Family: We’re More than Just Blood

Okay, so I am still in vacation mode as I sip my venti iced coffee with extra cream and 9 Splenda from Starbucks this morning.  I am enjoying the toned color of my skin and I still have that hazy glow of pure bliss. This was the first family vacation that we have ever taken and I actually had a ball.  I couldn’t have imagined having so much fun with my siblings and their families.  If you know me, this in itself is a big deal because we all have varying degrees of dysfunction yet we mesh together in a broken way.  It works for us.

We spent four days in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as one big ole family.  One of the greatest surprises is that my mom took the bull by the horns and made the reservation once we agreed on the date because she knew her children wouldn’t do it.  I applaud her for that.  The resort was nice, clean with lots to do and the weather was perfect.  We all agree that we would do it again next year and would like to make it a yearly trip to the beach with our families.  However, that being said, there are some tips that I want to share to make sure that you have a smooth and friendly family vacation.

  • Save more money.  Whether you are a family of two or a family of six, traveling with children can prove pricey.  We stayed at a resort that had a full size refrigerator and microwave and we stocked our fridge with lemonade, juice boxes, sandwiches and fruit to snack on while we lounged at the pool or beach all day.  Money is essential on any vacation trip and you should definitely have money to afford family dinners and activities.
  • Carpool.  Gas prices are out of control and it is more beneficial to car pool and share the gas prices with others than footing the bill on your own. Because we were able to drive our own cars, it was more economical than flying and having to rent a car.  However, my car takes premium gas and the fill-up is about $68.00.  We filled up 3 times.  I think next year I will rent a car that takes regular gas.  
  • Research.  I wish we had researched some really nice restaurants and things to do with the kids prior to going.  I would love somewhat of a schedule with suggested price listings so we could have planned our activities accordingly.  We took the kids to the Amusement Park that was small and not overly crowded and they had a blast, but I truly appreciate a more itemized and researched vacation suggestions.
  • Pictures.  Nowadays, most people have a smart phone and take pictures on their phone, but many of us forget to send or upload them so that we can all share and have access to the photos to make a photo book of our vacation.  I took many pictures on my smart phone and began uploading them on Shutterfly last night so that we can all view and have a vacation book for our memories.  It was a great trip so you want to make sure that you get plenty of photos of all your family members.
  • Relax and enjoy.  It is simple yet for many of us hard to do.  We don’t know how to relax and enjoy and go with the flow of the conversation or activity choices without complaining or trying to regulate it. I think if you have a suggested itinerary that you send out in advance, you can modify it or decide to opt out of activities that don’t appeal to you.  Whatever you do, just remember that you need to relax and enjoy the time together because it is a family vacation.  
The cutest thing was when my munch said to his cousin William when he saw him at the pool was “Hi, William.”  William said, “Hi, Brennan.  Whoa you’ve gotten dark.” Brennan laughed and smiled brightly.  He responded, “I’m 6 now too.” This trip rejuvenated my munch and strengthened his relationship with his cousins and for that I am extremely grateful.  I love my family and I’m thankful that this trip happened because I discovered that we’re more than just blood, we’re actually friends.
Myrtle Beach – July 2014

Mom’s and their Psychosis

My mom and I were discussing the Shaquan Duley tragedy last week. We had two different views on whether or not she had suffered a psychotic break. If you don’t know what happened, here’s a brief recap of the situation. Shaquan Duley is a 29 year old single black mother from South Carolina. On August 16, 2010, she rented a hotel room and suffocated her two young sons by covering their mouths with her hands. They were ages 2 and 1. She then buckled them into their car seats and drove her car into a lake. They were dead before they hit the water. The police pulled her car out of the lake and the boys bodies out of their car seats. The story being circulated in the media is that she has confessed to murdering her two sons due to pressures from her mother on her ability to not care for her children. She is facing two counts of murder.

As a mother of one, I can’t imagine the pain that this family must be going through. I’ve never been to a child’s funeral, and I hope I will never have to go to one. My son is 2 years old and I can’t imagine there being any reason that I could ever take his life. However, I don’t and can’t begin to pass judgement on this woman and her family. I don’t know what pushed Shaquan to the edge where she saw no way out of her situation, but to take her children’s lives. I just believe that she had a psychotic break. The medical dictionary ( describes psychotic break as:

Psychosis is a symptom or feature of mental illness typically characterized by radical changes in personality, impaired functioning, and a distorted or nonexistent sense of objective reality. Based on this definition, I would tend to believe that Shaquan is suffering from psychosis. Maybe she suffered from Post Postpartum Depression (PPD). I believe that if PPD is left untreated, it can last a lifetime. I am not saying she is not guilty of her crime, but if we look at the number of women who seem to loose their sense of reality and commit the most horrendous crimes, then we realize that she is one of many. Look at Andrea Yates, Susan Smith, Kenesia Berry, etc. There are many stories of women who kill their children. Many of these stories don’t make the national headlines, but they exist and we shouldn’t forget their fallen angels. Let’s not rush to pass judgement on this case or the next because as her lawyer, Carl B. Grant said: “I have often said in cases like this, where the emotions of the masses have been aroused so high, there is a thin line, truly, between lynching and a trial.

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