32 Minutes Later

In 32 minutes Rachel Ray can make a meal. In 32 minutes a situation comedy can create, and resolve a problem or make you laugh until you cry. In 32 minutes or less Dominos will deliver a pizza or it’s free. My point being a lot can happen in 32 minutes.

This is what happened in my world in 32 minutes.

On Friday, August 14th, I sent a text to my son at 10:39pm and asked if the football game was over?  At 10:49pm  got the response, “Almost.” At 11:02pm the parent who was picking up my son and his friend sent me a text saying she was on the way to get them. Satisfied all was well, I began to prepare for bed. At 11:11pm I had a call coming in that I almost did not answer, because it was an unfamiliar number. When I answered the official sounding voice on the other end asked if I was Denna XXXX, I automatically held my breath. When the voice identified himself as John Smith with Henry county EMS, a paramedic, and that he was “Working on” my son, time stopped along with my heart.
What? I asked in total disbelief. At that point my room felt like waves in the ocean and I was bobbing like a cork on the waves. Seasickness began to set in. I looked at my bathroom door as it rippled. I needed to get there to hold on. My steps only intensified my bout of sickness.
John said, he’s pretty banged up, his lip is split, he has some scrapes, but he’s ok; but we need you to come to the scene.”
Where is he? I’m on the way, I said.  Who did this to him, I asked? Why did they do this to him? I need to talk to my son!
He would not let me talk to him and only repeated, that he needed me to come to the scene where they were ASAP. But what he did do, was say they jumped my boy for his sneakers.
WHAT? The waves intensified. His shoes?
“Yes, ma’ma.” “How long will it take for you to get here?”

When I hung up the phone I was on autopilot. So many questions, so many visions in my head so much fear, anxiety and uncertainty flowing through me. My hands were shaking as if I had suddenly developed some sort of palsy. My mouth was dry and I can’t remember breathing.  I had to call a friend to me to keep me calm as I travelled. I was still in disbelief. My son was jumped by some boys and he requires medical attention. My God. I’m ready to wake up.
As I’m driving I’m thinking, I need to speak to my son. I need to speak to my son! This can’t be true. I called the friend that was with him.
“Nate, what happened?” Where is Ryan? Are you ok? Long impregnated pause. Hello?
“Yes, ma’am? These boys jumped Ryan because he would not give them his J’s.”
What, I asked again in disbelief. Who was it?
“I don’t know there was about 10 or 15 of them.”
The waves returned and slammed against me with hurricane force. What? What? What did you say? HOW MANY? Oh my GOD!
Where were you? Where is he? Oh my God! Where are they now?
“They ran.” Nate said. He said they didn’t know any of the mob.
Oh my GOD!
On Friday August 14th after a football game while him and his friend were waiting for the friends mom to pick them up, my son was jumped by a mob of boys. It’s believed at the very least it was 10 boys. That kept playing in my head. 10-15 boys jumped my son for his shoes and the paramedics have called me. I don’t remember hanging up with Nate.

When I pulled up there were so many people standing around, 3 police cars and  an ambulance. All I could think is, OMG they are here because something has happened to MY son. I could hear my heart beating in my ears. As I rounded my truck, my eyes immediately found my son. Slow motion set in as I walked towards him. What is he wearing? That’s not what he had on when he left. The closer I got I realized his t-shirt was gone and his white undershirt was blood stained. Oh my God, this is real. My child is hurt. I looked at all the faces turn towards me and watch me as I approached the scene. My child’s head was down, I needed to see his face, his eyes. My heartbeat is now deafening in my ears, I seem to be taking long strides or maybe I’m running, I’m not sure which.  When I reach him, I lift his head to see his face, his eyes. I can always tell by his eyes. Although he quickly darted his eyes away from me, in the 3 seconds we locked, my heart broke. It shattered like glass falling on cement. My chest felt like someone had my lungs in a vise grip. I couldn’t breath.  I knew the paramedics were talking to me but their voices sounded as if I was underwater. They had questions. I had questions.  This is not my life! This can’t be happening right now. My God this can’t be happening right now. I have my child’s blood on my hand because he was jumped by at least 10-15 animals, because they wanted the shoes off of his feet. Wake up! WAKE up!
So many conversations going on. Mine with my son. The paramedics with me. His friends mom talking, other people saying things. I hear them, but the thoughts in my head were, his face is so red. That’s an abrasion on his forehead. My God, look at his mouth. That’s not his mouth. His lips were covered in blood and 3 times their normal size. What is that hanging from his mouth? Dear God that’s the inside of his lip hanging on the outside. What is that on his shoulder? What is that? No Lord, tell me that’s not a shoe print on his shoulder. They stomped his shoulder. That’s a shoe print they stomped his shoulder. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. You have to keep it together. That’s a shoe print on my child’s shoulder. Don’t cry. The waves returned. Not now. Wait where is his shirt? He’s sitting in a bloodied undershirt. They took his shirt as well? What are those red lines all over his neck and chest? Scratches and welts? Yes, those are scratches and welts. It looks like a game of red pick up sticks on his chest. Are those injuries on his arm or blood from his head and mouth? I reach for it to check and he jumps. I cry. But I force the tears and sound down into my throat and they settle there, I can’t swallow it. My throat feels paralyzed. I can’t move the golf ball size glob of tears and wails. Swallow it! Swallow it! I feel the glob move to my chest and sits there like the worst case of heartburn ever. Or maybe that’s what actual heartbreak feels like. I draw him carefully into my chest, and whisper I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. You are going to be ok. I feel a quarter size lump on the side of his head. I have to swallow again. I look down and his left hand is resting on his thigh. And I can see his finger is broken because it’s multidirectional. His pants are still there, no holes, no blood, but wait are those shoe prints. They stomped my child. I have to swallow another glob of tears, wails of pain and disbelief. Then there are his feet only covered by his socks. They really did jump him for his sneakers. Swallow.
Somehow, I managed to hear, someone say, “That man sitting inside stopped them.” I don’t know if that person was speaking to me or someone else. But I quickly turned as asked, who? She pointed him out. He was sitting inside the restaurant looking out of the window at us with his wife and daughters. I reluctantly released my son and went inside to talk to him and thank him.

I can’t even… It’s hard to even replay what he said in my mind to type it. It breaks my heart. Out of the 20-30 people in the restaurant Brooks (I later found out was his name) and his wife, Angela, were the only ones that went to help my child. No one outside did anything to help him. No one inside did anything except watch. Angela said they stood there and pointed and watched as my son was being punched, kicked, and slammed by at least 10 animals. Who the fuck could do that? I would never watch as something like that happen to someone else’s child. I’m so thankful for this man and for him not being afraid act and for surly saving my sons life. He said at the point he got to the door the mob of animals were standing my child up to inflict more punishment. When they saw Brooks coming they ran. As they ran they looked back and laughed. They were LAUGHING! Can you believe that. They were laughing. Thankfully Angela managed to get the license plate of the car they drove  off in. Angela and Brooks helped my son up and into the restaurant and called 911. I’m so thankful and grateful for them. They were his guardian angels that night. Thankful and grateful are such weak words for what I feel for them. They literally saved my child’s life. And they said they would do it again in a heartbeat. They checked on him everyday for over a week. And have done everything they could as far as the criminal case.

They punched my boy. They kicked my boy. They stomped my boy. They punched my boy. They kicked my boy. They stomped my boy. They punched my boy. They kicked my boy. They stomped my boy. They punched my boy. They kicked my boy. They stomped my boy. They punched my boy. They kicked my boy. They stomped my boy. They punched my boy. They slammed my boy. They kicked my boy. They stomped my boy. They punched my boy. They kicked my boy. They slammed my boy. They stomped my boy. They punched my boy. They punched, kicked and stomped my boy for as long as it took you to read, they punched, kicked and stomped my boy. So if you got tired of reading that over and over and over again, just close your eyes and try to imagine how he felt when those words were happening to him. For every 1 punch, kick, and stomp you read he was actually punched, kicked and stomped at least 5 times. Remember there was a mob of at least 10. And they were not taking turns. How do I know how long? I watched the surveillance video with the detective. I had to know. I wish I didn’t know. The waves, the choking globs, the feelings of pain, anger, heartbreak, helplessness, and fear were tangible. That was my child.

I still can’t believe this really happened. And it happened to my family in McDonough Georgia at a Huddle House after a football game. But it did. I know it did because when I look at my son I see the  cast that he must wear for another 4 weeks.

When he asked if he could go to the game my first thought was to say no. He had a good week so how could I say no? I said yes. Maybe if I had just said no.

We have had several ER, urgent care and doctor visits since then. I feared he had some kidney damage because of his low back pain that persisted, thankfully not. His physical scars are healing well. He is in good spirits and has been able to talk about what happened. I actually think he may be better mentally than I am. I’m almost terrified when he’s away from me and my nerves stay on edge until I lay eyes on him.
I shared this with you all for 2 reasons. The first, it’s cathartic for me. Second, at 10:39 pm everything was fine and 32 minutes later…my heart stopped. Actually in less than 32 minutes my son experienced something I have only seen on television or read about in the newspaper. I was aware these things happen but not in McDonough Georgia outside of a bustling Huddle House restaurant, to my child? Well, yes it does and it did.

We black out our profile pictures and hashtag mantras but it’s not until something like this happens to someone you know and love that you really start to grasp the mental and emotional pain and damage that an event like this carries long after the actual event. No my child was not killed by and overzealous rogue cop, thank God, but what happened to him was earth shaking and world changing not only for him, but for me as well as his siblings. When I was turning my bed down he was being beaten. When I was putting on my satin cap, he was being stomped. When I was plugging in my phone he was being kicked. All at the hands of people who look like him. And had it not been for concerned, caring total strangers, who look nothing like him, I could have received a very different phone call. Those that look like him, only looked at him. You have to be more than, hashtags and keyboard activists. It requires actual actions. It takes stopping to talk to our youth whether you know them or not. It takes not being afraid to take a chance. It means if it happened to me it can happen to you. You all know I practice what I preach. I take the time to talk, correct, redirect and impart wisdom. And I know I’m not the only one but we need more people to care and to place value not only on your child but those who share your community. Your village.

I thank God for as bad as it is, it’s not worse. We live in an unpredictable, unforgiving, uncaring world. Take nothing and no one for granted, because 32 minutes later, the waves could start.

Nipple-Ectomy 2015

So yesterday was Boob Buster 2015 and I decided to take Mariah (My 14 y/o) with me. I figured take advantage of ALL teachable moments. I explained to her about preventative healthcare and the importance of it. I threw in pap smears as well on the ride there, why not.  She was just beside herself, lol. Once we arrive at the office and I got checked in, she asked do I have to go in with you? I said well to get the full experience you should go in with me. What, do you have a problem with seeing my boobs?  The only difference mine are bigger and brighter and not nearly as perky. I think she died at that moment. I’m sure that was her spirit I saw hovering above us. So as you may have guessed she firmly declined, lmao. IMG_4728.1 So I got the girls checked solo. I personally don’t think mammograms are that bad. Yes, a little uncomfortable but not unbearable. The thing that I do find particularly painful, would be nipple markers.   IMG_4774Pulling those things off are like performing nipple-ectomies  on yourself.  I had to keep checking to make sure they ( my nipples) were really still there, long after the mammo was over. The mammogram tech, although nice and pleasant, I was thinking, girl these things are attached. You can’t just pull them without regard to the attachee, this isn’t tug-of-war and you are not the anchor, no need to dig in like that. They are only going so far no matter what technique you use. I guess she finally came to that realization and moved forward with the screening.

As we entered the elevator I was checking (for my nipples) as  my daughter was looking at me with total befuddlement or possibly bubble guts look on her face. Hey, whatever she knew her nipples were still there.  So I explained to her about the anesthesia-less nipple-ectomy I had just endured. In the process we forgot to press the button for the lobby.  So when the doors opened and we started to exit we realized we were on the wrong floor, and stepped back inside along with a gentleman from that floor. My daughter asked how did that happen?  I explained we were talking and it will go to whatever floor it’s summoned to. The man piped in and said yup and laughed. Sooo since he wanted in on the convo, I brought him all the way in and explained how the error occurred because I was reliving the nipple-ectomy. My daughter died again.  And Mr. Gentleman got a little lightheaded as I saw him use the elevator walls for the support his legs lacked. I just laughed at both of them and continued to do my post-op nipple-ectomy exercises (rubbing the affected area)

Set the example ladies get out and get the appropriate screens for your age and health needs and take your daughters with you. Knowledge is power and enables them to make good choices about their own healthcare. Keeping the Ta-Ta's healthy

This is a Recording

I’m sorry the connection you are trying to maintain has been broken. Please stop trying to understand it and just know that the pain will remain.

Editors-Pick-The-Phantom-of-the-Operator[1]

In my heart this is what I heard. It played in that generic recorded voice, when you dial a number that has been disconnected.

My tears began to flow faster than the swiftest moving flash flood. I’m thinking OMG, really?

It all began with a misunderstanding. I was supposed to meet a friend at one place but I went to another, both have the same name. In a way I was happy I was in the wrong place because at this point, I was a mess and I’m not fond of people seeing me in such an emotional state. The place I went to was right outside my old neighborhood, the place where I was the  happiest, the place where my husband and I began raising our family, the place of countless birthday celebrations and family gatherings, the last place I believe my husband was healthy. As I turned onto the street that runs parallel to the subdivision without warning the flash flood of tears began.

I never expected so much pain to be so close to the surface. Even if I had known, I never would have expected it to be released at that time, because of that location. I’ve been back there before without incident. But then again, grief is an unpredicatable bitch.  I managed to pulled myself together. Again, somewhat relieved to be in the wrong place. I didn’t want to have to face my friend that way. My thought then became since everything happens for a reason, what was the point of this? I began shaking my head as if it would make it all go away,  I just stuffed the thoughts and feeling into their ever-expanding compartment, and tried to move on with my day instead of delving deeper into the pit of pain that I so desperately wanted to escape.

I find myself now, wanting to be in my friends presence, because  I knew if anyone could make me laugh and take my mind off of the pain it would be him, although, I decided not to mention it to him. True to who he is, I had many laughs about being in the wrong place. The laughs, allowed the painful thoughts to flow to the back of my mind. And, they remained there, briefly, only to resurface at the craziest moment. I tried so hard to blink them back, but again, flash floods are powerful! Grief is powerful. Painful emotions are powerful. I excused myself before things became really awkward. While pulling myself together I find myself asking again, what am I supposed to get from this? I pulled myself together and was able to move forward with my day, but even now as I type this I have tissue handy.

Grief is a pissed off bitch with a vendetta. She sits back in the shadows like a stalker just waiting for that moment when you least expect it, and surprise; she jumps out and throws you off your stride. The restraining order you threw at her means nothing, she just laughs at your futile attempts to feel safe and protected. Trying to protect yourself from grief is about as  productive as trying to send a text from your moms old rotary phone. So I just learned  feel it, and keep moving forward with my life, in such a way that Chuck would be proud of me.

…the number you are trying to reach is no longer in service, please hang up and try your call again, this is a recording.

 

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Chitty Chitty Bang

…and after I was shot in the head my will to survive kicked in like Adam Vinatieri at clutch time! Although it took a second for me to realize what had happened, I could literally feel the adrenalin when it began its amped up coursing through my veins forcing me to move. Survival mode washed over me like a wave moving from head to toe. The splatter from the head shot distorted my vision but I could see there was movement all around me and I knew the general direction the shot came from. Instinctually,  I began to wildly return fire shooting at anything that moved. Shots were ringing out from every direction. I could hear them whizzing by narrowly missing me. I could feel the slight vibration in the ground from all of the shots that fell short of their intended target, me. I knew I had to move if I was going to survive this. Amazingly enough, mindless tv watching suddenly became my instruction manual, cover fire! As I laid the cover fire down, I started running, at some points low crawling my way to more substantial refuge. In my ears and head was the percussion section of the best HBCU band playing in slow motion. In the distance, I could hear footsteps and rounds being fired again in slow motion. I finally managed to take cover behind a pile of tires. Just as I pulled my legs behind the tires the sound of a what seemed to be an entire basketball team hitting the hardwood, each dribbling like a professional. But there was no hardwood, and no basketballs, these were rounds hitting the tires, all gunning (no pun intended) for me. The percussion section continues. I can feel the aftermath of the head shot as I wiped my forehead.  I said a prayer and raised my gun this time taking aim and fired several shots. At the release of the last round I heard, “Shit, I’m hit!” The percussion section pounded even louder and slower until I felt like I was being cocooned in the deep slow rhythm. My blinking slowed and my breathing seemed even slower than the blinking. I heard behind me, “She’s coming! She’s coming! Shoot!” I turned to my left and saw a figure cloaked in yellow running in my direction. The adrenaline raised my gun and fired, again and again! Still, the yellow figure advanced. I took aim and shot again. I heard screams, and it seems they encouraged me to pull the trigger again and again. It was as though my right index had a mind of its own. I fell to my belly still pulling the trigger, one final scream and it was then that I heard, what was the sound of sweet relief. “TIME! TIME!” When I looked from around the side of the tires I saw people walking across the field, hands and weapons in the air. It was only then that I dared to stand. I raised my weapon and hands as well.  As we all headed towards the exit of the paintball field there was excited chatter about how much fun that was and how those little bitty balls pack a pretty good punch. I loved my first round of paintball!! I’ve been wanting to try that forever! And it was  fun but also a bit scary! Again those little balls pack a bit of punch.

During one of the games, I’ll be damned if I didn’t run out of CO2! I had to leave the field and reload. Aargh!! I missed most of that round.

Next round we were pitted against a crew of prepubescent and pubescent gun wielding, entrenched veterans! These little boys meant business. It was a game of, “Head and Chest.” And that means you must get shot in the head or chest to be eliminated. WTH? Nope, what other games ya got! But the little pubes were all in! We eventually gave in and agreed to play. So we played and lost, and that’s all I have to say about that. Lol. Then we played them again this time on a different field. It took a while and ALL of our balls but we won that round. But let me tell you a bit about that. We formulated a plan. Yes, we were plotting on the kids, lol. So when they called go, we rushed the field to get as close to them  as possible right out of the blocks. And it worked but not without a few close calls, on my behalf. See, I wore my contacts but maybe should have worn my glasses. Two of my teammates were in front of me and I thought, I was aiming at the opponents. I think they call that, “Friendly Fire.” Gives a deer in headlights look. LMAO I didn’t actually hit them, more like made them wonder if the balls had started ricocheting.  Giggles! We won that round as well.
I really enjoyed paintball. I’ll definitely be taking the kids, LMAO!

PicMonkey Collage

Cooch de grâce

Yep, it’s time for my annual…exam. Many of us would rather die than have to scoot down to  the end of the table until we feel their hand. Shit I was scooting so much my knees were beside my ears! I was like DAMN Tammy, (Tammy is my nurse practitioner the I see)  where is your hand? She laughed. I didn’t. She is all happy and smiling like she is running on time. It’s now well after 1pm, my appointment was at 10am! Yeah, I’m still rolling my eyes at her. And why do they want to have a conversation with you while your ass is hanging off the table and you are  spread eagle in front of someone who has no intention on pleasuring you, in fact, its quiet  the opposite. Let’s be clear, no, I don’t want to talk about, me, your kids, my kids,you or current events. My eyes remain focused on the drop ceiling tile that is askew. I can hear movement “down there” but she is not about her business. I know supplies are there, because I have checked and added a few things just in case. (Remember I’ve been in this room for over an hour)I didn’t want her to have to leave the task at hand not even for 1 second. She continues to yada yada, blah blah, and I’m wondering just why didn’t  these professionals fix this tile. And I begin to look for more mishaps. When I finally rejoin Tammy it feels like my feet have been in the stirrups long enough to give birth. So I say to her, “Tammy, whatcha doing down there?” Well her response was, “You are going to feel a little pressure”. And I hear the “click” (The Cooch de grace) ladies you know what I mean. I immediately tense, “Just relax” she says. Yeah you relax when you have  mutant plastic duck billed platypus hanging from, umm your platy-pus. I would have kicked her, but refer back the sentence that immediately proceeds this one :-/  images[10] (2)

Then begins the her confusion as to what she is actually supposed to be doing “down there”. Now I know, she’s made of sugar and spice and everything nice, but dammit, this is not the inside of a mixing bowl that you are scraping, do, leave some sugar inside my walls.  Finally, she says, “Everything looks great”. In other words she is on fleek! LMAO. Yeah, yeah, thanks, but could you remove the platypus, please and thank you!

Just when I thought it was safe to  finally breath again, she becomes 2 fingaz Flo. Lawd, let this be over. Finally I hear the peel and pop of the gloves. Yaas, its over. Betcha she didn’t have to tell me to take my feet out of the stirrups and push back on the table. Of course when I do the push, back my lovely paper gown, designed by Medline, becomes an off the shoulder little number as it rips. I have now just recreated  Janet Jacksons Super Bowl moment, of sorts. Then I lose the bottom as I grab for the shoulder. It slides to the floor. Now, not only am I boob out, but my platypus who is normally very shy, is now out on front street, again. Sigh. At this point, I’m so over it I just hop down off the table and proceed to clean up and get dressed. Get this, Tammy says I’ll leave so you can get dressed. My thought, “Really heffa? Now you are uncomfortable? GTFOH. You have fondled my breast and squeezed my nipples, fondled my platypus with your duck-billed platypus and your fingaz, now you are uncomfortable with me getting dressed? Feel free to take your torture device and sitcho yo ass right here, and make small talk with me until I have cleaned you and I am completely dressed. Instead I just rolled my eyes at her, again, as I proceeded to get dressed.

I know I made light of my exam but, it is a very serious matter. Although, we dread this, it is a necessary part of being a healthy woman. It is a pain in the butt (well  not the butt, lol) and it can be embarrassing and definitely puts us in a very compromising  and vulnerable  position, however, I’d rather go through this once a year, because as the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure.” And let us not forget early detection!

These preventative screenings are available for a reason, they work! And they are available to all women regardless if you have insurance or not. There is always your local heath department/social services department, they should be able to give you a  you a list of resources. Also keep your eyes open for the various health fairs that pop up. They will listen to your heart, check your pulse and blood pressure as well as give you resources.  You need to get your annual pap or at least biannual exam as well as a clinical breast exam, family history or not.

❤ Sharing is caring ❤

Next stop mammogram…it’s a year round effort, not just October. Like the saying goes, “Big or small, lets save them all!”

 

Pap

Fears of a Mother

I’m sure for some that read this post, you will say that I’m overreacting and that is okay. However, until you have walked in my shoes, judge ye not.

I look up from my work and it’s 3:30pm, first day back to school for the kids after the holiday break. Brendan, my 16-year-old should be home soon. I turn my attention back to my work. My little yappy Chihuahua has joined me in my work space. Now I’m more cognizant of the time. I can’t have him barking while I work, and when the door opens, he’s likely to bark.  It’s 3:50pm he should be here at any second. Again, I turn my attention back to my work. As I answer the phone to deal with a client, I notice the time, 4:15pm, hum the bus driver must be off a bit, it happens. 4:30, and I text my daughter, to check her location. If she is not on the bus yet, I know there is an issue with the route. Well, she walks in the door at 4:35pm. They ride the same bus. High schoolers get dropped off and the  driver doubles back for the middle schoolers. Now, I’m just a little worried. His phone is broken so I can’t call him. He has never been this late before. I check all my phones to see if I’ve missed a call, and I haven’t. My heart begins to race just a bit as my mind starts to allow recent headlines to enter. But, when could something have happened? Where? I began to tell myself just calm down and start calling his friends. As  I become a telemarketer of sorts, scanning my call list, I send my daughter to a neighbor’s house to see if he is there. No answer with his friends that I would think he would be with. And as I look out the window I see my daughter walking away from the neighbor’s house and his friend is standing in the driveway as if saying Brendan was not there. My breath comes in quick inefficient gasps, my heart is at an all out sprint, fingers grow cold and my mind flips through the headlines like old school microfiche. Just as I start to descend my driveway to, well, interrogate my young neighbor, I catch a glimpse of the signature red pants. I shield my eyes from the glare of the setting sun and it brings into focus his familiar, relaxed I’m to cool for you gait, faster than greased lightening, my emotions toggle from fear to anger. My fight or flight system has gone into kick his ass. Who cares he is 6’0″ 200lbs and I’m 5’0″ 145lbs.

I called out to him, “Be in front of me in 5 seconds!” His response, “What did I do? I just stopped for a minute.” My response, “4-3-2.”

His pace quickens as he spews excuse after excuse with each trying to remain cool in front of his friend, but get in front of me without running, step. When he is in front of me I want to slap his face for scaring me, and squeeze him tightly in my arms because he is safe.

I said to him, “My first inclination is to  strip you of all of your extras, iPod, game system, television, everything.”

Of course his face contorts with protest at just the thought of it.

I asked him, “Do you know how late you are? Over an hour. Have you lost your mind? You know you ALWAYS check in with me first! “I was just 3 houses down. We were not doing anything. I was checking out his birthday loot. Why are you so mad?” He asked. “We have rules for a reason! And when you break them you upset the balance of things and cause undue stress and other untoward feelings, emotions and consequences. And if you really want to know my issue, I was afraid! I was afraid something had happened to you! Afraid I would get that call that no parent wants to get. Afraid you were laying in the streets calling me and I’m not there to protect you!”

And in the midst of me telling him this, my tears fall like I had gotten that call.  They fall so fast and furiously one of my contacts rides the rapids to my cheeks. And when he realizes just how serious that is to me, his eye well up with tears and he grabs me and hugs me and tells me not to cry. “I’m fine, nothing happened. I didn’t know you felt like that.” he says. Then he assures me, “I’ll never do that again. I’m sorry.”

I must say I did not expect such a volcanic like eruption of emotions. I really only expected to bestow a consequence on him, tell him not to do it again and head back to work. Such a showing of emotions just makes me realize just how truly frightened I am for my sons. It allows me to realize that I really do have a grip on how our black sons are viewed and how little value is placed on their lives. This is a cold unwelcoming world to our boys. Am I overreacting? I don’t think so. If it seems that way to you, I’m sure you are not the mother of a black teenage male. It is my hope that my reaction to a seemingly innocent detour will make him think twice when he is out. It is my hope that he will use his critical thinking skills when he is out. As well as open his eyes to the reality of the world he must maneuver his way through and he will move accordingly.

Sometimes friends will say nothing ever happens out there in the boondocks where you live. Especially nothing like that. Well it is my hope, that nothing like that will happen here but, I’m not naïve enough to think that it can’t.

This is the fear of a mother in the United Stated of America, in 2015.

His First Love

Whenever we communicate, he never calls me by my name. He calls me his First Love. Each time it catches me off guard. And each time it transports me back to a time of belly butterflies, giggles, and daydreams.
My first love was a beautiful love. I was 13 and he was 15. He was kind and caring.  Such a beautiful time. He came at a time when I needed him most. I think for as much as we knew about love, he really did love me and I him.

When we communicate he never calls me by my name, he always calls me his First Love. Each time it brings an instant smile to my face and I’m transported back in time. It’s a time of daydreams in class with silly grins on my face. Doodling my first name with his last incased in a heart. Oh the memories. Puppy love at it’s finest.

first-love-never-dies[1]   When we communicate he never calls me by my name, he calls me his First Love. Each time I’m instantly transported back to a time of hours on a rotary phone, with a long cord, curled up on my bed talking sweet and low. Signifying his jokes with sweet giggles. This love beckons to me. With my head under the covers professing my love and receiving his, it becomes a love tent. In that tent for that time my world is perfect. Until, my mama realizes that the extra long phone cord is stretched into the love tent. My mama saying hang up that’s enough. But it’s never enough. Then we play, you hang up first. And it goes like this, No you hang up first. No you. No you.  Ok same time when I count to 3. 1-2-3. You didn’t hang up. You either. Then we laugh and start over again and again, until a final warning from mama says she means it this time.

When we communicate he never calls me by my name, he calls me his First Love. Each time he does I’m transported to a time of writing him letters of all the things I can’t say. The I’s all dotted with hearts and the closing is,
2 of us
2 gether
4 ever
It’s carefully folded and addressed to my mister from his misses and sealed with hearts and kisses. It requires a special delivery.

When we communicate he never calls me by my name, he always calls me his First Love.

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Holiday Blues

My day started off on such a positive note.  Then with about as much warning a lightening strike my mood takes a downward spiral. I found myself becoming more and more agitated as the day wore on. Then I became almost tearful. At some points I even felt almost confused which lead to feeling overwhelmed. And that my be the perfect word for the entire scenario, overwhelmed. As I sat at my desk I began to really realize of girl, you need to get a hold of yourself. Take a minute to regroup. I tried but I was unable to free myself from this web of emotions. I felt as helpless as the fly who found himself  entrapped in the silky web of the crafty spider. The difference, my crafty spider is grief, the web, the intricate flow of emotions it so craftily spins.

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Luckily for me I noticed the patterns that my grief and the emotions that I experience. Unfortunately, this does not make things any easier. What it does, is allow me to put those closest to me on notice. They know that it is not in my character to be snappy, rude, withdrawn or angry. I know that I need to take timeouts and try and work through my feelings until these “festive” days are done. Grief can be such an overbearing barrage of emotions. Will there ever be freed from this emotional web?

Living in Fear- 2014

I had a situation this week. My 16-year-old son decided to skip school. This is how it all went down.
I’m just finishing up a workout session at the gym and I’m feeling great. I’m riding and singing, when off in the distance I see a male walking from the back. I say to myself,  if I didn’t know better, I’d say that was Brendan. I ride on and hit a few high notes. As I get closer I’m thinking wasn’t Brendan dressed like that when he left this morning? So I turn down the radio, you know, so I could see better. Don’t act like you have never done that before. As I pass this kid I realize it is Brendan! I did a U-turn that would make the best stunt driver jealous! So many things flashed through my mind in a matter of seconds. Maybe that’s not really him. Maybe he got clocked on the head and now he has amnesia, and he doesn’t even know he should be in school. Maybe he doesn’t realize that it’s  me and I see him(based upon his calm cool collected gait). But alas it is him, there is no sign of head trauma and he does know that he is caught. Well the gist of this portion of the story is I took him back to school because home would not have been a safe haven for him. He said there was no problem he just needed some air, so he decided to take a walk. Yep that was his story. We handled things at school and I went home.  So much later that evening we he arrived home, this is a snippet of the conversation.

Do you know how badly this could have turned out? Do you realize could have been the reason for yet another march. The topic of conversation on social media? You could have been the reason Al Sharpton knows my name. You do realize that you are in season, young unarmed black boy walking in the wrong place at the wrong time. All it took was for one person to look out of their front window and find you suspicious and call police. What would his approach be? Shoot first and come up with a reason why he felt his life was endangered later? That seems to be the go to story. Would you have run because you were afraid? Would he give chase or just shot you multiple times in the back? Those were my first thoughts. The fact that it’s wrong to skip class was not the top priority. The value of education and being responsible were not first and foremost either. The top item on the list was you could have been killed and for what, skipping class. This is the world we live in, in  2014, not 1914. I pray his eyes were opened to the reality of the world he must navigate and figure out a way to thrive therein.

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History repeats itself, there’s evidence of that.  Next will I have to tell my sons no, I was wrong, do not look people in the eye particularly white police officers they may feel threatened by that. And they will shoot to kill. Look at the ground, and make no sudden moves. Do not square up your shoulders and stand up straight and carry yourself with pride and respect. This could be viewed as a sign of aggression. Again, they will shoot to kill. Hunch your shoulders so as to appear smaller, weaker, submissive and unthreatening.

Since public executions seem to be on trend, what’s next? Segregation? Hangings?
This is not the world I envisioned my children growing up in. Things are supposed to be better for our children than they were for us. I’m thinking this could very well be the generation that breaks that trend. I live in fear for my children, who are being raised to be respectful and obedient. I live in fear for my children who are being raised in the United States of America. The home of the free and the brave? Innocent until proven guilty, where no one man is judge,  jury and executioner? Right?