Category Archives: Single Parent

Bars! Back in The Days When I Was Angsty and Poetic

Soooo all over the interwebs it’s throwback thursday. In the spirit of this weekly holiday I’ve decided to go back to the archives of a young Raki, back when I used to spit bars. Sort of. Not really. I just used to write a lot. Writing has always been the best way for me to express myself and it’s usually the most honest version and most vulnerable side of me that I can show. After digging around a bit I found my folder of poems. The one below was written many moons ago. My son could only have been a few months old if that. This poem gives you a big peek into what I was going through, from discovery to delivery.

FLUSH

Remembering that night,
Tossing and turning,
Thoughts were churning,
Something just ain’t right.
Felt a little uneasy,
Stomach feeling kind of queasy.

Now I remember that day.
Just as clear as water is blue.
1 line means you’re not
Another line means you’re through.
I saw two.
Then Flush went the E.P.T.
And all my hopes and dreams.
My pride was pushed aside.
That second line,
Had changed my life.

Tumbling,
Stumbling,
Humbly,
I came to you.
Had no one to turn to.
If I had only known,
You were a wolf
But sheep’s clothing you owned.
I cried out my soul,
But your eyes were so cold.
And
Slowly I began
To feel the crush
Then Flush
Went my sole support
You wanted to abort
Mistakes were made
Now the price has been paid
And then came that day…
All those months I’d spent crying
Emotionally dying,
My shame the whole world could see,
My protruding proud pregnant belly.

In the morning,
So early it was dark,
At the door to my womb
I felt a knock,
Then another
And another
3-4 minutes apart
This is the start of the end.
It is finished.
It begins.

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The Z Stands Alone: In other words, Raki is Single

The cheese stands alone

I stand Alone With You Cheese

“Hi-Ho the derry’o the Z stands alone.” (fyi, my last name starts with a Z)

I’m single. Hard to believe especially when according to my uncle I have ALL the qualities one would look for in a GF or wife namely that I can sew and I know how to bake really great zucchini muffins. So why am I unattached? I’ve pondered this a few times and I have some possible answers.

1. I was born this way.

2. God needs me single right now.

3. I don’t feel like shaving, flirting, doing my hair, or talking on the phone.

Okay number 2 may be closer to the truth than number 3 but number one hits very close to home. I’m not a relationship person, and I usually suck at being a girlfriend. I can’t tell you how my times my past boyfriends would bemoan me not “checking up” on them. Guys need to be “checked up” on apparently, and here I thought dudes didn’t like clingy girls. I understand this though. Everybody wants to know someone is thinking about them, and checking in on your significant other is a part of that. My level of nonchalance hath driven many a suitor up the wall. I can’t even blame it on having been a mom since I was 18 because even in high school I sort of had the same disposition of not really caring about being in a relationship.

Let’s go deeper. I didn’t have really good examples of great relationships when I was growing up. I come from a single parent home. My mom was/is super self sufficient and my dad was/is in another country. To me, my dad was a heavily accented crackling voice on the other end of a really bad telephone connection. This might have something to do with my ideal relationship being one where my husband, or I travel A LOT, separately, and some how journal our marriage in a leather bound diary only to come together spontaneously throughout the year at exotic spots around the globe.

“Darling, I’ve missed you. How goes your excavation in Luxor?”

“Raki, dear it’s been amazing! We’ve uncovered an entire city dating back to the 12th dynasty.”

“Darling, that’s astounding. Come here and join me on the veranda. Paris is so beautiful at night.”

“I know, you’ve always loved Paris especially after it rains. How was your show last night dear? I hope the press wasn’t much of a headache”

“It was beautiful. I will have to show you pictures of the collection. But, Let’s not talk about work now. We both have early flights to catch in the morning. I saved this bottle of cabernet sauvignon for us, tonight.”

Pardon my daydreaming. But that’s what I’d really like. I don’t really want to see my significant other all the time.

This past year and a half I’ve had the opportunity to really observe relationships more in depth. I have been self employed for a very long time, so my recent foray into the workplace has afforded me the opportunity to spectate the relationships of others. Within my office as well as within my circle of friends there’s this virus of matrimony going around. I mean EVERYBODY is getting married. Apparently my MMR shot stood for “Matri-Mony Repellant” because I have not come close to being infected. (that’s not exactly true, a lot of guys have wanted to marry me, but that’s another story) The thing is, I’m excited for my co-workers and friends. I believe in their love, but I don’t envy their relationships. What’s wrong with me y’all? I’m so happy about other people getting married, it’s weird. But I really really have no inclination at all to try to shore up that same set up for myself.

I feel bad, not for me, but for my mom. She wants a wedding. I know she does and I really wish I could give her one. Like, I really would love for my mom to be able to plan my wedding because it’s a dream of hers. I’ve never EVER voluntarily dreamed about planning a wedding, except when I had to for a class project.

“So what’s wrong with you?” I had this guy ask me that, well I’ve had a few people ask me that, but this time in particular was after having a really great conversation with a stranger who happened to be extremely handsome. I was at the library, trying to study while using my arm as a pillow and book as a night shade when this guy walked up to me and called me out on the futility of my posture and purpose. We ended up have a really great conversation that ended with him asking me…”So what’s wrong with you?” “You seem cool, but what’s wrong with you?” He was perplexed as to why I was single. I started stuttering because I really didn’t have a concrete answer.

Remember reason number 2 that I gave as to why I’m single…’Maybe God needs me single right now’.

1 CORINTHIANS 7:34 34 There is[a] a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.

(in other words: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” lol just joking)

I have a lot to do, I have a lot on my plate, and I have a lot of healing that needs to take place on the inside. This verse is not a cop out, it speaks to me. I feel like, in this season of my life God is calling me to be more focused on his purpose over my life. To do that I need to minimize my distractions. I think marriage is a beautiful thing between a man and a woman, but I also know that being single serves it’s purpose as well. There are a lot of cracks in my foundation that can’t be healed by a Superman swooping in to save the day. I don’t condone broken people jumping into relationships. I’m a broken person, I need melding, not super glue.

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My Grandma: Whoopins and Apple Pie

Grandma

You see those forearms and powerful hands in that picture? They have wielded cast iron pans, switches, and have snatched a head of my hair with equal force and accuracy. Today would be my grandma’s 90th birthday. I miss her dearly. My grandma was the only person I’ve ever verbally acknowledged as “Ma” she raised me. She was a woman of steel, with old school values that while I was growing up I couldn’t appreciate and thought were prudish and restrictive. My grandma was not the kind of person that one would call “warm” or doting, she had a steel resolve, she worked tirelessly. I can remember nights seeing her come home after cleaning the houses of Jewish people. She did what she had to do to be sufficient. She was as hard on me as if she was the one who had bore me. Our relationship was more than I can put into words. She made me polish silver, she taught me how to make apple pies, she taught me how to do nurse corners on the bed, she made me go to school dressed as a “music teacher” for career day when I wanted to be a gum shoe (neither can be easily depicted in costume). She taught me how to make a mean bowl of Cream of Wheat and how to fit more than three pancakes in the pan at once. She taught me how to work with my hands. I often look at my hands, and see hers. They’re not soft and dainty, they’re rough with memories of callouses and wrinkles that gather around too large knuckles, but they remind me so much of grandma. I was laughing the other day with my coworkers as I shared memories of how my grandma would make us sharpen our pencils with knives (good in a pinch, but only if you want a square lead). She had a knack for making due with whatever she found around the house…see below illustration

Grandma Taught Me

When my grandma passed away. I was by her bedside and as soon as she left this earth i left the hospital and drove 4 hours to get back home. I had made that trip twice in less than 24 hours. On My first trip we thought she’d had a turn for the better but within hours of me making it back to northern virginia from the hampton roads area, the news was dire. The drive was eerie because I felt in my heart that my grandma was going to be leaving soon. Those hours were very lonely, my son was asleep in the backseat, I actually saw a pack of cougars on the side of the road. I couldn’t process that even as my eyes told me what I was seeing my mind wouldn’t believe. When I got back to my grandmas bedside I was able to be alone with her.  I held her hand. I told her things. i told her everything that i’d done that she wouldn’t be proud of. i didn’t tell her about any accomplishments. I told her how much i had messed up my life, and strayed away from the person she had raised me to be. I needed to let her know. I whispered things directly into her ear so that she would know that I loved her and all that she had taught me. I honestly can’t wait to see her again. It’s an assured knowledge that I have deep inside that I will see her soon and for me, that day couldn’t come soon enough. Miss you Ma.

 

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The Single Mom and The Barbershop

Anxiety is me taking my son to the barbershop. I wonder if other single moms have this fear. Thankfully we are heading into the years where I can just drop him off with $20 bucks and wait in the car. Unfortunately though since we’ve moved the quest for a new barber has started again which means, I have to accompany him into these establishments. Going into the barbershop as a single mother is NERVE RACKING! First of all I have no clue what to tell the barber to do to this kids head. I think “fade” pretty is my only go to request.  I never know how to dress because I dont’ want to look busted and I don’t want any undue attentions by all those sharply tapered men. It’s not vanity, trust me. I don’t think I’m too bad on the eyes, but in truth it’s all of my insecurities about myself coupled with being in a place that I feel like is the commercial equivalent of a “man cave” that all come to play in this issue.

I feel like i’ve sauntered right past a “no girls allowed” sign and stepped into this place using my son as the ticket behind the veil. I don’t kid myself that barbers and their clients are talking about respectable men interests like mulch, sports, and BBQ. I feel like there are tongue in cheek tales of rowdy adventures abruptly halted and hanging in the air only to be concluded as soon as I leave. This could be a figment of an my very over active and literary imagination, but only in part. I truly feel that the barbershop is the man’s place. I also wish I’d had the forethought to make this a stipulation of our custody order that his father must be the one to take him to the barbershop. I think it’s a great father/son experience.

Mom’s in the shop cannot be avoided, but I really see the experience of getting a haircut and the entire atmosphere  of the barbershop as kind of a rite of passage. Some barbers can be great mentors and  it’s a place where boys become men.

You see, that’s exactly what i’m talking about!

 

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Do Over

Inconvenient Truth #5762: “Your Kids don’t care if you’re a single parent, neither does dinner”

Inconvenient Tr…

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Happy Mother’s Day

The Day That Started It all! It was one year ago on mothers day that 30 and 11 was born! It’s been a great journey and I hope to share even more (consistently) with you guys in the year to come. In honor of this momentous occasion I’m being lazy, um I meant to say I’m reposting “Happy Mother’s Day”!!

30and11

I’m in the closet drinking juice and reading books. IT.IS.ME.TIME! It’s my day dangit!! This morning at 12:07am my boy gave me this lovely card:

Mothers Day Card 2012

and at 12:17am after I told him how much I loved it and would love it even more if he added an L to the word “world”, he asked me “Okay so what do you have for me?” He was serious. Fast forward to “for real morning time”. I’m in the bathroom with my vibrating footbath (with heat); he walks in and sticks his foot right in with mine. I’m like “Umm, Ok BYE!” He leaves. About 15 minutes later I smell breakfast food.  Could it be?! Nah, he can’t be doing what I think he’s doing? I’m actually scared to get my hopes up. I hear the clatter of plates through the bathroom door and imagine him scurrying around with excitement about surprising me…

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The Fellowship of The Nigerians: By J.R.R. Tosin

(Tosin is a Nigerian name meaning God is worthy to be served)

I’m going to let you all into the truly fantastical and imaginative way that I experience the world and the unconventional scenarios in which I more than often find myself. I don’t know if this story will translate exactly how I experienced it but if I somehow manage to communicate this without completely going down the rabbit hole, I will count it as a resounding success!!

I’m a nerd, I read too many books The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are some of my favorites.  So it should be no surprise that the following events played out the way they did in my mind.  So I got pregnant with no plan B (lol), pretty much all I knew was that I was having a baby. My kid’s dad is Nigerian, born and raised.  I’m half Nigerian also.  The Nigerian side of my family actually lives in Nigeria (my father included). I was born and raised on the good ol African American southeastern coast of VA. At 18 my experience with my African roots was more embarrassment than cultural awareness. Imagine growing up with cousins taunting you in feigned staccato African accents saying  “YOUR DADDY LIVES IN A HUT AND PLAYS WID DE LIONS” … yeah they were the worst.

I had never met my kid’s Dad’s family. The Dad and I weren’t exactly an item when we decided to procreate and there was so much turmoil going on throughout those 9 months, being introduced to the family never seemed to be on his to-do list. So finally it was D-Day and after 22 hours of labor and temporary paralysis from a misfire with the epidural needle, little D had made his way into the world.  The next day I found myself by myself in my room. Baby was with me and I was just kind of worn out. I was still in very much pain from the delivery and had managed to sit gingerly, when just as if Ricki Lake her self had given an invisible off camera cue,  the doorbell rang…

I hoisted myself up and was managing to make my way to the door by doing this kind of shuffle stiff legged walk not unlike Fred G Sanford.  There was more impatient knocking adding to my apprehension, because I was NOT expecting any visitors.

Finally I opened the door and there they all were. Standing there. Stuffed in the door like the dwarves in The Hobbit when “They all fell in “

 

I refer you to this passage from the Hobbit

“Someone at the door!” He (Bilbo) said blinking

“Some four I should say by the sound,” said Fili. “Besides, we saw them coming along behind us in the distance.”

            The poor little hobbit sat down in the hall and put his head in his hands, and wondered what had happened, and what was going to happen, and whether they would all stay to supper.  Then the bell rang again louder than ever, and he had to run to the door. It was not four after all, it was FIVE.  Another dwarf had come along while he was wondering in the hall.  He had hardly turned the knob, before they were all inside, bowing and saying “at your service” one after another. Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin were their names; and very soon two purple hoods, a grey hood, a brown hood, and a white hood were hanging on the pegs, and off they marched with their broad hands stuck in their gold and silver belts to join the others.

 

It was the dad’s family!!! They had shown up at the hospital unannounced. I had never met these people before. He didn’t tell me they were coming I was overwhelmed by people I didn’t know, speaking in languages I’d never heard before. HE. HAD. SET. ME. UP BIG TIME!! I was by myself with no warning AND wearing a rear vented hospital gown!! NOTHING in this world makes you feel more vulnerable than having on mismatched ankle socks and an open back hospital gown.  Forget being swollen and unable to move around (and 8 months shy of my last perm #blackgirlproblems). This whole scene reminded me of when the dwarves came to Bilbo’s house in The Hobbit especially because Nigerian Yoruba names sound a lot like hobbit/dwarf names.)  I hope that the following visuals will aid in my attempt to help you envision my predicament…

Caught Unawares

Caught Unawares

The Gathering

The Gathering

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Happy Mother’s Day

I’m in the closet drinking juice and reading books. IT.IS.ME.TIME! It’s my day dangit!! This morning at 12:07am my boy gave me this lovely card:

Mothers Day Card 2012

and at 12:17am after I told him how much I loved it and would love it even more if he added an L to the word “world”, he asked me “Okay so what do you have for me?” He was serious. Fast forward to “for real morning time”. I’m in the bathroom with my vibrating footbath (with heat); he walks in and sticks his foot right in with mine. I’m like “Umm, Ok BYE!” He leaves. About 15 minutes later I smell breakfast food.  Could it be?! Nah, he can’t be doing what I think he’s doing? I’m actually scared to get my hopes up. I hear the clatter of plates through the bathroom door and imagine him scurrying around with excitement about surprising me with breakfast. I did allow myself a lil smile at the thought. I decided to take a little extra time drying off my now super relaxed feet.  I had the mommy face all ready, you know, the ingratiating furrowed brows, slight head cock and turned down lip smile, straight MOMMA FACE! And then I opened the bathroom door, and this:

self serve mothers day

I’M SO DONE!

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