Friends… How many of us have them?!

Recently, I reconnected with some of my childhood friends on my last trip home for the Christmas holiday. We had lost touch for one reason or another. Life had gotten in the way but, things transpired in the last year that caused us to reach out to one another for one reason or another. We ended up being able to have a girls brunch together and it was just so refreshing to be back around people who knew me from childhood. Ladies that got all of my silly jokes from middle school and high school. It was nice to be a kid again… even for a moment. 

I also have a sisterhood group… women who I’ve bonded with in the last year that have really helped me to become unapologetically me. Who love me without judgement, regardless of the fact that they’ve known me for all of “five minutes” compared to my childhood friends. 

And then I have those friends who I’ve always kept in touch with. Who I consistently do life with everyday regardless of how close or far we are from each other. Friends who call every time there’s a hurricane in Florida. Or who I can call when I have a panic attack or just need someone to talk to when I’m driving and struggling with my anxiety. 

Why are any of these friendships or sisterhoods important to women, wives and mothers? Why am I sharing about friendship? Because we ALL need a person or even a group of people to hold our hand, wipe our tears, and let us cry on their shoulders when things get tough. 

Life happens and dynamics of your friendships may change but they’re all valuable. All necessary…. 

So what’s today’s lesson? Be obedient to your heart… call that friend that maybe you’ve lost touch with. Had a disagreement with. You never know what they might be going through or were going through when you stopped communicating. Let’s all just love each other a little bit more. Beyond our flaws. Beyond our hurt…. 

Until next time… Peace, Love & Light. 

Innocence Stolen

Around the age of between 7 & 9 I had an experience that I believe changed my perspective on not only myself but sexuality as well…. I was molested by two of my cousins… There’s no sense in dragging out what happened so, let’s just rip off the band-aid. I honestly can’t remember which two of them it was…. I’m guessing my mind has intentionally blocked out details to help me cope with the experience. 

So, let’s just get to what I remember…. I was between 7 & 9 years old. It was either the summertime or a school break and I was at my grandmother’s house. My parents never really liked sending me over there but, once my great grandparents moved to North Carolina they didn’t have lots of options for places to send me during the summer or on my breaks if they weren’t off work. My grandmother didn’t keep a clean house. And if I’m totally honest, she didn’t really “watch” us when we were there. 

She always watched tv in the kitchen. Generally soap operas, The Price is Right, and In the Heat of the Night. She was always so wrapped up in the television…. Most days I’d sit out there with her and watch whatever she watched but, from time to time she’d let me go into her bedroom and watch age appropriate shows that I wanted to watch. 

On this specific day, I remember being in her room watching tv by myself…. I spent a lot of time there by myself because I was the only girl cousin my age. I remember my cousins coming into the house. My grandmother’s bedroom was by the front door. The kitchen where she watched tv was all the way at the end of the hall, opposite of the entrance to the house and her bedroom. Anyways, they came in the house… And in usual fashion came into the bedroom and attempted to take over the tv and change what I was watching. That of course started a fight. I was the only girl but, I wasn’t a punk. We would wrestle quite often because I wasn’t afraid of them… But, this day it was different. 

Initially it started with them wrestling me… And then the tide changed. I remember one of them pulling at my pants. It felt strange but, no one had ever really talked to me about not allowing others to touch me inappropriately. Next thing I know my panties are down and my cousins are telling me they want to see the difference between boys and girls. They’re using their fingers to explore my lower body…. And eventually began to perform oral sex on me. I remember this because it was a weird feeling… And because one of them said it tasted like urine initially…. 

I don’t remember how long this went on until my grandmother called for one of them…. which of course startled them and me out of this trance we were in…. They both got up and left me to dress myself as they ran down the hall to my grandmother. 

It was never spoke of. I never told anyone because I was scared. They never talked about it to me after it happened and…. it never happened again. 

But, that experience opened me up to other sexual experiences that I’m sure had I not had this initial encounter I wouldn’t have fallen into traps in others. Granted I didn’t actually lose my virginity until I was 16. I did have some other things that happened to me that shouldn’t have…. Not to mention, I did do some things to others that I shouldn’t have. One, because of my lack of self-esteem and two, because no one really sat down and talked to me about how precious my sexuality, body or innocence really was. That being touched or touching others was NOT okay. That I should tell and that it shouldn’t happen. 

Y’all this was a HARD post to write… I literally talked about this in therapy months ago. Wrote a draft, deleted it. Wrote it again… Edited it. And realized I still hadn’t told those closest to me that this happened. So then I was stuck again. Because I was afraid to tell them what happened so many years ago…. But I had to push past it. It’s a part of my healing…. 

So… what’s today’s lesson? Teach your children that touching others and being touched in ANY way that makes them feel uncomfortable is wrong. No one is allowed to touch another person in a sexual manner…. We need to teach our kids to know when to say no. When to speak up for themselves and when to tell us as their parents that something happened, good or bad. 

Well… that’s it for this one…. Until next time…. Peace, Love & Light!

Good Bye 2019… Hello 2020!

… As the door closes on 2019 and the decade I can truly say this year has been the most freeing and trying at the same time. I started this blog originally as a way for me to document my journey as a wife, mom and everything else that’s tossed in my lap. I never thought people would read my thoughts, share their experiences or even care to be quite honest. But, this blog has given me a freedom I never knew I could have. I’ve been able to share the deepest parts of my heart. To be vulnerable to the world (or 5 people who read… lol) to see. And I’m ok with being unapologetically ME. I’m good with those who hate me as well that those who love me. At the end of the day 2019 has been a year of discovery and I’m happy with the ME I found. 

Is life perfect? No… But when will it ever be??? Is it better? Yes! I have a husband who loves me for who I am today and pushes me to who I need to be tomorrow; a healthy family, home, a sisterhood who keeps me grounded, and friends (old/new) who appreciate me for who I am. 

Is anxiety, depression and PTSD still a challenge? Absolutely, everyday. But, everyday I’m growing stronger, I’m fighting harder and I will OVERCOME. Will it be in 2020? I don’t know…. But, I know God destined me for greatness. Does that sound cliche? Probably…. Do I care? Lol NOPE!

I learned this year that I have to be me. I have to walk in my truth, regardless of how embarrassing, shameful and unorthodox it may be. There is NO story no one can tell about me that I haven’t told already or won’t tell in the future…. I’m not afraid of what someone might know about who I used to be because I know who I am today. I’m a woman…. who has evolved. 

I’m grateful for the pruning I’ve had to experience because I know the flower that’s growing will be beautiful. Sometimes we stumble so, we can learn to walk differently than we did before… This year I had some stumbles, falls, scratched knees (lol).. But, I’m still here. And I’m excited to see what 2020 will bring! 

So… what’s today’s lesson? We’re all constantly growing and changing. We all have lessons we’ve learned, mistakes we’ve made but, we are not defined by incidents. We are NOT happenstances. We are MORE…. And we should not be judged or criticized by a moment in time… 

Until next time…. and next year! Peace, Love & Light!

The Dirty Secret

If you recall last week I posted Part 2 of Daddies Matter. Well since I brought my biological father up in that blog, I figured I’d go ahead and give you the scoop on this dude… And if you know me, you’re very much aware of the fact that I don’t sugarcoat anything… I’m candid. So, let’s get to it! 

My father and mother are step siblings… Yep, you read that right. They’re related by marriage. Their parents married each other when they were teenagers… And to make matters worse, my mother lost her virginity to this man and 9 months later, I was born… Yes a whole mess… I know…. Lol

The story I’ve been told is that it happened once… My mom got pregnant and when her stepmother, my grandmother, found out she was pregnant she was upset…. And then when she found out that my mother was pregnant by her son, she lost it! She proceeded to get into an altercation with her teenage, pregnant, stepdaughter and then threw her out…. 

My mother was sent to live with her grandparents and called a liar, because in her stepmother’s eyes there’s NO WAY her son would have had sex with her AND created a life, my life…. 

I was born during my mother’s senior year of high school and there when she walked across the stage at graduation…. Unfortunately, all of this was too much for my mother to handle so, she turned to a lifestyle that I believe helped to soothe her pain and rejection… My father was sent off to the military and forbidden to have any dealings with me at all. 

For 10 years, I walked through my childhood not even knowing who my father was. Everyone in the family kinda tiptoed around me, like I was a fragile item. There was absolutely no mention of who my father was or why he wasn’t around. Meanwhile, my actual father was painted to be my “uncle”… But, I never felt right around him…. Something just always felt off. 

It wasn’t until my great grandparents moved to North Carolina and I went to visit that I found out the truth. On our train ride back from NC, my great grandmother finally told me that the man I thought was my uncle, was actually my father. You’re talking about wrecked!!! I was in complete disbelief. I just couldn’t understand what I did that was so horrible that he didn’t want to have any kind of relationship with me. That he allowed me to go and live with another family rather than taking care of me himself….. 

I spent years trying to understand why I wasn’t worthy enough that my own father didn’t want to be in relationship with me. I still don’t completely understand it, but the older I become, the more I realize that he was a kid too. Probably 18 or 19 when my mom got pregnant. And his mother scared the CRAP outta him by telling him he couldn’t have a relationship with me and if he did, she’d never speak to him again… And while I can even understand my grandmother’s feelings of embarrassment or shame, I was an innocent child. Tossed into a situation that I never asked to be a part of. 

You see, no family is perfect. We all have our “dirty secrets”. And in my case I was the product of a dirty secret and then made to live like I was the black sheep. Like I had done something wrong, when all I actually did was be born…. Created by two kids, who probably didn’t understand the consequences of unprotected sex. But, yet here I am. 

So, what’s today’s lesson. Well, it’s two-fold. 

  1. Stop pretending like there aren’t any skeletons in your closet, we all have things that have happened in our families that we’re not proud of. 
  2. Children are innocent… And shouldn’t be used to punish the parents or punished for the transgressions of their parents. Regardless of how they got here, they deserve YOUR love, support and guidance.

And on that note, I think this one is done….

Until next time. Peace, Love & Light!

Daddies Matter Pt. 2

… As I watch the love between Kelsey and Josh blossom, I realize that I haven’t had a Daddy since I was 16. My daddy passed right before my junior year of high school. It was very early Monday, June 25, 2001, my mom, brother and I were home asleep when the phone rang. It was my Uncle calling to tell us that my father was in a hospital in Washington, DC…. Somewhere my Daddy never hung out. So, it was weird when they said he was there. 

9.30.2017 – Josh, Caleb & Kelsey

We got to the hospital and found out that my father had died a few hours before. He collapsed from a massive heart attack while getting in his car and couldn’t be resuscitated. We left the hospital that night with a bag of his belongings, hurt hearts and tears. 

That’s when my relationship with who I knew as “Daddy” ended… I no longer had the protection, love or guidance that only a father could give at a most pivotal time in my life. You see my Daddy wasn’t there when it was time for me to go to prom to “talk” to me about what NOT to do that night, granted… I went to both Junior and Senior prom with NO date (I know, pitiful)…. Lol but that’s a whole other discussion! And given the fact that prior to my father’s passing, I watched my parents fight constantly because of my father’s infidelity, I was left to learn on my own what expectations and standards I should have for a man. And that’s why Daddies Matter… Even if they don’t come out and have a conversation with their daughters about how they should be treated by a man, they can at least have the opportunity, by watching their dads to learn by the example that’s set in front of them. 

Unfortunately, that’s not my story… I learned the hard way. From dating men who demeaned me, to the “wannabe” players who dated me and other women at the same time. Oh, and let’s not forget the ones who kept me in the “friends with benefits” category…. See none of these things I should’ve accepted… But, I didn’t know any better. Daddy wasn’t there to teach me otherwise. I didn’t have an example…. But you know what? I’m grateful for my dating experiences… Because now I can share what happened to me to those coming up after me, so they know better than to tolerate the foolishness that I dealt with in the past! 

So, when I look at my husband and my daughter, I’m grateful to know she has a positive example in her Daddy. A man who will show her what LOVE truly means. Who has and continues to set the bar high. A father that will teach her self-worth and not to fall for the tricks and games that some men play. I’m also grateful to know that she will have the opportunity to create the memories I missed with my father. He wasn’t there when I graduated high school… Went off to college, when I got engaged, married or had kids. And as much as people say he’s here “in spirit”, there’s nothing like being “present”. 

And then there’s my biological father… Well, I have plenty to say about him but we’ll save that for another blog. Let’s just say he wasn’t around either. He didn’t do what I dreamed he would’ve done with my godfather passed, nope. He didn’t step in and pick up the place where he should’ve been all along. Instead, to this day, he denies my existence.. Which is rather frustrating but, hey… that’s life! We don’t always get everything we want. 

So… what’s the lesson today? Well it’s the same from last week. Allow Daddies to create their own relationships with their children. Mommies, we won’t always understand all of the intricate details of their relationship with the kids and that’s ok. Just let them have the opportunity to help you create balance for your children… Let them be the example of a Dad that maybe you had, or always wanted… 

Until the next time… Peace, Love & Light

Daddies Matter!

….. Lately, Kelsey has turned into a Daddy’s Girl and it’s been amazing to watch their relationship unfold. It made me think about my own childhood, my godfather and my bio father. I’ve always known that both parents are important in the life of a child but, it wasn’t until Kelsey came along that I realized the magnitude of the relationship between a father and his daughter. 

Initially, Kelsey was very much attached to me. It’s so funny because I remember before we knew what we were having, I wanted to have another boy. Caleb was an amazing baby. Happy and loving. Always hugging and kissing us and at two and a half, he was quite the gentleman. He wanted to help hold the door open or try to carry bags that were twice his size…. So, I enjoyed being the only woman in the house… But, once we found out our second child would be a girl, I was all in. Excited to buy baby girl clothes! 

This last year Kelsey has changed so much… She was a spicy baby. Very demanding and somewhat impatient, if I’m being honest… Lol. But this last year, she’s grown into a hugger and kisser like Caleb. Lol. She’s still demanding though… The hugs and kisses are a requirement rather than a normal act of affection. If it’s bedtime and she doesn’t get a hug or kiss from ALL of us, you’re gonna hear it until she gets it. If you drop her off at daycare, it’s the same thing… She kinda sounds like the grandma who says, “You better hug me before you leave!” Lol…. Anyways, let me get back to why daddies matter! Lol. 

I’ve watched how Josh and Kelsey love each other. It’s completely different than the relationship Caleb has with his Dad. He truly is her first love. You can see it in their eyes. She will sit with him for hours and watch football. She barely sits with me for 5 minutes before sliding out of my lap and running off to play. They have a special bond. A love that transcends… It’s quite magical to watch…. I’m rather positive that because of the love she has for her father and because of the standard he’s set for her, she won’t settle for foolishness.. Or at least I hope! 

Daddies don’t just matter for little girls, they’re also important in the lives of little boys. With Caleb, Josh is more stern but still loving. He helps to provide him with a discipline that’s necessary. It helps keep Caleb in line. But, he still knows Daddy loves him. He runs to him with arms outstretched ready to hug and Daddy after school….. He wants to learn anything Josh is doing. From walking the dog, to taking out the trash, carrying bags and holding open the door. Not to mention, caring for and protecting his little sister. 

The bond the kids share with their father is what I wish I had with my father. My godfather died when I was 16 and the lack of relationship with my biological father still bothers me… But, I’m happy to know that my kids experience will be what I dreamed for myself….

Why Daddies Matter will continue next week… But I can’t leave you without today’s lesson. If you’re married, allow your husband to be a true FATHER to your children. As mommies we want to protect our children, even from their daddies when they’re disciplining them differently from what we would do. If you’re a co-parenting mom, allow your children to have a relationship with their father. There are things that only a daddy can teach. Sometimes just being in the presence of their father teaches them lessons you could never teach. The bottom line is to allow children to create their own relationships with their Dad. 

Until next time… Peace, Love & Light. 

The Second Child Syndrome

There’s a HUGE difference between when you have your first and when the second child comes along. With the first child, everything is planned…. You open all your gifts from the baby shower, put everything together, organize the nursery and you’re “completely prepared” for the birth of your first little bundle of joy. 

After they’re born, you take the utmost care of this new tiny human. You don’t let people touch the baby without washing their hands or you have sanitizer in every bag to sanitize them. You document every first time experience (rolling over, standing, walking, talking, etc.). You take a million photos and have the BIGGEST bash ever for their first birthday with 100 adults, and 5 kids that are generally ALL older than your baby…. Lol. Because we all know the first birthday isn’t really a celebration of the baby’s first year, but rather yours, as parents, for surviving it! 

You do ALL these things and more for the first baby……. 

And then you get pregnant AGAIN! And boy do things change as soon as you’re pregnant. First, you’re more tired because if you were like me and your kids are close in age, the TODDLER is running you ragged. You forget to take your vitamins everyday because by the time you get the little one in the bed you’re exhausted and you end up passing out on the couch, in the kid’s room or wherever. 

Fast forward to the “nesting” stage in your second pregnancy and while you have every intention to get the nursery ready, you end up starting projects and not finishing them because you’re either chasing the other kid or you’re just plain tired. Next thing you know your water breaks and you’re running around the house like a mad woman trying to pack for yourself, the toddler, and the new baby because you never got around to your hospital bag…. And yes this really happened to me! 

The baby is born and you go back home and people come to visit…. You’re so exhausted you literally hand them the baby as soon as they walk in the door and retreat to another room to take a nap! Lol. You didn’t even care that they hadn’t washed their hands yet! Lol. 

As the second child gets older, the older sibling tries to feed the baby their food. You don’t even fight him/her about it because you don’t have the energy and hey, eventually they’re gonna to eat table food anyways! Ha. 

Everything you attempted to spare your oldest child from the second child experiences… They roll off the bed, fall down the steps, eat food off the floor, you name it, it happens to the second kid…. But you know what?! They’re tougher than your older child, they’re super self sufficient and generally learn to do everything faster. They’re not coddled and that’s probably better for them.

And if any of these things happened with your second child, guess what?! You’re STILL an amazing parent! Your children love you regardless and they wouldn’t trade you in for the world. 

Yeah, the ride might’ve been bumpier with the second child, but hey when is life perfect? NEVER! And if anything you’ve taught them to be resilient earlier rather than later…. And in the long run they’ll appreciate it.

Heck, I know I did! I’m the youngest! And by the time I came along my mom practically was like you better learn how to use the potty because I’m not gonna keep changing diapers, pack your own lunch for school and get a job in high school because all my money went to your older siblings….  Lol. And while this might sound harsh, she didn’t totally say it that way. But, those lessons actually worked because I’ve always been super self sufficient. I’m resilient, I’ve always been able to take care of myself and when I went to college, I already knew how to wash my clothes… (I’ll save that story for another day, lol). 

So, what’s the lesson today? Parenting is hard, there’s no right or wrong way of doing it! You can see that just between the differences in how you raise your first and second child. As long as you love your child, take care of their needs and they feel protected and supported by you, that’s all that matters… 

Until next time, Peace, Love & Light….