Tag Archives: Single Moms

A Traditional Feminist

So, I am the eldest daughter of three girls. We are a dynamic threesome. We are educated; independent, firery, sweet, and super thoughtful. We are also big believers in girl power!! We all own power tools and do home repairs too.

Our father is a retired mechanic. I think his biggest hope for us was that he and our mother would raise us to be independent women who could take care of ourselves who would in turn meet men who would do it for us. Gosh I love my daddy.

In my “capital F” feminist days I was a bit offended when I came to this realization, but now, years later, I kinda dig it. I mean, I can and do take care of myself, but the notion of having a partner who could shoulder the burden and do a lot of stuff, is more and more appealing as I age. Ok, not just for doing stuff, but you know…<smile>.

Anyhoo, at one point I was a Feminist—capital F—and I asked dudes out, I was ready to burn my bras, Gloria Steinem was my homegirl. I raged against the patriarchy! I pushed my way into a corner office and tried to find ways to bring women with me and thank the women who mentored me.

Then I got tired, because, well, being Black and a Feminist is hard work. Don’t believe me, peep #FeminismIsForWhiteWomen on Twitter.

The movement doesn’t really have a good, solid, inclusive space for women of color and the narrative of seeking equality on multiple fronts.

So, then I just kinda lived my own brand of feminism—little f.

I do what I want, when I want and I pursue equality and justice the best ways I know how.

So what does this have to do with anything?

Well, as a 14 year old girl, Hope is boy crazy. There are hearts on notebooks. Mr. &; Mrs. So and So scrawled here and there. It’s adorbs! But, it’s usually accompanied by Hope chasing a boy to exhaustion to go steady. Love comes and goes in epic fanfare in a 7-10 days.

The thirst is real. We’ve talked about it in therapy and without breeching too much of her confidence; the need to be loved by someone other than me is really serious and specifically by a man/boy is essential.

So we’ve been working on social cues, particularly from crushes and learning to just lay low and be the pursued instead of the pursuer.

Let the crush express his interest.

Consider his true worthiness of your time.

Let the crush ask for your number.

Let the crush text you first.

Let the crush wait a bit for your response.

Don’t be so accessible.

Cultivate your sista friendships instead.

Let him ask you out.


This is the whole reason why the Holy Homeboy gave the male species all the pretty colors and stuff–think birds–peacocks, mallards, robins, cardinals…amiright? Of course I feel some kinda way that he made the girlie birds all bland and homely looking, but that’s another discussion for another day. #idigress

Now, none of this really stands in opposition of feminism for me—big or little f. But coaching Hope in this way feels like I’m taking a step back in time and teaching her those silly “rules” about dating. It feels traditional in a way that feels throwback, in a way that feels like I’m somehow cheating on my own brand of feminism.

It’s just weird that the anecdote to Hope’s social issues is to teach her a very traditional view of what courting is supposed to be like.

And yet, of course I want her to be courted. Dammit, she deserves to be courted and she should dang well be taught what it should look like so she doesn’t get shafted by some dork who isn’t worth her time and who I might have to chase away with a broom like my mom did with one of my sister’s suitors (that was EPIC!). Let’s face it, no one will be good enough and I’ll be using my $5 Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon for a fancy new broom this weekend.  Oh, and let me be clear, the desire to be courted has nothing to do with the desire to be treated as an equal in a relationship.

It’s especially weird because I feel like I’ve come full circle—this is what daddy taught me, what I moved away from a bit as I explored my own world, what I’ve returned to with my sweet Elihu (he’s a serious courtier in word and deed) and now what I’m teaching Hope.

Am I still a feminist? Um, yeah, of course, I am!

More importantly, with this whole full circle thing, am I old?

What the hell????

It just feels like I’ve fallen down some weird rabbit hole in which my adult lived experience is colliding with the values I hope to instill in my daughter about her own worthiness.

They aren’t really that different. I think they are just different chapters in the same story…at least that my story and I’m sticking with it.


Tortured Teen Years

On my recent trip (because remember it was *not* a vacation), Sister K and I spent hours fondly reminiscing about our formative years. We laughed about all kinds of things. So much of what we thought was so serious back then serves as slapstick humorous now. It’s amazing what being an adult and gaining a lot of maturity can do for you.

Since adopting Hope I spend a lot of time pondering my adolescent years and the dumb things I did. The few times I snuck out. The boyfriends and crushes. Football and basketball games that were followed by an after party at the nearby McDonalds. The *ahem* underage drinking—I had a particular fondness for the blue curacao in Blue Motorcycles at a local dive bar where a friend’s older sister worked, and the occasional “puff, puff, pass.”. Dates and dances. Asymmetrical haircuts with a lot of crimping…man the late 80s and early 90s were something!

I remember rarely talking to my parents about my life during those years. I bumped heads with my mom a lot, and looking back, my dad and I are so much alike that I think it just made us repel like two magnets. In any case, I wouldn’t dream of talking to them the way that Hope talks to me.

I am amazed weekly by our little confabs and what she wants to share with me. It’s so crazy cool and at times terrifying since it can be shocking and I know it’s the edited version. Now, I won’t lie sometimes I have to fight hard to pay attention because the topics can be blindingly boring to me and there is a high, high risk for me glazing over and putting the following on a loop:

“Uh huh. You don’t say? Really? Noooooooo! Yeah? Hmmmm. Shut UP!”

One night this week we were up late talking about her crush life. It was so serious. I mean, really in her mind we are talking about her entire future!!! In my mind we are talking about maybe a week and a half from now…at most.

It’s kind of hard to stifle my internal chuckles, but I manage.

Our chat this week was really fun despite her tortured soul status. I was so moved by our girl talk that after she retired to her room for the night, I went to my sacred shelf and fetched one of my journals from high school.

I have all of my journals since high school. I keep them on a shelf. Before this week they were tied together with some twine with a note to give of one of my dearest friends in case something happened to me (it’s also in my will—just saying you gotta plan for that kinds stuff! Do you want it falling into just anybody’s hands??). I undid the twine and opened this book for the first time in at least 20 years. I started at the beginning; when I was going steady with the boy I spent most of my teen years obsessing over. I had reached my own love pinnacle by going steady with Bob*. About 10ish pages later he had broken up with me—unclear why—and the next 50+ pages I mourned the demise of the short lived relationship. You would have thought I lost a blood relative. (Side note: I ran into Bob a few years ago at a grocery store in Florida; he had dreads that started in the back of his head….#dodgedabullet)

I had other serious crushes throughout those pages, but they were all measured against Bob*. My writing was full of angst, anger, sadness, episodic joy (like when I got my wisdom teeth out before prom and dropped more than 10lbs!!!), and just teen messiness.

I documented a LOT of my teen life. Sometimes I think this is a lost art, what with social media. It is interesting to go back and look at my life when I was close to Hope’s age. It gives me perspective on her struggles and emotional turmoil. I suppose I could be a bit more sympathetic to her plight.

It’s easy to look back almost 30 years and think all of the shenanigans were silly and as a result be callous about Hope’s feelings now.

Reading my own words reminded me how hard it was and how I probably was miserable more than I was not during some of my teen years. I imagine that things are probably really hard for Hope given all the extra stuff she’s had to deal with before these moments.

I wish I could make it easier for her.

I suppose I can by just loving her harder and realizing when I need to listen and when I need to shut up and give her some space.

In the meantime, I’ll keep reading my old journal, hoping for more insights.

*Not his real name.

When Your Kid has a Friend

I am chilling on my couch, trying to ignore a really loud clarinet and tenor saxophone. I am so delighted; this is the first time Hope has ever had a friend over.

Eighteen months and no one has been over to the house…until today.

It’s nice to see Hope with a friend finally close enough to come over. I’ve been really worried about her social interactions the last few months. I wrote about the emotional issues with which we struggle recently. I worry a lot about her ability to cultivate and sustain age appropriate friendships.

We might have finally done it.

*And* the instruments are starting to sound like they are making music!!! #Bonus

And now that there’s a friend is over I am learning how this frees up your time. #Bonusx2

  • The girls are so excited to hang out that I got first dibs on the pizza!
  • I ate alone and thus added a glass of wine to my dinner.
  • I got to eat early for a change. Hope hates eating before 7pm and I know that figures into my weight gain (ok, well, so does the pizza).
  • Other than the instruments, it’s quiet. It’s almost like I’m…dare I say…alone! #doeshappydance
  • I have time to scheme to see if I can get this kid to invite Hope over to her house next week.

Oh, this friend thing is glorious! Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I have visions of dropping the girls off at the movie theater at some point or hosting a sleepover!

Or better yet…dropping Hope off at a sleepover.

This is so exciting.

This is another developmental milestone for us, and I am so friggin’ excited!!


The Trip

Early on in my “vacation” someone posted a HuffPost article on my personal FB timeline that described the difference between a vacation and a trip when kids are involved.

I didn’t know.  Seriously, I didn’t know that I hadn’t been taking vacations for the last 18 months.  I had no idea that Hope and I were taking “trips.”

Oh, you bet your bottom, I know now, though.

So, picture it, two Fridays ago, I loaded up the Mini Cooper with a roof bag and piled Hope, Sister K and myself into car for a 9.5 hour drive to Boston–our first stop since I had 3 days of work to do there.

You know, it actually wasn’t awful.  We popped in an audiobook (Mitch Album’s The First Phone Call From Heaven), snarfed some fast food and took a couple of potty breaks before rolling up to our hotel at 11pm.

As if rolling to Boston with ish pilled on the top of my clown car like the Beverly Hillbillies wasn’t an indication that we were on a trip, real trip indicators were totally about to jump off.

We stayed in a super swank room–it was LAID! However, my office only booked a king room, so I ordered up a rollaway bed for Hope.

My girl was saltier than the Dead Sea that she would be relegated to the rollaway. Sister K and I were like:


You betta go on and lay yo arse on that dang cot and go to sleep, girl.

Day 1 – Boston

I was tied up in 12 hours of meetings and presentations.  After I was done we hit up a restaurant for dinner.

Hope: I woud like the Bourbonzola Burger please.

Bourbonzola Burger appears.

Hope: No one told me gorgonzola cheese was on the burger?

No, really, why bother with reading the details on the menu.  It’s sent back and replaced by something more “suitable.”

Day 2 – Boston

I had a modest 10 hour day of  work so we hit up the Minions movie that evening. Nope, no popcorn, we’re going for dinner afterwards.

At a swank Italian dinner:

Hope: I’ll have the spinach and cheese ravioli please.

Spinach and cheese ravioli appears.

Hope: UGHHHHHH.  You know I don’t like that much cheese; I can’t eat this.

I can actually feel her willing me to share my proscuitto and fig flatbread pizza. I take a deliberate, exaggerated bite out of all 8 pieces and lick the ham too.


Not today, Miss, I am NOT sharing ish today.  #allthewaypetty

Then there was another huffy silent treatment prompted by her continued stay on the rollaway. #girlbye

Day 3 – Boston to Martha’s Vineyard

Hope: This BBQ sandwich is so huge. I can barely pick it up; I probably can’t eat it all. Do y’all want to taste it?

(Note: Don’t ever ask me or my sisters to have a bite of something that looks super tasty and expect to us to take itty bitty portions. Hope learned that day.)

Sandwich comes to the front seat.

Half of the sandwich returns to the back seat.

Hope chose to not eat the rest of the sandwich due to a wretched case of the hissies.


By the time we got to the Vineyard and found that the keys and house info were not left in the realtors box for us, the driving, fatigue and trip-inspired annoyance resulted in me pulling off the road into the hospital parking lot and sobbing.

It got straightened out, and we had the pleasure of hearing Hope complain about this creepy house and the triggering of her bug phobia, thanks to a few creepy crawlies trolling the house at 11pm.

Just before we turned in, she declared —DECLARED—that I needed to only have her stay in hotels because she did not like this house situation and that’s what she prefers and I need to make her happy.



Let’s just say I got her together quick and let her know that my fantasy is an actual vacation without her and that it could be arranged.

Day 1 – MV

Rainy, complaining, buggy, whiny.

I ended up showing Hope what a grown folks’ hissy fit really looks like. It was epic. It was real. I might as well had been Kanye.


The rest of the trip actually improved considerably. Hope and I had a great time, and she already wants to go back, of course, that has more to do with the little cutie at the ice cream shop, but still.  We settled into a nice routine; she even did chores in the rental. It was a good trip after all.

But yeah, it was definitely a trip and not a vacation!

Thoughts on McKinney

I’ve been dealing with a lot lately. A lot, a lot.

So when the news of #McKinney pool party fiasco blew up a couple of days ago, I thought to myself: “I. CANNOT. DEAL. WITH. THIS. ISH.”

I mean what else can we write about police brutality, about the worth of human life, about the invisibility of privilege, about fear-mongering, about the expectation that black and brown folks just be quiet and conform, about how if only black and brown people weren’t actually black and brown…

I respect authority.

I and my family have quite many law enforcement folks in our friend circles.

Not all cops are bad.

But we black and brown folks apparently have a problem with cops.

We do. Or rather, they have a problem with us.

And the increasing scrutiny, protests, anger, body cams, calls for peace, law suits, indictments and prosecutions seems to not have stemmed what feels like a persistent assault on people who look like me.

Sure, it’s easy to say that I have attained a certain amount of privilege thanks to sacrifices (by of a lot of folks before me and around me) and education, and that I’m not like *those* people in the numerous videos showing black and brown bodies being slammed to the ground, begging for their very lives. It’s easy with a bit of privilege to ask, “Well, why didn’t they just comply and do what the officer asked before he asks it?” It’s easy to dismiss the validity of the brutality that we are seeing day in and day out by digging into backgrounds of victims as young as 12, and recasting them as low-life thugs worthy of harassment, of physical and emotional brutality, of neighborhood terrorism (#yeahIsaidthatish) and of death.

It’s easy to write them us off.

It’s also apparently easy to conclude that we provoke the well-meaning folks around us committed to protecting us to turn on us.

There is seemingly a very, very, very thin line between love and hate.

Weekly…weekly…I have to have a conversation with Hope about police brutality. It doesn’t matter that we might be fighting like cats and dogs about ish going on in our house, but we will stop the war momentarily to discuss the latest video, the latest funeral, the latest indictment or why there isn’t one handed down by a grand jury.

I have to remind Hope, and myself, that not all cops are bad. I have to defend the blue line even if I’m not so sure they would defend or protect us 100% of the time. I have to try to help regain and retain trust in a system my daughter came to me hating because of her previous interactions with it with her first family.

I managed to avoid watching the video of the McKinney pool party for a couple of days. I just couldn’t watch it. I read about what happened. I saw the calls for action all over my personal FB page and all over twitter. But I would not click that link.

I didn’t want to be angry. I didn’t want to be sad. I didn’t want to be fearful. I didn’t want to imagine being a victim.

But by Monday morning, I couldn’t avoid it anymore. So after I got to the office for the day I logged on to YouTube and watched it.

I cried.

There are lots of reasons my emotional response. The video starts off easy enough; a cool headed officer talking with kids, explaining why they shouldn’t run from the cops. Enter the offending officer whose yelling and attitude changed seemed to change everything about what happened next. I couldn’t believe the language being used around these kids. I couldn’t believe the ease with which white people in the video moved around at their own leisure, while black people were chased, yelled at, snatched up, forced to sit, weapons drawn upon. I couldn’t believe that a grown ass white woman spewing racial epithets fought a teenager setting off a series of events leading to this fiasco.

I couldn’t believe how much that teenaged girl, flung around and sat on, face down in the grass, looked like my daughter Hope.

Both tall with lanky limbs, long twists or braids swinging as they moseyed on the sidewalk, apparently too slow for the officer to be satisfied (Lawd does Hope walk slow!). And she may have said something snarky as teens do, I don’t know.

But seconds later, I heard her calling for her mother. I heard her begging for a reason for why this grown ass man was sitting on her. I saw two teenaged boys move towards her to help only to be chased off by a cop with a weapon drawn, suddenly chased at his behest by two other cops.

I know how easily Hope gets scared. I know how easily she reacts to uncomfortable situations. She might’ve run to try desperately to get away from the unfolding drama, but that might’ve got her sat upon as well. I see her in my mind’s eye, crying for me, begging for me to come see about her, to come save her.

And I see me rescuing her, and hugging her, smoothing her hair, wiping her tears and calling someone to come sit with her while I proceed to lose my ish and wreck shop. #rideordie

It would really be nice to live in world where I didn’t have to have this conversation with my daughter every week. It would be really nice to live in a space where my skin didn’t mark me as other in ways that people apparently find threatening.


Weekend of Respite

As planned I booked the sitter and a hotel room less than 5 miles from the house and fled for some much needed respite this weekend. In fact by 8:30pm each night, I was sitting in my jammies, swigging wine from a bottle in my room, contemplating my bedtime.

I slept about 10 hours the first night. I walked 3 miles the next morning while shopping. I slept 3 hours this afternoon—like back in the bed, under the covers, knocked out napping. I hit the elliptical for 45 minutes that evening. I ate carry out from Whole Paycheck [Foods], and, yes, drank wine straight from the bottle.

Gosh I needed that. I called Grammy the first evening and when she heard I napped she exclaimed, “That’s not even in your nature? You don’t nap.”

Yeah, I know. I’m exhausted.

I’ve noticed a few things while on this mini getaway.

I eat horribly when I’m stressed and exhausted. No wonder I’m at my highest weight ever. Ugh! I actually listened to my twisted mind tell myself I deserved a bunch of fatty foods (tasted good though). Today I started the Couch to 5K program. Let’s go.

My carpal tunnel has progressed to the point where I need to seriously consider surgery. How did I ignore the weakening of my hand? I mean, it’s really, really bad! Calling my doc this week.

I am really tired, like really tired. Must go to bed earlier.

The moment I get away from Hope, I actually miss her. Not enough to run home, mind you, but I do miss her, and I miss Yappy too.

I miss her but I know she was fine. I know because she texted me like 18 times and called me once. She was irritated because I could not resolve her minor problem, and she sat in silence on the phone furious when she realized that I was not going to hurry home to find the key for the bike lock. Nope, Hope, not gonna do it.

I was proud of myself that I did not buy her anything while out shopping. Admittedly, I saw a bunch of stuff I wanted to scoop up for her. I mean, the 8th grade prom is coming up! But nope didn’t buy her one thing.

I took care of me this weekend. I need to do this more often. I really do.

I see how parents get so run down; parenting, working, and running a household is exhausting. I like to think I keep up with a lot of stuff, but I forget all kinds of things—like Hope’s sports physical this past week. It didn’t make the master calendar and thus in my mind did not exist.

Cooking, cleaning, running errands, paying bills, packing lunches, emailing teachers, figuring out birth family stuff, figuring out adoption stuff, therapy appointments, medication management appointments, puppy school, band concerts, and oh yeah, my job!

I swear I don’t know how it all gets done because this isn’t even close to being an exhaustive (ironic) list. I often think it probably isn’t that much easier with a partner, but it seems like it certainly would help.

It’s hard to believe I did a better job of having respite last year than I have done this year. I can only say it’s the curse of being post-finalization and having some belief that things are “fine” now.

They aren’t.

Weekly, when I’m mindful, I see the evidence of Hope’s challenges, and although we have come a long way; there is so much further we must go.

I’m going to have to take a better care of myself if I’m going to help her face her challenges.

Two broken wheels on a bike never makes sense.

So, I’m hoping to really care for myself this summer. I’m going to try.

The Band Clique

Hope has about 5 weeks left of school, more or less. This would also be 5 weeks left of middle school—thank you Holy Homeboy. I remember some highlights of my own middle school years, but I seem to largely have blocked it out from my mind. I’m now convinced it is because middle school sucks.

Your hormones really kick in.

Relationships are complicated and have the lifespan of a butterfly (about a week or two, if you were wondering).

You struggle with developing your own sense of style or just falling in with the ubiquitous jeans and t-shirt routine.

Cartoonish attempts at applying makeup abounds.

Sexuality is questioned.

There is a constant need to fit in and standout.

And it’s all misery inducing.


Yeah, middle school sucks. I knew it would suck for Hope; hoped it wouldn’t, but anticipated that it would. What I didn’t anticipate was how much I would get swooped up into the suckiness.

During the last year and a half, I’ve developed yet another identity that I didn’t see coming. First I was Black, then single, then I became an adoptive mom. Then there were the times I was just a Single Black Mom. Then I became Dr. ABM.

Talk about intersecting identities…

So, somewhere along the way, I also became a Band Mom.

Yep, Hope is a band geek—do they still call them that? Is it Gleek now? I dunno, but I do know that I’m a Band Mom.

I’ve chaperoned a few field trips, gone to most of the concerts (I’ve missed a couple because of business travel), dragged a tenor sax to various practices, hired accompanists for solo ensembles, asked about reed readiness, baked sweets for fundraisers, bought and sold magazines, poinsettias, popcorn, nasty cheesecakes, cookie dough and pizza dough, and sat in stanky band rooms (‘cause middle schoolers are funky—and that descriptor is being polite and generous) helping put on cummerbunds, bow ties and pearl necklaces, and I’ve worked car washes during which the parents worked harder than the kids.

Despite all of this, at this week’s band concert I realized that I was still not a part of the band parents’ clique.

Oh, they remember me because I’m at all the major events and I volunteer, and well as the only Black band parent who seems to be active, I know they see me. #donthitmewiththatidontseecolorfoolery

But I don’t get any invites. They don’t remember my name; they remember that we, Hope and I, relocated mid-year last year; they forgot that we are an adoptive family and I’ve lived here over half my life—I guess I don’t hold that one against them.

I am on the margins because these folks have known each other since elementary school, and I’m still the newbie. I am the chick who sidles into conversations, waiting to jump in like a game of double-dutch. The one who is showing the new social media tracking app I’m using to monitor Hope’s internet wanderings. The one who is asking who’s going to be at the next event and can they save me a seat since I don’t have anyone to sit with (see that single identity).

During this week’s concert, I found myself sitting next to one of the cool Band parents, “Jen” (not her real name). I like Jen a lot; she’s fun and sarcastic and just my kinda chick. She also saved me a seat.  #score!

At one point in the concert, the band director was explaining the history of an Elizabethan march the kids were about to play. I rolled my eyes dramatically, since I’m kinda over hearing this song during practice.

Jen giggled and said, “You are such a bad influence on me!” She said it that way that you know she totally digs the fact that you’re irreverent and cool and fun. #shelikesme #shereallyreallylikesme

And in that moment I realized that I was in middle school all over again. #ugh

To quote Hope, I like, literally, rolled my eyes dramatically to get Jen’s attention and let her know I was too cool for school and I was like, literally, in like my heart, like literally thrilled that she responded in a way that literally let me know that I had hit the mark.


I was cool and I *might* just be breaking into the cool Band parents’ clique. #nobodyfresherthanmyclique

And I was mad happy about that ish. Especially since Jen said, we had like, literally, 4 years of band hanging out to do when the kids started high school this fall.

I am so in!



Literally is a word that is spoken in my home like, I dunno, literally 8 billion times a day. I hate that word.

I can’t believe this Band parent identity is really a thing. How the devil did I get caught up in caring about whether I was a part of the cool parents’ group? #causeIsecretlywanttobecool And why weren’t more brown and black parents involved in Band Parenting and was there some underground group they had that I also needed to break into? #wherearemypeeps

Where do I belong? What am I doing?

A better question is what in the entire hell is going on here? I have resorted to tween antics trying to fit into this new identity of Band Mom. Holy Hey-Zeus, I’m in middle school all over again. #hangsheadinshame

And yet, I find myself still hopeful that I broke into the clique sufficiently before high school starts. I’d hate to have to be still sweating these folks this fall. #iaintgottimeforallthat

That would be, like, so not cool.

Like, literally not cool at all.

Thoughts on the Single Life

I am a single mom.

I’ve been giving this single adjective a lot of thought lately.

I have really been feeling the weight of being a single parent, certainly, all of Hope’s time with me, but it’s been especially so the last few weeks. I think because parenting Hope has been more challenging recently.
I have to do everything. Between Hope’s modest, but still present, emotional delays, and the typical teendom antics, it is an exhausting job keeping her out of trouble and keeping her on the path to healing. I know I’ve done a good job, I can see it, but good Lord, I’m so tired and alone.

When it’s tough, I’m drawn into thinking about not having someone to tag out or that I need to call the sitter for some respite time and fret about the costs since there’s only one income. It feels hard and lonely. At the end of the day, at the end of a long challenging day, it is just me. When I think about the depth of that toughness…that loneliness, I am drawn back to grieving about the life I thought I would have. Not that this one is bad, but it’s just…harder than I thought it would be.

And I know that it is ok. It has to be, right?

Oh, I appreciate the few upsides: I don’t have to consult with anyone on how best to raise Hope. I get to make all the decisions. I get to be the ultimate ride or die mom because it’s just me!

But it’s not easy. It isn’t at all easy.

Lately, I have been wondering what the devil I was thinking getting into this journey alone. I knew it would be challenging, but I never would have conceived that it would be this hard. I wonder what it would be like if I had husband when I started. What would it be like to have had a husband or just long time love to help me raise Hope? I wonder if Hope would have still been my kid if I was partnered; my being single was an important part of our match.

Of course I’ll never know.

But I do wonder.

I suppose ultimately I would prefer not to be a single mom. I don’t know if my status will ever change. Again, this journey is just not what I thought it would be. We’re surviving; we may even be on the path to thriving, but this single parenting thing is not what my plan was supposed to be. And sometimes that reality makes me sad.

Mountains and Parking Lots

I have this saying, “I only die on mountains; I don’t die in parking lots.”  Makes sense right?  Don’t sweat the small stuff; save all the energy for the serious ish. And for the better part of the last year with Hope I managed to stay the course and only trudge up mountains (or at least some big hills).  I would occasionally get mildly injured from bouncing off of a parked car (figuratively of course), only to be righted and find my way to the mountainous battlefield.

Then I read this stupid-tail parenting book.  Seriously, that is the last dumb-arse parenting book I will be reading in a good long while.  I think I’ll stick to advice from parenting blogs and Marvel comic antagonists.  I probably should also pray to the Holy Homeboy more too.  Sigh.

The gist of the book was that most power struggles stemmed from parents’ personal anxiety, and that yielding on those parking lot issues reduced the anxiety and helped kids learn personal responsibility.  Yeah, ok.

So, I hear that for a lot of parents the filthy teen room is a parking lot issue.  Just close the door, they say.  It’s their personal space, they say.  Not worth fighting over, they say; spend that capital somewhere else.

Ok, Mr. Dumbarse BookMan, I must be really anxious over this room thing.  I need to let this go.  So, I tried it.  I tried to let it go.  Yielded.  Oh I yielded the hell out of letting my angst of Hope’s room filth go.

And each week, I got more anxious, not less because the room got worse.  It got smelly.  The trash was strewn around.  I think I might have started hyperventilating whenever I crossed the room’s threshold, which consequently became infrequent. #ilikebreathing

I’m not a neat freak, but seeing things I worked hard to provide, seeing my home of 14 years treated so poorly, just…tore me up inside and outside.  This was not a parking lot.

So, here it was New Year’s Day.  I realized that I could not deny any longer that Hope’s room was one of my mountains.

I typically spend New Year’s Day cleaning.  I never noticed before today how important tidying and freshening for the new year was to me.  Oh, it’s important.  So, knowing that one of my spaces was in disarray sent me into a not-a-slow-boil to the point where I became unhinged with Hope during an epic fight last evening.

Completely unhinged.

I have laryngitis today; it doesn’t even hurt because I just tore into my vocal cords to shreds yelling and pitching an unholy fit. #conniption

Yeah.  Completely. Unhinged.

Had to call my agency’s support line to get myself together.  I lost all my parenting swagger during the last month or two.  Tapped slam out. Mrs. P talked me off the ledge and helped me developed a plan for getting through this foolishness and for getting my swagger back.

Today I had someone take Hope out for several hours.  I got that room cleaned up.  I purged stuff and I removed other stuff to create a library/check out system.  I got some storage hacks and put on some new bedding (after discovering the existing bedding had been damaged by spilled nail polish).

I purged in my room.  I got rid of a lot of stuff.  Most to trash and some will head to the Goodwill tomorrow.

And finally, I was able to breathe.

I braced myself for Hope’s reaction.  A lot of stuff was gone.  A lot of stuff wasn’t visible because it was properly stored.  Eventually we talked it out.  I apologized for not realizing that her room was a mountain for me.  I explained my basic expectations, how she could access some things and how she could keep up with things.  We hugged it out.

And all was good.

That is until I left the rhind on her ham and brie sandwich, and a new round of bougie girl pouting started.  #spoiled #bougie #privilege #girlbye

Whatever chica.  You ain’t even know about brie before you moved here. smh

I Don’t Know What to Say

Needless to say, Hope and I have been having some tough conversations about being Black lately. Last week I allowed her to stay up with me to watch the announcement about how the grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson in the murder shooting of Michael Brown. My daughter sat on the couch next to me, watched me sob throughout the totally unsurprising announcement. She watched me curiously while I sat slack jawed as the prosecutor went on to characterize Brown is a monster of sorts deserving of a kill shot despite having no weapon of his own, other than his large commanding size and dark skin.

I saw Hope clench her fists and get angry.

I wanted to write something about it last week but really, all I could think about was the words used by my dear pal, ComplicatedMelodi: “Man…I’m trying to raise a kid here.” I got nothing else.

I’m trying to raise a Black kid in this world.

And I’m trying to do it while there is an apparent need for a hashtag called #blacklivesmatter.

Sigh. That’s effed up.

And there was another grand jury failure this week in the case of the illegal, chokehold killing of Eric Garner, a killing that was predicated on an approach of Garner on the suspicion of selling loosies.

Yeah, loose cigarettes. Somebody got choked to death because he was suspected of selling individual cigarettes on a corner in New York.


So, when Hope heard about Garner all the questions started again. Damn, we just went through some of this ish last week.

Hope likes data; I love that about her since I’m also a researcher.

She’s come to a number of conclusions that are hard to refute.

  • Racism is alive and well.
  • Sometimes there is no justice and no peace.
  • That Black lives matter less. Oh, they still matter, but it’s clear that they matter less than other lives.

We were in the car last night, listening to coverage of protests and snippets of think pieces. One discussed the need for more police officers of color. Hope practically yelled, “Sure hire them, but that doesn’t mean we’ll get justice.”

She’s right.

I’ve long said that the realization that the world can be so unjust is like eating from the tree of good and evil. The knowledge is essential to survival, but is devastating—especially when you might be in a category that gets the justice short stick. Sometimes you wish you just didn’t know how effed up things really are.

I tell Hope that all White people are not bad, they aren’t racist. We talk about the various people in our lives who are good people; she needs that evidence. We talk about how to move through the world having hope for change, all while I’m praying that our other forms of social privilege are enough to compensate for the lack of privilege, or apparent equity, based on race.

And that, my friends, makes for some effed up prayers.

“Lord, please let us be middle class enough to not get shot going to get Slurpees down the street in our neighborhood.”

“Lord, please let this hard earned Dr open closed doors for Hope, who is delightfully gritty in ways that might make her seem defiant to authority figures, placing her very life in jeopardy.”

And we talk about how to act during traffic stops, how to act at the school bus stop, how to act at the 7-11 or bodega, how to act at the bowling alley we frequent, how to act if you get singled out in your group of friends when you’re the only Black kid…the list goes on and on about how to act so as to be perceived as somehow non-threatening and accepted to be wherever it is you happen to be.

This is exhausting. It’s also messed up.

And it gives me little time to really think about just how devastated I am by the injustice I see. It gives me little time to ponder some of the ish I read when I happen to scroll down the page of an article and dare to read comments that are laden with racist filth. It gives me little time to think about how to respond other than we can do better, we should be doing better, we’re capable of doing better, so why aren’t we doing better?

I listen to my elders and hear them note how some things have changed and how some things haven’t. Lately it’s more of the latter. And I wonder what the hell to say to that.

It’s so painful and so sad, and I just have no more words.

K E Garland

Inspirational kwotes, stories and images

Riddle from the Middle

real life with a side of snark

Dmy Inspires

Changing The World, With My Story...

Learning to Mama

Never perfect, always learning.

The Boeskool

Jesus, Politics, and Bathroom Humor...

Erica Roman Blog

I write so that my healing may bring healing to others.

My Mind on Paper

The Inspired Writing of Kevin D. Hofmann

My Wonderfully Unexpected Journey

When Life Grabbed Me By The Ears


things are glam in mommyhood


an adoption support community

Fighting for Answers

Tales From an Adoption Journey


Because of course race and culture matter.

SJW - Stuck in the Middle

The Life of Biracial Transracial Adoptee

%d bloggers like this: