In addition to his extraordinary contributions to society and meritorious life, Jim is by far an outstanding soul/individual. He is Love personified. He is as pure and as genuine as they come. I am honored to know him; I am honored to be able to call him a friend. Congratulations, Jim! Much deserved!
So I’m not the best mother in the world. I have an administrative professional position at a non-profit, private university. I’m an artist, musician, singer, writer, and Ph.D. student. I volunteer in the community; love my community. I love people, and care about the world. My heart is with my people in Haiti. I feel their struggle and wish to help anyway I can. I try to teach my children social responsibility, love for self and people, kindness, respect. I teach them how to love; how to appreciate art, history and music. I let them be. I like to flow. So we flow-we have fun! I like a peaceful house. But lately, my home has not been peaceful. It’s been a tyrannical energy of me being sick and tired of their bullsh*t. You’d think that at 13, my daughter would just clean her room without my swearing, ultimatum promising, lamenting, crying and finally making physical threats. You’d think my once sweet 8-year old would not cry just to avoid her evening bath. You’d expect my once very creative 11-year-old would just do her goddamn homework and submit it to her teacher so I wouldn’t have to get phone calls about how poorly she’s doing due to NEVER submitting homework. They make me sick. And it seems, no matter how much support, stability and firmness they receive, they’ve decided that they’re going to do it their way. So, I’m so sick of them right now. They’ve taken my love and attention for weakness and really utilize it to manipulate the hell out of any situation. They would make fine lawyers! I see them starting their own firm.
And that’s the fine line in parenting: Cultivating their talents by guiding them, even in reprimand, and to not suppress or put down their spirit. And this is a conscious decision I make; I’m very careful how I curse my daughters out. This is for several reasons. I’m not just raising girls. I’m raising African Haitian American girls. I’m demonstrating how to move about this world which treats us as the Other. I’m teaching them self-governance, choice, responsibility, and most of all, love for self-pride in self. I’m teaching them how to not depend on anyone, how to work for what they want. I want them to care about me, my efforts. I want them to show gratitude for the quality of life I ensure they enjoy. But all they’re exhibiting is entitlement and apathy.
So this morning, after I had awakened them up, and lovingly reminded them where I had neatly hung their clothes, I proceeded to get myself ready. I had taken my shower, gotten dressed, coifed my afro, applied make-up, gotten my bags together before realizing that my youngest was just getting out of the shower; my second was still in bed-with the dog! My eldest put aside the beautifully embellished sweater I laid out for her for a disgusting and stained (I should add-which hasn’t been washed in weeks) NIKE hoody/sweatshirt! Aren’t girls supposed to be dainty and clean? All the princess talks of old was apparently for the birds! They’re disgusting. Yeah I said it! Just plain…Big Sigh. So, with only five minutes left for me to walk into my office, and realizing that an additional second spent on the horrors of this morning would render me dead due to an unavoidable coronary or stroke, I said, “You girls have a nice day. I’m leaving.” And with that, I walked out of the house.
I started my car, lit a cigarette, and listened to the garbage talk on the urban radio station. I saw red. But imagined yellow. And I said a prayer of thanks, that my girls are okay. They’ll be okay. I’ll be okay. Deep breath. Fuck it.
I flew from Miami, FL to Cleveland, OH on January 2nd for my 3rd Ph.D. residency which is being held at the Mets Center in Erlanger, KY. My friend and fellow cohorter, Kathy lives in Cleveland, and I flew into her town to help her drive down the icy, snowy weather. Mind you, I’ve never driven in the snow; in fact, I had only seen and experienced this weather once in Novemeber 2012 when I attended the Haitian Studies Association conference in New York the previous year. You can imagine that I was both scared, stressed out and upon arriving and putting on the remaining clothes in my little carry-on luggage, COLD!
It was 11 degrees when I arrived to Cleveland. Nevermind the beautiful barren trees covered in white snow! Nevermind her lovely home, peacefully situated in front of an enchanting forest of snow-capped trees; nevermind her tastefully decorated home, beautiful family and the delicious spaghetti dinner she treated me to. It was COLD!
With the absence of sun and the continuous storm, I felt myself begin to fall into a generative depression. It doesn’t mean that I’m not a happy person; it means that I found myself really missing my 78 degree weather and my warm children, and my hot kitchen, and my humid backyard, and my sweltering streets of Miami.
Deciding that I would be grateful for the experience, I took another look. I took a deep breath and reminded myself why I was there. I was there for a dear friend who deserved my time. And she would do the same for me…and she is lovely and so hospitable. I was happy to be there with her and with the warmth of her kindness and love, I was warm. I felt good. I was calm. And truth be told, there’s something very calming about the auspicious dark woods, covered in snow, with its ground white and unadultered; and in its innocence, I found peace and a willingness to be flexible.
Yes, I can live anywhere because I am flexible.