The Family Village

Ever heard the saying, it takes a village to raise a baby?… That has to be one of the most true statements I’ve ever heard. But, honestly, I never really realized it until we moved to Florida. Initially our plan was for me to stay home with Caleb and go to school part-time. We already know that was a short-lived dream for me. I FAILED miserably at being a stay at home mom…. If you haven’t read already, I have a post about it.. Click Here to read that debacle! Lol. 

Now, when I made the decision to go back to work, I already knew I’d have to find a daycare, sitter or nanny to keep our son. I had gone through this process back in Maryland, before he was even born. We visited numerous locations before we had him, weighed the pros and cons of facilities versus home daycares and prices. So, while I thought I was prepared to go through that again, I quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be as easy as it was the first time around. You see at this point, we had only been in Florida probably 4 months, which meant we still didn’t really know anyone! So, we were blind to what Florida had to offer as far as childcare was concerned. I remember we started with daycare centers because we figured it would probably be best for Caleb and because we didn’t know anyone to really provide us a reference for an at home daycare, even though that was our initial preference. We had an amazing experience with the home daycare Cale was in right before we left Maryland and as much as we wanted to find something like that again, we just didn’t know where to look. We went from daycare center to daycare center, and nothing felt right. Nothing felt like home for us. So, we just kept looking. After a month of looking we were frustrated…. And then magic happened! 

Josh was talking about our struggle with one of his new co-workers and she stopped him in mid-conversation and said I think I have the perfect person for you…. You see she had twin boys, that she said home with until they were around 2, she told Josh about how spoiled they were. How she could never get family to watch them because they were so attached to her, but when she found Mrs. C everything changed. She said she remembers dropping her sons off the first day and they were clinging to her but, Mrs. C kept calm, pulled the babies off of her and told her to go! Within that first week, their behavior quickly changed and they were running to Mrs. C and telling their mom “bye!” Amazing right?! I know…. Lol So, when Josh came home and told me, I called her immediately! 

Mrs. C was so warm when I spoke to her on the phone. She’s a grandmother herself so, you could just hear the experience in her voice. We set up a time to meet and when we got to her house, met her and her husband we were SOLD! She was amazing… Just what we wanted and would soon find out what we needed, not just for Caleb but for us and now Kelsey. Within two weeks of being with Mrs. C, Caleb started walking on his own. He was SUPER lazy at home with me, he wanted me to carry him everywhere but, she helped him to find independence. He has grown so much under her supervision. Advanced in his education and confident in who he is because of her. 

Mrs. C has prayed over us when we’ve had hard times, she’s chastised us a mom when we tell her something we’ve done wrong. She remembers our birthdays, buys gifts for our children and invites us to family dinners. She’s no longer just a daycare provider, she’s the kids Nana and her husband, their Papa. I could NOT imagine life here in Florida without Mrs. C. She has welcomed us and treated sometimes even better than our own family. She’s a part of our village…. When Kelsey was born, she was there. Keeping Caleb while I was in the hospital. When Caleb had a 105 temperature and we had to take him to the hospital in the middle of the night, she kept Kelsey for two days. When I’ve gone out of town for work, Mrs. C keep our babies and helped Josh get through the week. Time after time, over and over Mrs. C has been there. Loving on us and our kids. Helping us through hurricane season, baking cakes, giving us leftovers. You name it, she’s done it for us. 

There are others we’ve found here in Florida that also help us from time to time with the children. They’ve all been amazing… From Caleb’s 2 year old teacher to the volunteers at our church. All of them have poured into our kids in ways we would never be able to do on our own…. This is why the village is important. Our kids have learned how to love, be kind, patient, etc. because of those who have shown love, kindness and patience to them. 

So, what’s today’s lesson? Build a village for your children. Find those who will love on your children when you’re away, working or just exhausted. While the village is important for your children, it’s just as important for you. There’s nothing like the peace of mind you have when you know your most prized possessions are taken care of… And once you find your village cherish them because they cherish your children… 

~Peace, Love and Light.

Living with a substance abuser

My brother is and might still be a drug addict… Sounds harsh, right? But, it’s totally the truth. I can’t say whether or not if he’s still using now because I don’t talk to him anymore. And that might sound mean or unsupportive of a family member who may be struggling but, my brother and I have had a tumultuous relationship because of his addiction. 

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs you know that my siblings are 15+ years older than I am because they’re not my biological siblings but actually my god brother & sister. When I first came into the picture my brother and sister were in high school and they thought I was adorable (as long as they didn’t have to babysit me on Saturday nights)… Lol. All of the teenagers in the neighborhood would come over to my parents house and want to hold or play with me when I was a baby. My mom actually has photos of me with my brother asleep on his chest. We were actually quite close, except for the fact that when I was little, he kept trying to teach me to say “bad words” because he just knew it would be funny to hear a toddler cursing… Smh. 

Up until I was about 7, my brother was a constant factor in my life. He would pick me up after school if my parents were working late. When he had girlfriends sometimes they would take me out to eat with them or buy me outfits from time to time but, slowly things started to change…. In a bad way. 

At first, we noticed that the guys my brother had always hung with didn’t come around as much anymore… And that he had new people he was hanging out with that seemed a bit sketchy. He was coming home late at night, and sometimes, not at all without telling my parents where he was or who he was with. My parents knew something wasn’t right so, they confronted him and he admitted to being an “errand guy” for a drug dealer. My parents were so disturbed and forbid him from hanging out with those guys, but never thought that my brother would actually use the drugs he was supposedly delivering…. 

Months went by and we all noticed how much my brother’s behavior got worse. Now things slowly started to disappear from our home. Nothing major, initially but, maybe money one of us left on the kitchen table or my dad’s dresser. The missing money gradually turned into missing items.… And that’s when things started getting really bad at home. I remember one evening coming home after school with my mom and my father being irate. My dad couldn’t find some jewelry that my great grandfather had given to him…. And for some reason he just knew my brother had something to do with it. So, he confronted my brother and my brother admitted that he took the jewelry and that not only was he still “running errands” but that now he was using drugs. He told my parents he was sorry and that he would stop but as much as he probably believed that he could stop, it didn’t happen that way. That was the beginning of a downward spiral….

My father made the decision to eventually kick my brother out of the house because he was afraid that drug dealers would either come to our house looking for him or try to kill us because he owed them money. Not to mention the fact that he was consistently stealing from us…. I think the tipping point for my dad putting him out was me… One Christmas holiday, I think I might’ve been about 10, I had been working and babysitting and had saved up a good amount of money. I vividly remember going to the store with my sister, Montgomery Ward, actually… That tells you how old I am, that store has been closed for years… Lol. Anyways! We were in Montgomery Ward at the cash register, I had picked up a bunch of Christmas gifts for my family and I was so excited to be able to pay for them myself with my own money! I had a cute little black bookbag purse that had a wallet compartment on the front of it. They lady told me my total and I reached inside to take out my money and…. My money was gone. Completely gone. I look through every pocket, zipper, everything that I could on my bag and no money. Not a red penny was there. I was devastated to the point that I started crying at the register. My sister ended up paying for the stuff and took me home. I just remember crying and crying because I knew my brother had stolen from me. I never thought he would take anything from me. He had taken things from my parents but never me. I was crushed. Inconsolable…. I remember my mom trying to hold me and calm me from crying but, I just couldn’t stop. I worked so hard for my money and saved…. I even had a gift for him that I planned to buy that day. He came home a day or so later and my mother screamed at him for stealing from me… She even made him pay me back, but the damage was done. My heart was broken. My big brother, the one who was supposed to protect me, had stolen from me…. 

Years went on and his life and addiction got worse and worse…. He ended up living on the streets, in and out of rehab and jail, all while my mom did everything she could to support him and actually still does to this day. She tirelessly still tries to help him… I think she feels like his addiction, in some way, is her fault because she’s his mom but the reality is crack ruined my brother’s life, not my mom. He may not be on drugs today, but he still operates as though he’s an addict. He’s irrational, makes poor choices, and just can’t seem to get things right. He uses my mom as a crutch rather than trying to figure out anything on his own and now he has children who are suffering because of his poor life choices…. And as much as I’d like to be close to his children or help them, I just can’t bring myself to do it because of all the hurt I’ve experienced from my brother… From being cursed out, threatened, attempting to fight me, stealing from me, lying to my face… I could go on but, I think you all get this picture at this point… 

So, this was a hard post to write but it was necessary. Necessary for my own healing…. And for those who may have family members who have or are suffering from substance abuse. Sometimes it’s hard to love someone who’s dealing with addiction… Believe me I know. I’m still working through this concept myself. Do I love my brother? Yes. Do I like the lifestyle he’s chosen for himself? No… So, what’s the lesson for the day? Chile’ I don’t know! Lol, I’m still trying to figure this out for myself! Lol. I guess I’d say to love your family member, even when they’re broken, or when they’ve broken your heart. Sometimes you even have to love them from a distance to protect yourself… That’s the space I’m in now… And pray that one day maybe you’ll be reconnected on a more positive note, just like I’m praying for the same with my brother… 

Peace, Love and Light. 

I hit a wall….

Hey Friends! I took a few weeks off because life has been kicking my…. behind! Lol. I’m learning that when you’re trying to do something new, sometimes you have to take a moment to just breathe. So, y’all I had to breathe for a few…. Weeks! Lol. 

Let me tell you what’s been going on. First, I started a new job…. Now, I had been at my previous job for a year and I loved it there but, things started to change in a way that gave me some uncertainty so, I had to move in another direction. I loved the people there, the work I did and it was an amazing experience that I’m grateful for. It helped me to get to a space where I realized that I enjoyed writing and it’s part of the reason why I started blogging in the first place. 

Anyways…. My new job is fun and challenging. I’m an Executive Assistant to two completely different personalities who both keep me on my toes and I’m enjoying it. Of course there’s been an adjustment period. So, I’m still learning the waters right now. 

In addition to the new job, I started another class for my undergrad degree. Business writing…. Which is completely different than blogging so, I wanted to give myself time to switch writing styles. Because as you know, writing to your co-workers is completely different than me getting on here spilling all my tea… Lol. 

Not to mention, my in laws came to visit the week my job started… Entertaining family members is always exhausting. You stay up later to spend time and talk or you try to find activities on the weekends so you all can actually enjoy each other…

So, I’m TIRED! Lol. And I realized I hit a wall when I kept finding excuses for why I hadn’t written anything. I had friends and family asking when the next blog was coming and I’m like yeah it’s coming and I hadn’t written a thang! Lol. I HIT A WALL. I didn’t want to just write something for the sake of saying I posted a blog this week. I wanted it to be what I’ve been giving. My true, authentic, uncensored self. But, I felt uninspired until last Tuesday when I realized I missed my nephew’s 18th birthday the day before. I was so devastated. I literally teared up a bit because I had all intentions of sending him a message or calling him on his birthday and I let the whole day go by and forgot to reach out to him. I’ve never missed any of his birthdays and turning 18 was a big deal so, I beat myself up a bit about forgetting. 

But, it wasn’t until I sent him a message that I felt inspired. I sent him a message to apologize for missing his birthday and to encourage him that 18 is only the beginning of adulthood. Life is a journey. A path that has all kinds of intricate twists, turns and challenges, good and bad. And do you know what he said to me? He told me I was successful and he hoped to be like me when he got older. And I was completely FLOORED. Because in my mind, I’m not successful, but a work in progress. I’d even say some days I’m a COMPLETE mess. But, to him I’m a success. That’s amazing to me. It’s amazing because it reminded me that you never know who’s really watching you. You never know what others take from what they see in you. 

His message to me reminded me that I’m not just living for me. I’m living for those who’ve gone on before me and for those who are walking behind me. I started this blog to document my own journey, not realizing that these few words I’m writing can help those around me. I now understand that writing this blog is bigger than just my story…. 

So… what’s today’s lesson. Keep GOING! Crash through the wall and don’t stop. You never know who’s watching and who sees you as a success. You won’t get it right all the time. You’ll get tired. You’ll need to rest and take a break. But, let the break be a break, not an eternity. Get back on the bike and pedal…. And that’s just what I’m gonna do!

~Peace, Love & Light….

The June 2019 Wrap Up

June was an exciting month in the Rich Household! Hmm, where should I begin? Well, on June 3rd my first podcast interview posted! If you haven’t had a chance to listen you can check that out here: https://khadijahrbz.com/ep-10-declare-it-with-khadijah-rbz-and-guest-kim-rich/ 

Another exciting moment this month was our daughter’s birthday! Kelsey Turned 2! Man when I tell you she has COMPLETELY changed our lives… She’s spicy and smart and super sassy but, we wouldn’t want her to be any other way! 

Now, Kelsey’s birthday is definitely in the top two for us because she’s our baby and we probably won’t have anymore kids so there won’t be another 2 year old birthday party! Lol… 

But, the other highlight of June for us was my father-in-law’s 70th Birthday! As you already know my godfather, who raised me, passed away when I was 16 and my biological father has chosen to not have a relationship with me. So, having a father-in-law is a pretty significant relationship in my world. We celebrated my father-in-law turning 70 ya’ll! And it was an amazing celebration and not to mention it was a complete surprise for my father-in-law, which was a HUGE deal because my in-laws have been married 50 years and they tell each other literally EVERYTHING! Their marriage has been a great example of love for me. So it was refreshing to see them dancing and enjoying the party. 

To close the month of June, I passed my first class after a college hiatus!!! Yah! 🙂 I got a B and this class was HARD for me. I really had to focus but, I did it! Now I have 7 classes left and I’ll be done!

Usually here is where I share a lesson for today… But, this time there really isn’t one… Ok ok maybe I do have one! Lol. Take time to enjoy the little victories and your family moments. Sometimes we’re moving so fast we don’t take a moment to just sit still, breathe and appreciate the things around us…. And when we don’t do that, we feel like hamsters on wheels, always running, and not ever really getting to “where we want to be”. When reality is, we’ve accomplished so much without even realizing it. Everyday is precious, every moment is precious… So, take time to just be grateful.

Until next time…. Peace, Love & Light.

Three Cheers for Stay At Home Moms… Because I FAILED when I tried to do it!

My husband and I had the opportunity of a lifetime to move to Florida from Maryland when he got promoted with his company almost 4 years ago. Moving to Florida was going to be a way for us to basically have a fresh start. You see, we are both originally from Maryland, born and raised, we met and married there and honestly had no intention of ever moving until we hit a pretty rough financial patch. So, with this fresh start we made the decision that I would return to school to FINALLY complete my undergrad degree (that I still don’t have, but we’ll leave that for another day) and stay home with our, then, 8 month old son. Sounds so cute, right?! Yeah, nope! It was an epic fail…. Let me tell you what happened. 

We moved into a rental home in August 2015, which was a complete disaster! We basically had slumlords who hadn’t cleaned or prepared the home for our arrival. Yes, we looked at the photos online for the house and they looked decent but, we soon found out it was all A LIE! We should’ve totally ran for the hills when we saw this house, but, me being me, I just thought well I have plenty of time at HOME now so, I can just take my time, clean things up and make it a home for us. Plus, we had practically spent our life savings on the move to Florida and Josh was scheduled to go to work the following week after our move. Did I mention that we literally had 3 weeks to move to Florida once he accepted the promotion?! Yeah, we were COMPLETELY crazy but, hey, what’s life without risk? 

Anyways, I first realized that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a stay at home mom when I had to clean the floors in the house… We’re Northerners so, we’re used to having carpet on the floor. A quick rug shampoo and a vacuum and you’re usually done…. Yeah, not in Florida. There’s no carpet, only tile and I just REFUSED to let my baby boy crawl on a dirty floor so, what did I do? I decided that I’d scrub the floors on my hands and knees. This is a whole 1400 sq ft house. So, what did I do with the baby while I cleaned? I put him in the pack and play, gave him a few toys and he seemed fine initially… And then I had to move to the next room and he started SCREAMING because he couldn’t see me… So, imagine me trying to drag a pack and play from room to room and scrubbing floors. Yeah, that was an eventful day. 

The next time, I realized that maybe I shouldn’t be a stay at home mom was when it became obvious to me that Caleb wouldn’t sleep in the mornings past 6AM. You see for some wonderful reason I was under the impression that in my newfound “Stay At Home Mom” life, Caleb would want to sleep late (like I did) and yeah what baby do you know that sleeps late? I really had no concept of what I was doing or what it would be like to be home with a baby, everyday, all day… 

The final straw was probably when it was time to find activities for Caleb. Initially, I signed him up for a music class that had sessions on a daily basis. I thought it would be a great way for him and I to get out of the house everyday and for him to meet other babies his age in the area. At first, it worked pretty well, we met some other families and Caleb had a good time but, eventually the thought of taking him everyday to this class wore off on me. I was literally exhausted from toting him back and forth to these classes and from trying to keep up with the other mom’s. I just didn’t fit in…. I didn’t want to work out daily. I didn’t want to stay home with my baby daily. I didn’t want to wake up early to play with him or get up in the middle of the night for feedings…. And I felt quite sick about not wanting to be a “SUPER” mom. 

So here I was at a crossroads, where I felt like I was incapable of achieving the dream of the “Stay at home Mom.” I felt like I was inadequate as a parent because I couldn’t conquer this new world after being what I thought was the hardest version of being a mom, a working mom. I didn’t understand why staying home with my kid was so hard. I finally had to settle with the fact that I wasn’t meant to be a stay at home mom. I thrived doing the dance of getting up and going to work everyday and then coming home to my son in the evenings, so that’s what I went back to doing…. And that’s where I am today! 

What’s the lesson? We’re not all meant to be stay at home moms, just like we’re not all meant to be working mom.. And that’s ok. We shouldn’t judge each other for our choices in Motherhood but, appreciate and respect our differences. At the end of the end, we’re all Mommas doing what we gotta do! 

Until next time…. Peace, Love & Light.

Father’s Day isn’t a day of celebration for me…

Father’s Day just passed… And honestly, before I got married, I had stopped celebrating this holiday. Not because I hate men but, because of the reminder that this day has for me that I no longer have a Daddy.

You see, my Daddy, well technically, my Godfather, but you already know that…. Raised me. He worked hard, sacrificed what would’ve been his “empty nest” for me. Like I said before, my God siblings are 14 & 15 years older than me, so they were clearly close to being out when I came along.

Now, I won’t sugar coat things and say that my Daddy was perfect, because he wasn’t. If I’m completely transparent, my father had a problem with alcohol. It ruled his life… and in some ways ruined his life. He was a BRILLIANT man with an outstanding mind. He was smart, quick witted and could be rather funny when he wanted to be.

But, the alcohol would turn him into someone I didn’t want to know. I have so many memories of him intoxicated. Some days I’d come home from school and he would already be passed out at our kitchen table from drinking. Other times, he’d come in late, after I’d gone to bed and I could hear him stumbling down the hall trying to make it to my parents bedroom without falling over.

The most vivid memory I have of him drinking was on my sister’s wedding day. I remember the night before the wedding we had the rehearsal dinner and my father showed up intoxicated but, he was “funny” drunk. He was pretty composed but, you could smell the alcohol on him and you would notice every now and then when he would practice the walk down the aisle that he was a little clumsy. But, that was nothing compared to the actual wedding day…

My father literally showed up at our house maybe 2 hours before the wedding and he was DRUNK. So drunk that my mother had to help him shower because he could barely stand. I remember my mom asking me to make a pot of coffee in hopes that if he drank some it would help get him out of his drunken stupor. My mom and I had to dress him from head to toe. He reeked of alcohol, it was like it was coming out of his pores that day. Meanwhile, my sister paced the house, peeking in from time to time to check on his progress and worried that he might not make it down the aisle with her that day. Finally, he got himself together enough to get in the limo with my sister and head down to the church. He did walk her down the aisle, but we prayed the whole time because he was definitely still a bit tipsy.

The instances with his drinking only progressed as he got older…. So much so, that I remember when he got a DUI for drinking and driving on the wrong side of the road. I recall us getting a call late one night from the police station and being told we had to come and pick him up because he had been charged and would not be able to drive home.

There are so many other memories I have of my dad this way, unfortunately…

I never found out why he drank, when it started or what kind of pain he was trying to numb with the alcohol… I never got to ask him because in the summer of 2001 he died from a massive heart attack…

And while it might sound completely crazy that I would miss my Daddy, given what I’ve shared in this post, I do. I miss my Daddy dearly. You see even though he had his struggles, he was still my Daddy. I was a spoiled child. I knew that even though he didn’t say it, he loved me. I was a twinkle in his eye. I miss him for the memories we didn’t get to have together. He wasn’t there physically for my prom, graduation, wedding, birth of my kids and it hurts.

It’s a double edged sword for me because I mourn the loss of my Daddy who raised me, and also for my biological father who never wanted anything to do with me because he was afraid of his momma. Losing my daddy hurt but, being rejected just because of your existence hurts more.

So, Father’s Day has not been easy for me since 2001. Having a husband, who is now the Father of our children, to celebrate Father’s Day with does help to take the sting away from the loss of my Dad, but he’s always on my mind.

What’s today’s lesson? Father’s Day is a beautiful celebration for those who still have their dads here physically… But, for those who’s daddies are gone for one reason or another it can feel lonely… So, love on your friends and family members who are daddy-less… Any maybe, if you’re generous share your dad with someone who’s missing theirs.

~ Peace, Love & Light

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all the MEN (Dads, Grandads, Step Dads, Uncles, Father Figures) out there who work day in and day out to take care of their families and more specifically stay in relationship with their children.

Take today to bask in the BEAUTY of the lives you helped to create.

Give your kids a few extra hugs and kisses today just to remind them of the LOVE you have for them!

Thank you for all you do to inspire and challenge our FUTURE!

~ Peace, Love & Light….