Tag Archives: Mothering

{Wordless Wednesday} Wanted: Mate

Shoe

My name is Lonely Lue
Once upon a time I was one of two
At first I was fond of my new ly found single status
but I soon realized that I’m bad at this
being single thing, that is!
So if you see my better half
Can  you tell her to please come back?
Cause soon our  job over here will be through
and I want to go charity as two!

We seriously can’t find the mate to this shoe. It’s been missing in our apartment for two months! O_o

Happy Wordless Wednesday

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Open Letter: To My Daughters

I think it’s every mother’s dream to have a precious little daughter. We all want a daughter to dress up all pretty and comb her hair up into pigtails with the world’s prettiest bows. Each of would like to have that little girl who’ll grow up and one day be one of our closest friends. How lucky am I? I got blessed doubly — I have two of the world’s greatest girls, as my daughters.

My Two Girls!

My Two Girls!

Dear Girls,

Every day I express gratitude for both of you. I’m so proud to call myself your mother. I’ve loved each of you since the moment I learned of your existence. You two have a long lives ahead of you, still I’m extremely proud of who you are today.
My dream is for both of my girls to go out and bless the world with their strengths, charm and sheer awesomeness! Priceless traits that my parents blessed me with, I hope to continue passing onto the both of you.
I have no doubt that you two will change the world, as you’re armed with an exuberant amount of intelligence, charm, wit and brilliance.
No matter who or what comes up against you, keep your feet firmly planted and heels driven in the earth and always remember who you are, where you came from and what you’re capable of.
You are priceless prizes and nothing will ever change that! Remember to always use your powers for good (wink).

Love You Both Always,

Your Proud Mother

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Open Letter to the NRA

Dear NRA Leaders,

Hello! My name is Mariann and I am the mother of four children, whom I LOVE more than anything. My love for them is what brings me to write this letter.
Midway through the year of 2011, I packed my four children up and moved across the country. I left behind my parents, my sibling, nieces, nephews, aunts, cousins, friends and neighbors, many of whom I’ve known for the last thirty years of my life.

Our drive down to Texas!

Our drive down to Texas!

Mainly, I did this because I wanted save my teenage son. You see, Detroit has become the belly of the beast, as it pertains to crime and violence. Crime has soared beyond the perimeter of the clouds and gun violence is amongst the highest in the nation. The homicide rate for black males is astronomical.
As I already stated, I love my teenage son. He’s my firstborn and I didn’t want to lose him to a bullet. So it was best for me to relocate somewhere completely foreign to us. Even if it meant leaving behind everything and everyone with which I was familiar.
When we’d safely moved away I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. I was amazed that we’d successfully escaped. We’d escaped the vicious threat of unnecessary, untimely, senseless violence and/or a tragic death,  which would’ve  likely brought itself, unsolicited, to my front doorstep. Just as it had to so many of my fellow Detroit parents, attempting to raise their children within city limits.
I can’t help but feel that the life of a black teenage boy isn’t respected. Not by his peers, not by the law, not the gun lobbyist, the NRA, Washington and especially not by the urban law enforcement; seeing that no one has ever taken any measures to curtail the threat to their existence.
I called myself moving from that lack-a-daisy inner city attitude (as it pertained to my son) and into an area where he’d have a better chance at surviving his childhood and teenage years.
In my mind, the suburbs had to be better than the urban cement jungle. Right?
Well, I was partially right.
This last year and a half, I got the best sleep ever.  I haven’t slept so soundly, since becoming a mother nearly sixteen years ago. I was able to sleep comfortably because my child, my children were safe.  Not only were they safe, but they were also free.
No longer was I hesitant to let them walk to the neighborhood store. Now they could go outside and play, as children ought to be, without the constant threat of gunshots ringing out!
For the first time, in a really long time, I’ve been able to let my mommy guard down, rest and exist in peace.
Now what I’d like you to do is imagine how pissed I was when that peace was unexpectedly  interrupted and that protective mommy guard had to go back up!
July 2012 is when that maniac walked into that Colorado movie theater, in suburban Aurora, and opened fire on audience members waiting to view a movie.
Imagine the terror that infringed upon my person when I learned of that tragedy. Especially since my teens are at the movie theatre every free chance that they get.
With that horrific incident I was back in full mommy protection mode.
But wait Mr. NRA leader and other NRA people. It gets even worse! Just when enough time had passed, I started thinking, “that was an isolated incident, not likely that it’ll happen again.”
I, along with the rest of the nation, receive another punch in the gut, this pass December.
It goes without saying, our schools are suppose to be one of the safest places for our children, next to our own homes. It’s suppose to be that lone place, outside of home, where you can let your guard down and know without a shadow of a doubt, that your child is protected.
Never once did any of those Newtown parents think that they were sending their children into the direct line of fire. Never did it cross any of their minds that, “Today! A mad gunman could shoot his way into my child’s school and commit a heinous crime against them!” Never once did any one of them consent to sending their beautiful and innocent children onto a battlefield that December morning.
Those are NOT the thoughts that we, as parents,  have when we send our babies off to school! It’s not what we think about when we purchase tickets to watch a movie or when we pull into the parking lot of the local mall to go shopping.
When did going on about our daily lives, begin to mean that a little bit of deadly gun violence can be inserted in there, at any moment? When did our beautiful nation become an open battlefield? When did the American people become moving targets?

As that mother of four who fled to a suburban Texas city to flee the inner city gun violence, in order to save my oldest son, I want you to know I’m back to being filled with constant worry. My thoughts, days and nights are back to being consumed with being their protector.
Understand this, not only am I back to being concerned for the safety of my teenage son, but now I’m just as concerned for the safety of his siblings! I’m concerned times four now. Way more than before!

The open and constant threat of gun violence is no longer reserved primarily for the young black males that roam through the inner city. It has broken rank and has penetrated the beautiful folds of suburbia.
It has presented itself in the workplace, shopping centers, college campuses, high school campuses, and sadly elementary school campuses. So yes! I’m back. I’m back to worrying each and every single time I or my four children leave the safety of our home.
It’s clear that gun violence will rear its ugly head whenever and wherever. Gun violence is no longer reserved for certain areas, times, days or people. The threat is constant for everyone and can present itself anywhere and at anytime!
NRA Leaders, this doesn’t have to be. The American people don’t have to live under the constant threat of gun violence. The American people shouldn’t have to live in fear. They shouldn’t have to wonder nor anticipate when and where the next shocking and tragic act of gun violence will occur. Why does this have to be America’s new normal?
It’s no secret that the current president and his administration are not friends of yours. But if only, for the sake of the American people and being an American and loving this nation, as you so loudly proclaim, can the common sense measures that everyone agrees upon be taken? Can we agree to implement those laws? Can those be the first steps taken?
Mothers and fathers, such as myself, would like nothing more than to get back to our old normal?
For the sake of our children and our sanity, shed the labels and erase the party lines. Let’s stop the finger-pointing and find solutions. Let’s get back using common sense. Let’s get back to the times where people meant more than the right to possess guns. Let’s get back to being caring Americans. More importantly, let’s get back to being human.

US-Flag-3
I want to successfully usher each of my children into adulthood. I want to experience high school and college graduations. I want to witness the big weddings. I want to see my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren! Those are the things that I, and a whole lot of other parents want. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for.
We just want to live.
We want to get back to the way things use to be.

Sincerely,

Mariann

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Numbers Trumps Feelings Part I

When I first started considering the idea of relocating my family, the one thing that concerned me most was, taking my children from a lackluster educational environment to a phenomenal one. I knew (without truly knowing) that the Texas school curriculum was going to be more advanced and rigorous, than what we’d grown accustomed to in Michigan.
Out of my three school-aged children, I was only concerned for the younger two.
Two of my children have the tendency to start the school year off on the weak side. They struggle in mainly in the area of reading (on and above their grade level). But with my usual and constant help, along with a willing, supportive and patient teacher, I was certain that both of them would be able to kick it in high gear and get on the same page as their peers.
Last school year, we arrived nearly a month after the start of Texas schools. This concerned me because it wasn’t advantageous for two of my three.  But, I stayed positive and got them enrolled in their respective schools and grades.  My oldest was a high school freshman, the second child was an eighth grader and bringing up the rear was my youngest son, a new third grader!

As expected, my oldest blended right in. He picked up on the curriculum, as if he’d been doing it all his life. Easy Peasy! Much to my surprise, the second child also jumped right in and blended effortlessly. Whew! That was such a shocker because she’d never done that before. Admittedly, it was such a relief! I had one less child to worry about!
Sadly though, it wasn’t seventy-two hours post-enrollment of my third grader that I got the anticipated call from a school administrator– She needed to meet with me concerning some observations that his teachers made.

To make a long story short, I expected there to be an issue with his reading, like I stated earlier. I was going into this meeting expecting that we’d put our heads together to devise a plan to help him be successful with his reading. Imagine my surprise, when I got everything  but that!
At the meeting I was bombarded by the assistant principal, two teachers, the reading specialist and some other administrator lady. I was told, “that after close observation we are worried with our findings”. (Remember: He was a student for less than seventy-two hours). He’s reading below grade level. He doesn’t know place values. He’s not able to add or subtract……”

They went on and on, with a list of things that they claim my third grader couldn’t do, before telling me that he needs to be placed back in second grade.

I was completely shocked and caught off guard! One, I was shocked by the long list of things that he “couldn’t” do. It was all untrue, with the exception of his reading below grade level (I tested him on everything that they pointed out, and he passed every area. This they would have known if they’d tested him or spent  some more time with him!).
Two, I was shocked that this was their first and only recommendation, and that they’d resorted to intimidation tactics to get me to go along with what they were saying.
Three, I  was shocked that no other factors were even taken into consideration.

My response: Woo! Really? This is the plan that you all came up with after knowing a student for barely two days? As an educator, putting a child back an entire grade would NOT be my first recommendation to a parent, especially after having a child come into the classroom nearly a month later than everyone else. I definitely would spend more than two days observing and getting to know him and his personality.
There are many factors that I would take into consideration before making such a drastic conclusion. The first being, he has relocated from across country. Second, he’s brand new to the school, to the classroom, to the teacher, to the students etc. Third, he’s a rather shy and quiet child. He doesn’t like to be put on the spot or embarrassed. Instead of answering a question and getting it incorrect, he’ll simply say, “I don’t know.” Lastly, I would invest more time in observing him, minimally two weeks. Then after all of that, I would tell the parents about my areas of concern and together we can work on those areas, to fight effortlessly to get him on the same path as everyone else. If after several weeks (before the oh-so important state testing) then if there’s no improvement, we can discuss options and devise another plan.
Holding a child back, is the last option, not the first option.
Even after all those well made points, they still wanted to put my son back an entire grade. They already had their minds made-up and they didn’t take anything that I said into consideration.
In my opinion, it would be easier for them to put him back. Putting him back meant no need to put in any extra effort towards ensuring his success. And, their numbers and test scores meant more than all of my points and his self-esteem combined. When I realized that this group of people didn’t have the best interest of my child front and center, I removed him from Katy ISD. I decided that I was going to home school him instead of leaving him at that school, with those people over him.

What I’ve learned since moving to this state and to this school district: Eff your feelings! Our numbers trump you and your kid’s feelings!

Up next: Numbers Trump Feelings Part II: What happened upon fourth grade enrollment?

 

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Porn and Your Child

This child has not been found guilty of any pornography watching. He has yet to reach the statistical age of 11. Whew! (wipes forehead)

Does anyone find it alarming that the average age at which a child, is thought to,  view pornography for the first time is age 11?  To me, it’s startling, alarming and upsetting, particularly since I have four children of my own. On top of that, two of my four children have yet to reach the age of 11. I have one boy and one girl child left, under that statistical age, and those statistics really make me nervous. I don’t want my pre-adolescent children viewing porn, and I don’t want them thinking that it’s okay, if they do. That leads me to the reason that I wrote this post. Have my older two children, who have surpassed the previously mentioned statistical age,  ever surfed the web for pornography? Have they watched XXX movies or looked in the adult magazines?

Before talking to my children, I first decided to talk to several of my friends to get their perspective on children/teens and porn. After speaking to them, admittedly I was rather surprised at their responses. No one was as shocked and dismayed as I was. In fact, they made me feel as if I was totally overreacting and going overboard. Basically, everyone was taking it all in stride. I heard a lot of, “Their boys. What do you expect?” “It’s natural, that’s what boys do.” “Oh, girl! That’s nothing!” I seem to be the only mother/parent/person bothered by the fact that their teenage child and their friends may enjoy looking at pornographic images of women. Am I overreacting? Am I not well within my rights to be flabbergasted?

Seriously, I feel so lost. When did this become the societal norm? When did kids and porn, or teens and porn become socially acceptable? I swear, I feel so behind in the times. I completely missed the memo, in regards to this!

Back in the day, I remember the boys sneaking to look at their dad’s, uncle’s, older brother’s and cousin’s Playboy and Hustler magazines. I remember when they would cleverly watch the XXX rated video tape that was left in the VCR. Once they finished watching, they’d rewind the tape back to the exact spot where they initially found it. Point is, the kids got their hands on the porn back in the day too,  but it was accessed sneakily.

Upon speaking with my oldest boy, I nearly went into a series of convulsions, when I learned that he and his friends have adopted the same lack-a-daisy mindset, that it is normal to look at porn. They also think that it’s okay to exchange sexual images by way of their cellular phones and email accounts (which is another topic, to be discussed at a later date). They said, “Everyone does it! It’s no big deal.”

In my opinion, teens are going beyond pushing the envelope, while adults are just so carefree. I previously read an article written by another concerned mom, in regards to her teenage son watching porn on his laptop, and the comments she received were pretty nasty. She was completely villainized by the readers. For the most part, they felt like she was out of line for looking through his laptop. They said she completely embarrassed him and violated his trust. They also said that he wasn’t engaging in anything abnormally. The comments went on for days.  Although I didn’t leave a comment, I was totally on the side of the mother. I, too, feel like some things are to be reserved for adults and your adult years. I don’t think that it’s okay or acceptable for my teenage son or daughter to seek out pornographic images on the computer, their cellular phones or any other technological device. I refuse to believe that I’m the only mother/adult who feels this way. Whatever your opinion, I’d love to hear it. What’s your perspective on the matter? Have you had to deal with it? If so, how did you handle it?

All perspectives are respected.

 

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You’re Grown, Huh?

It’s not to often that my biggest girl does anything shocking or anything that’ll cause my jaw to drop. For the most part, she wants to stay on my good side and off of my blog and social media rants. She treads very lightly. She knows exactly how far to go before the wrath of momma comes in and takes over. So, imagine my surprise when my “conscientious” child took it upon herself to make a decision without being totally certain that she had my 100% guaranteed approval.  Needless to say, the biggest girl has made finally made her “it’s all about you…and not in a good way” blog post debut!

Well, about a month back my soon-to-be 14 year old,  made a decision unbeknownst to me. It was a choice that left me at a complete lost for words. I was so shocked that my jaw did actually drop. I was so shocked that I’m only now able to write a post about it!

This is how the oldest gal has looked for the last two years. This is who we’re all used to seeing on a daily basis. Okay? And like this:

One night while I was sitting out at the fire pit enjoying the company of a few friends and spirits, she and the littlest boy came over to reveal that she now looks like this!

(eye bulges practically out of my head!)

Here’s another view!

Oh! And, here’s a black and white view. Yeah, she’s taking black and white photos, too! 0_O

Although cutting her hair was something that we’d briefly discussed. I was shocked that she went and did it without me. I also felt like she did it sneakily because she waited until I was outside of the house and fully engaged with friends. Then she came strutting over to the fire pit area where we were sitting with a hoodie on, let me remind you that it was 80+ degrees outside. When I questioned her about the hoodie that’s when she  revealed her “haircut”.

Smart girl, huh? To do her big reveal while I was surrounded by people who would downplay the situation and keep me calm? She had it all well planned out, if I must say so.

I guess more than anything this hair cutting situation made me realize that my biggest gal is closer to be grown up, than she is to being a baby. She’s branching out more, becoming her own person, liking her own things and using her voice…..(respectfully, of course!)

So, I am learning to loosen up and let go a little bit. I always thought I’d welcome stages like this, but I’m more sad than I am happy.

It’s not about her cutting her hair, its way bigger than that.

She’s not my little four pound, twelve ounce preemie anymore. She’s growing up.

It was bound to happen!

 

 

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Piercings and Tattoos? My Boy? NO WAY!

It’s no surprise that the oldest boy has increased the amount of pressure and stepped up his daily harassment, hoping desperately to sway me into saying, “Yes. You can go get a tattoo, son!”

See, he thinks it was his tactic of never-ending harassment  that worked in his favor several weeks ago, when I finally allowed him to get his ears pierced (after three years of nonstop asking). He hasn’t figured out that it wasn’t because of his begging, constant pleading and nagging which caused him to receive my blessing with the piercing of the ears. I only said yes because I felt that he’d put enough time and thought into “why” he really wanted his ears pierced.

I have an extremely huge problem when it comes to fads and that “going along with the crowd” mentality. I don’t participate in trends and I refuse to let my child be part of a trend. I wanted to be absolutely certain that he wasn’t doing something because it’s popular or because all of his buddies are doing it, which is why it took me several years before saying yes. For me, his reason for wanting his ears pierced had to be something that he deeply desired to do with no outside influences. He doesn’t know it, but the same thing applies to getting a tattoo. I wouldn’t care if he got tattoo after tattoo after tattoo. Heck! My mom took me to get my first tattoo when I just sixteen years old, so of course I don’t have a problem with them. My only concern was, his reason behind wanting tattoos and ear piercings.

It’s been close to the two-year mark of his just having to “have a tattoo”. He’s thought it through and through. He’s even constructed what he wants to get and he’s explained the significance behind it. I must admit that it’s quite unique and I’ve never seen anyone with anything like it before. I’m pretty proud of him. Everything that I’ve instilled in him about being different, standing out, individuality and embracing his unique identity, he’s gotten it! Through both of these incidences I finally see that all of my efforts haven’t been in vain afterall.

I think it’s safe to say, the time has come for me to grant my oldest boy my blessing yet again. Tattoo numero uno soon to come!

 

My first tattoo (it’s now 19 years old). My youngest boy took this pic. Thank him for the flash and time stamp! #dontblameme

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