a letter to the mother of my children

An incredible post for forgiveness of a parent who abandons their children…

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There are so many things I want to say to you, I’m really not sure where to start.  Maybe I should start with I’m sorry, but I’m not.  It was never my intention to take your place, however, you lef…

Source: a letter to the mother of my children

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The Mask We Wear

I sat across from my girlfriend last night telling her about my problems. She and I were friends in high school. We reconnected at our 20 year class reunion three years ago. She was the photographer for Munch’s last birthday party. Our children were two years apart.

She and I had shared values. Raising wonderful boys. The seriousness of sisterhood and the desire to see women succeed. We put our boys in similar programs and always shared information. But, this was a first for me. Sharing my pains with her. I had a stressful day. I needed to talk to someone. We had plans.

So, I poured my heart out. I slowly drank my glass of water. No wine for me. I was upset. I refused to drink my calories rather I opted to indulge in dessert. I needed one. I deserved one.

As I sat there pouring out what had been going on with me for the last few months. I was teary eyed. I told her that I couldn’t understand why my son’s father and I couldn’t get a long. I was trying. I couldn’t continue to live like this.

She asked me about my marriage. Why did my marriage fail? I looked her in the eyes and said that I wore a mask. I had a mask on every day for the majority of my marriage. He didn’t know me. He couldn’t see the mask that I wore. He liked that “fake” me. I was living a lie.

I told her that there were many reasons. I could blame him, but I shared some of the blame. I lived a lie. I thought at the time it was my truth, but with each passing year it became more and more unbearable. I was literally drowning. Slowly.

Underwater and never to be seen.

He couldn’t see it. I explained to her that I realized that all women wear masks. Especially if you are a Type A personality. You tend to be the overachiever. You know the “I’m a Woman” type? You know the lyrics from Peggy Lee’s “I’m a Woman”…

“I’m A Woman”

I can wash out 44 pairs of socks and have ’em hangin out on the line
I can starch & iron 2 dozens shirts ‘fore you can count from 1 to 9
I can scoop up a great big dipper full of lard from the drippins can
Throw it in the skillet, go out & do my shopping, be back before it melts in the pan
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

I can rub & scrub this old house til it’s shinin like a dime
Feed the baby, grease the car, & powder my face at the same time
Get all dressed up, go out and swing til 4 a.m. and then
Lay down at 5, jump up at 6, and start all over again
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

If you come to me sickly you know I’m gonna make you well
If you come to me all hexed up you know I’m gonna break the spell
If you come to me hungry you know I’m gonna fill you full of grits
If it’s lovin you’re likin, I’ll kiss you and give you the shiverin’ fits
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

I can stretch! a green black dollar bill from here to kingdom come!
I can play the numbers pay the bills and still end up with some!
I got a twenty-dollar gold piece says there ain’t nothing I can’t do
I can make a dress out of a feed bag and I can make a man out of you
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, and that’s all.

I was living up to this song. Doing it all. Dying a little bit each day. Inside. I smiled on the outside and accepted the compliments when people commented on how I did it all? They would say “You make it look so easy. You work full-time, care for your child, attend every meeting, fund-raise for the school and then send out custom holiday cards or birthday cards, mother’s day cards, etc. How do you do it all?”

I was dying. I was trying to live up to the perfect woman with a smile on my face masking the real me. But, cracks showed in my marriage. He complained about the lack of sex. I was exhausted. It had nothing to do with attraction rather than exhaustion. I was too tired to perform my wifely duties.

 

 

This is a two part post. The second post will be continued tomorrow.

Random: Delayed Birthday Dinner

So, we finally had munch’s birthday dinner this past Saturday night. It wasn’t a birthday party just a family dinner honoring the boy who brings me so much joy. He was overjoyed that he was the center of attention and that his family was celebrating with him.

One of the things that I’m honored to do and I learned from my sister having kids earlier than me was that we need to celebrate all occasions. Even if it means just a family dinner to let you know that you are loved and appreciated for just being you. My son is an only child so I try extra hard to get the cousins together for some bonding time.

The restaurant had a party room that played a hip and funky Asian version of Happy Birthday! It was hilarious watching munch dance. He has no rhythm. LOL!

I wanted to share some photos of the dinner:

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My 3 Rules

I read a great post on the Huffington Post entitled “The 3 Rules of My House” and laughed because I thought the author and I must be kindred spirits because I have 3 rules too. I had Munch reciting my household rules a couple of weeks ago. Not for punishment, but memorization and application.

When talking to other parents and adults we are often angered by the state of our youth today. Not having any manners, their lack of respect for technology, a complete disrespect for privacy, their completed disregard or concern about their own health or their future plans. All these frustrated topics were discussed and dissected in great detail that the only thing we could agree on was the fact that the state of our young people scares us. What is happening to them?

A couple of Saturdays ago, Munch was waiting patiently in the nail salon while I got my bi-weekly maintenance. Normally, he wouldn’t be there because I go when I don’t have him, but his dad being out of town kind of threw a wrench into my plans, but such is life. We got up that morning and I asked him did he want to eat breakfast at home or I would stop by McDonald’s as a treat for him being a good boy. He opted for McDonald’s. I grabbed the I-pad his headphones and headed to the golden arches before going to get my nails done.

Once in the salon, he ate his breakfast and watched his movies. He waited the entire 2.5 hours while I got the works and never complained. All the women were complimentary about his patience and behavior. I smiled and said, “Yep, he’s a good kid.”

So, my mood changed when 20 minutes later a couple of young women (guessing their ages were between 16 and 20) walked in and yelled, “How long for a full set?” I cringed and looked at my nail technician and said, “Wow, no good morning? How about rephrasing and asking….Good morning, may I please inquire as to how long it will take for a full set?” She laughed and said, “T, that’s all day every day. Some of these young women just walk in her and start cursing up a storm that I have to remind them that this is a place of business and we don’t talk like that in this establishment.”

I was floored. Why are these young people being so disrespectful? Do they not have any home training? What do their parents think of their behavior? I said, “When I was growing up, my momma had many rules but only two ever stuck out: 1. Never, ever embarrass me and 2. A lady never gets drunk in public. She gets drunk in the privacy of her own home.” She laughed and said, “I know that’s right girl!” I said, even now I only have 3 rules for my house. I said, “Munch, come here please.” Munch walks over. I said, “Munch, what is the number one rule for mommy’s house?” He smiled and replied, “Don’t embarrass mommy.” I said, “Thank you love.” She said, “Wow, I like that.”

Reading the article prompted me to share the three rules of my house:

  1. Don’t embarrass mommy. This is an all-inclusive, mega statement that applies to everything you do from the minute you wake up to the day you die. Don’t embarrass mommy. I know that you will go through things that will make your choices seem difficult. Many questions such as:
  • Should I skip school?
  • Should I try drugs?
  • What about pre-marital sex?
  • What about cheating on a test?
  • My parents won’t know if I lie, that’s easier than telling the truth, what should I do?

I get it. You will have a lot of choices thrown at you, but remember that all your choices are designed with one thought in mind…not embarrassing mommy. Your choices should seem easier if you answer them with that thought at your fore-front. I know. I’ve been there. I can thankfully say that I have never embarrassed my mommy.

  1. Don’t run in traffic. Yes, it seems that this shouldn’t be a rule that will follow him until adulthood, but it will. It’s a continuation of rule number 1. When you’re young, I don’t want you letting go of your parent’s hands and running into traffic. Traffic is dangerous. We want you to hold our hands until you no longer feel the need to be led by us (which hopefully will be until you graduate from high school – but I know that may be weird for you). Traffic is dangerous and I want you to stay out of traffic. Traffic is where you go once you’ve been licensed by the state as a safe driver and can operate a vehicle that will hopefully protect you when you let go of my hand. Traffic is not to be played with and we don’t run in traffic.
  2. Give thanks. In all that you do, you need to give thanks. Have an attitude of gratitude. Things won’t go your way, such is life, but you should still give thanks. Thanks for being able to have a roof over your head and clothes on your back. Thanks that you have food to eat when you open the fridge and that if you want to buy lunch, your parents can afford to put money on your school lunch account. Thanks that you have two bedrooms, with two tv’s and two dvd players and a whole lot of Disney DVD’s. Thanks that you have parents that love and adore you more than their own lives. Thanks that we want you active and healthy which is why we put you in sports. Thanks that we try to enrich your life by teaching you French, taking you to museums, vacations and beaches. Thanks to your many aunts and uncles who adore you and listen to mommy blog about you all day long. The same aunts and uncles that love you as though you were their own. The same ones that sent you a beautiful children’s Bible from Paris in French so you could read it and translate it to your parents.  In all things give thanks. Never forget that.

Three rules. Simple and easy to remember. I want munch to have an attitude of gratitude and respect for human kind. I want him to open his mouth and say Good Morning and thank you sir to those who he comes in contact with. I want him to grow up the way most of us grew up. With respect and appreciation for everything.

Mommy Moments: Acceptance

Prior to having my son, I was an inherently selfish individual. I couldn’t imagine sharing my time or space with anyone that wasn’t able to articulate a conversation, pay for dinner or argue with me on the latest plight of black folks. I was determined and single-minded in my focus to climb the corporate ladder and leave the chaos of parenting to folks better equipped to handle it. I craved travel and per diems and detested dirty diapers and incessant crying.

I was single minded and single focused on what I wanted and children were not part of that plan. Children reminded me of bondage and captivity. I would be tied to this one individual for the rest of their life. Melodramatic? Possibly, but I have a great excuse…I was a product of a broken home.

A broken home where I watched love between a husband and wife being played out like a bad soap opera. Marriage sucked and I didn’t want to do it. Having to raise my brother and sister while my mom worked left me resenting children because I was giving up my childhood caring for someone else’s kids. It’s true, but I told you that I was selfish right?

The other day, Munch and I were having a disagreement about breakfast and his food choices. He got mad because I replied, “Munch, we’ve talked about this back and forth debate when I tell you that is enough. You need to stop trying to argue. Why are you continuing to try and plead your case? The discussion is over.” He got mad at me and sat silently on the edge of his bed with tears rolling down his face. I went over to him and said, “Munch, I love you.” He shook his head in reply. I repeated, “Munch, I love you.” He shook his head again. I said, “Munch, the things about mommies is that sometimes we will make you feel sad because we will tell you things that you don’t want to hear, but we still love you. You should never not tell me you love me because I will never stop telling you that I love you. Do you understand?”

He looked at me and smiled through his tears and shook his head. I repeated, “Munch, I love you.” He responded, “I love you too Mommy.” My heart swelled and I leaned down to kiss him. I started reliving the moments of his birth, his first laugh, his first word and the first time he walked. I was reminded of how he’s changed me by just being him. It is in his smile that I feel invincible. It is in his tears that I feel vulnerable. And it is in his laugh that I feel valuable. I am his mom. He is my son. No greater bond. He shapes my views each day with random thoughts, quirks or observations about the world. He challenges my position on things by asking the basic question…why mommy?

I no longer feel like I missed out on something because I’m a mom. I don’t cry because I can’t get to the latest party or concert because I’m on mommy duty. I don’t care that I don’t have a job that takes me on business travel. I embrace the fact that motherhood has changed me. I honor and accept it because he’s changed me. He has allowed me to lead, guide, shape and mold his identity. I don’t need hookah or late nights, I need story time and hugs and kisses because I’m a better person with him than without him.

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