Thursday, February 02, 2006

good housekeeping?

April 10, 2003

San francisco, CA
Two children - twin boys (6)

I am Pissed! I am working everyday to become the kind of woman I have dreamed of my entire life and suddenly I am being told basically that something as small as housework should stand in the way of me and what I am trying to experience. Why would someone who could 1) afford a housekeeper (once a week mind you) and 2) have other activities of greater quality and value to them that can be undertaken in place of the housework, not hire a housekeeper? I learned a very valuable lesson from a wise woman today about delegating tasks evenly so as to leave time to do what you enjoy, what motivates and makes you happy so that you want to wake up everyday and do this thing called life over and over again. But somehow wanting this, not only for myself but for my family turned into “That’s a waste of money,” “That’s just lazy,” “Why would an able-bodied person need a housekeeper?”

I’ll tell you why; because I deserve clean floors and long leisurely hours with my children. Because I want to sit on clean toilets and not have to sacrifice time to work out and stay fit and healthy. Because I never want to see grease
behind my stove or on the side of my refrigerator and that should not have to cost me the
opportunity to read or sit or nap or do whatever the hell I want to do with that freed-up time that I more than deserve and have worked for.

There are never any complaints when I spend sixty or seventy dollars on dinner or forty dollars on lunch but forty-five dollars a week to pay someone to clean the kitchen and bathroom is above us? Because that’s what I hear. The fear in his accusing voice says, “Who do you think you are? We’re not those kind of people. We work. We Hustle. We are not there yet.” People should really consider that there is so much more in life than what was drilled into our heads under our parents’ roof.

It’s okay to do a new thing. That thing that suits you and your lifestyle. That thing that makes you happy and genuinely fulfilled. People should examine whether they are happy and fulfilled or just reading the already written lines.

what happens in the aftermath

May 18, 2004

Kellie -50
South Pasadena, CA
2 girls (21) and (18)

Being mama: fulfilling. challenging.

Erica was in a car accident very early Sunday morning, coming home from Edgar’s house. She was hit-T-boned on the driver side door-by another car. The driver fled the scene. So did the witnesses.

Their actions made impact on Erica: she could not believe that anyone would leave an accident, even if they were at fault. Weren’t they even interested in making sure she was not hurt? She would have stayed. She would have helped. Why would anyone do differently?

This is a tough teaching opportunity. I want her to learn the right lesson. But what is the right lesson? I don’t want her to be jaded, angry, or bitter based on how people treat her. But I don’t want folks to stomp on her heart either. I love her soft and caring heart. I want her to retain that even if it means she’ll be hurt from time-to-time. But it’s hard to teach someone to stay soft when you struggle to learn that very same lesson.

My child could have been killed in that accident.

This is very sobering.

I must enjoy her every day. I must love her every day. I must be there for her every day. It might be the last day I have with her. God might need her today.

And my other daughter...

I love her, but she can be self-focused to oblivion. I called her to let her know EJ had been in an accident. In all of the excitement, I wanted to make sure all of the family knew, including Mom and Dad and Auntie. Deidre responded by calling Erica and saying “Well thank you very much for telling me about your accident. I had to hear it from Mom. Why didn’t you call to tell me? Why did I have to hear it from Mom? You should have called me first.”

Erica answered, “I’m not hurt, thanks for asking.”

Black Girl Swagger

February 2, 2006

Britni - 25
Los Angeles, CA
1 child - Boy (3 mo)

there is no finger-popping here. no rolling of the neck nor eyes. but becoming a mommy has definitely had some interesting side-affects: a shot of self-confidence.

i have always been a “thick” girl. as a young girl, having a womanish body meant being looked at by men before i was ready to deal with their stares. so i hid. my high school uniform; baggy jeans, a sony walkman, and enough sarcasm to cut you deep. it worked. i wasn’t bothered, I was respected (ok, maybe feared) which kept the nonsense at bay. but strangely enough it also kept away the attention that I craved—the love of a partner to share my innermost thoughts. fast forward.

two years into a committed relationship, i find out i’m pregnant. once I came to grips with having a baby and fully embracing it, I started to notice that I allowed myself to be comfortable in my own skin. being pregnant in the summer in Brooklyn will force anyone to shed a few layers of clothing. and there I was. showing off parts of my pregnant body, that I would have never shown off before. odd isn’t it? when a lot of women are drowning in maternity tents, trying to hide their burgeoning bellies, I was trying to show mine off (and make it look bigger). my arms, which I have always hid, found themselves seeing the sunshine (in public) for the first time. even now, my son is three months old and although i’m not pleased with my jelly belly, i am more at ease in my skin. my head rides a little higher on my shoulders and my walk has a little bit more movement in the hips. perhaps it is because i now know i have the strength to endure an amazing amount of pain and produce something more beautiful than any poem i could write. my son is my badge of honor: perfect, beautiful, precious, a blessing.

and it shows.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

the night the earth shook

March 7, 2003

Jasai -27
Los Angeles
2 children - boy(7) girl (23 months)

My daughter screams around this time every weekday morning (6:10 a.m.) She wants to get out of her bed to come nudge and huddle under me. One week ago tomorrow, she had what I didn’t know at the time was a normal reaction to a too-high fever. So strong and frightening was the way she shook in my arms in the throws of a seizure that I knew I had to hold on tight to my mind or I would have lost it.

She shook and shook, yet I was solid and grateful for her life, and her strength, and her will. She was holding on and pushing through for the pain that she knew I could never endure if she gave up. I loved her soul in those long, anxious and terrifying moments. She was the best gift in that moment; the gift of letting go and trusting that it would all be okay. Nothing I was capable of doing mattered except trusting and loving. There really is nothing else, only derivatives. She fought through, held on, and understood, at the end of that tunnel, better than she had at its beginning that I am here for her. For both of my children. For any to come in the future. Above all ambition and seeking, my heart’s eye in constant on them. God has granted me the privilege of souls. I will work and not faint.

End 6:22 a.m.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

learning to let go... kinda

April 3, 2004

Los Angeles, CA
2 children - boy (8) girl (3)

Motherhood somtimes not having very much to do with children. This is the very valuable lesson I learned today during the BMD orientation (which went superbly.) Many times I am doing things in the name of it being "for their own good" when the truth pronounces loudly - if only i would listen - "that is not their personality and if you keep fighting them on this, they will keep fighting back." That would be a a crummy way to spend the next 18+ years.

The enthusiasm, fervor and fever of the mothers on the subject of mothering was a breath of fresh air (and a jolt to the tear ducts once or twice.) Truly it is time that they were heard on this matter.

Son (10) is with his father for the "birthday weekend." Promised gifts were brought. Promised weekend was had. Will review this as positive. Will put other (many) failures to come through, aside. What is good for son and makes son happy is goal. Son is good and happy.

END 10:21 p.m.

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