I am not my hair. Or am I? I (just about) contemplate this question on a daily basis. I was blessed with a head FULL of thick, coily (which I just found out about) hair. As most African American girls, my hair has been relaxed since about the age of 12 every 5-6 weeks. It made my hair manageable and “bone straight”. Women are self-conscious for the most part and nice looking hair determines which way your hips shift when you walk. I loved the feel and look of my hair when I walked out of the salon. I didn’t like the wait in the salon, the burning sensation on my scalp that lasted for days, the smell of the chemicals (they made me nauseated), or the comments I received in the chair. The comments should have been non-threatening, but they were the complete opposite. “Dee Dee, look at this head.” “Oh my goodness. Girl, this is A LOT of hair.” “How do you handle this on your own?” My response was usually a giggle or a smile. This is the one area where I am weak. If you talk about my hair-I fold. And those that know me best, know that I have a comeback for EVERYTHING!
Two years ago, I decided to do something about my insecurities. I stopped getting relaxers. I wanted to experience my own hair without chemically altering its true form. It was a disaster. I was so misinformed. I was not ready for the challenge and the time it takes to maintain my healthy mane and my insecurities were now totally exposed. It was too much for me. I failed miserably. Two weeks before Christmas, I treated myself to a relaxer. And I felt good. I walked out of the salon with my head held high and my scalp burning like wildfire. But, I didn’t care. I looked and felt good (or so I thought). About a year ago, I went to the salon and heard the comments all over again. I went home and faced my mane in the mirror and decided enough is enough and I AM NOT MY HAIR. I researched, consulted with a couple of dear friends, and did not look back.
About two weeks ago, I went to the salon for a much needed trim and decided to have my hair straightened (without chemicals). The comments I received this time almost had me in tears. “Your hair is beautiful.” “Your hair is so thick and healthy. It doesn’t even look real.” “Your hair looks like a wig. It is amazing.” It was years of self-doubt being released. It was all those negative comments from friends and family finally melting away. As I walked out of the salon, I couldn’t contain myself. I had to text/call my mom, sister, and dear friend (my self-appointed hair consultant) because this was more than a hair moment for me. This was validation that my hair journey was well worth it.
Needless to say, this road has NOT been an easy one, but I have never been more confident in who I am. I have always known that God made everyone in his likeness. But, it never made sense until now. Growing up with a bestie that has a head full of beautiful hair and a childhood friend that ALWAYS has a comment about my hair made it hard for me. Some people are self-conscious because of their weight or facial acne, for me it is my hair. Now that Ladybug is growing into her own, and is very aware of her hair I want her to be confident in who she is. (Although, with all her sassiness, I think she may be just fine on her own.) I don’t want to pass my issues on to her. She does not deserve that. I even named my mane Mesha (don’t judge me) and I can finally say, “My hair is thick. My hair is coily. My hair is big. My hair is mine. God gave it to me for a reason. And I love it.” Enough said.
It was a beautiful, sunny morning and we were RUSHING once again. We had a doctor’s appointment and just trying to get out of the car with a four and two year old is a major production. As we walked to the door, I had Ladybug on my hip, Pumpkin’s brand new tablet (brand new-like purchased the day before) in one hand, and I was reaching for Pumpkin so he wouldn’t get out of reach in the parking lot. Well, in the midst of all this drama, I completely missed the curb and fell face first. TALK ABOUT COMPLETE EMBARRASSMENT AND FEAR. I was afraid that I had hurt Ladybug, broke the tablet screen (not to mention the tablet needed to be returned because the cord was already broken), and sprained my ankle IN FRONT OF AN OFFICE FULL OF WINDOWS AND PEOPLE. So, I got my fat behind (insert other word here) up, checked Ladybug (who was just as stunned), gave the tablet the once over, made sure Pumpkin was on the sidewalk and not running in the parking lot, and entered the office. I just knew the assistants and other patients were either going to be laughing, concerned, or both. Much to my surprise, we were the first patients of the day so no one saw a thing. There were no other patients in the office and the front desk was so busy with preparing for the day-they didn’t notice anything going on outside. I WAS SAVED FROM EMBARRASSMENT. Ladybug was very concerned about my boo-boos, Pumpkin was concerned about his tablet, and I was thankful that my fall ended up being a major embarrassment only to me. I ended up with a horribly skinned elbow, hand, and a sore knee. After I cleaned my wounds, I chuckled a bit and reflected. This fall taught me so many lessons, it is unbelievable. Paraphrasing the words of Jay-Z, I literally got up and brushed the dirt of my shoulder (although, it was more like my knees).
In life we trip, we stumble, we fall. In our family we have mismanaged funds, lost sight of making God a priority in our home, and made a ton of other mistakes. I have lost my focus and purpose, allowed business ventures fail, and stopped dreaming. This fall taught me that it’s the recovery that matters. At home we literally stopped what we were doing and tackled every issue one step at a time. One day we simply opened the lines of communication about our household finances. One Sunday, we found a church online and just went and have been going ever since. On my way to work, I started crying and praying to God and I’m slowly finding my purpose and picking my business up right where it is. Day by day, step by step, dream by dream, I am picking myself up, taking quick assessments, and moving forward. Otherwise, I will stay broken and bruised on that cold, hard concrete and no one will know.
It was a great morning at least it seemed that way. The angels were dressed, armed with fruit snacks, and ready to go. And guess who couldn’t find her keys? You guessed it…..Mommy. I texted work and let them know that I would be late. I searched all over the house and after 15 minutes, I finally had a breakthrough. Pumpkin said, “Your keys are in the dining room.” I said, “Oh! Show Mommy where you saw them.” So, now, I’m following a 4 year old through the house to look for my keys. And that was a complete witch hunt. I’m asking over and over, “Where did you see Mommy’s keys? Were they on the table? In the plant? On the chair?” And the only responses I’m receiving are, “Oh, Mommy, I don’t remember.” “Look over there.” “Maybe I forgot.” It finally clicked for me after ten minutes of these shenanigans that the boy had no clue of the whereabouts of my keys. And then it was as if I was hit with a lightening bolt, I ran to the couch and found my keys buried under the pillows. I remember sitting them on the arm of the couch Sunday night. The entire process took 30 minutes and pushed my commute back about 45 minutes. Needless to say, we all arrived at work and school late but safe. Lessson learned.
Be. Prepared. I clearly learned my lesson on this particular morning. I have committed a slice of my evenings to being fully prepared for the next day or upcoming week. My evenings are now prioritized by what is mandatory for the next day.
- When I come home from the grocery store, I spend time cleaning the fridge and cutting the fruit before putting away groceries.
- I select outfits for the angels and myself (even my gym bag) for the week.
- I pack lunches and breakfast the night before.
- Jackets, bags, and keys are in a centralized location. (I’ve been pinteresting and a mud corner is in the works.)
- Pictured above is my Bible Study Basket stocked with my journals, pens, bible, and study materials for my morning studies.
The extra work I’m putting forth on the front end has made my mornings that much more pleasurable. And I need all the morning sunshine I can get because I am NOT a morning person you can ask anyone from my angels to my college sweetheart (husband) to my college bestie. I challenge you to make one little adjustment every night. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
It was a normal Friday afternoon, the day was going smoothly and in an instant it changed. My coworker was called to the clinic for one of her students. I packed up my food and followed right behind her after a few minutes. I walked into one of my scariest moments as an educator. There was a child having a severe asthma attack. I had never witnessed an attack this severe. There was vomiting, choking, moments of unconsciousness, and this girl was FIGHTING to breathe. In this moment, I snapped out of my daze as a mom and jumped into my role as an administrator. Somewhere in the chaos, it was communicated that a parent had not been contacted as we waited (what seemed like forever) for the ambulance to transport the student. The numbers that were on file were all either disconnected or the wrong number. We found out she had a sister on campus and I ran (thank goodness for all the running we do in Crossfit) to her classroom and tried to get a contact number from her. Without giving her sister too much information I asked, “How would you get in contact with your mother if there was an absolute emergency?’ She had no response. I was completely dumbfounded. I am a school administrator in a HIGH SCHOOL. I could not believe this girl could not remember her mother’s number. Needless to say, the student was transported and EVENTUALLY (about an hour after the initial onset of the attack) her mother made it to the hospital. I don’t even know( or care to know) what the excuse was.
I then remembered last spring when there was an incident in the parking lot and a staff member had a seizure walking to her car. We found her phone, but it had a password lock and her contact information on her emergency card in the clinic had changed. I don’t even remember how her husband was contacted. That was also a day when I went home counting my blessings.
I won’t even go in depth about how Pumpkin and Husband have asthma and I knew that this student could have been either of them. What I will elaborate on is the fact that my emergency contact numbers are updated, I have no password lock on my phone (I go back and forth with this one.), and my emergency contacts are identified in my phone with the appendix, ICE (In Case of Emergency). I have my phone with me at all times and pray that one of those ICE contact numbers will never need to be dialed. But, one never knows and all we can do is attempt to be prepared. After your read this post, please update your emergency contact info everywhere.
It took less than 10 minutes.
Ladybug’s room went from this:
For over a month I had been slowly purging Ladybug’s room. From the precious baby blankets to the itty bitty baby toys she and her brother had finally outgrown, I was passing it all on and I had finally completed this endless task. You could not believe (or maybe you can) my frustration when I walked in her room. I wanted to pull my fingernails out one by one. And I totally should have known what was going on because as I was diligently working on some other task (It’s shameful that I don’t even remember.), Pumpkin found me and said, “Ladybug hit me with a book.” Well, now I see…she probably hit him with every book she owned.
Later that evening as I cleaned her room (for the ten thousandth time), I shared precious time with her. She was intrigued by everything about me in that moment and it melted my heart. It started with the sticker on the bottom of my shoe. As she handed me the sticker, she was distracted by the curls in my hair and wanted to sit in my lap and touch them. Her attention then moved to one of the million books on the floor and she wanted me to read to her. After that, we sang and danced to a few songs (kid friendly of course). She was finally ready for bed as I finished cleaning her room. I was in love. She gave me new life that evening and secured her spot in my heart (just kidding).
That mess was deliberately made for me. Without us knowing the plan, I truly believe God sent me to her room for us to share a treasured moment between the two of us. I now look at cleaning a little different. I won’t mind as much when I clean life’s little messes. There just may be a reason for it all.
It was deja vu. Pumpkin was sick with a low grade fever on Thursday evening and all day Friday. Saturday morning I made an executive decision to take him to the doctor’s office. Oh, what a early birthday gift to me! I was exhausted from Black Friday shopping and hanging out with my sister-friends from college and the angels could care less. Ladybug was out of control. She orchestrated a beautiful 2 year old tantrum. It started with her claiming she had to go to the potty. So, I pack up two backpacks, a purse, an iPad, and two angels. There was a 5 minute wait for the single restroom in a large PEDIATRICIAN’S OFFICE and during this wait, the angels decided to run to the back of the office and to the lab. I had to do the unthinkable which was leave my purse and ipad and hope the next mom in line doesn’t steal it! (Did I mention that I was exhausted because I was Christmas shopping for these two?) When we finally make it in the restroom, I realize that Ladybug’s pull-up has leaked and her pants are wet. As we are washing our hands, Ladybug gets upset again and begins screaming and crying at the top of her lungs. I swoop her and her brother up along with all our belongings and we go outside to clean her up. As we walk back in the office, she gets upset again and all I could do was sit down and let her scream as the other moms glared at me. I was SO not in the mood. We FINALLY make it out of the waiting room and into the exam room. The doctor comes in the room to begin his examination and Pumpkin fights (and I mean fights like a grown man) the doctor because he is trying to check his ears. Instead of calling in the nurse to assist, I wrestle Pumpkin as the poor man checks his ears. In the meantime, Ladybug is having another tantrum on the floor for no apparent reason except that maybe she is exhausted. The doctor leaves to run some tests and then she appeared. The nurse. She takes Ladybug and Pumpkin to look at the aquarium. When they finally return, Ladybug has her shoes and socks on (she took these off in the middle of her tantrum) and they are drinking juice boxes. We finally walked out of that endless appointment without any further incidents and I couldn’t get home fast enough.
The nurse salvaged my sanity. I was about to lose it. It was going to be one of those moments until she swooped in. And it wasn’t the doctor, it wasn’t the surgeon, it was the nurse. The sweet, compassionate nurse. I wanted to hug her; but I figured that would be too forward for her. I did tell her how grateful I was and how she saved me. She completely understood because she had two at home that were the same age as the angels. I have always been aware that in order for an operation to run effectively it takes an entire team-chiefs, indians, quarterbacks, kickers, principals, teachers, janitors, managers, secretaries, doctors, and nurses. The key is to know your role and be confident in it. You are needed and are fully contributing to the cause. That nurse saved me (and the angels from being dropped off at the fire station across the street) that day and I will be forever thankful.
The angels started a new school this month. I was in love with the school-there was a great curriculum, great staffing, and great practices. It was going to be a perfect fit. When I went to register the angels, I even saw one of Pumkin’s old teachers that I loved. The first week was great. The angels were eager and excited. It was a big relief and then we rolled into week two. On Monday, Pumpkin told the teacher, “No!” and ran to the tables and pulled all the chairs down. On Tuesday, Pumpkin did not listen to his teachers and would not follow directions. On Wednesday, in preparation for nap time, Pumpkin was goofing off and accidentally kicked another little boy in the face. I had to sign an incident report. It felt like deja vu. I was living our previous experience with school again. As Ladybug was flourishing, I was ready to have Pumpkin receive shock therapy.
On Thursday, I walked in the building and was tense all over and a staff member greeted me and I knew it was coming. Pumpkin was being kicked out of preschool. I was pleasantly surprised when she shared with me that Pumpkin and Ladybug grabbed hands and prayed over breakfast. They attempted to grab the hands of the others sitting at the table and the kids gave them ugly looks, so they prayed together. I wanted to hug that lady and bust out in a full-out cry fest. But, I figured that would be too much and the angels would be kicked out for sure.
The core values we teach at home withstand all outside forces. It made me feel gushy inside to know that my two terrors were praying at school and invited others to join. I finally felt like we were doing something right. FINALLY!
On Friday, I spoke with the director about Pumpkin’s behavior and she shut me down immediately. She explained the behavior of boys, four-year olds, and adjustment periods. She told me not to worry and to take a chill pill.
Needless to say, prayers, consistency, and bribery works. because he got it. He is now excited to report daily, “I had a great day and I listened. Ask my teacher.” I ask his teacher daily and they are backing his claims. So, I’m putting the shock therapy on hold for now.
The kids and I arrived home and were finally nearing the end of a long week. My husband and I finalized our plans for dinner and soccer practice. The kids were eager to get home and grab a snack. We finally arrived home and the garage door would not open. The week before we had a new garage door installed, so I figured it was a malfunction and I thought to myself, “Here we go again.” I took the kids out the car and we went inside and my world stopped, it came to a screeching halt.
I made a huge mistake. My “easier way“of paying the bills had failed. The electricity had been turned off for nonpayment. I knew this without making one phone call, the house was warm and I absolutely could not remember the last time I paid the electricity bill or checked the mail. I had every intention of checking it the night before, but I was just too exhausted. Well, I back pedaled and checked the mail and right on top was the beautiful pink slip. I paid the bill and the electricity was on in about 45 minutes. The kids never missed a beat and my husband didn’t judge or blame me. Lesson(s) learned.
This one mistake taught me so many lessons:
1) Bills need to be paid on time every time (I KNOW this already). (This flub cost us an additional $52.95.)
2) Trust my instincts. (I had a feeling we had not paid the bill and a notice was in the mail, and I was right on both hunches.)
3) Take care of home first because no one else will. Life had grabbed a hold of my husband and I. My responsibilities at work were overflowing, the kids started a new school and needed paperwork completed and supplies purchased, my husband was sick again, and I had a ton of personal action items I “needed” to scratch off my to-do list.
I hit a brick wall, but I learned my lessons, reviewed our Household Financial Manual ,and refocused my priorities. A little stumble never hurt anyone. The real test is how fast you get up.
It was one of those mornings. We were late. Super late. I was rushing to get the kids out the house. When we arrived at the sitter’s house, the sitter was outside watering the grass. I almost threw the kids out the car and rolled down the street. I was NOT looking forward to another late morning. In actuality, I didn’t throw the kids at the sitter, I took each of them out the car, handed them off, and ran back to the car to drive another 35 minutes to work. As I shut the car door, I heard, “Mommy, STOP! Mommy!” I stopped briefly at his command and looked at Pumpkin. He then said, “Mommy, I luuv you.” Well, cry me a river! I held back tears, ran to him and my daughter and said, “Well, LW I love you too. More than you’ll ever know.” I got back in the car and cried myself to work. UNBELIEVABLE. He did it again. The little boy made me stop and smell the roses.
I need to slow down. It seems as if my life is always in overdrive. We move so fast and so often, we barely take a second to tell each other, “I love you.” Pumpkin reminded me of how important it is to stop and be grateful. Wherever I was going would still be there when I got there. I needed to stop and love on my angels.
A few days later, I was buckling the kids in the car and Ladybug did not want to get in the car, she demanded her father. And then it was like a ripple effect, Pumpkin then wanted a moment with his dad. The carpool was waiting on my husband, I was late, and I stopped. I gave my husband and the kids their moment. In the end I was late, but we had a great morning by simply enjoying the small things that we live for and that makes us a family.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning and we were preparing to attend church. My husband was in and out of the house doing his normal duties-taking out the trash, locking the backyard gate, feeding the dogs-the usual. Pumpkin was still eating breakfast. I was doing my normal tasks-cleaning rooms, getting dressed, preparing outfits for church-the usual. I heard my “husband” go back outside and softly shut the door. I continued moving about the house and then the house fell unusually quiet. I suddenly screamed, “Ladybug! Ladybug! Where are you?” No response. I didn’t wait long for a response because something clicked in my head. “It was not her dad that went outside.” I dropped whatever I was holding/doing and ran outside. I scanned the garage and didn’t see her so I took off running towards the street instinctively. And there she was running down the middle of the street with my keys. She made it to about the 4th house down the street. In my robe (I’m glad I even had on a robe.) and house shoes, I grabbed her, grabbed my keys, kissed her forehead, and scolded her all the way home. By this time her dad and brother had run outside and they were dumfounded. They scolded her some more and we all went inside and locked the doors. I honestly have only been that scared one other time in my life, and that was at the birth of my son (6 weeks early). It all ran through my head. I was visibly shaken for a good hour.
As the day progressed, one would think we learned our lesson. Apparently, God was not done with us just yet because at my in-law’s I felt that eerie silence from earlier and started screaming again. “Ladybug! Ladybug! Where are you?” There were even more adults this time and she managed to make it to the end of the driveway. I was outdone and speechless. After that, we got the message and loud and clear. Clear and loud.
It can wait. It doesn’t matter how important it is to finish that load of laundry, it can wait. If you don’t hear the little ones, STOP and find them. Most accidents can be prevented. I also learned to listen to everyone no matter how young. Ladybug actually told me, “I want to go. Let’s go Mommy.” I told her to wait, I guess I took too long and she took matters into her own hands. She surely taught me a lesson; one I will never forget!