Monday, September 20, 2010

Single Mommas: "That's just what we do"

Single-momma-hood. It happens. For whatever reason, however, happens. Some single momma's never intend to be single momma's, and hate it. Some start out in a 2 parent situation, and things 'don't work out'. Some are single from the beginning. Some choose to be a single momma. I'm sure there are other situations as well....but none-the-less, we are still Single Momma's.

So yesterday, I posted a blog about how I was sick, and woke up at an awful hour, trying to deal with the sickness. I went about my day, doing my best to nurse myself (and the Cadet, who's a little under the weather as well, and too 'big' for kiddie meds). I went to church, thinking that as the day went along, I'd get better, as long as I was drinking lots of fluids, taking meds, and taking it easy.

The music ministry always rehearses before we sing before the congregation on Sunday mornings, so I figured, "I just won't push it today". We were already joking that I'd be singing bass instead of soprano, because of how that cold had me sounding when I talked. We began to warm-up to on of the songs we'd be singing yesterday, and I could barely make it through. I'm so glad we were sitting down, because I would have had to! I could not draw in a proper breath to get through a 2 minute song! I knew I had to give it up for the day. I let the rest of the group know, humbling out a bit, because I LOVE worshipping with them, but I needed to take care of myself. I gathered my things, and went and found myself a seat in the congregation, all the while sweating and puffing on my inhaler. I ended up sitting in the third row, a couple of seats down from our oldest member, Miss Doris...a beautiful, 97 year old lady who is always one of the first people in the church, is always encouraging, still gets around on her own, and is such an inspiration. She just lost her final living family member, her daughter, earlier this summer. Yet she is still so faithful to God, and continues to live her life to the full. I sat a couple of seats down from her, because I didn't want to spread my germs to her and possibly get her sick, yet she encouraged me to come to the spot directly next to her. She told me "I usually get to see you onstage, you think I want to miss the treat of having you next to me?" I explained that I'm not onstage today because I'm sick, and didn't want to spread my germs to her. She then told me "Well, I will have to take my chances. Your flesh is weak, but your spirit is willing. Both of mine are strong and willing right now, so please, sit closer." How can I argue with that. As I sat, blowing my nose, sipping my ginger/lemon water and coughing, she rubbed my back, and continued with praising God, like this was nothing new.

For years, she was a single momma. Not that she meant to be, but she was. Her husband had passed away. She just did 'what we do'.

I passed on going to rehearsal after church, going to the youth ministry meeting, and instead brought myself and the kiddios home. I got on my nebulizer, took some cold meds and went to sleep. I ended up waking up, and going grocery shopping, but even that was physically draining. As soon as I came in the house, I got back on the nebulizer, trying to clear my airways. Being on the machine had a greater effect as well; the medicine helps to break up the mucus in my throat, so I was coughing and spitting as I sat there. After the treatment, I came back into my bedroom, to sit and chill. I let the kiddios know that I wasn't feeling well, and had bought them a DiGiorno at the store. Having a cooking 14 year old Cadet, I knew they were in good hands. The most I have to worry about, I thought, was the arguing over who would use the computer vs. the Wii. And that was exactly right.

Right around 8pm, I was feeling really short of breath, so I got back on the nebulizer for my third breathing treatment of the day. For some reason, it just wasn't working though. I mean, it was still breaking up the mucus, which is a good side effect, but what good is having side effects if the end result isn't there?

So I had Bean get in the shower at 8:30 as usual, to begin our nightly routine. Boy Wonder had gone into his room to draw, and the Cadet was the only one still in the living room. I called him into my room to tell him what my plan was. I let him know that I was going to the emergency room. The kiddios and I are all asthmatics, and have all had to go to ER's because of asthma, so he knew why I was going. Our nebulizer here at the house just wasn't strong enough for what I needed here, plus at the hospital, they have more specialized meds according to your symptoms. I let him know that I wanted to wait until everyone was getting ready for bed, that I would go, get treated and be right back home, since it wasn't a serious situation. He understood, and wasn't scared when I asked him if he was. He admitted he was a little worried though, but he was glad I was going. I told him to make sure he had his phone on and the ringer loud, and to text me as the night went on, and call me right before he went to bed.

As I went to the ER, I let a couple of people know, folks that I knew would be able to go and help the kids should I need them to, or that would be able to come and help me in the same way. I went to the ER that I knew wouldn't be crazy packed (thank God it wasn't)...but because I was so short of breath, and it was hurting my chest, I was immediately seen (so immediate that they printed my bracelet in triage, and I signed papers in my room, going to registration on my way out). I was checked into the ER at 9:10pm, and discharged at 10:51. I was back home, playing on Facebook by 11:28.

I was asked "why did you go alone" and "who's with you?"...I went alone because I had no one else to go with me. I didn't want to interrupt the kiddios schedule, and pack them all up to come with me. my kiddios are old enough to stay home for a couple of hours by themselves. I knew I wouldn't be gone all night, and if I were, I had people who could get to them quickly. I went alone because I had no one else here to go with me, but NEEDED to go. I'm a single momma. That's just what I do.

I make decisions all the time because I am a single momma. Last year, Bean and Boy Wonder used to come to my job everyday after school, because it kept them close to me, and it kept me from having to pay for after school care, something a single income household cannot budget for. I've had to swallow my 'pride' and go apply for government benefits, because they are all asthmatic and need medical insurance, as well as food benefits. No, it doesn't feel good, but I know that I go to work everyday, and that the kiddios SEE me working hard, and appreciating what we DO have, instead of 'taking advantage of the system'. Even the job I have-I wanted something that wouldn't have me bringing stresses home with me...where I can actually plan to go to parent/teacher conferences, where I can come home and help with homework. I have that job, and it has even taught me how to better deal with and raise them.

Back in the day (in college) I sold my (maternal) eggs to an in-vitro company...I got paid VERY well for only 6 weeks worth of work (like 2 months rent and all of Christmas well)...because its what I had to do. I've been making sacrifices for so long, that I can't even remember what most of them are to list them. (Last week, I didn't post because I had to let the cable get cut off...Bean needed a new school sweater, #KanyeShrug) But these are things that i have learned to live without, because I'm a single momma...and making these decisions now come easy to me. They didn't always...but over the years, I've learned to just 'let them'.

I came into single-momma-hood by choice, I like to say. We were married after the boys were born, divorced before Bean turned one. I could have stayed, but it wasn't the right choice. I made the decision to pick up the kids and go, and haven't really looked back. I wouldn't suggest this route for everyone, especially since everyone's case is different. But I had a great support system (still do!), and I have learned what works and what doesn't. I've found myself a little more independent than maybe I should be, and am still learning to let people in, and LET them help me if they offer. Single mommas will know that this is hard to do...since we have had to depend on self for so long.

Single mommas, speak out. Think about some of the things you "just do" for your kids, that others may never have to. Those of you who aren't single parents, take a listen. I cannot say thanks enough to the friends that I have (especially the men/fathers/husbands) who take time out from their own lives to help mine out. If you are able, find a single parent home, and 'adopt' them. I'm not saying that you need to provide for them financially...but maybe let the kids hang with you for a night so mom can go to a movie, or for a Saturday afternoon so she can nap/go grocery shopping alone/sit and watch a movie with a rating over PG-13, lol. Spend time with the kids individually; this is something that a single momma may not be able to do if she has more than one. Though this doesn't seem like much, believe me, it will be. Alot of single mommas don't get alone time, and would more than appreciate it, plus the kids would love a change of scenery.

I would love to hear what you guys think...

...until next time...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Since I've been up for 2 hours already, might as well blog...

by the way, its 6:50 in the a.m. Sleep, schmeep.

So, I am sitting here, hacking my life away...well, coughing...(since I'm on a computer, hacking takes on another meaning)...and the coughing STARTED as TERRIBLE allergies...but has somehow morphed itself into one great blazes of a cold. PERFECT TIMING! Here I was, trying to medicate my allergy situation...and then the weather wants to go and change on me, and my throat starts feeling all scratchy...and now I'm a nose blowing, phlegmmy mess.

And of course, we are leaving on Tuesday for a singing engagement in Texas. As I said before, PERFECT TIMING. Thank you, mother nature.

So, I've been drinking a lovely concoction of hot water, honey, fresh ginger root and lemon all day/night, trying to break up some of the mess caught in my throat, and making sure it certainly doesn't creep into my chest. I already has asthma...pneumonia would not be attractive on me (not at all).

Anyone have any other suggestions for what I should do? (Ki, I was broke...but now that I've got a few $$, I'll rush right to CVS and grab some Emergen-C, and slam it down 3xs a day!) OOH, chicken soup (the fat from the chicken helps to carry out the phlegm!)...

but any other suggestions?

So yesterday, I went to a natural hair meetup/workshop/seminar...and while the 'keynote speaker' was kind of boring...I mean, she gave great advice and info (while pushing her own line of products, of course), her voice was so dry, and quiet. She didn't want to use the microphone provided for her, because she liked to talk with her hands. 15 minutes into her schpiel, I was tweeting, Facebooking and foursquaring my life away.

It was pretty cool to go into a situation alone. I mean, I'd been to these things before (in Detroit, so that means 2+ years ago), and I usually went with other people. This time, I saw the info, set the date, paid the amount due, and got myself together. There was a product swap, so I took 3 trade-able products with me. @ of them were products I loved (but have since purchased larger sizes of) and one was an "eh for me...meaning, it was okay, but it didn't hurt my feelings to give it up. I ended up getting 3 partially used, and possibly hated by the former owners products, 2 of which are more than $20 per jar. Go me! Also, as we walked in, for pre-paying (versus paying at the door) I received a free jar of unrefined shea butter, and a complimentary berry mimosa! Later on, I won a prize for using oneof the most "interesting" foods on my hair (ginger paste...helped my scalp eczema!), as well as the contest for fiercest "going out" hairstyle. By the time I left out of there, I had a bag FULL of goodies...and basically paid $20 to get them all (plus some great fish tacos!)

It was interesting to talk with some of the other natural women there. Some didn't feel that I am natural because I color my hair. Personally, I see natural as anyone who does not chemically relax their hair. True, I could be even more natural if I didn't 'chemically color' my hair, but #1, henna and all of those other natural ways of coloring your hair are messy or don't work on my hair, and #2, if I didn't color it, I'd probably end up cutting it instead. #2 is NOT AN, oh well. I also found it amazing that there were so many naturals who are afraid to do their own hair! I mean, I understand that they may have been forced to cut off hair due to breakage, or whatever...but then to be afraid to do something to it? A lady next to me had just paid $75 the day before to get her hair washed and styled in loose 2 strand twists...something I sit and do while watching tv! I guess I have just been taking for granted the great education I got while I was in college...and no, not from Eastern Michigan University.

I had a friend at EMU who taught me most of the things I needed to know about my natural hair, how to style it, what to use and why, how to manipulate it, etc. She actually started a set of my locs for me as well. If it weren't for her, I'd probably either be bald or relaxed right now. But the situation today made me realize that not everyone has a Cheri like I did...and that's a problem. Having gone through cosmetology school myself, I KNOW for a fact that natural hair care is not taught. The only thing we did with natural hair besides wash and condition it was learn how to use a pressing comb on it. No wonder Miss Jessie's salon can charge $400 to do your natural hair! Everyday stylists haven't been properly educated on natural styling, and they have a monopoly on the market! I've rambled on enough to know that I should go ahead and hop in the shower and get myself ready for church. I think I'm going to do big hair today, since I'm already half way there as it is...

Until next time...

Friday, September 17, 2010

"I Got you I'm reacting..." (Dionne, "Allergies, from her album "Unrealistic")

So yeah....
I never had issues with allergies when I lived in Michigan...but the DC area just DOES NOT want to let up on me when it comes to punishments, so here I am, sandpaper-eyed, snotty nosed and sinus pressured. THANKS DMV!

Went and saw Dr. Sistagirl today,my psychologist, who needed to know all of the business and goings on with me this past week. I let her know that I have been so paranoid because of a certain situation in my home, which has me sleeping in my living room instead of my bedroom...that my financial situation isn't where it should be, and these allergies are kickin my butt! She says that right now, she sees it causing a 'situational depression' within me...meaning that when these situations have passed, she thinks I will go back to being my old self. Let's hope that is the situation.

So next week, "touring for Jesus" begins again, and although I'm broke, I am quite excited at the same time! Its amazing, that with all of the stuff (and the mess!) that I go through, how happy singing truly makes me! Not to mention the fact that I still wonder how (of all people) I was one of the chosen...

So...enough rambling...time to open it up to you readers.

As of yet, I don't know exactly what I am allergic to. I currently take Zyrtec, a 24 hour anti-histimine, drink lots of tea, eat lots of fruits and nuts. Do you have any suggestions as to how I ccan deal with this mess until the allergy
season subsides? What do you do, if you too are a sufferer?

and, as usual...if there is any topic you'd like me to touch upon, be it questions about kids, or singing...or anything at all, please email me at, and I will do my best to give you my point of view on the subject.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kids these days...

So clearly, you can see by my picture up there (if you didn't already know me) that I am a light bright. I mean, I'm bi-racial...nothing new about that. Though (I can now proudly boast)I am a slight 2 shades darker due to my world tour this summer. kids are just as light skinned as I am. Well, the Cadet is darker, but that's because he's always been one to stay outside in the sun, where as Boy Wonder (J) and Bean pretty much hang indoors (their asthma is worse than the Cadet's, and poor air qualities contribute to their indoors-ed-ness.

So, I come home today, and talk to the kids about their day, as I always do. Turns out that Bean realized today that she is one of 4 girls in her school that has locs...everyone else is a boy or adult. That's pretty cool, I tell her. Then she tells me about how somebody in her class got her nerves, but she shut them up, "but in a nice way, mom, I promise" of course, Ive gotta hear this.

"So ______ says he never saw a white girl with locs before, and I tell him I'm not white. he says 'yuh-huh, you are too white'"

Bean explains to me, very plainly "I cracked his face momma. I told him "I'm not white, but my grandma is" and he didn't even know what to think. He is still prolly sitting there tryin to figure it out."

That was her telling Him...but in a nice way.
Go Bean!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

shameless plug!

So, those who know me may (or may not) know that I have HUGE curly hair...I have been natural for years now, since losing my hair to cancer. I have been an active member of online hair communities for years now as well.

I was featured on Black Girl with Long Hair today, and am excited and honored!

Check It Out!

Back to School has come and gone...

and I'm still waiting to begin work.

Well...let me backtrack. I'm 'working'...but in the office. We haven't started the afterschool program just yet, so I haven't met this years' students. We ended up with 10 students (out of the 18 we began with), and of those, 4 of them were 8th graders who graduated from our program, and (Thankfully) went to high school. Of the 6, we believe that 5 are returning, as one moved to another school district. Which means that we now have 13 slots for new girls....WHEW. This will not be easy!

As for my own kiddios, this year has been quite interesting. Q had a hard time last year...wait...hard time my butt, he was downright lazy, and we weren't sure he was going to make it out of 8th grade. I went to conferences, talked to counselors, helped with projects, etc., but he just wasn't getting the grades we expected.

Then I realized that Its wasn't me, it was HIM. He was being lazy! I couldn't sit in class and do the work for him; couldn't do his homework; couldn't be there at school to tell him to turn the work in. These were all things he was supposed to be doing. But...he just wasn't...had no reason for it,just wasn't.

So when April came around, and he was in danger of failing (and I received that retention letter from the school district), I told him I was washing my hands of the situation. If he wanted to be back at the same middle school next year, wearing that same blue shirt, that was fine with me. It took me a minute to get there, but I was resolved to be okay with my son being an 8th grader AGAIN. I wasn't happy with it, but if this is how he's gonna learn his lesson...

It turns out though, that maybe my letting go was what he needed. I wasn't there to hold his hand, to push him through. He actually applied himself and JUST BARELY made it out of 8th grade. We won't even speak on his grade point average, because Yes, it was shameful...he wanted to apply to go to the high school around the corner that has an amazing Arts program...but you had to meet the minimum GPA before you could even apply. So much for that.

So, all he was left with was our neighborhood school...which is a military academy. All students are enrolled in the Army JROTC program. Everyday, they are in full regalia and uniform. They are called by last names, and he is currently a Cadet. We had to shave his locs (boy, was he upset about that!), to comply with uniform regulations. (Actually, I took him to his first day of a 3 day orientation...they told him that first morning "we don't want to see your 'hair' tomorrow"). He was angry all summer about how he didn't want to go to this school because he didn't want to be yelled at everyday. I explained that "Its not boot camp, its high school", but he still wasn't having it, even though all of his neighborhood friends go there, and tried to tell him.

He just left a couple of minutes ago, beginning his third week of school. I have already noticed a change in him. He dresses in his uniform everyday, pants at his waist, uniform pressed by the cleaners, tie tight, shoes shined, belt just right, name tag and ID perfectly placed. He comes home everyday, sits at the table, DOES HIS HOMEWORK, even helps his sister when she needs it. He's still my 14 year old, but has somehow found something within himself to motivate himself. I had to let him know that I'd be here, but he is now 14...a high schooler, a teenager. I expect him to take care of business, but I also expect him to find himself. He needs a social life, he needs responsibility and he needs obligation. I think he is beginning to find all of this in this high school. Though he needs to find something to do after school now (because he's NOT coming back to my house to get in trouble! I''m not having that!). He's not really a 'sports' guy, so a sports team may not be for him, but there are clubs and things he can get into...

This is my firstborn. He's now 14 and taller than me, but I'm watching him grow into Himself. Its got a wow-factor that is sometimes overwhelming, especially as a single mom. I have to be honest, I'm starting to get scared, because now we are really coming into manhood, and I have no idea of what to do! When my brothers went through this, I wasn't really around, so I don't remember my parents examples. Dre moved to Texas with his biological father, and I was off doing my own teenage thing when Kemper was going through this (plus, he had just found out about his that took up most of his teen years, learning how to deal with that). The plan is to ask lots of advice, and to have the willing men and fathers from my church there to help guide him...but in the end, I am still momma. He is still 100% dependent on me, though he is learning how to gain his own independence. He is feeling out the world for himself, and instead of me reaching out to pull his hand back from the fire, I have to bite my lip, and allow him to scorch his own hand a bit. Its not easy (on my part or his...he's already shown me blisters that I have to take care of), but I am determined to help him be there best young adult he can be.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Welcome back!

Honestly, I don't know if I'm saying that to you, or to myself, lol.

Well, as you can see, there have been ALOT of changes up and around here...

My computer was stolen in the break in, so I had to wait until the insurance company hooked me up with this here new laptop. Yay.

Also, I can no longer write about the training I was taking for my students...which was wonderful, but also very copywritten. My Bad. I will admit, I thought it was great, but obviously, other folks do much so that they pay for it, and here I was, giving it away for free! Sorry yall! many things have happened since Ive 'been away'...a whole spring and summer's worth. Ive gone on trips for singing, trips for relaxation, and trips that opened my eyes to the world. I am still seeing my wonderful therapist, and Boy Wonder (J) has begun seeing her as well. Big Shoulders/Q started high school this fall...had to cut off his locs and everything...and I now refer to him as The Cadet, since that's what he is referred to at his military high school now. Bean is just as social as ever...nothing's changed there.

I've done alot of growing these past few months as well. I have really thrown myself into this singing ensemble that I am a part of, and we've been "touring for Jesus" as some folks like to call its funny, because its true! We went to a huge National christian conference back in July...went a few other places, and now preparing to go south later this month. Our CD is in the process of being released...and I'm claiming it like its my own, when really I'm just a background singer...but its one of the best things that's ever happened to me...and I can't take a lick of credit for it either.

Dr. Lady is fabulous! I love going to see her, because not only is she faith based, but she sees things that I don't have to speak upon...and she's helped me through alot of things. I have learned to get angry about things; to let things go; to be okay with doing things by myself. The kiddios were back home with my momma all summer, so I think I did a great job of testing out some of her theories (and I passed with flying colors!).

So yeah...I don't know where this blog is going from here...but I'm glad you're along for the ride. And hey...if you have anything you wanna know, just ask. I'm sure I can address it, whatever it may be...I'll at least give it a try!