Just Stand

Hello Loves! Long time with no hear or read. I’ve missed all of you and I can’t thank you enough for your checking in on me during my long hiatus away from this blog. So many things have happened to me and I’ll be sharing more about it in the coming weeks. It was crazy how many people found me on FaceBook or even reached out on Instagram and Twitter with concern. You just don’t know how wonderful you made me feel.

Nothing is wrong, I’m just juggling my hectic life and preparing for court next week. We’ll talk more about that later. But, what has been going on with me? So much has happened these last four months.  I had a woman on my staff pass away in September. She was an amazing woman who was a great staff member with an eagle eye for detail. I thanked God every day that I had inherited someone so detail oriented and knowledgeable with systems.

With her being gone, my team and I entered our busy season and tried to deal with the loss and get things done. I am happy to say that we did. My team is great and I’m thankful for all of them. Even when I’m not there they still get the job done.

Munch entered fifth grade this year. It is an adjustment because he now has 3 main teachers. His homeroom teacher teaches science to all 5th graders and social studies and health to Munch’s class. He has a math teacher that teaches math to all the 5th graders and a French teacher for oral and written communication and French reading. He’s struggling in math and French and I’ve put him in private tutoring. So, we are at the center 4 nights a week to make sure that he’s staying on level.  Do you know how hard that is?

French is crazy because the words that he is supposed to know at 10 have grown. Not just in French but in English. Many nights are spent going to dictionary.com to look up the word’s meaning and explaining it in English and then researching it in French. We’re trying to use it in a sentence to further his understanding and I feel so unprepared. Let’s just say that French this year has been hard work. However, with all that I’m proud that Munch is putting forth his best effort and I’m proud to report that he has earned a 3.4 for his 1st quarter. These teachers are so patient with me because I’m emailing every two weeks with questions, comments or concerns.

With so many things happening I still found time to grant write for the school’s PTA and just enjoy life. I’m still single which is crazy because I haven’t gone on one date since Mr. C and I broke up. I’m just not emotionally ready. Not that I’m still trying to get back with him it’s just that I have a lot going on and I’m not mentally ready to let another man in my space right now. It could be the cold weather too. LOL. I have no idea. But, I’ll be back on the dating scene in 2019.

I’m active in my sorority and just enjoying this thing called life. Christmas is in 20 days and I’m done shopping. Can you believe it? Munch still believes in Santa and I’m happy the magic continues one more year. I’ve reconnected with old friends and created new friends who have encouraged my soul beyond regard. My FaceBook friends and I actually met this summer. We had a ball.

Finally, I need to stand still. I’m learning to be more thoughtful and just stand in the midst of chaos and allow God to give me peace when all hell is breaking loose around me. 2018 has been one for the books, but I’m reflecting on how I’m approaching my 44th year next month and there are still so many things to do and so many things to say. I’m praying that the words will flow freely and I can let you into this brain that won’t shut off some nights. Bear with me.

How have you been old friend?

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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Sex and the Pre-teen

In this motherhood journey I’m often caught between a rock and a hard place. I’m balancing what I should share with Munch and when. It’s a juggling act. Do I want to take away his innocence early or wait until later? I’m rambling about…the sex talk. I’m wondering, when is the appropriate age to talk about sex with your children?

I have a boy and for all intents and purposes he’s still pretty innocent. He turns off songs with bad words in them or inappropriate subjects. He still watches Disney Jr. and Nick Kids. He just recently started watching The Thundermans on Nickelodeon about a superhero family. I’m wondering if broaching sex now will change him somehow.

My mother never talked about sex with me. I learned at school in the sixth grade with all the other children. Not that I was thinking about sex or anything, but I had started my cycle before then so I had no idea what was happening to me. It was as though the sex talk was somehow taboo.

Children are growing up faster now than when I was a child and I don’t want Munch learning something from the kids at school or in the streets. I want to give him all the information to make informed decisions. I want to teach him how to love and cherish his body and to not treat sex as a rites of passage. It’s your body that is a temple that we should use to honor God.

But, I don’t want to be naïve and think that he may never do it, so I struggle with how much to tell him and when?

My best friend has a son one year older than mine and I asked her had she talked to him about sex? She said no. He’s not mentally ready yet. So, I’m wondering do we wait until our children are mentally ready to have the sex conversation or do we overload them with information now in hopes that they will choose to not engage in sexual activity until marriage?

Yes, Munch knows about his body and boundaries. I’ve made sure that he calls his genitalia by the proper terminology. I’ve explained that a doctor can only examine you with mommy and/or daddy in the room. He is now getting shy and embarrassed when a doctor has to examine his penis during his annual visits. However, is it too soon to have the sex talk?

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.

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.

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/.

Your Shoes are Fake – Continued

In last week’s post I explained how Munch was hurt because this girl at school was telling him his shoes were fake. Sitting in the car listening to my young man hurt about something that I never thought he would have to deal with really punched me in the gut. What do fourth grade children know about name brands or fake stuff? Where do you even buy fake tennis shoes? Who are the parents of these children and what values are we teaching them.

I called a few of my male friends to get their perspective on the situation and what I should I tell Munch. The advice was pretty much consistent because they have sons who went through something similar or they were young men who dealt with this at one point in their lives. They said to tell him to ignore it.

But, one of my friends who was born and raised in Washington, DC said that other areas around the country are not as “up on the latest fashion and tennis shoe styles as the Washington, DC metropolitan area”. He told me to explain to Munch that “if someone comes up to you more concern about the shoes you’re wearing and the clothes on your back more so than the content of your character or who you are then that’s probably someone you should not play with.” Great answer, right?

So, I told Munch exactly what he said and he seemed to take it all in and just listen. But, when he saw my brother the next day and my brother complimented him on his shoes Munch said “But, people are saying my shoes are fake”. My brother told Munch that there is nothing fake about his shoes and he had a pair when he was in the 11th grade. He explained that they are Jordan Trunners and designed for runners. He told Munch “to tell the kids that his shoes are not fake and his uncle owns many pairs of Jordans and that they are real.” Munch seemed to accept that.

It’s funny because in many ways Munch seems to accept what other adults tell him over me because he views me as always loving him and telling him what he wants to hear. My brother made it better for Munch. Although, I wish I could have, I’m thankful that Munch knows that there are men there who will tell him the truth. Ugh, I wonder what 5th grade will be like.

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.

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.

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/.

Daddy

I know it’s Mother’s Day weekend and I’m sharing a post about my daddy, but I had to share this. I was asked to be a part of an incredible project by Dr. K E Garland. Her next book is called Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships and will be released next month (pre-orders are going on now and hard book copies will be available June 2, 2018).  This is an amazing book and I wanted to share my write up for the upcoming release.

Daddy is going to give you insight into the importance of father-daughter relationships. All relationships are important, but I tell you growing up without a dad changed me. In good ways, but definitely some bad and I’m not alone. So, I wanted to share my story.

I’m so excited to be a part of this project. It was therapeutic and I know that you will enjoy the book, so please check out my interview via DADDY CONTRIBUTOR: Tikeetha Thomas

Also, look out for me promoting this awesome book for everyone and think about getting it for Father’s Day as a gift to the many men in your life that are raising daughters.

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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/.