Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Adults Behaving Badly

Is it Ok to excuse an adult for behavior you would punish your kids for? This is a question I am pondering because I encountered a very very rude adult at church. While I was complaining about the behavior, two of her friends came to her defense. I was told that she is one of the nicest, kind hearted people I would ever come in contact with. They said she would do anything she can for you. She just has a “personality” and you just have to get used to her. My issue is she is old enough to know better. And, I remember a nice kind old lady in my church growing up just like her, Sister W. That woman was one of the reasons I had to be dragged into any kind of leadership role in successive churches. I always felt I would encounter a Sister W. I knew a Sister W was not going to bring out the best in me. I also felt that Sister W stole a lot of my worship from me. As an adult I get that I gave up my worship and Sister W was indeed a very nice person who would be mortified to know that I disliked her enough to hold back in church. But still, maybe things would have been different if her friends had said to her that she was rude and needed to check her behavior instead of telling me and others that she meant no harm or that’s just the way she is.

I read a piece by Blogher’s Mata H. on your ideal place of worship and this incident instantly came to mind. This makes me wonder if this is really my ideal place of worship. I want a place where I and my children can grow spiritually, be nurtured, loved and feel safe. I am not into having to walk on eggshells to account for someone’s personality. That did not work out well for me in my marriage, hence the EX husband. I am almost never rude I go out of my way to make people feel special and welcome. So why then do I get treated with such disrespect and then told ‘it just the way she is’.

Back to my original point why is it that we expect more from kids than adults? If either of these defenders of this lady had been told that their kids behaved this way they would have apologized to me and made their kids apologize. A friend of mine told me that she once took her son to a church service when he was 4 or 5 and he behaved very badly. She said she got him in the foyer of the church and said “you know better than to act this way. We do not behave like this in church.” He responded to her by saying “mommy this not a real church, because that man up there was drunk at pa pa’s house yesterday”. She said she was stunned and so were the people in the foyer. She said so we just left. Our children are watching us. Be it the child like me who just sat in church for years because I felt like all churches had a Sister W or this little boy who felt he was not in a real church because he saw the minister drunk the day before. Why defend the adult who should know better than to behave this way and esp in church. When is it appropriate to say to a friend that was rude you owe her/him an apology? If you are truly a friend why not have that conversation? How do you handle an adult’s bad behavior? Remember your kids or someone else’s may be watching.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I am one of those people who can be alone in a roomful of people. I do not know that I was ever really the social type. This will be news to people who know me and think I am a social butterfly. I am just a southern girl who learned to be friendly very early in life. For as long as I can remember I loved having people around but I always needed a moment to myself in the midst of it. As a kid I would go to my room and just sit for a few minutes or find myself a quiet place or sit in a corner. Now I just retreat into myself. In a room full of people I can shut down totally and completely and give myself a time out. I have always, it seems been alone. And fine with it. But up until now I have never been lonely.

Two years ago I packed up my kids and gave up over a decade of living in Baltimore. A city I loved dearly. The thing was it did not love me back. I had some of my greatest moments in life living in that city. All of my children were born while I was a resident there, I got married and divorced while living there. I found some of my best sister and brother friends while living there. But, truth is, Baltimore did not have room for a single mom who collected child support on a spotty basis to live a full and prosperous life. At least not what I would call full a prosperous. I wanted a life without waking up sitting on my deck and watching drug deals go down, having to put my kids in private school because the public one were beyond shitty and then there are the politicians. I would be remiss if I did not mention the near perfect record of over 300 murders per year. Somewhere in the 200s is a good year. Yet I paid $950 bucks a month to watch drug deals go down and tell crackheads to stay away from my porch while hoping the rats stayed in the alley. Yeah, full and prosperous.

Back to being lonely. Even though Baltimore did not offer me an abundance of love I had friends. Dear, wonderful, in tune with me, lovely, accepting, diverse friends. I went on ski trips, and had wine parties did girls night ins and could disappear for days into myself with no problems I also had friends from church and mom friends so all of my bases were covered. Although I have a great delegation of friends here, it is not the same. I do not have a guy that I can call up and say take me out. Or a girlfriend I can go to a bar with or tell sex stories or fantasies to. So I am lonely. For the first time in my life I am missing not having a man. I have been single off and one for 10 years but I was never lonely. This is such a new and unnerving feeling. Our quality of life is soo much better. No more drug deals, the schools are great, we have a great space that does not kill my budget, the politicians…… well everything cannot be great! But being lonely does something to you. I am starting to wonder if the rats and the schools were really that bad. I know they were. I am starting to feel like the abused lover who only remembers the good times with the ex. I know that, like a man, Baltimore is my ex for very very good reasons. But still. I miss it.

Lonely permeates you to the core. It keeps you up at night while making you want to sleep all day. Lonely can make you defensive and scared. I am at once wanting a relationship and leery of starting a new one least I choose badly out of desperation. Lonely is not a good place to be. I am fighting to get out of this place because it eats at your soul.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Salad a Day

OK last year this time I was dieting. I was eating very well and exercising but was losing weight slowly. I told myself that it was best all the while I really really wanted to get this weight off! Then in August I went on vacation. Although I continued to eat well and exercised I never really got back to the diet. Then, in October my knee started to hurt and the exercise started to lapse then Christmas, my birthday, valentines day, any day everyday happened and I never ever got back into my routine. I told myself every week that next week would be it but here I am a whole year later only 5 pounds lighter than I was this time last year. So this time I am starting TODAY on a Wednesday not next Monday. My first feat is a salad each and everyday. Not the lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad restaurants call a “garden” salad. I mean a health boosting, great tasting, not your everyday salad kind of salad. So here is today’s installment:

Spring mix
Boiled egg
Mandarin oranges
Red pepper slices
Green pepper slices
Red onion
Cherry tomatoes
Blue cheese
Half roasted bone in chicken breast warmed
No dressing.

I would love to hear your thoughts for a great salad. Or how you decided today is the day!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Party of the Century (at least at 6!)

My daughter is now offically a 6-year-old. My how time flies. My baby was born a month almost to the day of my mom's passing. I thought I would be sad on each of her birthdays. But instead I am amazed at her growth and really at her period. I tell people all the time that she has indeed done this whole life thing before. Old soul only scratches the surface on this little chick. My heart just swells looking at her, not becuse she reminds me of how long it has been since my mom has been gone but becuse she is an amazing kid. I cannot wait for what the future will bring us.
Back to the party. She had a princess pampering party. We go this idea from Realhousewivesofatlanta (yes I watched a few episodes) OK now that I have admitted my bad taste in TV. Back to the party. We had a princess pampering party (sleepover). My friend came and did nails my neice and another young friend did toes. We had a catwalk and some very loud singing (who knew a wheelchair ramp could be so glam!) Every great spa offers water and we had our own signature water with birthday girl's name and date of the party. We also had miniatures wraped to spell her name thanks to Deisgn. Rinse. Repeat. We got a lot of great ideas and templates from Vintage glam blog in her freebies section. These were mainly ideas for weddings but we took them down a notch and applied some cute touches for the party. In all we had a great time. It turned into a really really cute affair with all of her friends and a few of mine in aatendace for less than the mice in the pizza store 2 hour party. My baby is 6!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pictures.... 1001 words

I have come to realize just how special my childhood was. Not just that I spent my childhood between SC in the winter and NY in the summer. I was a village reared kid. I grew up where we never went to a sitter we went to auntie’s or grandma’s house. I was the first and only grandchild and niece in my family for many years. Spoiled was not the word, my grandma used to call it ruient (ruined, I think). I had it good and I highly recommend it if you have the chance. But I was surrounded by good decent men. Not just men but Black men. From my father to my uncles to my older cousins they were loving responsible men. I never had to look far for a man that I knew loved me for no other reason than that I existed.

I keep coming across all of these beautiful photos of President Obama with his girls and of he and Michelle. That look he has when he talks about her or is seen in the pictures where he is looking at her or the girls. I realized that these are not media image we see often of our men. He looks at Michelle the same way my dad used to look at my mom. I remember those looks of pride during some of her sermons or his smiling when she was dressed up. My dad used to joke about how the men would be lining up the minute he closed his eyes becouse his girl was beautiful! But sadly not many of our kids get the chance to live in the world I did nor see great images of men that look like them or their daddy. I used to believe that the absent Black man was a myth. I have seen and experienced first hand that he is not. It is a sad thing.

I know that Blacks in general have placed a lot of our hopes and dreams on President Obama’s shoulders. In some ways this is very unfair to him but this is the reality of any public figure. The good news is he knows and seems to accept this. In an interview he had this to say: “I grew up without a father in the home, and I know how hard it is for a lot of young men and boys who maybe don’t have a father,” Obama said. “To the extent that I can serve as a role model for them, where parents can say here’s somebody who stayed in school and dreamed big dreams and has accomplished something, I’m happy to be used in that way.”

For me though I think one of the most important contributions the Obamas have made could just be in the pictures. The pictures of him with is family are to me the perfect counterbalance to the negative images we see of Black men and families everyday. I know that there are critics out there who are in Obama overload but these images are long coming. In looking on the web I see these images of only Will and Jada Smith. There are many Black celebrities with healthy marriages and happy well adjusted children but those images are not often captured for our children to model. Samuel L Jackson has been married to his wife for over 20 years but a few years ago when he spent time with is daughter on vacation she was reported to be a mystery woman. Because the images of him as loving father are not there. Michael Jordan is another that comes to mind, he has 2 sons and was married for many years, there are thousands of images of him but I could only find one of him with his kids and wife. Denzel Washington is a father and a man who has a long lasting marriage. There have been reports of him in the stands for his son’s college games but none of him watching little league games or just hanging with his kids. Maybe these men have opted for their family’s privacy. But maybe nobody thought these images were important.

For people of all races these are important images. Not only do Black children need to see positive images of other Blacks so do children and adults of other races. Imagine seeing the Vogue Cover of Lebron James, any cover of Fifty cents, watching cops and then going to kindergarten to find a Mr. teacher. Maybe just a little scary? Maybe if there weren't so many negative images of us the incident in Philly would not have had to happen and 65 kids would not have that hurtful experience forever sealed in their memories. Just. Maybe.