Search This Blog

Monday, June 24, 2013


Something handed down from an ancestor.

What is your legacy? What legacy will you leave?

Recently I read an article that will soon be published about my paternal Grandmother. She was a piece of history in the mid 1930's. An African-American woman born to a native West African man and native Maine woman, my Grandmother was the first African-American graduate of a Massachusetts High School. She went on to study at a prestigious African-American School, Fisk University and graduated in 1942. My legacy. She would go on to marry a college educated man - an Alabama Pharmacist. Simply amazing in the 1940's for African-Americans to achieve such goals. They weren't alone. My maternal Grandparents as well, both completed college and graduate degrees. My maternal Grandfather had to drive from Louisiana to California to achieve such. 

My legacy.

When I speak of my life as a failure, I don't measure it up against my peers, I measure it up against my ancestors. These four individuals received college degrees, obtained professional careers, helped others (including children and disadvantaged groups)and raised children. Those accomplishments came when they were up against a world of people just because of the color of their skin. Based on history, I can only imagine the people and obstacles they met in order to achieve the things that they achieved. Did they complain? I will never know. Did they make it above all obstacles - yes, because I am their descendant. Did they leave a legacy for their children and grandchildren to follow - yes.

Have I lived up to their legacy. No.

I've obtained my degree plus a few more years of higher education. I've published news articles in three different states' newspapers. I've helped children and the disadvantaged. Yet, I sit behind a desk most of my day twiddling my thumbs. Spending my days thinking about the obstacles I have before me. Single parent. Low cash flow. Undesirable location. Female. African-American. No connections to powerful people. No chances. Searching and not finding the right position in life. How dare I sit there and ponder the thoughts. I'm up against myself, yet my Grandparents were up against wars and physical roadblocks. Their lives were likely on the line many of times as they traveled to get to their goal of simply attending a college course. 

My legacy. 

What is your legacy? 

As I always say, I'm no psychologist or expert on life - I'm just an ordinary person. While I'm no expert, I do believe whatever your legacy is - it is worthy of reflecting on. It is worthy of building on. It is worthy. If your legacy looks like mine - don't waste it. If your legacy is the opposite - create a greater legacy for your children and grandchildren to inherit. As for me, I'm speaking my greatness into existence. 
I'm alive. 
I have life left and I'm going to leave a continued legacy for my descendants.  My name may not be on a building or a street sign, but I will leave a legacy. 
Go do the same. 
No complaints. 
No worries. 
Just build.

Worthy Note: My parents were pretty amazing people too. Civil Rights era history makers themselves.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mother and Father

     Have you ever celebrated anyone else’s birthday like it was your own?  How did that go?  When you showed the waitress your ID for the free dessert, did they give it to you even though your ID showed April is your birthday and it is June? The likely answer is no. 

     Why is it that those who don’t parent children feel the need to celebrate a Mother’s or Father’s Day? For the woman who gave birth to a child, but left the child on a door step for someone else to raise – there is no celebration for you. Nope, you don’t get a Mother’s Day celebration. You don’t get even get a hand clap.  For the man who provided his sperm to conceive a child, but left it for someone else to raise – there is no celebration for you.  Nope, you don’t get a Father’s Day celebration.  You don’t even get a hand clap.

     On this year’s Father’s Day, I have noticed men standing up and speaking out as to why women choose to bash men who are not caring for their children.  While I am sure there are some women out there saying some less than favorable things about the men they chose to sleep with – there are men and women who have a different understanding aside from bashing a person.  Here is my understanding.  I can speak from my experience – I have professionally worked in a field where I would see daily men and women who drop off some cash and believe that is their only duty.  Then on a weekend like this weekend, they are out there cooking and celebrating because they are such good fathers or mothers – they paid their dues. Meanwhile their child is somewhere wondering where they are. 

      If you can remove the relationship of the two people who conceived the child and focus just on the    child(ren) in these situations – weekends like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day can be sad occasions.  Regardless of which adult should have known better before sleeping with someone or not – an adult is an adult and should take on the responsibility they were blessed with.  Only when you have successfully completed a task should you be celebrating.  I truly do hope that my ex-husband, my son’s father, is not some place celebrating. Maybe he is because he chose to father his daughter over my son. Meanwhile my son is over here crying because he won’t return phone calls. My son is learning a lesson early on that he must be a better man than his father – the sperm donor.  As I’ve read some place recently that some women have guilt or take the responsibility for choosing the father.  At my graceful age of 35, I am very much beyond that stage in my life. I know that going into my relationship with this man, things were a little bit different in the beginning than what they turned out to be. No accident here – there was a plan. I don’t spend a second degrading this man for his no-show attitude – no need to.  I spend every second trying to mend and nurture my son.  That is what all parents of a motherless or fatherless child should be doing. No apologies needed – just an explanation of life and responsibilities. No degradation – only uplifting.  However I will not build this man up in any fashion as he is busy tearing down a child with his absence.

     On this day, I will shout to the mountain tops – HAPPY FATHER’S DAY only to those men who are actively involved in the lives of children.  I am not bashing or demeaning.  If one thinks that someone like me is, then you clearly have not been raised in or involved in a fatherless or motherless environment. On Mother’s Day, I only feel women who are actually nurturing and actively involved in their child’s life should be celebrating.  It is a two edged sword.  Why would you celebrate a day if it doesn’t pertain to you?  I will start celebrating all my friends and family’s birthdays as they were my own – telling the world it is my birthday when in actuality it isn’t.  Let’s see how that works for me.

     As this is a controversial topic - I don't care how anyone feels about my thoughts. It is one subject that not one human being can change my outlook on.  What I would like to do is encourage others to involve themselves in the lives of children who are without a parent or parents.  If you are one who doesn't have a relationship with your child - reinvent one! There is no day like the present and no better present than presence. 

     Days like Mother's and Father's Day are like living a bad dream all day.  It is a day filled with commercials, movies, shows, and praises of someone that child is missing. I would never have realized a day like this to be one of such bitter sweetness until now.  Life is so full of lessons. We must all be open to lessons found in every second of our lives.