Mommy?” You asked

“Are you mad at me?” You questioned

“No baby” I responded

 

Truth is love

That I’m crying for all those mothers that lose

Lose their sons

For walking home from the store

For playing in the park

For walking to school

For

For

 

Being black

Because being black in this damn world

Is killing me

It angers me

That our children are dying

That you will never know

That in the midst of my tears for injustice

That I scream the names

For Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner

Michael Brown, John Crawford,

Jonathan Ferrell, Tamir Rice and the countless others

Who have lost their life

Because my dear sweet baby boy

I want you to know that

Black lives matter

You matter

In Search of More

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

Mother Teresa

Okay so I’m working on my first book which will be fiction (very loosely) based off my life and experiences. It’s weird because I’ve never intended to write fiction, just tell my story. My truth. My way. With no filter. The response to my two short stories have created a surge to write the story of a woman named Faith and her experiences with a man named Teddy.

I’m so excited because the respect and appreciation for my short stories have increased my Twitter followers, Facebook friends and followers to this blog. This means that people get me. You don’t know how wonderful that makes me feel. It is an amazing feeling and I thank you for your continued support.

That being said, I have no plans to quit my job and write full-time (primarily because I love and need my health benefits) but I just want to share this woman’s story. What makes it interesting is that I can see parts of me, my friends, family and women I’ve met on this journey into everything I write now. We all want more. Whether it be a poem or short story I feel like I’m weaving a tapestry that tells one story for everyone…the search for more. More. We don’t want to settle. We know we deserve it but oftentimes we find ourselves trapped in situations where we accept what we can get instead of pulling ourselves away from things that don’t give us more.

My search for more has opened my eyes to things that I never thought I would experience and anthems about taking back your power that I am in awe of how I’m subconsciously moving and gravitating towards my destiny without even knowing it. In other words, I’m not settling. I’m asking, no rather DEMANDING more. More for me.

I hope you do the same love.

Off Limits

Let me get on my soapbox for a moment, please!

As many of you may have heard by now the issue with the fumbling GOP staffer who thought it cute to diss the President’s daughters on Facebook.  Elizabeth Lauten is was a staffer for Representative Steven Fincher (from my home state of Tennessee). She resigned after her inappropriate comments about Sasha Obama and Malia Obama were posted on her Facebook page.  Here’s a screen shot of what she said.

Elizabeth-Lauten

 

Now, why would this grown woman concern herself with the attire of the President’s girls? She’s a political communications director and is supposedly super smart (she claimed to have gotten a perfect score on her ACT). Shouldn’t she have known better? Didn’t she learn anything from Justine Sacco? Aren’t there more pressing issues that she should be worrying about than how the First Daughter’s look at a Turkey Pardoning Ceremony? Aren’t Republicans trying to stop immigration reform, repeal the Affordable Care Act and charge the President with every crime imaginable because they don’t like the fact that he has reduced our budget deficit, created and supported Equal Pay for Women and reduced unemployment to the lowest since 2008. Not to mention a whole lot of other things, but why would that concern Ms. Lauten?

I mean I have a son and no I’m not the President, but some of the facial expressions he makes are pretty hilarious too. He would rather be watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates than attending a function for or with me. He’s a child. Not interested. It happens. Heck, you should see some of the facial expressions that I make as an adult. I haven’t truly perfected the art of showing disinterest (I’m working on it) and I’m almost 40. So, why would you expect children to know how to do it? Because they are the President’s children? Chile please!

Ms. Lauten then tried to offer an apology for her post, but guess what? Too little – too late. But, the funny thing was that it wasn’t an apology. She said:

“I wanted to take a moment and apologize for a post I made on Facebook earlier today judging Sasha and Malia Obama at the annual White House turkey pardoning ceremony:

When I first posted on Facebook I reacted to an article and I quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager. After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents, and re-reading my words online I can see more clearly just how hurtful my words were. Please know, those judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and I pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience.”

Now, I have a degree in English Language and Literature and I know word semantics and word play and what she did was apologize for getting caught. Not to the children she offended. Someone who is that smart and a communications director should know what words to use to apologize.  She tried to CYA (cover your a**) in hopes of keeping her job and avoid being social pariah numero uno. Communication rule number one Ms. Lauten – you can’t make comments like that and expect to keep your job.

I would like to offer this piece of advice for everyone – Children are off-limits. Always. Whether they are in the public or on the streets, public shaming of children is not acceptable. The President said and displayed this noble character trait when he was running in his first election and Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, was discovered to be pregnant and unmarried. He said, “Children are off-limits.”

In a society where young women already have self-esteem issues about their bodies why would you choose social media as a platform to further draw attention or try to humiliate them? To say to them that they need to “try and show some class” is an opinion drawn from what? How disinterested they looked from hanging with their dad? Oh, it was how they were dressed? Let’s see you said that they should “dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at the bar”. Umm, what bar have you been too lately where…

1. Underage women were admitted in.

2. Dressed like Sasha and Malia

Shouldn’t you have respect for the President and his children because hey he is the President? I thought what they had on was very age appropriate and not bar attire. But hey, I’m a mother and a bit conservative in my appearance and would wear what the girls wore (If I could fit it and it was appropriate for someone at my age to wear – but it is not).

I guess I’m just utterly disgusted in the fact that another woman would choose to pick on the girls when clearly more young women today seem to be pimping themselves for Facebook or Instagram likes as a confidence booster. Every young woman goes through a period where they are dissatisfied with their body image and I think Ms. Lauten was just being a bully. Heck, it’s now being reported that self-esteem of teenage girls has fallen significantly in the last few years. Why be part of the problem?

You all know that one of my greatest joys is being a parent and I don’t tolerate bullying of any kind. But, before I was a mother, I was an aunt and I know how social media can affect a young woman’s self-esteem. My 16-year-old niece told me last week, “Auntie my Twitter game is off the chain”. WTH? Yes, she actually said that. Getting over 2500 shares on a photo or 500 plus likes on a tweet is important to her. Why?  Because like many young women, it validates her social existence and is seen as a confidence booster.

I had to remind her that it is just social media and that I’m proud of her accomplishments and the mere fact that she is my beautiful niece more than those people who like her posts or share her photos. I constantly tell her that I am so proud of who she is and I want her to know that her body is just that. Hers. Love you first because we do and we don’t want you to change. I would hate if an internet troll became a bully and decided to affect her self-esteem by saying that she is dressed like she should be at the bar instead of supporting her parents. I would be livid and unleash an enormous amount of anger on that fool. Thankfully, she hasn’t had to experience that and prayerfully she never will.

That being said, I am proud that the White House has not chosen to address Ms. Lauten’s comments because the village has already spoken. People were outraged and felt that she had no right to make comments about the girls on social media. As part of the village, I just want to remind Ms. Lauten and every one of the social media rules of etiquette: Children are off-limits!

Woman to Woman

Let’s have a talk shall we? As I’ve stated in prior posts, I’m in a state of transition..that from married to single. It’s been a long time since I was single and my first time as a single parent trying to have a co-parenting relationship. I will always love my ex for it was he who gave me our son, but I have to say something… this crap gets hard sometimes!

Not that I’m looking to fix a flat tire or repair my marriage, but co-parenting when we can’t seem to act like adults is hard as hell. Yep, I said “we” purposely. I’m not going to sit here and let you believe that I’ve got this all figured out and I’m the best person when it comes to disengaging my personal animosities and trying to co-parent effectively. I don’t.

Most of the time it is trial and error. Many errors, some good things and a lot of okay things happen. I think letting go of old wounds from our marriage is what is contributing to the bad head space we can find ourselves in. Why? Because we’re both headstrong individuals who have to be right. We both want to have the last word. We both hope that we don’t screw up our son.

Our son lives with his dad 50% of the time and with me 50% of the time. His needs come first. Regardless of what is going on in our lives, we put his needs first. Yes, he is six and yes he is aware that his mommy and daddy will not live together anymore. But, more than that he realizes that the two people who gave him life love him more than we ever thought possible.

The reason why I am calling this post “Woman to Woman” is because I needed to get something off my chest. If you are a woman dating my ex and plan on being around there are some things you should know. A list of how to deal with me and my desire to raise an incredibly wonderful little boy in two separate homes. Here you go:

  1. Never, ever listen to us argue. You see if my ex should get reckless and try to prove to you that I’m crazy and hold a personal conversation on the phone with me while you are riding in his car, be woman enough to tell him that it’s not acceptable. What we argue about should never concern you in your preliminary role.
  2. Just because I don’t know you doesn’t mean that I don’t do my research. I’m a protective mama cub. I only have one child and he means more to me than anything in my life. That being said who you are (your first and last name) matter to me.
  3. I don’t want him back. Nope, I don’t. I love my ex because he and I were together so long. We made memories. Some good, some bad, but in the end the greatest thing we ever did was have our son. I’m not trying to do it again. No matter what you hear.
  4. Understand that no one will ever take my place. Not that I think you believe that, but my ex said that to me. He actually said, “No one can ever take your place as our son’s mother.” Dude, I know this. I still have the incision where he was taken from me five weeks early. There is never a replacement for the original. I’m his mommy.
  5. What happens in my home is my business and vice versa. Unless my son volunteers information, I will never, ever question him about what occurs at his father’s house. It’s none of my business unless it affects his well-being. That being said, very little will ever affect his well-being (because his dad adores him) so I don’t care what happens at daddy’s house as long as he is being loved, fed, clothed and nurtured in the best way possible.
  6. Being a part of his dad’s life long term will mean that you will have to meet me. Understand that I bear no ill will or animosity towards you. I am a mother. I am a woman and I believe in the unity of all women. I encourage us to be civil and make the transition for my child seamless and positive. But, understand that you will have to do your part…know and accept that I will always want to do what is in the best interest of my son. No one is more qualified to make important decisions than his dad and I. No one.

One of the greatest things his dad did after we split was rush over to my house because our son had a nose bleed that wouldn’t stop. It was almost 20 minutes of blood gushing and him screaming. His dad called and he screamed, “I want my daddy”. His dad was in a movie and left and said, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” You know what? He was. Not because of me, but because his son needed him. That was pretty awesome and it made me realize one thing…his dad will move mountains for him and for that I am eternally thankful.

I am new to this co-parenting thing and no I didn’t expect to have it figured out, but I’m trying. His dad and I make a lot of stupid mistakes (mainly because we’re pig-headed) but we are trying. We will someday get this right, but I want the temporary (or permanent) women to know that there is no reason to be less than a woman when attaching yourself to the foolishness that may be us. We love our son and we will get it right (hopefully sooner rather than later) someday.

single-mothers

I Like Control, But So What!

I mean doesn’t everyone like to take control of their life and plans and not just leave it to chance that they will be able to eat, live and have a career? I’ve been often told that I’m predictable. That I follow a set pattern when it comes to making plans and don’t tend to deviate from those said plans. Yep, and what’s the problem with that?

No, I’m not spontaneous. No, I don’t like surprises and no, I don’t tend to go somewhere on the whim. I am neurotic and my friends know and accept this about me (which they should because they are my friends) and they will let me know in advance of parties, play dates or drinks. I love that. If it’s not on my calendar, the likely hood of it happening are slim and none. Does it freak me out when I meet someone who doesn’t like to make plans? Absolutely.

But, I can’t change them. I want someone who will meet me halfway. Know that I like to plan and sometimes plan something or allow me to plan it. Yep, it sounds creepy and controlling, but it’s not. It’s just allowing me to feel comfortable about our plans. Heck, I just planned a getaway to NJ in January with my bestfriend to go to this restaurant that has over 30 different grilled cheese sandwiches. Yep, I’m a foodie who plans her food jaunts.

I probably should be in therapy about my need to feel in control, but I can save myself lots of money and time wasted because I know what the issue is…Lack of control happens when people don’t plan. Families break up. You go hungry. You can’t afford anything. You can’t afford doctor’s visits. You can’t afford extracurricular activities. You eat free and reduced lunch.

You grow up. You make great choices. You vowed to live each day better than the last. You control what you can around you. You control your life.

But, what happens when you lose control? What happens when things fall apart that you thought were supposed to work because you took the time, did the research, resolved and analyzed the outliers and it still fails?

You cry. You scream. You accept the inevitable.

You move forward. You grow. You make it through.

You create a new path. A new plan. You research, analyze and test your hypothesis knowing that it is all trial and error.

control