Grooveshark has got me caught in a Mary J. Blige vortex and I’m reminiscing about past hurtful relationships that I never actually had.
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.
(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 🙂
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.
Or Isopropyl if you insist. Earlier while wickedly enjoying pouring half a cap of peroxide on my sons cut foot (it burns so good) I began to think back to all the times I was in the same exact position as a kid having banged myself up in some way or another and being forced to sit on the toilet seat whilst my gradmother either poured alcohol or peroxide over my latest boo boo then perfunctorily painted it purple. Did you guys ever get the purple treatment? To this day I have no idea what the purpose of that was, and I doubt I’ll Google it. I’m going to just take it in faith that my grandma knew what she was doing…and do the same thing with my youngin, which brings me to my other ponderance; am I grandma worthy?, is the generation beneath mine grandma worthy? My grandma taught me a lot about home remedies and “making do” to the extent that I feel confident enough in my spice rack, pantry, and medicine cabinet that my family will neither go hungry, nor lose a limb if push comes to shove. How about you guys? I think about the younger generations and how they need more grandmas, real gangsta ones that’ll give you a whoopin and bake you an apple pie all in one Sunday afternoon. I think about my grandma often, she raised me and next month is the anniversary of her passing. You guys will get to know her too through 30and11, Grandma Dot was a key character in some of my most triumphant and EMBARRASSING coming of age stories and of course it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t share the best of them with all of you! Stay Tuned!!
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!
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”!!
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:
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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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.
just for laughs.
(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…
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.
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.
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.
My son is too old to make me a handmade card without an ulterior motive, and he’s too young to buy me anything without using my own money. Welcome to the Tween Ages, I hope you saved all of those homemade cards because we’re now entering the dark ages. I’m single, not dating, nor reconciling nor even pretending to be upset with any love interest to get some “forgive me flowers”. I’m not unhappy or anything like that, I just know that at this juncture in the mother/son relationship I will not be expecting a thoughtful gift from my kid until maybe his junior year in high school.
‘Member dis? We used to play M.A.S.H. (mansion, apartment, shack, house) back in the day. The limo was obligatory up until somebody realized that rich and famous people don’t actually own stretch limos. I also kinda remember playing this by myself and putting my 4th grade crush in the husband column then finagling the results to make sure he was chosen. I decided to take a trip down memory lane two nights ago. I thought it would be fun. It wasn’t. It was actually stressful and depressing. I could only come up with two fantasy husbands, the housing situation was a bust too. I finally just started putting whatever, but this little exercise got me thinking about my current mental state. Am I really that jaded with life, that I can’t even dream about the unrealistic future or have I…dare I say it…lost the magic and grown up? I feel like the adults in the Polar Express that couldn’t hear the bell ring because they had stopped believing in Santa Claus. As I’m writing this I’ve figured out exactly who’s to blame!!! My financial advisor!!.. well he’s not “mine” per say but it sounds good and really grown up when you place ownership on a financial advisor. I went to go see this guy more as a return on a previous favor, than because I needed advice about finances that I don’t actually have. That meeting was like a 2 hour long game of M.A.S.H. seriously, only we didn’t stop at houses, husbands, and cars, Mr Northwest Mutual added a few other columns like, Debt, Retirement homes, Insurance, Current Expenses and a whole host of other headers that bit by bit chipped away at the gold leaf I’d thinly layered over my very real, very impoverished state. This real life M.A.S.H was more like SQUASH. As sobering as it was to go through the intimate details of my life and future plans (or lack there of), it was an experience I cherish and have recommended to all of my friends. I realized that reacting to life instead of directing your life is not a good pattern to fall into. My advisor was amazed at the simplicity of my needs, while it was something to laugh about it made me realize that I’d stopped dreaming big. That is the toll that parenthood has taken on me. I didn’t have a dream car, dream salary, dream house, or dream future beyond wanting to pay for my son’s college tuition and be able to take care of my mom. It was pathetic really, but I’m saying this in the past tense for a reason. That meeting opened up my eyes and I started to focus on the happiness factor and creating the quality of life that I’d really enjoy, to consider the possibilities and not the liabilities of life.