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.

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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/.

A Sister’s Love and My Mom

Sisters, women are the keeping source of families. Recently, I recovered a letter my eldest Auntie wrote to her sister, my mother. My Auntie is 88 years old, will be 89 in a week.

“Both within the family and without, our sisters hold up our mirrors: our images of who we are and of who we can dare to be.” -Elizabeth Fishel 

My mother transitioned a few years back at the age of 76. May is a difficult month for me. Her birthday is May 8th and then there is the celebration of Mother’s Day. All my life Mother’s Day was spent with her. Even though I am a mother, there is always a major part of me missing on Mother’s Day. Grief does not get easier. I am learning that time, memories and the foundation of our roots, how one is taught moves the missing to the good memories, to the best of what love offers.

This letter brought tears, happy tears and I paused. I smiled. At times, I do not believe we realize the major pieces we give ourselves to others. The two were inseparable. My mother was quite the humblest person I ever met. Their love for each other is rare and so traditional.  I believe my sister Keyna put a presentation of letters written together by her children, friends and families for one of Momma’s many birthdays.

moms letter

These two were always stylish, always supportive of everyone and loved their communities. Our family bonds are important, worth keeping together. How we live is important. It is thirteen siblings on my mother’s side –we are huge! I have three sisters and three brothers. As you read this, I hope you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

Daddy and Momma
Daddy and Momma married August 8, 1959

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This post was submitted by Michelle. Michelle recently graduated with her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is the mother of four and Umi to Dawn Michele. You can follow, like, comment on her blog: amichelleexperience.me

 

Mom You Lied

This past weekend, Munch and I went out shopping on Saturday for new church clothes. Later that evening Munch came in my room and asked me could he talk to me privately. I said “Sure.” I have to tell you that I was really proud that he closed the door and asked me to talk privately. I eagerly awaited what he had to say.

“Mom, I felt like you lied to me today” he said. I was caught off guard. “About what Munch? Why do you feel like I lied to you today?” He said “About the store earlier. You said it wasn’t going to take long and we waited in line for a long time.” I had to catch myself. I was ready to say something smart, but I’m practicing the behavior that I want him to emulate so I said “Munch, do I work at that store?” He replied “No.” I then asked “How do you define a long time?” He didn’t respond. I continued “I had to wait in the same line and they had every register open. But, I am asking you to remember that God wants us to be patient and what you are exhibiting is your frustration at the fact that we had to wait. Wait in line while picking up clothes for you. Remember that you must have an attitude of gratitude all the time and right now, you’re not being gratuitous. I didn’t lie. You didn’t have a realistic expectation as to the time it would take and neither did I.” I asked him was there anything else and said good night.

I almost lost it. I couldn’t believe that my child was blaming me for the long lines in the store. I didn’t know if I could continue down this positive parenting journey. It was stressful to reign in my emotions and then to try to explain how disappointed that I was without losing my mind. I did it, but sometimes I wonder if I’m even making sense to Munch.

I didn’t lie, but his interpretation of the fact that I said it shouldn’t take long had told his brain that I lied when he had to wait over a certain amount of time. I didn’t know what to do. I was literally making it up as I go along. I thought about it over the next couple of days and expressed to him that we needed to take the time to process what he said and his expectations. I explained that his expectations are his, but he needs to practice reasonableness. I discussed that because he’s in an awkward size in dress clothes that I need him to be present and that I try my best to shop without him, but that may not always be the case. He needs to be prepared that sometimes he will need to be present.

I don’t know if he understands. Talking to other people only increases my anxiety about my choices because they don’t understand what I’m doing on this positive parenting journey. I’m being firm but allowing him to have choices. To openly expresses his feelings, but to level set with him. I pray that I’m not messing him up.

 

 

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/.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Wishing every last mother a big fat happy mother’s day! You are to be honored this day. Your hard work may seem to go unnoticed, but know that you are making a difference in the lives of the children you raise. Stand strong Queens! You got this!

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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/.

The Truth About Parenting

Yesterday when scrolling through Facebook I see this great post that was shared to a group that I’m in:

la0508

The post angered a lot of people. They felt judged. I get it. But, should you feel that way? Yelling at your child early in the morning starts them off on the wrong foot. We’ve got to do better. Speak in normal tones to them. If you set them on edge first thing in the morning, how do you think the rest of their day will go?

I saw this video below a couple of years ago and it really solidified in my mind that I was doing right by Munch.

There were many opportunities to start the child off on the right path and each adult that he encountered was determined to make his day suck. Yep, it was the adults fault. You are the ones that set the tone for how their day should be. Can they have bad days if you do everything right? Yes, absolutely, but how they start their day matters. Just like eating a healthy breakfast in the morning is best, it is also imperative that we put our children in a mindset of success and peace.

I commented on the Facebook post in my group with this…

capture0502

This mother commented that compared to you I must be doing something wrong. I laughed and said “No, we do our best. I only have one. I chose to do my best and pour the very best of what I have in raising him. It’s important that I get up each morning and fix him a hot breakfast. That I make sure he is presentable and in a positive mood each day. It’s my job as his parent. I wasn’t raised in the manner I’m choose to raising my son. Not a bad thing. I chose to raise him differently.” I’m not in competition with other parents. I am just choosing to do what I believe is best for Munch. Some days are good. Some days are a struggle. But that’s to be expected, right?

The other day Munch was taking his sweet time eating breakfast (38 minutes) and I was going to be late getting him to Before Care. I calmly called downstairs and asked him was he finished eating? He said he wasn’t. I then told him that I needed him to come upstairs in 7 minutes because we were late. We had to go. He started to talk about how he wasn’t finished. He still had food to eat. I explained that he was being distracted by watching his Ipad and not eating his breakfast. He complained that he was not. He then wanted to argue with me. I calmly replied “This was not a choice. I asked you to follow my instructions because you need to finish so we can get dressed and leave.” He did as instructed and we finished getting dressed and we left.

When I chose to practice positive parenting I knew that there would be days that would be overwhelmingly frustrating, but I’m sticking with it. I’m choosing to teach him positive behaviors and not to mess up his day with my own frustrations. Because that is what it is…my frustrations. I need to learn to control me.

I’m different. I do things differently with him. I trust that he will be grateful for the lessons that I’m teaching him and understand that I only wish him peace knowing that it starts with me.

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/.

Love

I’m late. This should have gone out on Friday. Please forgive me for just getting out this post. It’s about love…

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April 16, 2018

There are times as a parent when you realize that your job is not to be the parent you always imagined you’d be, the parent you always wished you had. Your job is to be the parent your child needs, given the particulars of his or her own life and nature.

Ayelet Waldman

Love. There is no greater gift than to love the young man that God has blessed me with. He’s pretty amazing. I thank God for him every day. He is a child that challenges me to be better. I’ve grown because of him into someone that finds joy in the everyday simple moments of rushed kisses, determined hugs and high fives. I will support his dreams and help him understand his failures are a part of life. I will encourage him to just be himself because that is what the world loves.

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “L” is for Love. 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.

L

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/.

Divorce

March 2013

It’s over. I told him in January that I wanted a divorce. He wanted to take time to think about it. Think about what? We’re not happy. We deserve to be happy. It’s not getting better. I just have to cope with this change. Wake up and repeat.

Some days are better than ever. I’m an emotional wreck. I don’t want Munch living in two separate homes. But, this is what I signed up for when I asked for a divorce. I just have to get used to it.

What about schools?  What kind of school will Munch attend? I don’t really like the public schools in my area. I picked out a great Catholic school. We both went. Munch is allowed to spend a day with them to get used to it. That’s good news despite the stress.

I’m trying not to think about the fact that Munch is now another statistic. A child of divorce. Will he be okay? What have I done? I don’t think I thought about Munch. Am I being selfish?

I pray not.

I have to focus on one thing at a time. This is stressing me out. I need to get my mind right. Focus on the logistics; the parenting plan, finding a school and getting through his day care graduation. I feel like everyone is looking at Munch and I when we go anywhere. Am I wearing a big “D” on my forehead. I’m consumed with thoughts of how Munch will survive and whether or not he will survive this. Truthfully, I wonder if I will survive.

It is as it shall be. Another black boy from a broken home. This was my worst fear realized. I never wanted to raise a child alone.

D

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “D” is for Divorce. 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.

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/.

Cleveland

November 22, 2014

I’m standing in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner. Munch is in his room watching television and waiting for his dinner. I hear the news. A 12 year old boy named Tamir Rice was just gunned down in a park in Cleveland, Ohio by two police officers. The glass I was holding shatters.

He was 12. The picture shows a sweet smiling little boy. I watch the news with tears as I wonder how anyone could kill a 12 year old boy. What has this world come too? A mother burying her son. This isn’t how the world is supposed to work. We are supposed to have our children bury us after many years lived.

He won’t have that opportunity. I wonder is anywhere safe. I wonder if this little boy’s mom thought that the city of Cleveland was safe. If her street or neighborhood was safe. If she thought that those who were supposed to protect and serve would never harm her son.

Another boy dies. Another mother weeps. A life cut short. How can I protect my four year old son? No guns. No play guns. No Nerf guns. I have to keep Munch safe.

I clean up the broken glass and think that this is life. We’re all broken. The police are broken. This family is broken. The justice system is broken.

No rest for mothers tonight.

 

C

 

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “C” is for Cleveland. 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.

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/.

Black

May 1, 2008

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?

B

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.

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/.