Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How To Be a Hero For Less Than $20

You know there are many many charts out there that tell us that raising kids is expensive business. As a single mom I can tell you that is is very hard work as well. But, there are those days when the rewards are soo great that the costs and time seems frivolous compared to the reward. Friday night was one of those nights. You see for less than 20 bucks I was the hero of the day. We had outdoor movie night. So as with all good parenting stuff I feel the need to share with you how you too can be a hero.

1. Three movies from the Redbox.
We got Marley and ME, Open Season 2 and Tinkerbell.

2. Hot dogs, popcorn, soda, 2 bags of chips, dip and cheetos
This is not the most nutritious meal but it is the movies!

3. Put the TV on the porch, line up the furniture like in the movies

We grilled the dogs on the George forman. Then in order to set up we put the TV on the porch along with the pop up table. Set up a bar with the soda, condiments and chips. We put the dip in individual cups (prevents double dipping) gave evryone a cafeteria tray (love yard sales) and off to the movies we went!! It is best to start your show at dusk.

I had a very bad week last week. But listening to the laughter and excitement of my kids and their friends melted all of that away. The best part was snuggling up with my girl and talking to her as watched Tinkerbell together as no one else wanted to watch it. It was just us girls laughing and enjoying Tink. I got all this joy for about $18. It was the best money I spent in a long long time.

Friday, May 15, 2009


You and I have had a long long history. When I was just 15 I watched you take my great uncle. I went to his house everyday to find him in horrible pain, while my aunt sat in a corner and tried to figure out how she was going to go on. She did but he died a horribly painful death. You really did not have to go that far. Years later you came for my mom not once or twice but 3 effing times. I know she was a tough one but you made sure to break her down first. Even attempting to take her mind. Then my auntee Bert another one that fought you tooth and nail. You came for my sister we sent you packing and trust if you show up for her again you will get another all out assualt. My church memebers, my coworkers and my friends. Now Wayman Tisdale. He was one of the guys that really got me into basketball. I followed him in his Jazz Career. He was 44 freakin years old. I know it means nothing to you since you go after kids too. Its been 25 damn years can you Please Please LEAVE ME THE F**K ALONE!!!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009


One monkey don’t stop this show.

This was what my mom said when someone she was counting on did not do as they said. I remember being all set to go to the park after church one Sunday and the other family we were to go with backed out. The problem was they had the grill we were to use to cook out at the park. My mom said oh well. We went home put all the food on our backyard pit to cook loaded in the truck and spent the afternoon at the park just like we planned.

But the time this struck me the most was one 4th of July when she was to drive from SC to NY for our annual family cookout. My mom was the backbone of our family. She was counted one to do the planning and most of the cooking for these things. She was counting on my cousin to do the driving as my mom was to have Chemo that morning and my sister was a double amputee who was still getting her bearings in dealing with her handicap. She goes to pick up my cousin and he says I just can’t leave right now. My mom with her handicapped daughter 12 year-old son and 3 grandkids got in a Tahoe with a trailer hitch and began to drive. When she got tired she passed the wheel to my sister. Yes the one with ONE arm. When they got to Maryland to pick up my son I asked where my cousin was she looked at me and said home I guess. I was a little reluctant to let my child join this ride along even if for only the last 4 hours. I whispered to my sister “What the hell were yall thinking” She said mom got in the truck and said “one monkey don’t stop this show. You ready to drive?” What was I going to say no? I said OK and here we are. I looked at my mom and knew that her picture had to be in the dictionary by the word strength.

From this I have learned to do the things I want to do by my self even if nobody else wants to. I have gone to concerts, movies, restaurants and even on trips solo and loved it. I have moved myself across 3 states with just my kids and have enjoyed my life to the fullest. If you want to come you are welcome but remember “one monkey will not stop this show!”

Remember who you are and whose you are.

This is what my mom always said to us when we left home for a date or to go somewhere without them. In college I would get these little cards from her with this at the end. This little tidbit has kept me out of trouble and gotten my into some trouble as well. Knowing who you are is a powerful thing. Knowing who I am has given me the courage not to compromise my values and knowing whose I am has always let me know that I am loved totally and completely. For all of the important decisions in my life I try to keep in mind who I am and whose I am. When I do that I am rarely disappointed with the decision I made.

You are responsible for you.

This is one of those momisms that sticks in your side. It sometimes feels like this pain and other times it is liberating. It is a pain when people treat me badly and I want to strike back. That is when I hear “you are not responsible for how they treat you but you are responsible for how you treat them”. So, more often that not, I take a deep breath and try to be as polite as I can. On the other hand, I have reminded ex lovers and friends that I am not responsible for your happiness, you are. I will not take responsibility for anyone else’s life as I have a hard enough time handling the one that I am responsible for.

If you want to feel better do something for somebody else.

We would get so upset with my mom because even during chemo she would go sit in the hospital with people. She would always remind us that taking your eyes off self helps to keep you grounded.

This one has helped me get through my parents’ birthdays and all the holidays I have had to endure since they passed. When I feel the sorrow and pity coming on I go out and do something nice for someone and it gives me such a lift. A few mother’s days ago I gave a brunch at my house for ladies from the nursing home. We had a blast! We talked about everything from politics to sex. The brunch turned into an all day affair with great ladies who had not had anyone who wanted to listen to them in years. I got some great advice and funny stories for years to come.

Just keep on living.

This one actually came from my grandma. Every time we would say I would never …….she would say to us just keep on living. Now I get it. All those things don’t seem so crazy anymore nor do some of the things I thought made her crazy. Mix up the kids names, give a friend my last dollar, stay up all night cooking for a holiday, cry when I am hurt by a friend, stay in a bad marriage, let my kid…. Every time I cross over to one of those I would nevers I smile. Just keep on living.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What goes around comes around

1975 or so…

Me: I want to make clothes like you do when I grow up.

Mom: I want you to make better and prettier clothes than I do.

Me: You make pretty clothes.

Mom: But I want you to be better than me so you have to make prettier clothes.

Me: Why?

Mom: Because that’s what every mom wants for their kids to be better than them. Now stand up straight before you get stuck with a pin.

I had this conversation with my mom over and over again as I was growing up. The above instance was the first I remember. I was in 1st grade getting dressed for the homecoming parade in a dress my mom made the night before. I felt like a princess in this yellow dress with matching hair ribbons and socks she added lace to. What I did not know at the time was that my mom made the dress the night before because she got paid the day before and that was when she could afford to buy the material. Just thinking about that sacrifice brings tears to my eyes. You see I, like many of you had a superhero mom. Instead of the cape she wore this A line blue polyester skirt with matching light blue shirt during the week and the fiercest high heels with matching hats and suits on Sundays. This woman ran a household that included a husband, 6 to 8 kids and occasionally her mom, as well as, a business, was on the school board, worked 8 to 10 hours a day as a bus driver and was minister all at the same freaking time and she wants me to be better than her? Is she for real?

But now I get it. I have these amazing kids for whom I want every good thing life has to offer. Which is what lead to this:


Boy: I want to be a good cooker like you mommy.

Me: You mean cook. I want you to cook better than mommy.

Boy: You cook really good you make the best food! I want to cook just like you.

Me: I want you to make better food than mommy.

Boy: Why?

Me: Because mommies want their kids to be better than them.

Boy: I don’t know if I can but I think I will make more hotdogs for my kids and they will like that better.

Me: OK

I don’t know that I have done better than my mother in any area. I am sure my siblings would balk at the suggestion that anyone can be better than mom. But I do know that I have tried to be at least as good. I think my kids will be just fine with that.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Please Go Away

Michel Steele is causing me all kinds of conflicts. As a Democrat I love this guy he is priceless. Everytime he says or does something stupid it lets me know the other guy is suffering. But the Balck girl in me is kinda sorta rooting for him. Its like watching your kid play a little legue game against a friend's kid You really want your kid to win but would it really be so bad to root for your friend's kid too. At least let him get the ball. But There is just too much stupidity flowing.

Point A

Point B

Point C

Ok there are too many instances to put here but you get the picture. The Black girl in me cringes everytime I see his name in a headline or sees that he is going to be on TV. I am sitting there begging him not to say something stupid. Just please, please have a coherent thoughtout conversation and move on. But more times than not I am left thinking will he just please go away. Watching him is like watching the news when the Black chick in the curlers and pajamas at 3pm with the baby on her hip, who is more often than not dirty, and wondering was she the only witness they could have found. I admit I am one of those Black people. I often am going "please don't let him be Black" when I hear of some crime. Oh and I have enough friends of other races to know that you all think the same way when it comes to soemthing that is sterotypical of your race. So don't judge. But, back to Steele I beg of you Micheal stop making a fool out of yourself. I should be used to it by now I remeber you being all upset because The Sun paper said that you were chosen to be Lt Governer becuse you were Black and you were all outraged. Then you put up these lifelike signs of you on Moravia Rd and in other mostly Black neighborhoods saying something to the effect of make history and vote for your first AA Lt Gov. You forgot to mention we would get old Bob with that package too. You can't be outraged when someone brings up race then use it for your benefit. It would be like me complaining becuse someone pointed out I was a woman and then plastering pictures of myself in a bikini all over the place. So Mike I say to you in the words of my dear Grandma stop actin' like you don't have the sense God gave you! The Democrat in me loves loves it but the Balck girl in me can't take much more of this. Give her a break please?

Whose Life is This?

I feel like a visitor in my life sometimes. There are days when I hear this happy person speaking and I am amazed to realize it is me. I don’t know who that person is some days. Because me, I am sad upset and wondering where my life went wrong. But this person who looks like me wakes her kids with love and gives hugs and encouragement to get out of the house. She is put together no makeup that is the one thing we have in common but she looks good. She has a great smile and shares it with everyone even the people in the cars passing her on the road. She has on music and is singing laughing and talking to her kids. She has that same smile for the crossing guards, teachers, parents and other kids when it is time for school drop-off. As she drives out of the loop I get to come back. It is my car, those were my kids she dropped off and she is wearing my clothes but the sadness that inhibits my heart has no place in hers. She takes the life she has and does with it the best she can. Me? Not so much. I like that I have a convertible but it would be better if it was a Saab actually it should be a Saab. If I could get my child support, and didn’t work in such a male controlled field, I would have that Saab. But she looks at child support as their responsibility. She says she is responsible for how SHE treats her children not how anyone else does. Me, I see all the things they are missing. Having to do only one activity at a time only being able to go to a week of specialty camp. I want them to pay and pay now! Our lives would be better, we deserve better!

Then there are those times when she embraces me. We spend a day watching TV, not getting dressed and eating to fill my sadness. All of a sudden she hears her/my mother say I am too blessed to be stressed, or one of the hundreds of little inspirational tidbits she has collected over the years and she moves on. She gets up puts on the best clothes in the closet and heads out. Leaving me to my worries, and hurts all by myself. I am not sure when we spilt but we have not spent everyday hanging out for some time now. We spent a week or so together after Dad died, and about a month after Mom but she refuses to spend a lot of time with me now. The most I get is a few minutes here or an hour or so there and then she drops me. I wish I could be like her. But all that smiling, hugging and doing for others is too much for me. I got my own problems. One of them is trying to figure out whose life this is. I no longer remember who got here first. Am I the visitor or is she.