Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lesson #2 - "What Had Happened Was..." Or Taking Ownership For Your Actions

Yesterday was report card night at Man-child's school. I was soo not looking forward to this. I know he is a good student but there is something about getting that report card that makes my stomach turn. As we drove in the car, Man-child started "Mommy, before you get upset, let me tell what had happened was.... ". From that point on, I shut him out cause I knew I did not want to hear excuses. Then I turned him back on so that I would not be too shocked.

I was surprise to see the large turn out of parents. Man-child attends a Charter school that focuses on SAT and College Preparatory courses. After the introduction by the principal and a few reminders about the Flu vaccines, everyone began their search for teachers. Most of the teachers looked like they just came from Iraq - there were very few smiles, a lot of crossed arms, and tight lips. The slow throb in my head had begun.

Man-child directed me to his Technology teacher. The first thing the teacher said was "I am really the librarian teaching this course". OK..... He proceeded to tell me that Man-child was one of his better student but "what had happened was... ". HUH... He explained his grading system and what Man-child needed to do the bring his grade up. I thanked him and we moved on. Next, I spoke with the science teacher, sports director, and health teacher. Things were not going to bad.

Yet, I noticed that as we waited to speak with each teacher, every child, as they tried to explain their grades, began his/her explanation with "what had happened was...". As the parents listened, I notice that the majority believed the child's explanation. Hmmmm .... I thought about this for a minute. A few of the explanations I thought were bold faced lies but it was not my child. I also listened to a few parents say the same thing as they attempted to explain why their child had missed an assignment or two. Since I regularly visit Man-child's school, (yes, I am that parent that sits in the back of the classroom at least once a month), I knew what to expect from him and his teachers.

What bothered me the most was the manner in which everyone made it easy to accept the excuse that followed the statement. No one questioned it or was willing to take ownership for his/her mistake. It started with the student, the parent and a few of the teachers. I began to wonder whether passing the blame has become that much of the norm for today's youth. My head began to ache a little bit more as we waited and I listened to all of the conversations.

I was not pleased with Man-child's grades and he knew I would not be. However, I was proud of him because he took ownership for his grades. He said " Mommy I just did not do the work because I didn't". I was angry but I did not get an excuse. Of course, we were the last to leave and I scheduled appointments to meet with two teachers and the principal later. As soon as we got home, Man-child put his laptop on my bed. (He knew what was coming) At that point I realized that I was doing something right. Lesson learned... "Take ownership for your actions and stand by you decision - good or bad". And Man-child had definately done that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Remember.....

Today is Man-child's Fourteenth Birthday. WOW!!! Hallelujah!!!

I Remember.... going to the Inner Harbor everyday for lunch and having 1/2 lbs of steamed Shrimp with cole slaw and prune juice (Never had morning sickness) with his godmom, Paulette, who gained 20 lbs. (BTW, I gained 75 lbs and never regretted it)

I Remember...My MOM spoiling me with Steak every evening for dinner

I Remember... when my water broke - I had to have a tuna sandwich.

I Remember...breaking the rail on the hospital bed, because I was determined not to scream and yell so I just beat the crap out of the bed.

I Remember... my Aunt, Annette, arriving and playing the ocean water tape to relax me but it actually drove me crazy

I Remember ... after 22 hrs, begging for the epidural - and being scared

I Remember...having the c-section performed- and being scared

I Remember....when the Doctor placed him on my chest and he immediately began to nurse

I Remember... in the recovery room, Barry White's song "My First, My Last, My Everything" was playing on the radio and thinking "He is Soooo Right"

I Remember... crying - from being so overwhelmed with joy and Love - that I could not stop

I Remember... promising to raise him to be a God Fearing, Honest, Responsible, and Loving Man.

Happy Birthday to Brandon Geoffrey Bronson!!! Love ya more than words can express :-)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Man-child's Hair

I have discussed this many times in the last few weeks and I finally decided to put it to paper, sort to speak. Sometime back in early September, Man-child asked if he could get a Jheri Curl put into his hair. I ignored him. A few days later, he asked for a Mulette (ya know, that hair style Billy Ray Cyrus wore when he sang Achy Breaky Heart) - I ignored him again. Then, he asked for a perm.... OK.. What the Heck is going on!!!

I asked him "what in the Hayle is wrong with you"? Mind you, his hair is short, thick and mattered to his head. (think Sheep's Behind thick) Then I thought, "OK, he has been playing that Rock legend/Rock Band thingy and he wants to look like a Rock Star. He said "no, I just want my hair to be long". I ask, "Well, is it a girl that you are trying to impress". Again, he said "NO". Hmmmm.... I can clearly see that he is not happy.

I posted on line for advice from my Sistah friends. Of course, everyone laughed and said it's just a phase. I think the best recommendation was to let him get a perm and turn the water off so he could not rinse it out. (Honestly, it sounded good but I could not let him suffer like that -LOL) I also got the standard "Been there, done that" comment. Hmmmm .. .. do I continue to ignore him or go ahead and let him get a perm. So, I asked him again and he said "Mommy I think my hair line is receeding". I went through the "Not at 13 yrs old. speech and if it is receeding -THANKS TO MICHAEL JORDAN, Bald is sexy. I pointed out the rappers Common, LL Cool J, and a load of other Bald Sexy Men. He looked at me and said "But Mommy Little John and those other rappers got good hair - -- STOP... Put on the breaks _ Little John is from another planet - let's not got there. I even looked at a couple of those hair growth products- NOT. They start at $40 and go up. Shampoo that promotes hair growth cost $29.95. Uggggg - I am frustrated and speechless.

So, I continued to look at this boy with this long, woolly hair. Saturday, he was trying to comb it and the teeth broke. I said nothing. He went to the store and bought two new combs and this purple colored hair grease. I said nothing. For the last two days mornings, I have watched him attempt to comb his hair and said nothing. When he came home from school today, MAN-CHILD had gotten his hair cut - it's cut close but not bald. I asked him "What happened?" he said I stopped on my way home and got it cut. I asked " Where did you get the money?" He said "I saved some of my lunch money". All I could do was KISS him on the top of his head.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lesson 1 - Learning The Hard Way

Last Friday, Sept. 4Th, I was on my way to have lunch with my friend, Stephanie. It was a wonderful day and I was I was enjoying one of many furlough days from work. As Stephanie and I prepared to leave, I got a call from my mom - Man-child went to my job. She said she asked him whether he had enough money to get home and he said "I'm alright". Hmmmmm something was up and I just had that feeling that something was not right. I called him on his cell phone and I got no answer. I left with Stephanie to take care of a few errands.

I was trying to enjoy my time with my friend but I could not let go of that nagging feeling that something was not right. I called Man-child's phone several times and I still got no answer. As the afternoon progressed, I got quiet. Where in the Heck could he be? One hour later, no Man-child and he still was not answering his phone. Two hours later - no Man-child. I am thinking - do I go look for him but where? Is he out with new friends? Did he spend his money? Too many questions and not a clue of where this child could be. My mom was calling me every 30 minutes with reports of "He ain't home yet!!" DUH - I know but what do you want me to do!! Stephanie, in her very quiet voice said, "Sis, I'll drive and we can go look for him if you want". I said "I know but where would we look? If he is walking, there are a million routes he could have taken". We sat and Stephanie keep me busy.

Almost three hours later, my Mom called and said he was home. After taking a breath and saying a quiet Hallelujah, I was better. When I walked in the house, he was sitting at the table - eating. I said nothing. I listened to him tell my mom that he forgot I was home. He used his bus card to get to my job, spent his money on food and forgot to charge is cell phone so he could not call. Finally I said "why didn't you call collect from a pay phone?". His response "I saw a homeless person standing next to one so I kept walking". "Well, what happened to the money I gave you for an emergency"? He said "Oh, I was thirsty, so I spent it". To give you an idea of how far he walked - it is a total of 6 1/2 miles from downtown Baltimore. After he ate, I watched him soak his feet, (he had on dress shoes not sneakers) and then he went to sleep.

One week later - today, it is raining buckets outside. Man-child left out of the house with no jacket, hat or umbrella. I just looked at him. Should I be worried? Not today. As the elders have said for generations " A Hard Head Makes For a Soft Behind" - Praying as he learns these lessons the Hard Way!! I just pray I survive.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I have been thinking all day about the upcoming school year. Man-child will be in HIGH SCHOOL. What an accomplishment - homework, arguments with teacher, christian school, projects - and that was just elementary school. Middle school was horrible - hormones, dealing with death, students being killed, gangs, bad grades, computer games and so much more. I wonder - AM I READY. REALLY READY!!

Most of last week, I spent doing what I've done at the beginning of every school year - search for a mentor, big brother or program suitable for Man-child. Raising him has been my greatest joy despite all of the headaches. Raising him without male guidance has been an even bigger challenge. I can not tell you how much I miss our friend Mike because he was always there when I never really realized that I needed him. Man-child took forever to get over his sudden death. I think back to the Million Man March and how thousands of men pledged to "be there" for their younger brothers. Well, let me tell you, it still ain't happening.

I have been to plenty of workshops for single moms. Everyone says "look at family members as role members". I have two cousins that Man-child adores but they are often too busy with their lives to spend that quality male time with him. Males in church have volunteered but that fell before it was even picked up. I have signed up for every program you can imagine. One big brother showed up once and then changed his number. I have had my sistah-friends from all across the country searching for programs and every program has failed. SIGH

I try to do my best but it's hard because after all, I am a MOM. I can't tell him men stuff though I try to go my best. As we went shopping, he was looking at Cologne and I asked him to pick out what he wanted. He backed away and said that's OK. When I picked out what I liked, said it smelled like flowers. I buy pants that fit with very little room but most teens wear them too baggy. How do we compromise? I don't like the constant arguments with Man-child. I know some of it is teen-age hormone and the rest is lack of male companionship. I look at my brothers and see how they could have been better men if they had the proper male guidance. There are plenty of single moms that have raised sons. I can imagine the tears they have shed to get them to where they are.

As I get ready for this new milestone in our lives, I will continue to PRAY for strength, guidance and patience. I LOVE HIM with all my HEART. I just hope that it is enough to Raise my Man-child.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Practicing What You Preach

Everyone knows about my battle with Man-child and his bedroom. The rule of the house is "Your room is Your Space to do what ever you want; however, it can not resemble or smell like a pig's pen". I can not tell you the battles we have had and the trash I have carted out of his room in the last year.

Two days ago, I went to his room to ask him a question and I stopped in my tracks. There were clothes everywhere, water bottles, paper and stuff. UGGGG ... I could not go past the door. I simply turned and left. He came running ... "Mommy, I know what you are going to say and Imma' clean my room later today. I promise". I said nothing. After all, what else could I say that has not been said before. So, I went to my bedroom and then I had to stop again in my tracks. OMG!!! My room was a mess.

Since I have been working extra hours at the bookstore, I have been too tired to clean and things have just settled where ever I've dropped them. I had about six pairs of sandals and two pairs of sneakers in the middle of the floor; at least three weeks of mail on the dresser that I needed to sort; a pile of blouses that needed to go to the dry cleaners; I'd purchased some new bed pillows,towels and wash cloths and they were still in the bags in the corner;a laundry basket that needed to be folded; my niece's toys (from the weekend I babysat); and a stack of books that I'd read and did not place on the shelves; and five empty water bottles. I was GUILTY of being a slob.

So, I cleaned my room. It took me two hours and it looks sooo much better. Man-child came in my room and said "Dang, What happened in here"? I said "What are you talking about"? We just looked at each other real goofy like for a minute and he walked away. When I came home from work the next day, half of his room was cleaned.

Can you see me SMILE!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Man-Child's Summer

Needless to say, it has been a long summer. Since Man-child had to complete work he failed to do during the school year, I cancelled all activity for the summer. Even though it has not been very humid, it has been hot in this house. As a matter of fact, for the first two weeks, he would not speak to me.

When the summer enrichment program began, he hit the ceiling. Then all H*ll broke when he found out he had to read "The Secret Life of Bees". WT* Man-child was near tears. "Why I gotta read this girl book", he yelled. I told him " suck it up and read. And there is no such thing as a girl book". The temperature got even HOTTER.

I watched him read. He threw the book. He tried to hide it but I bought two extra copies. He even tore a few pages out of one book. After three weeks, he finished it and then he had to write a character analysis. I thought "OMG, this is going to be a disaster". Once again, he surprised me. Man-child's paper talked about how he could relate to Rosaleen, the character played by Jennifer Hudson. He stated that she was very smart and knowledgeable. Everyone thought she was slow and not aware of what was going on. He said that she was very smart. She just had a different way of doing things. Man-child said that he felt like her because everyone assumes that he is smart and on target when he is simply trying to figure things out the way that he wants to do it. He talked about how people always look at people and think they know all about you instead of getting to know you and letting you figure things out on your own. I WAS SPEECHLESS. He teacher was very impressed.

I returned his laptop and video games until the High School Summer Program starts on August 3. He kissed me and yelled as if it were Christmas. Then he did something that really shocked me. He said "Mommy, where are all those Harry Potter books?" I pulled the books from the shelf and gave them to him. Tonight, when I thought he was lost in Runescape on the computer or somewhere trying his hand at anime art, he was reading the first Harry Potter book.

Boy... I still have a lot to learn.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's July -Now What?

It's July. So much has happened this year. The year started off pretty good with me setting goals and putting one foot in front of the other and actually getting them accomplished (one being to start blogging) My brother and his family (that's 7 people) moved in with me. I can not begin to talk about the good, bad and ugly of that. Man-child is always trying to find new and creative ways to deceive me - gee, I am glad I was not born yesterday. My biggest disappointment with him was not being able to see him participate in the graduation ceremony. (I guess thinking on it now - I am glad it was the 8Th grade ceremony and not High School). The doctor gave me blood pressure pills - this is a battle I have been fighting with for over a year so I wasn't really surprised when it finally happened. My weight has plateaued -it's been the same for the past six months. I missed a few book signings and girl-friend get-togethers that I really wanted to attend. My reading Mojo has dropped - the desire has not been there lately. There has been several celebrity deaths that have left me speechless - Farrah Fawcett (yes, I wanted hair like her back in the day) and Michael Jackson - I won't comment on his death because I could not say anything more to what has already been said. I had to endure furlough days but THANKFUL I was able to go to work each day and enjoyed the stress of it.

So now, I sigh.... What's next for the remainder of the year. Well, I am going to get back up on my horse and keep on going... My brother and family has moved out; Man-child is still on lock down (which puts me on lock down too but I plan on taking little trips for me); juggling and thinking about refinancing; jazzed up my resume (never know what I may find); second goal to accomplish - STOP BITTING MY NAILS -I wanta get a manicure :-) ; restructure my homemade weight lose plan and do something different; look forward to what comes next.

What do you have planned??

Monday, June 22, 2009

Choices And Accountablity

June has been a very busy month for me. I was preparing for the graduations of my niece and nephew from elementary school; my great niece from nursery school and of course, Man-child from middle school. I learned 4 days before his graduation that although Man-child had enough credits to graduate, he did not take his final exam. He said "He choose not take it". The school administrators decided to give him a project to complete to satisfy his requirement. He fooled around and did a half A&* job. As a result he was not allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony. I was PISSED and I was prepared to let him repeat the 8th grade. But I quickly remembered "It was his choice". I insisted that he be held accountable for his actions. The schools administrator agreed to let him complete two projects as part of his summer enrichment program to satisfy the requirement. If I allow him to think that he will be given second chances and he can skirt by, then I am not doing my job as a parent. His choice has cost him his summer vacation, his computer and all graduation money. I can not and will not allow him to think that doing just enough is good enough and he has to be ACCOUNTABLE for everything that he does.

Next, we have been preparing for my brother and his family to move. Hallelujah. They found a town house that was one hour away from me. Each day they encounter a new problem - more money, problem with the house, and more. My brother said "We should have choose something else". I discovered that they make a lot of decisions with out thinking them over. Now, they are being held accountable for it.

What did I learn - I will go the extra mile to be successful and to help anyone that is in need. I reflected on Matthew 5:41 However, the choices and decision that we make will have a never lasting impact on the things you do tomorrow. You also have to be ACCOUNTABLE for every action and decision that you make.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Heard What You Said....

I can not believe that we are 2 weeks away from the end of the 2008-2009 school year. In summary, it was HELL. Man-child started off eager to finish the year and plan for high School. By October, the excitement was gone. I started my Mantra... "The grade you get now will have an impact on the high school you select. Keep your grades up". I must have said this everyday - did he listen - NO!!! In Thanksgiving, a student was killed at a school that is located next door to his school. Man-child shut down. He refused to do any school and refused to go to school for 4 days. Well... I began calling everyone, seeking help, counseling, therapy.. you name it, I took advantage of it. His response -"Just leave me ALONE". SIGH January brought a new attitude, but some spitefulness and I am still repeating my Mantra to him. By February, my brother and his family moved in (you'll have to revisit previous blogs from February) - OH BOY!!! Talk about DRAMA and FAMILY DRAMA at that.... I am still repeating my Mantra and seeking any type of help. By spring break, all of the top high school that he wanted to attend did not accept him because of his mediocre grades. DOUBLE SIGH At this point, I am praying 'cause I know now that somewhere I lost focused. PRAY ......PRAY.....PRAY

In the midst of all this drama, his principal calls me and says, "Man-child is extremely bright and I have to agree that maybe our school was not a challenge for him". I'm like -DUH!!!! He continued and stated that despite his grades, (and they were bad), Man-child scored in the top 5 percentile of all B'more city in the standardized test. He also qualified and passed with a score of 82% on the High School assessment test for Algebra I and English I. DUH again...

So, what does all of this mean? Man-child will be promoted to High School and it will be a school of my choice. He will also be place in an advance placement courses. When we sat down and went through everything that happened this year - his attitude, grades, etc. , he said "I heard what You said, I just wasn't listen"

When am I ever going to learn?!! Sigh

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Annual Cleaning Of Man-Child's Room

This weekend, Man-child went camping with his scout troop. Hallelujah!!! We needed a break from each other. I made a list of all the things I wanted to do - movie, visit some friends, very LONG Bubble bath, sleep late, take a nap and go shopping. YEAH!!!! Needless to say, I didn't do any of them. I took the time to clean Man-child's room.

Mind you, before he left, he said he cleaned it. I've learned from past experience that my son is very creative in cleaning (remember the multiple sets of sheets on his bed) . I got all of my cleaning supplies and I was ready for combat.

Well, it wasn't as bad as I thought. On the upside, I found his remote to the t.v. (he has been looking for that for a month), his house keys ( I had another set made), his calculator, computer flash drive, wireless remote to the computer and the case for MY cellphone. On the downside, I found 8 plastic water bottles, 3 soda cans, 6 forks, 2 spoons, one green sandwich, 2 letters from his teacher (addressed to me from March that I am not going to follow up on), and three bath towels (well that's a good thing compared to last year when I found a dozen). So I am thinking, NOT BAD!! I also took the time to go through his closet and purged clothes that he could not wear or have not worn. I found at least 4 pair of pants with tags still on them and a few shirts. (Made of list of things to buy for the summer -- Uggggg )

All in all, I was exhausted but it felt good. After I thought about it ... this was a piece of cake compared to last year. When he came home, he just Thanked me for finding all the lost goods and returned to ignoring me. Prayerfully, there will be a day when I won't have to clean his room.

By the way, I did take an extra LONG Bubble Bath. :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bonding with Man-child

I am always trying to find different ways to bond with my son. We are really oil and vinegar - he likes math,I like like english; he likes anime cartoons, I like the Flintstones; he prefers to play video games, I love to read.

Sunday, I asked him to teach me how to play a video game. Man-child saved his money and purchased that Guitar Hero game (I know I am not saying it right) for his computer. It the same game that the Nintendo WII has but now there is one for the computer. He showed me how to hold the guitar and press all of the colors. It really seemed simple, so I was ready to play a song. Man-child said "Let's start with the Tutorial". "NO.. I wanna play a song". After looking at the selections, I was like "DUH - these are all rock n roll songs. Don't they have any R &B. He reminded me that it was Rock legends. We go through the list again and I recognize a song by the Rollin Stones. Needless to say, I could not play one correct note on the Tutorial. I must have tried it 5 times. We went back over it again -and I was beginning to see his frustration, so I said "you do it and let me watch". The boy is a PRO. He went right to expert level and went through 3 songs. I went back to the Tutorial and this time I got 3 right notes. I was soo happy. He just said "OK, are you done yet?" That was my hint - bonding time is over.

I've been thinking about that day all week and I have to admit it was fun. We spent about an hour and a half together and I still can't play the game. I'll probably wait a while before I ask to play again. Maybe I finish the Tutorial... :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Raising Him Alone

On Saturday, April 18, 2009, I attended the 6th Annual Heal A Woman Heal A Nation Conference at Coppin State University. Co-directors Mothyna James-Brightful and Monoka Tyson of Heal A Woman stated that they strive to rejuventate, re-energize and revitalize the life of sisterhood since we are our sister's keeper, her best friend, her confidant, her reflection and her support. The purpose of the conference is to empower woman to encourage the growth of our communities. The workshops, which I found every exciting were entitled, Taking Care of Me First, Rejuvenating The Dream, Balancing Goals And Decisions, and Creating A Balanced Life.

The portion of the conference that I was interested in was entitled Raising Him Alone. Raising Him Alone is a separate organization that supports single mothers. It is a fact that 85% of households in the US are headed by single parents and most of those are single mothers. They also give support to men who are learning to be fathers or are trying to reconnect with their children. Events have been given in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Virginia. The workshops included: Father Factor: Addressing the Pain of Our Sons Experiencing An Absent Father; Coping With The Day to Day Struggles of Being A Single Mother: Making Ends Meet On A Tight Budget and A Mother's Role in Supporting Manhood Development. I attended all of these workshops and I learned soooo much about the decisions I have made and the impact that they have had on me and Man-Child.

The luncheon was the best part of the conference (ok - the food was ok). During the luncheon, there was a panal of Celebrity MOMS. Dr. Malalia A. Hines, Principal of John Hope College Prep High School in Chicago and Mother of Hip Hop Artist and Actor Common; Dr. Brenda Green, Professor of English and Executive Director of the Center for Black Literatur at Medgar Evers College and Mother of Hip Hop Artist Talib Kweli; Sheron Smith, Author and Motivational Speaker and Mother of Hip Hop Artist Mos Def; Meshelle Forman Shields, Actress, Comedienne and Motivational Speaker, Cassandra Mack, Founder and CEO of Strategies for Empowered Living and Dana Bankins, grandmother who raised Five Sons.

Each of these woman were very open and honest as they shared with the audience their personal trials of raising boys. They discussed fathers, abuse, fighting gangs, decision making, dealing with the court system, facing jail time with their sons, over compensating with gifts, faith, importance of prayer, taking care of self, reaching out for help, and knowing when enough is enough. I found Dr. Mahaila Hines to be wonderful. She encouraged All mothers to take a personal look at themselves to find the answers to many of the questions we had on raising our sons.

The day was very refresing, and as they stated at the beginning of the conference, REJUVENATING. I met a lot of mothers with sons in jail, hospitals, dealing with children with ADHD, teen fathers, those trying to accept and understand sexual orientation, and so much more. The one common theme, though every circumstance was different, we were looking for support and encouragement for our sons. I grabbed many handouts, collected several free books, 10 Steps out of Puberty: A Teen's Guide to Successful Living by LaMarr Shields, Raising Hi Alone by David Miller; The Single Mom's Little Book of Wisdom by Cassandra Mack; and an audio book "Raising God's Children Alone". The only disappointing part for me was that many of the programs offered were for boys between the age of 10- 12 or 14-18. I questioned "What happens to 13 yr olds?" However, I did get a couple of leads for mentoring programs and tutoring groups that I plan to look into.

When I chose the name for this blog, I never thought that there was an organization dedicated to helping single mothers. I am glad my Sistah-friends encouraged me to write about some of my experiencing so that I may also be able to help others as others have helped me.

Please checkout their website for more information and locations of conference near you.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Best of Man-Child

Making the decision to write a blog was not easy for me. I am not a writer. I have always wanted to write but I did not think I had anything interesting to tell or write about.

Raising Man-child has been a 24/7 job; one that I did not think would be this difficult. In fact I prayed for a "Funky, Stinky, Little Boy". Well, I got it and then some. My friends are in tears as I scream about the things this boy does. UNBELIEVEABLE After I have screamed, yelled and watched a new gray hair pop into place, I realize that he is funny. I hope by putting my trials, tribulations, heartaches and successes for everyone to see, I am able to help someone else that is going through the same things. I also Pray for the support, advise and encouragement.


3. Be Specific with instructions - While cleaning his room, while he was away camping, I noticed that Man-Child had 4 sets of sheets on the bed. I asked him why - his response, "You never told me to take the dirty sheets off".

2. Make Him take ownship for his actions - To avoid doing a science project, he told his teacher that I could not afford to buy the supplies he needed due to the recession and his father's decision not to pay child support money. The teacher bought the supplies for him and offered me a part-time job. I made him work at her store to pay for the supplies.

1. A cure for Nakedness - Man-child had a habit of walking around the house Naked. I keep explaining to him that he was not my little boy but this Man -Child with things that I did not need to see. He reason "You are my MOMMY- it doesn't matter". Well one sunday, while gettng ready for church, I decided to change my bra and took it off and walked out of the bathroom - TOPLESS. He yelled "MOMMY, That's NASTY- Cover those things up". I told him, "When you were nursing it was not a problem. He said " But I'm not supposed to see those things" to which I responded "That's exactly the same thing I've been telling you". Well now he wears his robe all the time.

So what is your favorite Man-child story?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Man-Child And His Sibblings (Cousins)

It's been a month since my brother and his family moved into my home. Let me tell ya, it has been an ADVENTURE. Getting the kids used to a different routines, new eating habits, new rules and so much more has been a challenge. Despite it all, we are managing.

One thing I never considered or thought about was the impact this change would have on Man-child. My brother has three sons, Khalil 12, Demarion 9, and Ja'Varea 5, that are younger than Man-child and they WORSHIP the ground he walks on. The first week, it was fun. Man-child helped with homework, getting them ready for bed, doing housework and getting to know each other. They follow Man-child every where and even began wearing their clothes like Man-child. Well, somewhere between that second and third week, things began to change. I noticed Man-child yelling at the boys all the time.

Finally, Man-child said, "I am sick and tired of them. Get them out of here". What happened?, I asked. "They are everywhere, they won't even let me go to the bathroom; they are in my sutff and they keep taking stuff out of my room"!! he yelled. " I don't want them in my room any more and they can't sleep in my room either, as a matter of fact I don't even want to see them".

Oh Boy... I reminded him that I knew it was difficult but we are all cramped and uncomfortable. I told him that the boys look up to him and he just has to be patient. I told him to stop being selfish and share with his cousins. This is what it's like having brothers and sisters. Awww Man.. it hit me again.... Growing up, I was the oldest and the only girl, I NEVER had to share or compromise anything with anyone. My room and things were OFF LIMITS. When my cousins visited, I always let them know what they could touch or were allowed to play with (basically everything - but I had to tell them first). I never shared a room, my clothes - NOTHING. When my aunt died, a couple of my cousins, male cousins, came to live with us for a while - again, my stuff was off limits.

I had to rethink this again and make new rules. Ok. The boys can come in his room only if Man-child lets them and they have to respect his space. They also have to let Man-child invite them to stay in his room. Have things gotten better? There is less yelling and they boys are not clinging to Man-child every move. But I am still on him about sharing, being considerate and accepting of others. I also reminded him that the world does not revolve around him and one day he could find himself in the same place.

I'll keep you posted of our progress :-)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Knock On The Door

Three weeks ago, my brother, his wife and five kids knocked on my door. Still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, his plant closing, unemployment, and so much more, he decided to pack up his family and move back home. I can’t imagine how difficult that decision was for him but he had an obligation to provide the best care for his family.

When they arrived, I immediately called family. Instead of support, I heard, “How rude. They should have called first”, “ I hope you are not trying to be a Savior”, “ How the Heck does he expect to get help here”, “ You should have sent them to a shelter”, and a lot more. I got the same response from friends that I’ve considered family also. Hmmmm…. I thought, is this what institution of the family has become? I got angry and I thought would these same people do the same to me if I need help.

Let me say this… I am not a Martyr. I do what I do because I want to. I recognize that in order to survive you must have the support of your family. Throughout history, particularly for African Americans, families have always taken care of each other. So, why should I change? I recognize that I am a caregiver and a nurturer. Even with all of the negative comments, I am still the one everyone calls. I am the one that remembers every birthday, anniversary, death, birth, graduation, special achievement, wedding, or thinking of you. Then it hit me…. “Trust in the LORD with ALL your HEART and Lean not on your own understanding”. Proverbs 3:5 I do what’s in my heart and I never question my actions or the actions of those that are in need.

My brother’s obligation is to provide the best care for his family. His decision brought him back to Baltimore where he thought he could get support. Am I obligated to help? No. Yet, I know that with my trust in the CREATOR, All is Well. If my obligation makes me seem gullible, naive or taken advantage of, I would say, “that’s okay”. I have to do what is in my heart and spirit. So knock on my door. Anytime.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fig-uring Man-Child

Since the death of our friend Mike, Man-child has become this whole other person. He challenges me with EVERYTHING. He argues, he yells, he rolls his eyes, and a whole lot of other stuff that I have been trying to figure out. Every one said "he is just smelling himself", " he'll grow out of it", "boys are like that", and a lot other cliches that I hate. Yet, despite it all, I knew something was not the same with my son and I DO NOT LIKE IT. We tried the counseling thing with no success, and a couple of Elders from church even noticed that he was different and tried to talk to him. Man-child said "I am sick and tired of everyone talking to me. I just want to be left alone". With that I noticed that he wasn't going outside and spending time with his friends, he was becoming more secretive and spending more time on the computer. Of course I checked and double checked everything that he was doing. I DON'T LIKE IT.

Today, in church, our first lady, Min. Anita Phillips, who tends to set the church on fire, delivered a message that has been with me all day - well at least a part of it. She took us to Genesis 3:6 when Adam and Eve bit from the apple from the Tree of Knowledge and they realized that they were naked. They sewed together fig leaves to cover their nakedness. She went on to discuss the fig tree, a small fruit with huge leaves used to cover or hide truth or things that we do not want to see or deal with. Min. Anita talked about being fruitful and accepting change. She also reminded us that in order to move forward we have to see the vision, see what is ahead and to stop looking over our shoulders because we tend to lose focus and as a result we lose the blessing. She gave many references of the role of the fig tree and the leaves that tend to used to cover things.

So you ask, what did I get out of that lesson (which I am sure I paraphrased badly) and what is my point. Why am I trying to fig-ure out what is wrong with Man-child? Am I looking for a problem or am I trying to hide from the fact that my son is growing up. Am I covering up something that really isn't a problem at all? I fig-ured out what my problem was with Man-child. I lost FAITH. I saw something in my son and I became scared. Like Adam and Eve, I covered or masked my fear and flipped it all on Man-child. I wanted to Find a problem so that I coudl fix it - fix him. But he said it best " Nothing is wrong - I just want to be left alone". I went back and read all of the references First Lady gave regarding the Fig tree and how it has been used to cover and mask things. Yes, Man-child is argumentive and he challenges me but my son is growing and I think that this is his way of doing it since he does not have that male role model that he once had. I am so caught up in the who is was and not who is becoming - A Young Man. Yeah, it still scares me but I have to restore my FAITH in my son. I also have to keep a clear vision on what is ahead because I know that it will be AWESOME. I can not look back at who he was because he is no longer my little boy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tribute to Michael Porter - Jan. 11, 1970 - Oct. 23, 2007

Last week, I spent time with my friend Phylissa and her daughters. We were celebrating what would have been her husband's, Michael, birthday. Michael was a dynamic person. He was a husband, father, son, and friend. It did not matter what the problem or circumstance, Mike P, as he was often called, was always there to make you laugh. In fact, laughter was his ministry. He could be found making you laugh, as he cut your hair (he as a barber) or cutting a joke or two with the Pastor. Mike created Kingdom Laughs Entertainment, a Christian owned and operated business with the purpose of "Magnifyin g Spiritual gifts to the fullest through laughter".

Mike was a very special person to Man-child. He was more than a big brother and mentor. He was "that person" Man-child could always go to about anything. As we were talking, I had to share one of my Man-child stories with everyone. Late one August evening, Man-child came into my room after taking a shower and asked me "How come my penis keep sticking straight out". As he is asking me, my son is standing in front of me completely naked with a FULL ERECTION. I was speechless. I asked him, "What were you doing?" He said "I was rubbing it in the shower". All I could say was "Well, don't do it anymore". I was speechless for days. Can you imagine me all hot , shocked and frustrated first from seeing my son NAKED and then with a full erection? Uggggg.... A few days later in church, I saw Mike and he asked how were things going. When I explained what happened, he said "Don't worry, I'll take care of it". He took Man-child out and I guess they talked. Later that day, Mike called me and explained it in technical terms to me in case Man-child had any more questions. He said that he wanted me prepared for what would happen next and we talked for almost two hours.

Michael was called HOME the day after Man-child's 12th birthday. My son was heartbroken. He often becomes very withdrawn with the mention of Michael's name. In fact celebrating his birthday was very difficutl; but, I had to remind him that we have to celebrate all that Mike gave us and all that he was to us. I am grateful that we had someone like Michael in our life and I will carry him with me always.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Me, Man-child and the Computer

A few weeks ago, I noticed a pop up on my computer stating that my security with McAfee was about to expire. I was supposed to click some button to renew it at a cost of $69.95. Well, I did not know what the heck this was all about. So, I posted a SOS message to my Sistah friends on-line. Not only did they explain it to me but they gave me suggestion on what software to purchase. The next day during my lunch break, I run over to Office Depot to purchase the software. I am excited because I am going to do this by-myself.

Enters Man-child. Now I will admit, I know NOTHING about the computer. I turn it on, go to what I want and that's it. At work, the IT person handles all problems. Anyway, I open the package to read about the software and how to install it. Man-child, in the deepest voice I have ever heard, says "Mommy, why are you being Stupid.. Just put the disc in the drive and follow the prompts". NO, HE DIDN'T CALL ME STUPID!!!! "Boy, who do you think you are talking to", I yell. "I Gotta read the information before I can do anything. And if you call me Stupid again I'mma knock your teeth out". He rolls his eyes and walks out of the room.

I sat at this computer for 20 minutes reading and looking for the disc drive and double checking everything. Man-child walks back in the room and says "Move over Mommy. He put the disc in, clicked a few buttons, we waited 10 minutes and it was installed. He patted me on the top of my head and said "It's ok... I love you too".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 - Raising Man Child

It's 2009 and I have already achieved one of my goals... creating a blog. It's not just any blog. I am a single, mature female raising a teen-age Male child. I remember praying throughout my pregnancy for a male child. "Raising a boy is so much easier than girls", I thought. Let me be first to tell you that is not true. Some of the problems I have had to deal with have made my friends laugh out loud and shed tears. " You should write a book", they would say or " I hope you are keeping a journal". All I can do is shake my head and pray. Then they will smile and say " It will be OK, I been through something similar" or " He's just smelling himself, y'all will be alright". Well, it ain't alright because I am pre-menopausal. My hormones and his hormones are at WAR.

So I've decided to create blog to help me keep me sane as I raised my wonderful son and to help other who are raising kids. Next blog... I'll explain how difficult it was creating this blog and having to ask him for help.