Tag Archives: African American Parenting

Family Knowledge

A few nights ago, I stumbled across old episodes of John Edwards, the medium, on TV. I used to love his show. In fact, in 2012, I actually attended one of his in-person events here in Virginia. I”m absolutely a believer that some of us can talk to folks on the other side. I talk to one of my late grandmothers all the time, and yes, sometimes she responds. It’s kind of like in my head but almost like a whisper outside of my head–it’s hard to explain, but I sometimes hear her. I sometimes hear my paternal grandmother as well, not as often. And I sense my grandfathers’ energies as well.

It’s been this way since each of them passed on. It’s not limited to them–certainly I had other episodes with family that have passed on as well. I can’t do it for others, but it’s been a wonderful comfort for me over the years.

Anyway, back to the show. I was posted up in bed one night, bingeing the show when Hope popped in. Sometimes she loves to hear stories of my childhood and family. I told her about this weird thing that happened when my great Aunt died–her spirit jacked up my GPS just to make me drive past one of her favorite places after the funeral. I was just telling her story after story; I could feel myself getting animated. I love my family, and we’ve had some good times. And then…

“Gosh you know so much of your family. All those people…” Hope said.

My mouth hung open. I snapped it shut, and I stilled. I felt horrible. Here I am chattering along about my ancestors, people I have been so privileged to grow up with, to know, some to still feel. And for Hope, there are just gaps, big huge gaps. While we do have a relationship with some members of her family of origin, it’s often strained. It’s complicated for Hope; there are still a lot of big feelings, and I’m not sure what resolution will look like for her.

I apologized for making her uncomfortable. She waved me off dismissively. But this is sitting with me. I want to share with her that this is what family is, can be, maybe should be. I am so fortunate to have the family I have, to know so many members of my family, to claim and be claimed, to know my generational connections. I want that for Hope.

I have make it clear that I will support her relationships with family always, unless they seem unhealthy, but even then I’ll support her and be there for her. I have no idea what the future holds in that space for her. I also know that as much as we love one another and my family of origin, we may not fill any of the gaps left over. We’ll try. We will always try, but I worry that there will always be limitations.

When I resumed my chattering, I pivoted to talk about how Hope will talk about me to my grandchildren and to her grandchildren, and what they will tell their grandchildren about us. I told her to imagine visiting my mom with her own kids and how wild that will be. I told her that we would create our own dynasty.

I know it may not fill the gaps from her biological inheritance of memories, stories, beliefs, and more, but I promise to pass on everything I can and everything I have. I want so much for her to feel, believe, and know that she is anchored with me and all that I have inherited.


Five Things on Thursday: 6/10/2021

  1. Busy, busy week. I’m really glad I really rested last weekend. Back to back meetings, and tomorrow I’m running a training. I”ll be ready to crawl back into my bed this weekend.
  2. I’m looking forward to another restful weekend. I skipped baths for a while, and well, that was not wise. I’m all about maintaining that ritual.
  3. Hope is working and she got her first paycheck. She’s improving a bit every work day. I”m optimistic about her regulating and rebuilding and rebuilding.
  4. It’s slurpee season, and that makes me happy. I really, really love slurpees. Last night I pulled over on the way to Beau’s house to get one. The are one of my favorite parts of summer.
  5. I am *almost* really to renovate my bathroom. My bath situation has made me realize that I would soooo love some upgrades. A deeper tub, heated floor, bidet and more storage would totally improve my quality of life. Obviously, right? I know exactly what I want, but it’s a big project and frankly, it sounds exciting and terrifying.
  6. And there…I’m tapped out.
  7. I’ll owe you four!

Ten Things on Wednesday: 6/2/2021

  1. I’m just floating on through the week. It’s busy, but I’m…content. I’m rested. I’m secure. I’m breathing deeply. Work is busy, but not overwhelmingly so. I’m feeling good.
  2. According to my fitbit, my resting heart rate is the lowest it’s been in a month.
  3. Today was Hope’s first day off since she started. She has been in bed for nearly 24 hours. I do believe she is truly exhausted despite working just 5 hours a day. She has barely gotten out of the bed for the last 9 months, and she hardly eats. Working is going to be rough until she is able to get used to it. I left her alone, and just let her sleep. I am pretty sure she was up for a short spell during the day, but I was in a meeting so I said hi in passing.
  4. Today I took Yappy on an evening walk that was apparently exhausting for him. I decided to take a short soak in the tub, when I got out, I found him burrowed under the pillows and covers on my bed. He’s now stretched out sideways in the middle of my bed. I’m on the edge. I’ll indulge him for a little while.
  5. Yes, I took a midweek bath. I missed several of my luxe bath situations last month. I also keep finding new things I want to try to enhance the experience. I love Dr. Teal products. I picked up the sativa hemp and the vapor bubble baths not long ago. That vapor situation stopped my seasonal allergies in their tracks. I also just got some more of the CBD bath bombs.
  6. I’m 2/3 of the way through another book. I am admittedly annoyed that my reading continues to be so slow. It’s a constant reminder that my brain was hurt. smh. Anyway, I realize that I never stopped loving to read; it really just became a chore. It’s taken me nearly 4 years to be ready to tackle it. Not including my audiobooks, I have read 4 books this year. That hasn’t happened in a long time.
  7. The trip also seemed to give me a little more energy to begin exploring a trip. I sense my comfort and confidence is headed in the right direction. Now, I want to take Hope, but I also know that by the time I go, she may really want to stay and work. In any case, I’m feeling closer.
  8. This weekend, Hope and I are going to see RuPaul’s Drag race at a drive in. It’s one of our big Pride events this year. I think we’re going to try to do a few events this month. I”m looking forward to it.
  9. I just realized that this weekend, Hope and I will have been a legal family 7 years. The time has flown, and the time has dragged on at the same time. It’s been a helluva ride, that’s for sure! We barely mention these days much anymore. I always seem to remember them, but I no longer mentioned them. A few weeks ago we both realized in the middle of a conversation that our family-versary was coming up; we acknowledged it and moved on. I dunno, we survived a pandemic; I think we should celebrate this year.
  10. I think I’m going to try to spend some time at the pool this summer. The thought of it sounds good. I always get my passes, and never manage to go. I’m going to try to change that this year.

Ten Things on Thursday: 5/27/2021

  1. Sometimes staying on schedule is so dang hard. What can I say? Another busy week that had me going until 7pm yesterday and working then driving to my parents’ today. Just busy, busy!
  2. I’m headed to see my sister and her family tomorrow. She’s been going through a really rough time and even though Hope and I will be going for a longer visit in about 7 weeks, I needed to see my sister sooner than that. Hope had to bail at the last minute because she decided to work. Actually she was faced with a tough decision–go to see her aunt as planned or finish her orientation for her new job this weekend. She chose the latter since she wants on the schedule sooner.
  3. It would seem, though that Hope thought I would change *my* plans. Um, no. I had always said we were leaving on Thursday so we could see my folks and I was boarding Yappy. I stuck to those plans. I love my dogwalker-boarder, and so does Yappy. Hope will soon have a work schedule and I’ll be heading back into the office soon. Yappy needs socialization with other dogs and to have away time from us since he now gets anxious if Hope leaves. I kept his boarding reservation.
  4. It nearly made Hope cry. As much as she wants to adult, she is perfectly content to be at home with her family. It’s sweet really and speaks to our attachment, right?
  5. Ok, real talk– *I’m* the one who wants to go out. I’d like to see Beau more than I currently do. I miss drinks and brunches. I need the panorama to end so I can go outside!!!!! (And no, Hope can’t come and crash my party! I need her to get age appropriate friends and go somewhere.)
  6. I’m gonna take a minute and say, Yo, this vaxx life is good. I’m still masking up because for the 50-11th time–a bunch of folks JUST learned how to wash their hands and legs in the last year and a half. They nasty, don’t wanna vaxx and yeah..you get the point. I don’t trust everybody who side-eyes those of us who are trying to save ourselves. Aside from that, this is the second time in 2 months that I’ve got to see my parents and hug them with wild abandon. I love it so much. Thank you science.
  7. There is an upside for me in Hope staying home. I have no one to look after but me for 2.5 days. Do you know how long its been since I’ve had a few days like this? I don’t have to share my hotel room. I control the remote; I choose all the food and if I wan to stop and there is no one to whine, beg, complain.
  8. Just look at the Holy Homeboy, would ya! Ha!
  9. I packed face masks, some of my good bath bombs and a couple of my special homemade cookies made with infused butter. I am lowkey excited. I’m excited.
  10. I need this weekend. It will not fix much, but it will give me a moment to begin to gather my thoughts and figure out my next move on this journey. I would like to start looking at a retirement situation in the Caribbean. I just got asked to contribute to another book. I want to keep writing here, but I want to give some thought about what the next chapter of our story will share; what does Hope want and inviting her to take a more active role. (She is available to answer questions on her page of the blog.) We’ll see what we come up with soon!

Ten Things on Wednesday: 5/19/21

  1. Hope is fully vaxxed! Yay! She got her second vaccine yesterday. I’m so excited that we are protected now. Of course I’m still operating life as though there is a full on plague…because there’s still a full on plague. I’m not down with the lifting of mask mandates. Folks are just nasty.
  2. The downside is that it seems Hope might be having some nasty side effects this evening. It’s always hard to tell with her though because she is super dramatic when she’s sick. She has a low pain tolerance and just doesn’t do sick well at all. So, after all these years, it’s still really hard for me to gauge if we need to go to the urgent care. I’m hoping she will be better really soon.
  3. I’m supposed to go into the office for the first time in more than a year tomorrow. I have a meeting in the afternoon. Yes, it could be done by Zoom, and if Hope doesn’t feel better, it may have to be by Zoom. There’s a part of me that it looking forward to it, another part that is wary, but really I’m more anxious about remembering to go into the office at all. I’ve got a nice routine. I get up at 6, walk Yappy and finish my exercise, tidy and shower and get dressed for work. Commuting is walking to the living room. I’m seriously fretting about remembering to go to the office.
  4. Is it bad that I already am planning a trip to Starbucks when I get into the office? I miss my starbucks run. I also miss my starbucks points. Of course, I now get my cold brew delivered in a box from Amazon every two weeks so…I’ll be fine if I don’t make it.
  5. I’m tired of working in my living room, but I’m honestly not ready to go back to the office. Outside is just gross.
  6. Hope finally has orientation for her new job next week. Finally. This is a long onboard for a retail gig. I’m eager to get her out and going and getting back on track to find her way. She is doing much better emotionally, but still not having something meaningful to do every day continues to weigh on her.
  7. She recently told me that she has no idea what’s next for her. She’s not ready to go back to school. She doesn’t know if she wants to change course–maybe pursue something entirely different. Her interests seem to be changing a bit. She’s a bit lost, and it’s hard. It’s hard as a parent because this part is something she has to figure out on her own. I am here to support her, to cheer for her, to financially help with figuring it out, but the hard work of figuring out what you want to do in this chapter of life is kind of a solitary thing to figure out.
  8. Somehow I’m finding getting sufficient patio time difficult. That’s especially frustrating since my desk faces the patio. It’s been so gorgeous out. Patio time is one of my favorite parts of spring/summer/fall.
  9. Still no movement on planning a vacation. I might really just have to put the idea on ice until I no longer sense this emotional block from just dropping a text to the travel agent. I mean, this ain’t hard. I can just tap out a quick message–location, time frame, price point. I might circle back in a month and reevaluate.
  10. I can’t really think of a 10th thing, so I’m going to sign off and finally go get the cocktail I should’ve had 3 hours ago!

Ten Things on Wednesday: 5/5/21

  1. Another Mother’s day is upon us. I’m really so so about Mother’s day. I mean, I definitely try to make a big deal about it for my mom, and I send flowers to Hope’s grandma. But when it comes to me, it’s just…I dunno. My first holiday, I graduated from grad school, so the celebration was consumed by that accomplishment. I was so glad to have Hope there; it made it extra special since it was my first. But since then, meh.
  2. All that said, Hope actually planned ahead this year, announcing several times that she purchased last month. That’s pretty special. So, I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s got in store.
  3. Work is driving me crazy. I’m currently not enjoying it. Honestly, I haven’t “enjoyed” it since things blew up last summer. It takes a lot of emotional energy, and being cooped up this year it’s been hard to fill my cup. No real vacation and minimal in person interaction with anyone besides Hope. I could use a few weeks off. Not gonna happen though.
  4. Hope has determined that cereal is the go to meal of choice. We are going through milk like she’s a calf. I usually just by a half gallon once a week or so. Last week I had to go back to the store for more milk twice. I went ahead and bought a gallon jug this week, and by Wednesday it was half gone. It’s crazy. I suppose cereal is perfect–filling, sometimes sweet, satisfying. I mean, I get it, but gotdern it’s a lot of milk.
  5. Ok, I gotta confess something: I used Mother’s day as an excuse to buy myself a gift. When I bought my treadmill a few months ago, I settled. I didn’t buy the one I really wanted. While I enjoy the treadmill, it just doesn’t have some of the features that were important to me. So, yesterday I bought the one I really wanted. One of my good girlfriends is taking the current one. The new one arrives sometime tomorrow.
  6. I need to find my checkbook. <<<<- This is basically a note to myself.
  7. Hope seems close to landing a job. I’m almost afraid to say much because I’m afraid I’ll jinx it. Of course, I did write about it a couple of days ago. I just am hopeful because I think it will make a real difference for her emotionally. And now that she’s learned you don’t date where you work…#sigh
  8. I finished a book on my kindle. Honestly, I don’t even know why I have a kindle. I bought it at xmas during a moment of retail therapy. Anyway, I finished a finished a book. I have finished just a handful of books through traditional reading since my head injury, so I’m excited to have finished a romance novel. I’m trying to figure out what to try to get lost in now.
  9. I do most of my reading via audiobook. It definitely has its perks–author’s actual voice, ability to speed up or slow down the pace. Of course, most academic books are *not* available in this format, which when you think about it is ableist AF. I’m hopeful that once day more will be since that is a lot of the reading I do.
  10. I took Friday off; I needed a mental health day. Just to be able to sleep an extra couple of hours and breathe. I’m really looking forward to it.


Remember back when we were wee ones job hunting and when we got a call back we immediately started planning the next six months because, you know, you have to work. But then, suddenly, you don’t get said job and somehow windows on other opportunities closed while you were planning.

Just me?

Well, Hope is going through this phase right now. She finally got a call from a store that she’s been rejected at multiple times. She is already planning her future well in advance of having even gotten through the interview. Meanwhile, just yesterday, I was reminding her that she needed to follow up with the local community college to find out why she can’t register. I am requiring she take one class–whatever topic she wanted–this summer to get her feet wet for eventually going back to school.

When I reminded her today, she wouldn’t have time since she was going to be working.

Working? Girl, where? You haven’t got the job yet. Until she has been hired, done her paperwork and literally walked out of the house for her first shift, I needed her to follow up with the community college. She went into blank stare mode. It’s one of those looks that I’m convinced is quickly smoothed onto the face to avoid rolling one’s eyes, which obviously would not be good.

I know my daughter can be overwhelmed by decisions and choices, but I need to guard against her “bird in the hand” until she *actually* has a bird in the hand. I want her to be able to think both/and sometimes. Holding space for more than a couple of things at a time can be hard, but when they drop or someone takes them–it’s bad.

If this job doesn’t pan out, I want her to have kept an option open for Basket weaving 101, otherwise she will be bummed about missing out on both. Summer classes start in a couple of weeks.

And this is the big stuff. I gently sent her a message reminding her to be strategic in telling employers her availability. Rescheduling her essential medical appointments is hard. We have times with longstanding appointments that are locked in–the possibility of moving them is nearly impossible.

Every development that comes Hope’s way, I realize there is so much to learn. She is smart, but naive in that I-know- everything-and-more-than-you-OMG-Mommy-help-me kinda way. I don’t remember so many little odds and ends. A lot of things you just literally have to DO, and hope you did it right. For someone as anxious as Hope, that must be hard. I’m realizing that the true external manifestations of my anxiety didn’t happen well into adulthood. I remember feeling like, “I can’t believe I”m really doing this!” I don’t remember being hopelessly, paralyzingly overwhelmed by life at that age.

Hope is not me, so I’m trying to be firm and loving as I try to hold her accountable through the job hunt/return to school episode. I know it will be ok, but it all just makes me pause and reflect on just how I approached similar challenges to what Hope is currently experiencing. I know she will get there; she just there right now.

I needed her to practice these skills this lap around the mountain. Wish us both luck.

A Bunch of Things on Thursday: 4/29/21

  1. I totally meant to write yesterday, but here we are.
  2. I’ve now added mid-week baths to my self-care routine. I add a bunch of epsom salt and some bubble baths. I only stay in for about 20-30 minutes, but gosh it feels sooo good and I sleep so well.
  3. My condo building had another fire this morning, and now things are smokey again. Second fire in 2 months. We’re fine and no property damage for us, but oy, this can’t become a monthly thing.
  4. The death of Ma’Khia Bryant has hurt my soul so deeply. She was a foster child. I weep for her biological family, having now lost her twice.
  5. I’m normally very defensive of foster parents, but where the hell were they? There are reports than the fight against these grown women that day wasn’t the first time they had come after Ma’Khia. Why…how did the foster parent let this happen. I’ve seen reports that she had encouraged the bullying at times. Those folks had one job: to keep this girl safe and as whole as possible if and until her biological or future adoptive family could provide care.
  6. And yet Ma’Khia is gone. And to hear folks on the web tell it, foster kids are “problem kids”…it’s the same rhetoric we hear the begin to rationalize the murder of a grown man who might’ve tried to pass a fake $20 at the local bodega. EVEN if it were true, does that warrant immediate death?
  7. My therapist shared that she’s had to disarm knife and gun wielding folks…and she did it without any weapons and with no injuries.
  8. I’m just so angry and so, so, so sad.
  9. That could very well have been Hope. I barely know what to do with that thought.
  10. I’ve been cooking lately. Nothing fancy, but still yummy. We had ravioli with a meatball sauce today. It was yum.
  11. According to my zoom picture, I’ve gained a few pounds over the last month or two. Got to reign it back in.
  12. I typed that knowing full and damn well that I’m headed back to the kitchen for another sliver of the cake I made today.
  13. Judge me or whatever.
  14. Hope’s allergies are the worst they’ve been since she moved here. Daily I tell her to take her allergy tabs, irrigate her nasal ways, and take a half benadryl at the first sniff of trouble. Of course, she doesn’t, so I”ve been listening to her sniff since about 5pm. She finally just took some benadryl.
  15. Hope is *still* looking for a job. She hasn’t even had a nibble. I’m not sure what it all means, but we both agree, she needs to get up and out for her overall wellbeing.
  16. Ok, I’m out…right after I go get that little piece of cake.

Owning Recovery

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. As mom to Hope, my mental health has definitely wavered in ways I didn’t anticipate; I don’t mean that to sound bad, but parenting is hella hard.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and my mental health and emotional wellbeing during these years as well. I’ve been consciously working on being better and stronger and figuring myself out. At 48, I’m still working on that.

Hope will be 20 in about two months, and I don’t expect her to be where I am. I don’t expect her to be as self-reflective or as clear about life. But as we head into a year and a half at home and almost a year since the down-slide started; I find myself wanting Hope to take more ownership of her recovery.

I know she wants to get better, but there’s really not a lot of activity behind it. I know it’s got to be hard cooped up here, without school, friends, or a job. We are now past the stage of devastating depression that left me terrified; she’s improving. I’m relieved. But that’s it.

I’m still shouldering Hope’s recovery; I”m not sure if she’ll ever take the lead. At the smallest suggestion of *doing* anything, a litany of excuses come tumbling forth, sometimes before I can even complete my sentence. I hate that and really never respond well. Just this evening I had to take a deep breath, remain calm, go deep into the communication skills tool box and explain how it makes me feel when she makes excuses.

There are times when I really wonder when and how long Hope will need my intense involvement in her mental health care. I know that my feelings about it are colored by my own journey, how my intense need for achievement as a proxy for worthiness is so different than Hope’s. I know that comparing our journeys is stupid, a fools’ errand, and yet there are quiet moments where I ramble off how I took on getting myself help almost as soon as I entered college and how I’m still managing appointment schedules for a young adult who is literally doing nothing all day but surfing YouTube and TikTok.

And then I feel guilty about even remotely comparing us, and then I start the crazy thought process all over again. It’s so ridiculous.

But I do wonder…does Hope want to own her life in a way that looks…kind of normal? I don’t know if she’s healthy enough to really consider it. I don’t know if her trauma’s of the last year, that involved some really bad adult flexes, have just made her regress in ways that push off adulting for a long time. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t either.

I’m trying to be patient; I’m trying to follow her lead 70% of the time and push/pull her 30% of the time. Once I post this, I’ll be sending her places to apply for a job. I know that getting out and working will help her. I aspire to bickering over the car and finally deciding to buy a second car because her life will have grown to such a need. But that’s probably a long way off.

For now, I am shouldering and powering the return to the fragile health status we had before. It’s rough when you desperately want to return to a more normal version of not normal, but here we are.

Ten Things on Wednesday:4/21/21

  1. When I heard the first guilty verdict, I gasped. That was immediately followed by a sobbing exhale. I’m not sure how long I had been holding my breath or if it was just the gravity of hearing GUILTY. But…wow.
  2. I’m glad that this is the first case that Hope really paid attention to; it will hopefully give her more hope for justice than I’ve ever had. My first big trial decision I remember was for the murderers of Rodney King. He was beaten the year I graduated from high school; his police murderers were set free my first year of college. I remember it being such a painful experience.
  3. And then police in Ohio couldn’t let us have one sliver of justice in peace. Naw, they had to go and shoot a 16 year old girl who had called them for help. Seriously, LEOs in MN had one effing job during the trial–don’t effing kill anyone, so what happened? They killed someone. All LEOs from coast to coast had one job last night–don’t fucking kill anyone. And just look at them. smh
  4. I swear white supremacy is so oppressive that it has a way of making every minor advance bittersweet. When that’s your reality, it makes Black joy the very representation of personal resistance.
  5. This block editor is super weird. You ever wonder why every tech company has a way of taking some feature that is easy and intuitive and saying “how can we make this miserable and clunky?” Seriously WP, what kinda focus groups drove you to this? Those folks are weird, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t complain about tech that much.
  6. This last weekend, Hope and I were on a total vibe, in a really good place. We went to a farmers market and watched our shows, just hung out and talked. There was a moment when I was watching us banter, and I thought, HOLY ISH, Hope is like me. We have been a family for 7 years, but this was the first really super conscious revelation that she has picked up some of my mannerrisms, my use of language and phrases, and just…stuff. I figured that she might pic up a few things, but what I realized is she really has adopted a lot of my traits. I never expected that when I decided to adopt. I remember just smiling to myself as we continued to talk. It was a sweet moment for me.
  7. But apparently the complexities of adoption are akin to “bad apple” cops who can’t leave folks well enough alone. During one of out chats I learned that Hope’s memories of her childhood pre-me are fading. She said it matter of fact-like, but it was a gut punch for me. While I wish I could erase all the bad stuff, the notion that is forgetting even some of the pleasant memories…I am so sad. I hope to gently ask if there are things we can do to spark up those good memories to keep them fresh. It just made me so emotional.
  8. In other news Hope is really improving emotionally. Seriously we’re on month 9 of a fair amount of challenges; I think we might’ve hit a sweet spot pharmacologically! I hope so!
  9. We’re trying to teach Yappy to use push buttons to “talk” to us. Today might’ve been the first time he activated the “outside” button unprompted. I’m hopeful because I want to hear the words behind his side eyes.
  10. I just had my nightly piece of cake, but I was on 10 hours of zoom today> I deserve some chocolate covered peanuts.#stressandfatigueeating

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