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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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/.

Your Shoes are Fake

I sat there stunned thinking about all the times that I’ve heard the saying that “women can’t raise boys because they can’t teach boys how to be men”. Today I wondered was there any truth to it. I mean Munch and I are really close and I know he’s still innocent, but would I be able to navigate him through the trials of life when he comes to me with a situation? I honestly felt inadequate at that moment.

I thanked God for the opportunity to love and raise this little boy and for all the men in my life that I call friends to help me navigate unknown territory because it was them that I called on for advice. So, here’s what happened…Munch’s feet are growing like crazy. He’s gone from a kids size 7 shoe into a men’s 9 shoe in one years time. Honestly, he only has a little room in the 9 and he’ll be off into a 9 1/2 shoe probably by the end of summer. I wasn’t ready.

He’s 10. He hasn’t gone through puberty yet. Do you know how much men’s shoes cost? I have always believed that my son should have nice clothes and shoes. It was something that I felt was required because he should always be presentable. That said he will always have name brand tennis shoes. I prefer Nike, but will buy a nice running shoe as he’s hard on his tennis shoes as evident in his daily playground time.

We went to the store last weekend and I had him try on tennis shoes to find the ones he liked. Munch hates tying his shoe laces and so we found a great pair of Jordan’s with no laces. Perfect for the remainder of school and through the summer. He hated shoe shopping and we wrapped it up and headed home.

He was excited to wear his new shoes to school on Monday and off he went. But, on Tuesday when I picked him up he asked me “Mommy, are my shoes fake?” I was stunned. Munch knows nothing of name brand shoes. I had gotten his shoes on sale at Foot Locker and stores don’t sell fake shoes. I responded “No baby, why would you ask me that?” He began to tell me how a girl at school had told him that his shoes are fake and that they aren’t real. He said that she told another little boy and they were saying the same thing. He said she told me to take off my shoes so she can see them.

I was livid. I calmed myself and explained this one rule…never take off your shoes. That’s how someone can steal your shoes. I told him to ignore her. To tell her that your mom doesn’t buy you fake stuff and to mind her business. But, I wondered was it enough? Was I equipping my son with the sharp witted skills required to respond to ignorance?

I called three male friends who are parents and asked for their advice. I needed help. What am I supposed to do to encourage my Munch?

-To Be Continued-

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.

The Village Doesn’t Have an Idiot

Yesterday, the surgery center called to talk me through my upcoming surgery. I wasn’t available and they left a message. They then sent me an email and asked me to confirm that I received it and understood what it said. I started freaking out. I mean – I’m having surgery soon. I was now having a panic attack.

I’m at work struggling to breathe and calm my heart down. I’ve been calm about the procedure. No surprises. I’ve had 3 surgeries prior so I know what it is like to go under the knife. No fear. Not even when my mother called to tell me that she can’t take off to take care of me. Basically, she’s on detail and will just be getting back from Hawaii and needs to finish out some projects before heading back to her original post.

Ugh! Minor setback. I breathed through that experience. She asked me can I reschedule my surgery so she can be there. Umm, nope. I’m getting ready to head into my busy season and the time is now. Pushing it back will only put me in a bind. Now, that I’m in management – I need to think realistically. To look at my schedule and be able to see what is coming down the pike. The date will stay the same.

I appreciated the fact that she wants to be there, but I now had to go it alone. I asked her could she take and pick Munch up from school and she said “Yep, I can do that.” Well that was the worst of it right? I can do this. I called Mr. C and confirmed that I needed a ride the day of my surgery. Mr. C started a new job and doesn’t have leave and has to be at work at 2 p.m. I may not be awake and moving around by that time so I need a ride home. No worries. I’ll figure it out. Called my girlfriend and she said she’ll be there. Tell him to call me when he leaves and I’ll be on my way.

Friends.

Damn, I’m lucky. Then my girlfriend started asking me questions like “Do you have a recliner at home?” Umm, nope. “You need a recliner.” I don’t have one. Research recliners I told myself. She then told me that I needed to get an app for the alarm so that I can turn it on and off so that people can check on me. I don’t like this idea. Still working through it. But, she’s packing up food so that my mom can feed me and Munch when she gets home without having to cook. She’s a great cook – my inner fat girl is getting excited.

Oh, I’ll be too groggy to eat right? Ugh! Another minor setback.

She then told me she would get me home and in the bed, but once I head up the stairs that I needed to be up there for about 3 days. Walking up and down the stairs is not good for my incision. Okay, no problem. I can do that. She said that she would go to the pharmacy and get my medications while I’m resting so that I can stay ahead of my pain.

This is a lot. I’m still aware that I will be alone during the day time, but I should be fine right? Sleeping and stuff.

Last week as I’m finishing up my staff meeting I mentioned that my mom can’t take off after my surgery and I needed a recliner and that my girlfriend was going to help me and go and get my prescriptions. My staff is awesome. Apparently, I can get my scripts in advance of my surgery. They told me to call the insurance company to see if I can get a nurse for a few hours a day. They confirmed that I needed a recliner and I remembered Rent a Center.

I talked to my niece who is coming home from college next week and she will be staying with me for a couple of days to get my meals and make sure I’m breathing. No real work to do. If the nurse comes, even better.

I’m excited. I’m working my plan. All is fine in my world that seems to be anxiously moving. That was until the call came that reminded me that I’m having surgery. I didn’t talk to the surgery coordinator at the facility. I responded to her email. The only issue is that she has a day earlier than my doctor’s office on when my surgery is taking place. How is that possible? I’m now confused as to when this dang surgery is taking place.

Finally, I’m running around like a mad woman to finish up some projects and make sure that my transition is smooth. I will not be checking messages or responding to calls. I’m going to let my mind and body heal. I will miss Munch’s concert on the 31st of this month, but I have a whole lot of people who will be in attendance supporting him.

Yes, it’s overwhelming as hell and I feel like a chicken running around with my head cut off.   But, hey…I’m proud to report that there is not one idiot in my village.

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/.

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/.

Reflections on the A-to-Z Challenge

It was my first year doing the challenge. It was hard. I learned a lot about me and my ability to come up with posts for thirty days. Thankfully, it is over. LOL. Here are my reflections:

  • I needed to pre-plan my posts and actually schedule them. I usually had a rough draft and concept done, but I didn’t plan them in advance. That probably would have saved me time when life got in the way and I didn’t post that day.
  • It was hard trying to think of words that matched the alphabet that weren’t always really simple. You know how hard it was coming up with X and Z? Whew!
  • I like the idea of a theme but would probably find a different one next time that was a little easier. I am proud of myself for jumping out there with a difficult theme, but I probably should have picked an easier one for the first time.
  • It was good to be writing consistently. It’s hard to blog some days when you feel like you have nothing to talk about or life gets in the way. Planning what you’re going to post forces you to get comfortable blogging on a consistent basis.

That’s about it. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I may participate again later this year. If you missed any of my posts you can check them out here:

Anguish

Black

Cleveland

Divorce

Effort

Fear

God

Heavy

Insurance

Jordan

Knowledge

Love

Mom

Nursing

Objective

Perception

Querulous

Responsible

Saved

Trayvon

Unjust

Version

Wise

Xerarch

Yearning

Zappy

 

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…

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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/.

Wise

April 26, 2018

Dearest Munch:

Sometimes I can’t find the words to impart the wisdom that I want you to have about life. There are not enough words or moments. Our country is in a state of change. But, I believe that it will get better.

I want you to focus on the wise words by these great men in history. These quotes were picked to inspire you to live each day being a better version of yourself. Life won’t be easy. However, you are powerful beyond measure. Trust that. Trust you.

When times get weary or lonesome, reflect on the wise words of your ancestors…

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington

“Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” –James Baldwin (No Name in the Street)

“There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained.”- W.E.B. Dubois

“Racism is not an excuse to not do the best you can.” —Arthur Ashe

“There are two kinds of worries—those you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.” —Duke Ellington

 

Love,

Mommy

W

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “W” is for Wise. 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/.