Jun 26, 2012

Open Letter to my son, J

To my only son and number one guy in my life, J.  I look at you, your smile, your big brown eyes and your perfect little nose and I am in awe that you are my child.  I doubt you will ever fully understand the depth and power of my love for you and your sister.  I am so grateful to you for your ability to always put a smile on my face even on the darkest of days.  Just a smile from you reminds me that things aren't so bad after all.

As you continue to grown into a smart and handsome young man, remember you are a man of God.  Remember the values I have taught you so far.  Pay attention in school.  Don't be afraid to be your own person instead of following the crowd.  Stand up for what is right when you see others doing wrong.  Always have your sister's back - you guys are a team!  And last but certainly not least, always be a gentleman and treat a lady with the respect she deserves. 

I always wanted you and your sister to have the best of everything I can possibly give you.  I hope that one day when you are older, perhaps with a family of your own, you will look back on these years with fond memories of the times we all shared together.  And now matter how old you are, how many college degrees, and how many kids you have, you will always be my baby boy :)

I love you Jayster!
Mommy xx

Jun 24, 2012

That Ever-Elusive Thing Called Love...

Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.” - Bob Marley.

I don't know about you but that sounds like a dream to me.  To have someone in my life with whom I have the most special, most intimate relationship to the point they become a part of me.  I have experienced this feeling in relatively short bursts, only for some aspect of the union to go awry and I find myself single once again.  But to have that feeling consistently, permanently, genuinely, willingly...for a lifetime?  Seems like a dream to me.

I look all around and see people who are apparently living this dream.  Of course, one never knows what the story is behind closed doors, but at least on the outside they seem to have this love thing down.  And when I'm single, they always seem to have the same advice for me: "Enjoy the single life for as long as you can!", or  "Mr. Right will come along when you least expect him", and my personal favorite, "Don't look for love, let love find you!"  Those of you that know me know that I am the most impulsive and impatient person I know so that last little pearl of wisdom seems near impossible to me!

Last night after my kids and I returned from our wonderful vacation, I faced the harsh reality of singlehood.  My awesome bff picked us up at the airport and brought us home (thanks again boo xx).  I stood in my living room, overflowing with vacation stories and pictures, not to mention the dreaded task of unpacking and the never-ending cycle of laundry, and no one to share them with.  Of course I could have invited friends over or called someone to let them know I was back.  But you know what I mean...it's just not the same as having a special someone who wants to be there to hear and share in that experience with me.  Someone who really missed me and couldn't wait for me to get back so we could continue to develop our lives together.

Excuse me while I host my own pity party over here.  But as they say, time is a great healer.  I just haven't had enough time yet.  To top it off my kids leave to spend some time with their dad today.  4 weeks to be exact.  On the bright side, that leaves me with extra time to heal and to find things I enjoy doing just for me; more words of wisdom from a married friend.  Maybe I'll do some work around my house and finally put my mark on it.  I've been wanting to buy some bar stools for months.  I can finish painting J and my rooms that I started on a whim before leaving for vacation (my impulsive side showing once again).  I might even try my hand at some yard work...ok let's not get too carried away...

Seriously though, I should have more girls nights out with my friends.  Work on my blog some more since writing is even more therapeutic for me than I realized, and I can see this thing now going in a whole other direction than I initially planned.  I'm kind of excited about that.  Shoot, maybe I'll take up some classes or something.  Get out there and do something!  Who knows, maybe my married friends are right and love will find me when I least expect it...

Jamaica, the Beautiful...America, the Privileged



As many of you know, my parents’ native country is Jamaica. After raising myself and my sisters in England, they moved back “home” about 6 years ago. This summer my kids and I were blessed enough to spend 10 days with them and loved every minute of it!

Usually when people I know visit Jamaica, they stay at the usual tourist hotspots…Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios. They are warned to stay within the walls of the resort for their own safety. As beautiful as the resorts are, I feel that they do not allow tourists to see the Real Jamaica. Yeah, you’ll see the clear blue sea and sandy beaches. You’ll see Jamaican citizens working in the resort and hear their sing-song patois as they call out to you to buy t-shirts, wristbands or other souvenirs.

But what don’t you see? You won’t see where they live, where they shop and how they get there. You won’t see the bumpy roads they travel to get to where they need to be. You won’t see school children in their brown and blue uniforms walking to and from school. You’ll never know that children go to school in shifts rather than all day like our children do. You won’t see grown men and women standing on street corners begging for money to buy ice cream to cool down from the intense Jamaican sun. And you’ll never see cows and goats crossing the street, and the cars that slow down to let them pass just like any other pedestrian.

During my trip I was able to see the Real Jamaica. I’m not going to lie, some of it was a little scary.  Seeing people step into the street in front of my dad's car without looking both ways made me a little nervous for their safety and ours!   Being asked repeatedly to allow my son to ride a donkey on the beach was a little unnerving. (Those dudes just don't take no for an answer!)

It was also eye-opening.  While watching the children wait for a taxi to take them home after school, I noticed the differences between them and my children.  It's way deeper than the way they talk.  It's in their whole approach to life.  My children have most likely already had way more opportunities than their Jamaican counterparts and my kids have completely taken what they have for granted.  I'm not saying their ungrateful by any means.  It's just a given to them that they're able to do the things they do, whereas the children in Jamaica know they will have to work harder for what they want.  As J sat in my dad’s car listening to his mp3 player and playing his PSP, I watched the school boys staring at him curiously as they walked by. It hurt my heart that there was no connection between them, which is silly really because their eyes locked only for a fleeting moment through the barrier of the car window.  Not like they could strike up a friendship right there and then, right??

This post isn't really in line with the overall theme of my blog but it was on my mind so I decided to post it anyway.  We take so many things for granted here...water, electricity, smooth roads to drive along, access to quality (though expensive) health care...those things aren't necessarily a guarantee in other parts of the world.  I'm determined to thank God everyday for what my children and I have and to not sweat the small stuff.  I encourage you to do the same.

Jun 12, 2012

Abused - A Poem by Imani Rhema

Yesterday I received a very moving poem from a great friend of mine.  She is a super talented spoken word artist, and her skills are always well-received at poetry events in the Nashville area.  Check her out on Facebook (Imani Rhema) or follow her on twitter (@imanirhema) to find out where she will be performing next!

She was kind enough to agree to me posting her work on my blog for all to see.  It really captures the maddening "cycle of abuse" and gives the reader a sense of the various emotions experienced by the abused.  Thank you, Imani for sharing your gift with us.  You are one of the strongest "SiStars" I know :)

________________________________________

Reluctantly she

Goes to the mirror to gingerly

Wipe the bloodstained tears

That have dried on her face

Standing up straight to regain her composure

Though her nose is tender and swollen

And there’s holes in her hose, her

Heart is heavy she holds her

Chin up

Tries to conjure a fake grin up

But her jaw is too tight for it to last long

She covers her bruises with make up

And tells herself to stand strong

She has to keep up the appearances

For her new employer

And as a youngster she observed her mother

Make it through the pain for years

And Junior?

He fears that he may hug his mama too tight

Because even his toddler embraces cause her discomfort and pain

He watched her new lover grapple with mommy

Like he was in a welterweight championship ring

Because when he arrived home late from work

Dinner wasn’t quite ready

Her stance wasn’t quite steady

Because the dizzy spells set in when the kitchen is warm

And she is torn

Between staying in the unsafe haven that he provides

And escaping to a battered woman’s shelter

Her pride makes her decision to stay seem helter skelter

Because someone on the outside, in their right mind would surely find

That a temporary living situation must be better than a permanent hell

No one can tell her to leave because her self-esteem seems to have left with her dreams

She didn’t complete her degree and her wages are minimum

He allows her to charge the credit card to the maximum

To make up for his guilt and his shame

Shopping only momentarily dulls her pain

Standing in the fitting room mirror in her designer threads

Looking as elegant as a supermodel on a runway

Pretending she has run away to a faraway place

With no bruises on her face

With no welp marks on her waist

No contusions no confusion…

But it’s just a delusion

Because she is afraid to muster up the courage to leave

The illusion of materialism and greed

Deceives her into believing

That there is no way out

She couldn’t possibly afford a car note, daycare

And a payment on a house

Trapped

Waiting on the next time for her man to snap

For something minimal

Him becoming a domestic terrorist was subliminal

He grew up watching his dad abuse his mom daily

And he himself wants to stop but his lady

Just lets him get away with it

He used to love her but now the respect is out the window

He blames her for his temper

That kicks in when the wind blows

He never thought he’d have the nerve to

Put a woman’s head through the bedroom window

And he’s trapped between

Becoming a real man and getting control of his emotions

And using his money to get the power he thinks he needs to control her

The cycle must stop

She has got

To know her value understand her worth

She was created with great purpose and destiny from birth

She doesn’t need letters behind her name to be worthy

A child out of wedlock does not make her dirty

A fresh start, a new heart is what she needed

Want your degree? Just go complete it

Want to lose weight? Just watch your eating and move

You can do whatever you want to do

You can be whatever you want to be

Open your eyes and realize dreams can become reality

Perseverance, faith and fortitude can rebuild your esteem

You may know this woman. It was me.

Jun 9, 2012

Open Letter to my Daughter, K

To my first born child and sweet daughter, K. I pray that you always know and believe how beautiful you are both inside and out. Your spirit is refreshing to me. Your quirky sense of humor never fails to bring joy to my heart and soul.  I dream of your future and hope that you will accomplish all of your dreams and ambitions...and then some.

As you continue to grow into a beautiful, smart and witty young lady, remember you are a child of God and should always be treated with the respect you deserve. Work hard in school, choose a career in a field you are passionate about and enjoy your independence for as long as possible! There is absolutely no sense in rushing into marriage. As my father taught my sisters and me, learn to be able to support yourself so that you never become solely dependent on anyone to take care of you, including a man.  When Mr. Right shows up, you will know when the time is right to make that huge commitment.  Until then, enjoy life.  Travel, see the world, learn a new skill and make lots of friends along with the way.

Learn to listen to your instincts and if something doesn't feel or look right, walk away.  Don't follow the crowd just to popular.  You being you is a thousand times more interesting than you trying to be someone else.  Never be afraid to stand up for yourself against injustice or to speak your mind during a discussion on a subject you are passionate about.  Be assertive and sure of yourself always, because if you do not have confidence in yourself, no one will.

The next 10 years will bring some interesting and possibly testing times for us both as you journey through the unpredictable teenage years. But please know that my love for you will never wane and I am proud of you always. I will forever be your biggest cheerleader whether its at your high school and college graduations, soccer and basketball games, your wedding...whatever it may be.  I will be there to support you 100%.

I love you boo!

Mommy xx