Celebrating Mother’s Day

Motherhood has been good to me.

This is why I coined the name “Irritated Tya” for my daughter. She was clearly ready to get out of that swing. She’s 3 months in this picture.
My son Nate the Great at about 6 months.

I started early at 19. But I was so ready for it and blessed that God had allowed me to conceive and birth a child. At 19, I didn’t realize how hard that is for millions of women around the world. I didn’t take it for granted. Over the years of raising my daughter, and nine years later, my son, I thanked God for His provision in my life and covering my children.

I remember testifying one Sunday in church about how good God had been to me. I’d raised my children, primarily, as a single mother although I was married twice to their father and then my late husband. Unfortunately, though, neither of them were very helpful in crux of parenting. By that I mean, I was the one responsible for transportation to and from school, doctor appointments, emergency visits, extra-curricular activities, the birds & the bees talk, assigning chores, transporting to part-time jobs, disciplining, homework, college planning. All that! But the consistency with which God showed up in my life, I never considered it a struggle.

My mom with my children.

That doesn’t mean, however, that it was easy breezy. Parenting is parenting. The hardest and most important, and most rewarding job I would ever have. I made the sacrifices I considered necessary. Partially to make it easier for my support system of my family to help me. Partially because I wanted to be as available to my children as my mother had been to myself and my siblings when we were growing up.

My mother said something profound to me that her mother said to her. I don’t know if I was sharing my life goals with her or complaining about the overtime I was missing out on at my job at the time. But she said said my grandmother told her, “Your children won’t always be little.”

My mom was always present with my children ❤️

Of course, when they are little, you can’t see that far ahead. You just see the right now. But not too long ago, when I realized that I have a 26 year old and a 17 year old, those words resurfaced in my mind. And I was, wow, where did that time go?

My daughter is off on her own with a husband and baby, and, though, my 17 year old son is still in high school, he’s kind of doing his own thing.

I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about when this time in my life would come. But, I sure hadn’t expected to be a widow when I was entering the empty nest phase of my life. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying this space of time in my life.

I love that I can go on vacations with friends without having plan babysitting for my children. I love that I can pay for a membership to a Pilates class, that ten years ago, I would have swore was too much. I love that I can splurge on a private Hot Yoga class, if I want to. I also love that I can sleep in on my Saturdays because my son can drive himself to Saturday morning bowling league.

This is a good feeling. While I know that parenting never truly ends, the declining level of responsibility that develops over time is to be appreciated.

On this Mother’s Day, I’m celebrating my mother’s unwavering support and love of me and my children in the early years of parenting and right now. I’m celebrating God’s grace and ever-presence in mine and my children’s lives. And I’m celebrating me because…

I DID THAT!

Visiting Arizona for my daughter’s 26th birthday. See my grandbaby in the corner.

Detaching From what you Love

The month of April was as busy I expected it to be. Two final papers for the two graduate courses I was enrolled in, both of my children’s birthdays, nearly weekly bowling tournaments for my son, and just regular life stuff. And then in the midst of all that, I had to two speaking engagements promoting within the same week!

Can you say stressed?

When it was all said and done, I was in need of a break. Break from writing. Break from posting. Break from thinking about writing. Break from thinking about posting–book related stuff, at least. I just needed to decompress.

However, I didn’t really know how. Writing and promoting my writing has become so infused into my daily life, I nearly didn’t know how to get through the day without pulling out my laptop or phone to write or create a post for social media.

But I knew the detachment was necessary for my mental well-being.

“But, you’re a writer. This is what you love. How can you be stressed doing something you love?” You may be asking.

Easy. When you do what you love, and you begin sharing it with others, it becomes work. No matter how much I may like what I’m writing, I still have to consider my readers in the process. I once read a quote that went something like, “When writers begin losing interest in their writing project, it’s because the real work of writing has begun.”

I still love creating stories and following my characters on their journeys or crafting my life experiences for readers to learn from or identify with. But when I’ve been doing it for a certain length of time, there comes of time to take a break.

It just so happens that when my graduate coursework was coming to an end, God created an opportunity for me to have a couple of weeks off work. I took that time to enjoy sleeping in, watching a couple of movies, and reading a great collection of stories from an author in one of writing group’s that I’m in.

I can’t believe that I went 10 days without opening my laptop. My mind said, “Thank you, sis. We needed that.”

Have you recently taken a mental break from something you love to do? Share in the comments.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Will I Ever Be Ready

Spring is struggling to break through in Michigan. But it’s so close, I figured it’s a good day to put some winter clothes away. While sorting through some things that I packed away last summer, I came across this dress.

My late husband, Kevin, immediately came to mind. This was one of the first things he bought me early in our blossoming relationship. I still love this dress. It wasn’t something that I would have chosen for myself, but I loved it anyway, mainly because he bought it for me. I would learn years later that receiving gifts is my primary love language. It’s not the price of the gift, it’s the fact that someone has thought of me and wanted to do something to make me happy.

It’s been three years since he passed away. I can’t wear this dress without thinking of him.

“Is that okay?” I ask myself? Is it fair to the guy that I spend a lot of time talking to these days? Will getting rid of the dress prevent the sporadic thoughts of my late husband?

Luther Vandross station on Pandora radio is playing. The O’Jays “Forever Mine” begins playing. This is Mom’s jam. Kevin, a man who loved music even more than me, loved it too. Suddenly, I can hear him singing along with Eddie and Walter. I miss hearing him sing. He was a great singer. He sang with passion and soul.

Then I envision us dancing together. He’s the first man in my adult life that I enjoyed dancing with. Our love developed, in part, on a dance floor. We used to go to the after work affair and dance like teenagers, as though one of coworkers couldn’t have been on the premises. We didn’t care. He learned that I was rhythmic in my hips and my soul. Most people don’t see that about me at first glance. He did and loved it.

It’s been three plus years (thanks to his illness) since I enjoyed dancing with a man.

Continuing the transition from winter to spring, I came across some a Kevin’s fraternity paraphernalia.

He loved his fraternity almost more than life itself. Becoming apart of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc was one of his greatest accomplishments. It inspired me join the sisterhood that I belong to. We embodied what’s called that Coleman Love.

These are the few things that I have left of his possessions that weren’t destroyed in the house fire that claimed his life. Part of me knows I should pass these items to his best friend/fraternity brother. But I’m afraid to let them go.

Over these three years, I’ve been saying I’ll give things away when I’m ready. When will that be?

I don’t know. I just don’t know…

Why I Write: The Page

The Page

Keeper of my secrets

Stories from the depths of my soul

Sometimes true;

Sometimes from the scenes of my imagination;

My dreams

My nightmares

My deepest fears

The crisp white on a notebook page

Or the grainy white of the computer screen,

Never turn me away

Never ignore my pleas

Not afraid of my tears

Not expecting me to be strong

Rather wanting all that I have to give,

to share, to dare

To say.

I can be who I am

I can be who I want to be

I can be who I’m afraid to be

In the open world

There is no judgement on that page;

On that screen

I…AM…FREE

Finally…Myrtle Beach

Finally, though, when my best friend of 40 years suggested a girls getaway, the time finally came. I needed the rest now just as much as I needed it two years ago.

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National Reading Month: What I’m Reading

This book, The Woman God Created You to Be, by Kimberla Lawson Roby, has been on my shelf for several months. I figured, not only because it’s National Reading Month, but also sisterhood month, that I’d read this book selection with my sorority chapter. Am I finished with the Stacey Abram’s book from last week? No. But that’s no reason not to start another one. We don’t just watch one T.V. series at time, do we? The same can be done with books. Just read! You’ll eventually finish the book if it’s good. I haven’t read anything by Mrs. Roby that wasn’t good. I don’t expect this book to be any different!

Why I Write? Positively Impacting Other

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Letters to Santa Claus. Love letters to boyfriends. Entries to my diaries in my adolescent and teen years. Entries in my journals throughout my adults years.

I went FB Live on Saturday after I moved myself to tears writing a story I plan to submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul. I wrote about my experience of having a stroke, at 44 years old, with no preexisting risk factors. I wrote about the natural inclination to ask God, “Why me? Haven’t I been through enough?”

I ended on the note of gratefulness that the stroke was just one more thing that God has brought me through. His Word doesn’t say bad things won’t happen to bad people. In fact, it says, “In this world you will have trouble.” Following that text says, “but, Fear not, I will be with you.” How comforting is that?

By the time I finished the piece, I knew that, whenever it is published, it will be a blessing to whoever reads it.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Conversation with the Author

I’m happy to announce that I am the feature author this month for the Detroit chapter of Rotary Club. They host an author every month and it’s no coincidence that I’m up for National Reading Month. Or is it? Lol!!

Mark the date in your calendar and join us!

Black History Month 2021: Celebrating Black Writers–Connie Briscoe

Connie Briscoe is another one of my favorite authors. Her novel, Big Girls Don’t Cry, holds a special place in my heart. As I teenager, at the time, I identified so much with the main character, Naomi Jefferson, who was also a teen at the start of the novel. The story followed the character into adulthood, which gave me a vision of the possibilities ahead for me as an adult. I’ve read a lot of books over my life, but very few are as memorable as this one.

I have long gotten rid of most fiction paperback novels in my personal library, but this one, I keep for sentimental value. Even if I ever get my hands on a hardcover copy I still may not toss it. When I checked out her feature books on her website, I’ve read nearly all of them. I’m glad to see she’s turned her attention to helping aspiring writers!

If you haven’t already, check her out!

NaturallyYours,

L.A.