children

All posts tagged children

Imperfect me!

Published April 7, 2016 by hrhdana

I never thought I’d be a Mom.

I desperately wanted to be one.

I knew when I was a kid that I wanted to be a wife and a Mom.

Real talk.

But when you make it to 30 plus and it hasn’t happened for you, you start to believe that it won’t.

Then it did.

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I think I floated for 3 years. I marveled in every milestone and accomplishment. I woke up and went to sleep with prayers of thanksgiving dancing off of my lips. I researched parenting like it was a master’s class. I subscribed to every blog, purchased at least 40 books and lived on parenting websites. I knew what kind of Mom I was going to be. I was going to be patient and fun and creative and loving. I was going to be kind and calm and supportive. I was going to be perfect.

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That is always my goal. To be perfect. No matter how many times I tell my therapist that I know I cannot be perfect. No matter how many times I said that I know perfection is impossible, unattainable and just a way that I self-sabotage, I still believed I could do THIS thing, this Mommy thing as close to perfect as possible. I mean I had never done anything THIS important before. I had never had a blessing THIS big before. Surely I could do THIS thing perfectly. Surely I could.

I tried. Mommying consumed me. I don’t know how my friends put up with me. I had nothing to contribute to conversations unless it was about my Little Bit. I lost me. And I lost me so well that it took me at least two years to even notice that I was lost. The most depressing part was that even in throwing my all in to my parenting I wasn’t perfect. I still lost my temper with my little blessing. I still struggled with playing on the floor with her. I still couldn’t make Pinterest creations translate in to real life. I still burned dinner sometimes. I never did make it to Michael’s or get my Christmas cards out this year. I still couldn’t get her to eat avocado and she didn’t care that it was a “perfect” food. Sighs

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And it stopped being fun for me. I love my kid with everything in me. She is amazing. She is smart and kind and funny and gorgeous and patient and stubborn and she makes me proud every single day. But I? I was falling short in so many ways. She was watching hours of TV when I know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids 2 and older have no more than one to two hours daily. She was drinking juice. And not only juice, but the kind I brought from a store and not the juice I told myself that I was going to make for her with organic produce in my juicer at home. She was off of vegetables almost completely. She was eating candy for Christ’s sake! What kinda perfect Mom lets her kid have candy?!?!?! I was failing. And it wasn’t fun for me anymore because instead of seeing a happy, well-adjusted kid all I was seeing was MY failure at the most important blessing God had ever given me.

woman-sad

I failed. Again.

Parenting will reveal every single patched over wound that you possess. Your children will strip you bare of all the makeup you wear for the world AND for yourself. My kid is like a magnification mirror that shows me all of the places inside of me that are decidedly UN-perfect. And it is hard. Because if I want to be the best Mom that I can be it starts with being the best Dana I can be. That means owning my crap. That means removing the foundation I slather on my face and addressing the problem that caused the dark spots under my eyes. It means getting the actual sleep I need so I don’t look like a raccoon. It means accepting my imperfections and doing what I can to address the problems that I am hiding under makeup.

 

And it’s hard.

Did I say that already?

So, here I am. I am standing here naked faced admitting what everyone else knows. I am not a perfect Mom. I’m not a perfect anything. And if I keep trying to be what I cannot be it will squeeze all of the joy out of my life. This is a lesson I have been trying to learn for decades now. I tell my therapist at least once a month that I’ve accepted my imperfections. But I haven’t. I still want desperately to be the perfect Mom. But I can’t and it isn’t any deficit in me. It is an unattainable goal. It is not possible.

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I am the best Mom that I can be to my Little Bit. She loves me for who I am to her. She tells me almost every single day that I am, “the best Mommy she ever had.” Lol I realize there isn’t much competition in that arena but I’ll take it. I love her perfectly. No one can take that from me or from her.

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New adventures

Published September 16, 2015 by hrhdana

She woke up nervous.

“How will I know my new friends’ names? How will I know the rules? Will my teacher be nice? What if I don’t like their lunch?”

As soon as her eyes opened she was spitting questions at me. It was the first day of Pre-K. I kissed her furrowed brow and reassured her that everyone else would be new too. I told her that the teachers would play games so everyone could learn each other’s names. I told her that it would all be okay. It was an adventure.

She was unconvinced.

I helped her get her uniform on. She was quieter than usual.

“Will you stay with me today Mommy?”

“Mommies can’t stay at school baby girl. But I will drop you off today and I will pick you up later. You are a champion babygirl. You will be fine.”
Pre-K started on a Wednesday. I took the day off from work and we got there super early. My little likes to explore quietly in new situations. I got there early enough that she was the first kid in her classroom. The teacher was still putting things in to their places and making last minute adjustments to her bulletin boards.

“Please ignore us. I just wanted to give her a chance to explore before everyone came.”

The teacher smiled. She understood. She didn’t crowd my lil bit. She let her do her thing. We walked around looking at all of the different centers. We noticed the numbers in each center. “Four kids can play here Mommy. How will she pick which four?”

The teacher explained how free choice time would work. Nia seemed satisfied.

Kids started arriving with their parents. Nia and I were reading a book in the quiet area. She left me to explore her new classmates. She introduced herself to some kids and just jumped in playing with some others. The teacher called all of the kids to the rug. I stepped outside to answer her Dad’s call wondering how it was going. I stepped back in and my throat got tight. Looking at my little miracle sitting on the rug with the other kids in her uniform was emotional for me. She was listening so intently to the story. She was engaged. It was going to be okay. It was all going to be fine.

The teacher announced that it was time for adults to leave. I watched Nia’s face crack. It was easy to be brave knowing I was a few steps away but now I was leaving. She started sobbing. I went to her. I reminded her that, “Mommies always come back.” I whispered affirmations in her ear. “You are a champion. You are excellence. You can do anything. You are not afraid. Mommies ALWAYS come back.” She sobbed. “I just want you to stay. Can you please stay? Can you just hold me? Can you please stay Mommy? Please? Please? Please?” I knew that the longer I stayed the more upset she would become.

I made eye contact with the teacher who walked over to take her from me. I peeled her arms and legs off of me and with one last, “Mommies always come back. I’ll be back Nia,” I walked out of the classroom, out of the school and cried. Yes.  I cried. Hard. I know I have to encourage her to fly. I know that there will be times when I need to give her a little push to use those wings. I do it. It’s part of the job. But I am certain that it will NEVER be easy to walk away when she is literally begging me to stay. When I know that going back will comfort her even as it stifles her growth. Because that last part is the key. She has to grow. And I have to step away sometimes for that to happen.

At a new park she stays by my side, cautious. She will not interact with the kids she doesn’t know. She stays close to what is familiar. But if I leave, even if I only absent myself outside of the gate to a bench she will tentatively engage the other kids. She will explore the new slides and climbing structures. She will move forward. My presence keeps her frozen in place, close to the familiar. My distance helps her hurl herself into new situations. And she thrives in those new situations.

The first day of Pre-K was a half day. My Mom came with me to pick her up. As we walked in to the classroom she came running to us. She hugged us tight and introduced my Mom to her teacher. As we left the school she was quiet. She firmly held my Mom’s hand on one side and mine on the other. “How was school Lil Bit?” “It was good. I made friends. I like my teacher. But Mommy.”  “Yes love.” “I don’t need to go back there. Okay? I’ll go to work with  you tomorrow.”

I reminded her that school was HER job. She needed to come back the next day and keep learning everything that she could. She was quiet.

The next morning Nia was taking the school bus to school. I talked to her bus driver for 20 minutes the night before. I had questions. Was there a monitor on the bus? Did I need to send her car seat? How many kids are on the bus? Have you ever lost a kid? Do you know that I will hunt you down and skin you alive if you let someone bully my baby?

Okay so I didn’t say that last one but I promise you I was thinking it. Daddy talked up the bus with Nia getting her excited about her new adventure. The morning came and it was rainy. In my spirit that felt appropriate. What kind of Mom puts her 3 year old on the bus? What am I doing? Why don’t I change my hours at work so I can take her? What if something happens and I’m not there? I was the quiet one on Thursday morning. I was afraid to speak around the lump in my throat.

The bus came and she was so excited. We have been watching school buses forever and now she was FINALLY on one. She chattered excitedly as I boarded the bus behind her and buckled her in. She kissed me and made jokes with the bus driver as I snapped a quick picture. She waved and blew kisses as the bus pulled away. I stood, frozen, watching it leave, praying silently. Please protect her always Lord. Please keep her safe Father God. Please. Please. Please.

We survived. Both of us. We grew. Both of us.

I might have called the bus driver on his cell phone to make sure she got there safe. Don’t judge me.

This Mommy shit be hard ya’ll.

Nia

Hold my breath

Published August 26, 2015 by hrhdana

Sometimes I hold my breath

heart racing

watching my little girl

be free in the world.

And I wish I could remember

a time when I was.

And I wonder when

will it happen to her?

The first time

someone gives her the stank eye

for nothing more than her melanin.

It will happen.

I hold my breath

I wonder when?

When?

Ntozake said it best in For Colored Girls,

“Ever since I realized there was someone called a colored girl,

or an evil woman, a bitch, or a nag,

I’ve been trying not to be that,

and leave bitterness in someone else’s cup.”

But lately even sweet tea

tastes like bitterness to me.

I’m hurting.

Agony.

And I’m at a complete loss

on how to build my

beautiful,

confident,

smart,

amazing,

sensitive

little girl

strong enough that she can’t be broken

but not too strong

that her very existence is a challenge

to those who would

murder her

with impunity.

It’s a conundrum with no solution I can see.

And I can’t even exhale fully.

I can’t breathe

Sometimes I hold my breath.

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Down the rabbit hole

Published August 17, 2015 by hrhdana

Next month my Lil Bit is going to be four years old. I LOVE birthdays. I dislike children’s parties very much. LOL They are usually loud and crazy and expensive. Ever since I had a kid I’ve been looking at ways to celebrate that will make her happy and won’t make me insane. It’s a fine line folks.

For her 1st birthday we went to Puerto Rico. It was awesome and perfect. We spent the day on the beach. We chilled out. There was zero stress and everyone had a ball. We had a cake when we came back from P.R. with just family. I wanted to make traveling for her birthday our birthday tradition but when 2 rolled around money was scarce. I got roped in to the dreaded house party. It was loud and messy and by the end of the day she and I wanted to have huge tantrums. LOL I resolved not to do that again for as long as possible.

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Last year we went apple picking. I think I stumbled on to the perfect party for us. It was low maintenance. The kiddos had a blast. People could arrive whenever they wanted to. The setting was beautiful. I actually got to have conversations with the adults in attendance. Everyone left happy and tired. So this year we are going to do it again.

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Then the kid threw a wrench in my plans.

“Mommy, can I have a My little pony party for my birthday?”

“I thought you wanted to go apple picking again this year.”

“I do but I want my little pony too”

Okay, I thought. I can do this. I’ll still do the apple orchard but I’ll buy SOME my little pony decorations and call it a day.

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If you know me you already know that this plan has dissolved in to madness. LOL I can see how parents go insane with the party planning. I have fallen down the rabbit hole. She wants My Little Pony. There must be My Little Pony. Right? I’ve already ordered a dress for her in keeping with the theme. I’ve started buying MLP stuff for goodie bags. I’ve enlisted a cake maker to make a MLP cake. I’ve been on Oriental Trading and Party city websites looking for MLP tablecloths and cups and plates and napkins. I’ve looked in to a face painter who can make MLP facepaintings. I even looked in to MLP characters to come to the party in the damn apple orchard! I need HELP! I have fallen down the kid party rabbit hole and I can not find the exit!

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Where oh where has my chill gone? Where oh where can it be? LOL

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I’d do anything to make my kid happy. I really would but I am stopping myself. She will be FOUR! I don’t even remember my 4th birthday party. I have no illusions that I can or should make it grand enough for HER to remember. I am putting myself on party planning time out.

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We will go apple picking. She will wear her dress. There will be goodie bags. There will be cake. Everyone will go home with apples and Mommy WILL retain her sanity.

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Anyone know how to block party planning websites? Because even as I prepare to hit post I’m wondering about some cupcakes I saw on Pinterest and I’ve almost convinced myself that I can make them. Mommy down! Mommy down!

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Send help!!!!!!

She holds my hand

Published August 11, 2015 by hrhdana

We walk to the bus every morning.

Monday through Friday.

I am so lucky.

She holds my hand.

Sometimes

proudly

fiercely

reverently

lovingly.

She clings to me.

When something catches her eye

a spiderweb,

a beautiful flower,

or even a

a beetle

she lets go.

Runs to explore.

Her face lights up.

3 year old exclaiming

MOMMY LOOK AT THIS!!!

And I look.

When she is ready to go again

she reaches for my hand.

I am lucky.

Today my right hip is wet.

It’s raining.

Her umbrella comes right up to my hip.

And even though she was holding it

tightly

excitedly

She had to hold my hand

TOO.

She holds my hand.

Her umbrella bumps against my hip,

It’s wet.

I don’t complain.

Grounded in the moments where

she holds my hand

as if there were no other way to

walk down the street.

She holds my hand.

And even with my wet hip.

I smile big.

She holds my hand.

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If I am ever taken in to police custody…

Published July 22, 2015 by hrhdana

If I am ever taken in to police custody know that…

I will not kill myself.

I will not resist.

I will not reach for a weapon.

I will not fight.

I will comply.

I will fight in court

with all of the resources at my disposal.

I will have only one thought

during the course of the entire interaction

“Make it home to Nia”

And yes,

I WILL be

that docile Negro

that they want me to be.

I will yas suh and yas maam them to death.

My child is my life.

She is the future.

She is everything.

And I will choke on the shame of being a good slave

just so I can make it home to her.

Never let THEM write my narrative.

I am a MOTHER.

Nothing else matters.

Pride can take a flying leap.

I want to survive.

I will make myself small

and quiet.

I will choke on my rage.

I will comply.

And even having made this declaration

publicly

I know these actions can’t save me.

They can hashtag me

with impunity

some desk duty

paid vacation

for my blood on their hands.

There are no safe quarters for me

OR

my progeny.

If I am ever taken in to police custody

RAGE for me.

Don’t believe

the, “official story.”

My only thought

I promise you

was making it home

to my baby.

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Chronicles of a threenager

Published April 16, 2015 by hrhdana

Nia’s Elsa dress got taken away a while ago because she wasn’t listening. It actually went in to the garbage because she decided to feed it jello. (Don’t ask) Anyway, her behavior has been exemplary for a few weeks now so her Dad and I replaced her Elsa dress and added 3 other dress up outfits to it. Last night we tried them all on after bath and hair time. Then this happened.

Nia is looking at the photo of the accessories that compliment the two princess dresses.

Nia- Mommy you forgot something.
Me- What did I forget?
N-The Cinderella shoes, wand and tiara and the Rapunzel hair, crown and shoes.
M-I didn’t forget. Those were extra. You have shoes, tiaras and wands. And your own hair is more gorgeous than ANY fake hair so you don’t need that.
N-*grabs my face* Mommy if you are going to do something do it right. Isn’t that what you say? How am I going to be Rapunzel with Tianna shoes? Huh? How am I going to be Cinderella without the right crown? Come on Mommy.
M-Nia it’s all for playing pretend. You can pretend that those other tiaras match the character that you are playing.
N-That’s not princess Mommy. Princesses do it right from the shoes up. Now how do you feel? You can say sorry Mommy. It’s okay we all make mistakes.
M- laughing. Ummm sorry?
N-That didn’t sound real. Do you want to try again?

Young Girl Playing By Herself