Tag Archives: parenting

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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Dude Where’s My Blog and Part 1 of “The Raki Story”

What happened to my blog? This venture was supposed to be a fun journey where we traipsed and you tripped along with me down the road to mature adult hood and coming of age adolescence. Instead this became a prodigal sojourn where for the most part I left you the readers in the dark. I apologize for my somewhat stilted and formal writing style, I’ve been looking at Jane Eyre movies this entire week end and the narration of the book-to movie film has impacted my thinking so much that I fear Charlotte Bronte herself has possessed my writing. I’ll try to loosen up.

I realize now that when I started this blog I thought my life would remain pretty much consistent for at least 3 years or so. I thought that I’d be writing mostly anecdotal stories of lessons learned and funny glimpses into the lives of my son and I. Well that was true for at least the first few months after starting 30 and 11, now at 33 and 14. I must admit that the past year and a half has been the darkest and most trying time in my life. I’ve hinted at this in past posts and told you guys that I’d tell the story: I think now would be a good time to get it out. It’s pretty long and involved so I’ll have to break it up into a few parts. So let’s call part 1:

 

EXODUS: Escape from the District

The dictionary defines exodus as: a mass departure of people, especially emigrants. For our purposes let’s define Exodus as : an immediate need to jet, bounce, depart, etc from one locale to another. My flight from the DMV was prompted by a ever growing sense of unease, discontent, and the fact that the relationship with my son’s dad had descended to new lows of volatile proportions that could only be remedied through a curtailing of physical access. And straight up, my move was also in large part due to, as the ever so stern faced mustached Jimmy McMillan would say, “The rent was just too dang high!”. Shooo, I was living in Arlington, VA, in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom loft literally stitching my rent together piece by piece every month. We was hungry. So I made the decision to move to the promised land of North Carolina where my mom had promised us “2 hots and a cot”, military jargon for hot meals and beds to sleep in while I figured myself out. It wasn’t a bad deal except that, where she lives is in the middle of nowhere and that as SOOON as I told the dad about it, he went to WERK! And when I say he went to work, I would have never thought the Arlington County Court could process the amount of accusations that this dude leveled at me so quickly. I mean within a week I had subpoenas taped to my door. I won’t go into the details, because this is my story. My goal isn’t to rip on my kid’s dad regardless of the insanity that ensued from the moment I tried to level with him on why I had to make this move. I really want to give you guys a good understanding of what the summer of 2012 was like. Suffice to say that by hook and crook I got out of Northern Va, literally under the cover of darkness and found myself in the middle of COWVILLE USA, with no idea what to do next. I had the cops on my back saying that I’d kidnapped my own kid (who lives with me…) and to add to that, my first HUGE invoice for over 20,000 bracelets. It was the best of times and the worst of times. So, while I was in an out of court, I was also trying to put together a labor force to fill one of the largest orders I’d ever had in my life. Go figure. Plus my kid’s dad was getting married, BOOM! How’s that for when it rains it pours. I need to make clear that we had not been in any kind of romantic relationship for years so those feelings weren’t there, but there was A LOT of vitriol and it was suffocating me, and had been for years. So to be honest I thought that his getting married would release some of that tension, you know, focus his efforts elsewhere. I. Was. WRONG. WRONG. WRONGWRONGWRONG! Any who, so life was changing at an alarming rate, I couldn’t tell you guys about all of this stuff because like I said earlier, 30 and 11 was supposed to be a fun journey, not a perilous flight.

Cliff hangers suck, but unfortunately I have to end here. Come back for Part 2 I promise you it’ll be worth it, but don’t take my word for it (insert LeVar Burton, eye twinkle).

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Punishment side effects

It’s amazing the effect that punishment has on bedtime.

FACT: A child on punishment will voluntarily put himself to bed before 8:00pm

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Man Child

 

man_child_blog

The Man Child slept. Haphazardly strewn on sheets askew and pillows too soft. It was the sleep of adolescence, carefree and untainted. But just beyond the window pane a light flickered, and then it happened. Not all at once, but slowly it crept in sweeping past the old lamp post on Browery St. The still balmy summer night heralding it’s coming like a light house in  fog beaconing an ocean liner. The thin reedy songs of the cicadas were hushed as it rolled in leaving in it’s wake the sweet scent of honey suckle and lavender, with touches of apprehension mixed with fear and mystery…

 

photography credit: moi

short story: moi too

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Virginia Bama Tells a Story

Raki wasn’t always cool. I speak of myself in third person to show how far I’ve come. But lest I forget, the following will always bring me back to earth. A few weeks ago I found a cassette tape of a 13 year old me telling a story that I’d made up. I had just moved from southern Virginia to the DC metro area and had not yet begun the arduous task of eradicating my accent. Listen and be amused.

http://theoriginaldavid.com/Shakiras_Story.mov

(if the link audio doesn’t work try the direct link HERE it takes a second to load, but sit tight…it’s worth the wait)

Are you done laughing yet? This tape surfaced right on time, and turned into an afterschool special. Dave is growing up and as much as I appreciate his eccentricities, being a teenager in a society that is telling kids to grow up too quick and act too cool way too soon, makes it difficult to instill in him to just be cool with who he is (everybody else can kick rocks). I get frustrated with some of his insecurities mostly because I’ve been in his shoes and understand what he’s going through. Telling your kids that you “get it” works sometimes but this tape gave Dave a real life peek at me at his age. I was awkward, friendless, the new kid, totally out of place and telling stories in the closet to amuse myself. Of course when I let him listen to it he laughed a lot, critiqued everything, then wanted to hear it again. Thankless but worth it 🙂

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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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Nike’s are for Action, Toms are for protests

My son is the most Toms loving boy ever! I TRIED to force some Jordans, Lebrons, KDs even Roshe’s on him and he was NOT having it. He only wants his pseudo ninja shoes. I have nothing against Tom’s but they have about as much traction as the inside of an Oreo Cookie. Actually the soles of them look like Oreo cookie cream topped by fabric wrapped feet. Anyway they’re cheap so who am I to complain?

tom t tom tom tommmms

 

Nike’s are for …

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Inconvenient Truth #1455: Thou Cannot Parent in skinny jeans.

Prove me wrong. Try peeling your kid off the floor in the toy aisle after they slither out of your arms using the evasive demon noodle boneless slump trick.

Inconvenient Tr…

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Is This The Little Boy I Carried?

A Cake fit for a Being

A Cake fit for a Being

Well, this is what happens when you let him decide what goes on the cake. *sigh

In a few short hours I will be mother to a teenager. Y.I.K.E.S. We held his birthday party yesterday, saturday because Monday would have been too hectic.  There will never be another moment like this, literally, he’s 13, and I’m the converse: 31… and it’s 2013.  It’s just a cool little coincidence, and if I played the numbers I’d play 13,31,13 in that order. I still can’t believe my kid is a teen, and I feel like he’ll probably go to sleep, and out of spite grow an inch tonight so that he can be taller than me in the morning just to prove a point. The past year was pretty tough, this time last year I was in the midst of trying to abate a nervous breakdown and losing the battle.  I’ll tell you guys more about that later, but now I’d like to take a few moments to extoll the awesomeness that is David.

David rides around the neighborhood in snow boots and shorts, on a vintage BMX Mongoose bike with a bow and arrow strapped to his back wielding a 2 ft long Nerf sword. I love that about him because he really is a kid who does what he wants and doesn’t let pretense keep him from enjoying himself.  He still gets excited about stuff, he’s not “over it” as so many teens and preteens are these days. There’s an awesome sense of wonderment that I wish I could preserve in him forever although I know that, along with his estimation of my coolness, that too will begin to fade in the years to come. I just pray that he knows that no matter what, I love him with a vulnerability that’s hard for me to comprehend. That’s what parenting really is, it’s vulnerability, it means loving another person so much that self becomes secondary.  I’ve learned a lot about the resiliency of this kid, he’s surprised me with his maturity and tenacity even as I sit here watching him repeatedly stick his finger into a container of slime making it expel pitch perfect fart noises (the sloppy kind).  I took for granted the roundness of his face, and almost missed the sharpness of his mind. A fact I should have noticed years ago when at an early age, drawing on his superior sense of reasoning and observation: Dave posed the question:  “Mom, do I have utters?”

I could really go on and on about the joy my boy brings me. He makes me happy though not in a dependent way that can be sappy and is sometimes an unfortunate consequence of single parenthood. Yeah, he can get on my nerves and frustrate me to the point where I need to take a time out, but thankfully, those times are rare.  I delight in him and enjoy being his mom and wouldn’t want him to be any other way.

Happy Birthday Dave!

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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…

View original post 63 more words

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Passive Resistance

Dave’s not happy. He’s making a stand against going to his Dad’s house for spring break. His silent resistance has been going on for an hour now, it’s almost 4pm. He’s not being rude or obnoxious, just quietly obstinate. I told him to get into the shower and put on some clothes so that we can get going, and he did just that. I was waiting for him when he stepped out of the hallway and into the living room wearing the most obscenely tight ANGRY BIRDS pajamas ever known to MAN!! DUDE! I really want to respect his display of emotion because it’s important for him to know his opinion matters…but really dude. I’m going to need you to be a little more hard core in your effrontery. Anyway y’all, Dave’s not happy, he’s angry, he’s an angry bird.

DYNOMITE

DYNOMITE

just for laughs.

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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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Curated Cartoonage because Saturdays Suck

Let’s face it, saturday mornings suck for kids. I think all 80s babies will agree, we had THE BEST cartoons EVER! It’s pathetic how much joy I get out of lauding this over my son. I’ve come to realize that those of us lucky enough to have really grown up in the 80s cherish our childhood like no other generation. It’s like a badge of honor, Fiercely defended! I’m sorry, if you were born in 1983 you can’t really claim this distinction unless you had a bunch of older brothers and sisters or cousins…because you really didn’t start forming lasting memories until around 1989. (I’m sure there are some exceptions). I’ll give you guys my entire theory on 80s childhood soon, but not just yet, that’ll come in another post. Anywho, It’s saturday morning, and what’s on tv? TRASH! As I flip through the channels with my requisite bowl of Cap’n Crunch (berries on the side, cuz I’m grown) I see hmm, spikey haired kids throwing dragon balls and cards at each other, I guess they’re battling, singing vegetables, and dancing dragons! WHAT IN THE HANNA BARBERA IS THIS MESS!  Thankfully there’s youtube. I’ve put my son on to some of my favorites, and I must say he’s all the better for it. Here’s this morning’s line up, in no particular order.

Remember:

 I lied, there is a particular order that only applies to Fraggle Rock. Fraggle Rock will ALWAYS be first (and Batman The Animated series will always be second). Fraggle Rock is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE show ( It’s not a cartoon but whatev). I’m not going to expound upon my love of Jim Henson here…because I’ve already done it HERE on my tumblr. 

Fraggle Rock

Duck Tales

Jem

Gummi Bears

Kidd Video

I’m going to attempt to curate a saturday morning cartoon playlist every saturday because it’s important that I do this for the greater good!  To all my fellow parents, and future parents please share your childhood with you kids, believe me they’ll love you for it.

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