Brown Sugar’s Mom Lesson #317

As a single mom, I try to be sure I spend alone time with each of my children. I always want them to feel special with and without their sibling present.

So this past weekend, I took my son to breakfast. Just the kid and me. We played Rock, Paper, Scissors. We played Heads Up. We sang songs. We danced to the soothing warmth of our hot chocolate (mine may have had a tinge of Kahlua) caressing our throats on that snowy day.

I noticed a male friend (let’s call him Daniel) had come in and the second my son saw him, he immediately invited Daniel to eat with us. No harm, no foul, right? We ate, laughed, and played games.

As sudden as the ice storm of 1997 covered the Mid-South, my son blurted out to Daniel, “I wish you were my dad.” It was so innocent. I was so embarrassed. If this #melaninmagic had been a few shades lighter everyone would have noticed that my face had grown hot. Although Daniel thought it was funny, I was mortified! After we left the restaurant I took a moment to calm down so I could talk with my son rather than fuss at him.

So I asked probing questions. I asked him why he said what he said to Daniel when he has a dad. My son sat in the back seat of my car starring at me fearfully through the rearview mirror.

Me: “When your dad asked you if you were coming over this weekend, you told him no. Why didn’t you want to go?” My son replied, “Because the only thing I do over there is play the game and watch TV.”

I knew that, but I thought that was just the way those two bonded… #NOT

Me: “Well baby you have a daddy, so why did you tell Daniel that?”

My son replied, “Well Daniel talked to me. Daddy doesn’t. When I try to talk to him, he’s either playing his game, on the phone, or on Facebook.”

So I asked him if he had ever told his dad that (because this kid is pretty outspoken), and he replied no. Then asked if I could tell him. #ThinkingFace

So then I asked why he was always so angry, and he didn’t reply. So I said, “Well baby you’ve gotta tell mommy something because you’re always angry with your friends and your sister. What’s going on?”

That beautiful little brown boy dropped his head and burst into tears. I could feel my heart breaking… no shattering, by the second.

He eventually choked out, “I just don’t feel respected. Daddy never talks to me, my sisters only want to talk to each other, and they’re mean to me whenever I try to come in and talk to them, no one listens to me! I know you’ll listen mommy, but I just want my daddy to listen to me too!”

Now this blog is not meant to bash my ex. I would hope that he talks to our son, but I’ve known him since we were 12, so it’s highly unlikely, but I am aware that he’s not much of a talker. My son, in a sense had given up on his own father being able to openly communicate with him, and decided to try to latch onto another male who provided him with what he so desperately longed for……. #scary

With tears brimming my eyes, I swerved into a Target parking lot, and reached back for my son. I told him to come sit with me, and I let him cry it out. I hugged him. I listened. I had no words. All I could do was what most mothers would do. I silently prayed over my son. Just as soon as the silent Amen floated from my lips to God’s ears, my son perked up. We hopped out of the car and somehow got sucked into the black hole that is Target.

When I was there, he wanted to hop his heavy 88 lbs self on the front of the basket and talk to me about how Power Rangers was a thing again, and how bacon couldn’t be real food, and how cool boys wear blue jean shirt, and how science was really cool, and how he wasn’t sure if he could still go to Christian Brothers University because he didn’t know anyone who was drafted from CBU. I realized that maneuvering the basket with him on it was much harder than it used to be, which meant he was bigger than the last time we did this, so I decided to get him more socks, t-shirts, and underwear (this will play a part in this story momentarily). He enjoyed that moment so much!

My mom would always tell my sister and me, “don’t have kids, cause once you have ’em, they’re yours.” So, I’ve embraced the fact that I’m a single parent. It’s March, and my ex hadn’t given me any money to support the kids since January. I don’t call. I don’t ask. I leave him be. I had an event yesterday, and asked my ex to keep the kids. I could’ve gotten a sitter, but considering he hadn’t seen them in two weeks, I figured #YOLO, right? He agreed, and came to pick them up. I stood in the door and watched them get to the car safely.

My son comes running back up to the door with a slip of paper. I got the paper along with a quick peck on the cheek, and my son was off. I looked at the money order my son I given me from my ex that was dated 2/10/17 (well over a month ago) in the amount of $19. I promise you, if his name and mine weren’t on it, I would attach a photo of it to this blog.

All I could do in that moment was laugh. He doesn’t see them. He rarely calls them. He actually spent money to give me a $19 money order that he’d held for over a month that couldn’t even cover the amount I spent on socks, underwear, and t-shirts (told you it was coming back up)! He got $30K from his mother’s life insurance policy, and I received a whopping $19 to take care of the kids? Turn up! Bottles for everybody! Shots on me! Ok… My bad ya’ll. I may have gone a little overboard with the sarcasm. 🙂

What I did realize was this: for the first time, in awhile, I wasn’t angry by his actions. I’ve been blessed enough to care for my children without his support. By no means has it been easy. I’m grateful for my best friend, family, and others who have helped along the way for being my village. Mom lesson #317 brought an increase in growth and a decrease in pettiness!

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Brown Sugar’s Sandstorm

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

Each fallen granule is evidence of yet another non renewable experience that has shaped who we are.

Some particles, more than others, dedicate more time, effort, and mass to certain seasons in our lives.

See there’s the finer sand like friends, our interests, our free will.

Then there’s the more course type like politics, religion, love.

That final coarse granule (love) doesn’t seem to slip through the womb of the hour glass as easily as the others though does it?

It’s forced like a predator aggressively raping a victim.

It bites like your very first shot of cheap liquor.

It burns like the hot scorching oil that leapt out of the skillet and scalded your skin the first time you fried chicken on your own.

That love granule is a course one. Course enough to cut you.

It’s the kind your mother told you not to get in your hair when you played in the sand box.

It’s the kind you carry with you days after leaving the beach.

It hurts and it lasts.

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

My first love sandstorm started so quietly that I didn’t see it coming, you know how these storms are.

Then it picked up speed that was so forceful, I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t think.

I could only feel.

Fear and pain.

I left that sandstorm in high school only to willingly walk into another similar sandstorm in college.

This one was more intense because it followed a thunderstorm.

This wind velocity was increased.

I struggled to breathe in this storm, but there’s a Chinese proverb that says mothers are stronger than any other woman.

I had to survive that storm. There was someone else depending on me to survive.

Or so I thought.

Years later, I went back to where my first sandstorm happened.

I revisited that season.

For some reason I couldn’t remember the pain it caused.

So I stayed.

A sandstorm couldn’t hit in the same place twice right?

Or was that lightening?

This love granule was so coarse that it cut every inch of me.

I stood there bleeding and wounded and exposed

And at the worst possible moment, without warning, the worst sandstorm of the century ensued

It engulfed me and left me for dead

I lied there coughing up blood from the brutal attack of this storm

When the next two granules that slipped through the hour glass and landed next to me were my children…

The two sweetest, finest, most unique granules sat atop the mound of my mistakes, successes, wins, and losses starring me in the face

Needing me. Depending on me. Shaping their own life experiences after me.

So, I picked myself up.

I nursed my wounds

I healed

I prevailed

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

That sand granule is unavoidable.

This last love sandstorm came dressed in a nice beard. An extensive vocabulary. A charming exterior.

This sandstorm slithered like the snake it was into my space

It graciously took down the quartz walls I had built around my heart

What felt like the smooth colorful glass that protected me and kept each granule contained in a beautifully shaped piece of art.

This sandstorm convinced me that this art was in fact a cage.

This last granule came in and annihilated me once and for all from the inside out.

When I regained consciousness

I was left lying there

Unable to move

Gasping for life

Lying on my back looking up at the swirling vortex of my life’s experiences

Grasping at the memories that brought joy

Grasping at the memories that brought pain

Grasping at all that makes me… me

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”