Posts tagged #Motherhood

Not My Son

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It's the first shooting of a black man that has hit the news since we brought our beautiful son home. These instances used to infuriate me, now they terrify & grieve me so very deeply.

Because y'all... Not my son.

I'm not going to let him become a statistic without a fierce fight. And we all pick our battles... And for the record, this will forever be mine because...

Not my son.

And let me start with this... I love our police officers. It doesn't have to be either/or. I can love an organization and still say THIS IS WRONG AND HAS TO STOP. Police friends, those of you who love and serve our communities well and are fighting hard for racial reconciliation within our cities... Thank you. For those of you within who are saying THIS HAS TO STOP... Thank you. You are loved and supported, and we stand with you.

But y'all, as I hold my baby boy, my heart is raw because I know exactly what many of our white friends will say and as I look deep into my son's chocolate eyes I know it falls incredibly short.

I know the justifying of this behavior, the assumption that the fault lies with the dead, the attitude of "well if he wasn't doing _____ he wouldn't be dead," is the VERY belief system that fuels implicit racism. Pretending his blackness wasn't a significant factor in his killing is a belief that can eventually lead my son to death.

And y'all... Not my son.

His life, and all black lives, deserve so much more than that.

It grieves me to know that people will look at my strong black baby boy, and one day will make false assumptions because of his beautiful chocolate skin.

Y'all... Not my son.

It devastates me to think that my baby could be at a gas station, or outside at a park, or walking around our neighborhood and someone yell "he's got a gun!" and despite innocence, he could never come home again.

Not my son.

No more precious Jude smiles around our table. A chair empty. A picture of the twins without their brother.

NOT. MY. SON. 

From now, until Jesus returns, the news of black boys and men being beat up, man-handled, and eventually shot and murdered for a crime they didn't commit will forever be a fear of mine...

And y'all... Not my son.

This mama isn't going down without a fight and I believe it starts here, with all of us average folks.

Can you do me a favor today?

White friends, while you're out and about, when you see a black person today, I want you to do a little self-assessment. How did being around them make you feel? What was the first thought that came to mind? If you're alone in an elevator with a black man, what's your response? If their presence made you uncomfortable or fearful or hesitant in any way, can you work on changing that for me? For my son? But also for you? Because if those initial thoughts weren't what you'd hope for, the filter with which you see the world is off, and I'd hate for you to miss out on the beauty that is real and true about our black brothers and sisters.

And if it helps, you can come hold and snuggle the sweetest, easiest baby I've ever had the privilege to parent & I'd gladly talk with you about this. Because change happens when both sides love each other and fight for each other fiercely...

And I'm desperately fighting for change because well...

Not my son.

Posted on July 6, 2016 and filed under Motherhood, Adoption, My boy!.

Motherhood is not Mundane

It's the week of Mother's Day and the blogosphere is full of thoughts regarding mothers. It's been really beautiful to read others' perspectives on motherhood, the wounds we receive in the pursuit of it, and the holes left behind by the mothers in our lives.

But I've noticed a trend, and it's been going on for a while. When people talk about motherhood, often the word mundane is used to describe it. And hero-lady-boss-mother-friends, let this be our anthem cry...

Motherhood is NOT Mundane.

According to the Google... Mundane is an adjective that means "lacking interest or excitement; dull." And I would just like to clarify something... motherhood is FAR from mundane.

I was an admin assistant during grad school and you know what? That work was mundane. Come to think of it, every job I've ever worked had parts that didn't excite me. That's life. Not everything is going to be GRAND all the time. But you know what,  if you went up to a secretary and called their work mundane, THAT WOULD BE INSULTING. 

Yet somehow, we mothers have allowed society to call our life's work mundane and we're not only agreeing with it, but we're starting to use that language as well... And I'm here to say NO MORE ladies. Let's reclaim motherhood. Because you know what has NEVER been dull? Our motherhood journeys.

I don't know about you, but from day one I was thrown for a loop. Which lets be honest... Surprise twins will do that for you! But I'm pretty sure I've never heard a first time mom talk about her discovery of being pregnant in a mundane way.

And while we're talking about it... you know what else isn't mundane? Pregnancy. Getting ginormous and pushing a human or having one cut out of you IS NOT MUNDANE. I know too many women whose journey to motherhood is so arduous that using the word mundane should be outlawed. Whether it's through mounds of paperwork and meetings with social workers, or through the numerous doctors visits, shots, pills, and procedures... Motherhood isn't mundane.

And I'm not even going to hit on nursing here.. But let me just say this... I fed two babies at the same time WITH MY BODY.

NOT mundane.

Or perhaps its the daily grind people are referring to. Sure there are some things that are repetitious and lack glamour, but the majority of mothers I see aren't sitting around doing mundane work.  They're in the trenches, shepherding souls and navigating the hard stuff of life. They're teaching the next generation to read, to use their manners, to become independent contributing members of society. They're teaching tiny humans to be thankful, to hold their heads high after being bullied, and how to navigate their first heartache. They're intentional women reading and strategizing on how to better love their kids and teach them to love others well. Motherhood isn't mundane.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I've fallen prey to using the word mundane to describe the cleaning of dirty diapers too, but even then, I've been shat on one too many times to know that even a routine diaper change can get exciting at the drop of dime. And sure, the cleaning of bottles and the washing of all the clothes isn't my favorite, BUT THAT'S NOT MOTHERHOOD. That's house-cleaning.  My husband helps out with all of those things, and you know what... He's not a mother. And even still, you try getting ALL THE CLOTHES clean for all the people in your house; it's one heck of a challenge! NOT MUNDANE.

Most moms I know haven't slept in a solid decade. Did you know sleep deprivation is used in war time interrogation and torture? So I pretty much equate surviving motherhood like surviving war and many have the battle scars to prove it (ahem grey hair and wrinkles). These women have their sleep interrupted for years on end and get up everyday to shape the lives of our future. Some work inside the home and some work outside the home. Both are tired, hard-working women who get up every day to help provide for their families in their own way. And this role as a sleep deprived mother and functional citizen who balances it all is far from mundane (unless you consider torture mundane).

Have you ever met a mom of a sick kid in a hospital? Or a mom who has babies in the NICU? Or a mom of a kid with special needs? We mama bears are advocates like none other. We navigate the medical field, legal system, insurance policies, school systems, etc. LIKE A BOSS in order to get our kids the care they need. These moms' lives aren't mundane; they're heroic. Let's not insult their motherhood by calling it as such.

And then there's the empty nest mothers... Oi! I'm so far from that point I can't even speak to it. But I'll say this, I have friends who have adult kids and I hear them pray for them. I hear them talk about their jobs, or the bad decisions they're making in college, or how proud they are of them. And although I don't know the in's and out's of that season of motherhood, I can see that even then the role of mom isn't one you ever abandon. And although it looks differently, that fierce love is still far from mundane.

So can I ask you a favor? When you talk about motherhood, let's leave out the word mundane and instead use words like arduous, intense, gratifying, selfless, and important. Because every job has its mundane moments, but motherhood is too valuable of a role to describe it as such.

So to all you mothers out there, I raise my hand to you. Carry on like the hero boss lady you are. Your work is far from mundane!

Happy Mothers Day!

Posted on May 6, 2016 and filed under Motherhood, Family.

Three's

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Today I tried to clean out my minivan while letting the twins play with chalk on the driveway. Yes I really thought that while I threw books, toys, 19238417234 cheerios and stale donut holes out of our car, they'd sit there and have a grand time.

(CUE all the experienced moms laughing knowing exactly what’s about to happen)

Rookie mistake.

As soon as Mr. Hanks jumped in the car and started helping me clean (ie. eating the 19238417234 cheerios) the girls followed suit and started jumping in and licking up the cheerios like a dog as well. After all, they really do think that they’re dogs sometimes. Which is ok, because Mr. Hanks thinks he’s human. It’s a trade off. Anyways, after an hour of wrangling the three of them… with the last straw being the HUGE bag full of trash (and I confess some fresh dog poo that I had just picked up out of our yard) being dumped BACK INTO MY VAN while I was cleaning the twins seats (which is a whole nother ball game)… I finally got smart and buckled them in, brought out snacks, and turned a movie on.

Mom wins. Twins win. Mr. Hanks wins (bc air conditioning… duh).  And alas our DISGUSTING van was clean (really... it was SO gross) so a HUGE win for my uber clean and organized husband.  

But I feel like this summarizes all of my parenting experiences. Try to do something new or enter a new parenting stage and the beginning is a HUGE COLASSAL STRUGGLE... BUT eventually we figure out a way to confine the twins, er, I mean we find a way that works for our family.  The three's definitely started out this way. The last 2 months we were all struggle bussing it with empty promises of never going out in public again and boarding school, and then somewhere, somehow, we found our footing. Nothing magical happened… rather it just eventually clicked or we moved onto the next stage. And this happens with every new stage... EVERY TIME. I'm all... WOE IS ME WE'LL NEVER SURVIVE and then BAM I'm all like THIS IS THE BEST STAGE EVER. (I just don't know where the girls get their dramatics from).

ALAS... in celebration of it finally clicking (kind of)… I wanted to document a few of our fav things about the twins during this stage because had you asked me a few weeks ago what my favorite things were I would've looked at you with crazy eyes and yelled, "THERE ARE NO GOOD THINGS," while sipping a venti red eye and reminiscing about the good ole days when I slept and peed by myself. 

So while I'm in a good mood... here we go...

  • Noel refers to herself as “Foel” despite being able to say the word “No!” quite fluently and frequently. And Felicity refers to Noel as "O-el." SWOON.
  • Felicity loves apple juice and Foel loves orange juice. And they love to argue about which one they’re getting, despite the fact that I give them their favorite almost every time.
  • Our nap time routine includes at least 25 minutes (minimum) of me telling them to “not get out of your bed,” “no you cannot ‘sleep’ with sissy,” and “DO NOT GET TRAPPED UNDER THE FITTED SHEET AGAIN.”
  • They love bossing Mr. Hanks around as if he’s their brother. “No Hanks, Stop that. Come COME Hanks.” Also, dressing him up is a recent fav pastime.
  • They’re bossy in the car and know the routes to the YMCA and Target. Not sure what it says about me when my kids get mad at me while on our way to church and start yelling, “No mama, THAT WAY. Go that way to target!!!” #targetaddictprobs
  • They love to listen to music, or mooozick, as they pronounce it.
  • They talk a lot, but still use their baby jabber and twin talk. Just today Noel kept repeating some phrase that I had NO CLUE WHAT IT WAS and Felicity repeated it at me all like come on woman don’t you understand her?!  Felicity got so frustrated with my lack of understanding Noel that she huffed off saying the phrase on repeat and brought a toy over to Noel and said it again while looking at me like… idiot.
  • Speaking of attitude… Noel has mastered the pout and Felicity has mastered the temper tantrum. Like they’re pro’s at it. I think the 2’s were a practice round for 3’s. During their 2’s, they learned HOW to do it (increase in quantity), there 3’s are for learning WHEN to do it at the best time to get maximum results (increase in quality). Bless it, I think they’re learning strategy.
  • Noel has learned that she’s funny.
  • Felicity has found her voice.
  • Their love for each other and care for our family is astounding. One second I think they’re about to strangle the other, but as soon as one of them falls or gets hurt… the other one is right there asking, “Oel, you ok?” or “Licity, you ok?” Or if the other one sneezes they’re quick to sweetly say, “Bless you sissy!”
  • On that same note, they’ve learned what makes the other one happy and will bring it to them whenever they’re sad/in trouble/mad/etc.
  • Teaching them things is FUN during this stage because they love learning new things. Whereas teaching them things during the 2’s gave me heart palpitations and hives (only a slight exaggeration).
  • They love seeing the moon at night... and they get confused when it's cloudy at night and they can't find it. We hear "Where'd the moon go Mama?" 2379 times on a 5 minute car ride on these nights. 
  • They refer to Cinderella as “Tanglerella” & they refer to Tangled as “Tangled” soooooo…. I’m not really sure what happened there but we just go with it.
  • They still say “Hold you?” instead of “Hold me?”
  • Did I mention that they’re bossy? Felicity tells us all the time when brushing her hair, “EASY DADDY!” or when putting an item on her plate she wants us to put it in a specific spot and says, “PUT IT RIGHT THERE.” I keep telling them that we don’t negotiate with terrorists… but they don’t seem to care.
  • They are DADDY’S girls for sure, but when something scares or hurts them, they want their mama. So we both win.
  • Speaking of Daddy… They love to stand on the porch and cheer him on as he leaves for work in the morning.
  • They love planes & helicopters. Oh, and BTW... helicopter is pronounced “Helicocker.” And yes, we laugh. EVERY TIME.

WHEW. If there are any of you who actually read that whole list and you aren’t a relative… wow. I applaud you. It might seem like a lot… but I know myself well enough to know that I will forget some of these things one day if I never write them down. So alas… the forever long blog post.

Alright. That’s all for now. Here’s to the girls being 3 and surviving and ENJOYING all that this year will entail!

Much love,