Saturday, December 6, 2014

Duh Tamika

Good morning. I'm just laying in bed, awake, watching tv. Mali is beside me asleep, mr. Brawner just left out for work and to drop Nae off to her job on the way. The other girls, Ki and the Jays are all in their rooms asleep, I imagine. And this bit of rare alone time gave me room for a little self reflection. I'd prob be one super wise cookie if I just had a few more of these moments but, alas, I'll just have to take what I can get... This morning.

What I am about to say, I was about to update on my FB status. Then I realized "whoaaa T, blog it!" So here I am. 
It was a real "duh Tamika" moment. But I am willing to share my "duh Tamika" revelation, admitting my ignorance, in hope that my little aha moment may be helpful to someone else living in that same not just a river in Egypt...

I am the heart of my family. My mood, behavior, responses and actions set the tone for the whole family. They all require so much from me, it really only makes sense that their moods and actions are sometimes a direct reflection of my own. I have to be patient and kind. I have to be relaxed and calm. I have to be light hearted and funny. Yes, that's a lot of pressure on me. Yes, I really just want to get to lose it sometimes, but what will we gain? What are the benefits in that? 
This past 30 days, I went on a quest to intentionally only say kind things to my husband. I think I failed one day, I wonder what he'd say? But on my own watch, I recall one day where my sarcasm got the best of me and I forgot my own challenge. But those other 29 days, where I only spoke kindness, were a win for my marriage. And because I'd been so awesome those other days, that one day was probably an easy pill to swallow. I'm in this FB group for black wives and we've been doing a 30 Days of Prayer for your Husband. Each day you pray over specific areas pertaining to your husband, and there's a challenge to go with it. Along with only speaking kindness to him and about him, the challenges included building him up, listening to him, complimenting him, and another 27 days of reigniting the initial spark in your love and affection. Mr. B and I are a pretty easy couple. We (he) doesn't argue at all, we have an open communication and we actually really like each other. But includin little steps into each day that required me to be intentional about my thoughts and actions towards him, made a very large difference in our marriage. He didn't change a thing. He wasn't doing his own "prayer over my wife" challenge. He didn't become an easier person, then again, he did-- but only because I changed, my intentional positive attitude made him easier. In turn, making me more patient and loving, which then reciprocated the kindness in him. I got random forehead kisses, verbal expressions of happiness, invitations to infiltrate his man time... Whoa whoa!! What's going on here? All this just because I've made a slight (lol at slight) attitude adjustment? Well, peace be still! 
Lesson learned. Tamika, you are the heart. Your health is pertinent to the health of he whole body. Everyone needs you to pump love, kindness, and joy through the home, so that the rest of the body can flow in productive peace. Well duh Tamika! But knowing it and doing it and seeing the benefit firsthand? It was amazing to witness.  
All this power!!! I'll try to use it wisely and not let it go to my head. :)

Of course my little Tasmanian Angel is awake now, wise self-reflected thoughts over. Back to life, back to chasing the baby tornado. 

Love yall, that's my peace! 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

But that's not why I'm here...

I was sitting at lunch with my coworkers yesterday. I mostly try to avoid these coworker lunches, but every once in awhile I come out of my anti-social shell and grace them with my presence. I actually got back from getting my food before most people left to get theirs and I went into the lunch room to eat, hoping to be done and out before they all returned. No such luck! So i'm in there...

You can never anticipate what lunch conversation will be. Sometimes it is quite dry and boring and they get to discussing work... pass! But more often than not, it gets quite work inappropriate and HR (if we had one) would have to work overtime. It is that bad. I'm often sitting there baffled and thinking "you can't say that!" "Did you really just say that?" Smh. But yesterday, we somehow got on the topic of marriage and somehow, I found myself in the room with 4 of my coworkers, 2 married men, 1 young, single man, 1 single white female (added the "white" for kicks, lol) and me.

Married guy #1 gets to talking about the worse part about marriage is how he can never set his own priorities. No matter what he is doing or plans to do, it isn't the right thing and his wife has something else in mind.
Married guy #2 basically completely agreed. He mentioned how he thinks he has some time and it'd be a good time for a much needed nap and his wife thinks he should go play with the kids instead, or take out the trash, or anything she thinks is more important that him napping or reading the paper or whatever it is he feels he should be doing.
I never add much to the conversation, but in my head I'm thinking... they're married to some crazies. lol! Of course there are times when my husband is doing something that, to me, is unproductive. And there are the rare occasions that I'm like "babe, are you really just sitting there playing Farm Heroes? What's for dinner?" but overall, and I spent a lot of time thinking on this, I am not controlling my husband's nap schedule or when he decides to "read the paper" or do whatever it is he considers leisure.

But that's not really why I'm here...

These husbands spent a whole hour telling this one single guy the horrors of their marriage. At one point the single guy said, "dag guys you're scaring me, I'm glad I get to do whatever I want whenever I want. I won't be getting married for awhile." Now, he's only 26 I believe and should maybe wait awhile, but it really bothered me that neither one comforted him with, "my wife does try to control my schedule, but I let her because I love her and I want her to be happy. And really she's just asking for my help because she spends her time cleaning and cooking for me and our kids and taking care of whatever it is we need. So yes, I can't always do exactly what I want whenever I want, but she's worth it and I wouldn't have it any other way."

A bit much, huh? But is it really too much to give one more young man a more accurate perception of what married life is. To let him know that you may not have this young, free, reckless, messy, lonely life, but you do have responsibilities, love, joy, fun, structure, support and someone to tell you that black dress shirt is not the business. (that young single guy could really use a makeover or a wife, something!)

Anyway, that's not really why I'm here either...

at the end of this marriage bashing session, young single guys says, "at least now you have the Office Monthly Happy Hour to look forward to and get a break!" *rolls eyes* I think I may even done that forreals, along with a sarcastic "HA!"

Young, single guy: Yea Tamika, I noticed you declined.
Me: Yea, I see you guys all day and after work, I just want to spend time with my favorite people who I didn't get to see all day.
Young, single guy: But we really don't see you all day? We're working and you don't really come in here for lunch
Me: yea.
Young, single guy: ??? (kinda looked at me questioningly)
Me: By choice. I like to be by myself
Married guy #2: Tamika doesn't like us
Me: yea. No, I just... whatever. *awkward chuckle*
Single white female: she comes in to lunch, she's here now.
Young, single guy: hardly since I've been here. Maybe she just doesn't like me
Me: It was nice spending this time with you guys. *grabs trash and leaves*

no, I don't want to go to happy hour,
yes I declined it as soon as he sent it,
no I dont really like him but that's beside the point.
I really just rather be home with my family, a group of people I actually like and want to spend time with.
Yes it may seem anti-social and unfriendly.
and yes, I am fine with that. I will not be missing anything except stories I've already heard and drunk white people (and an Indian guy) throwing around the "f" word way too freely.

I just want married people, to give a true reality to young, single men especially. Tell them it's hard as crap, and you're married to a crazy, controlling woman who loves you, oils your feet, scratches your back, fixes your plate and you wouldn't have it any other way. Geesh!
And don't hang me for wanting to be home with my family that I love instead out with a bunch of whack, unhappily married white people. I may venture out to one of these Happy Hours one day, but it will not be one day soon. I may be missing an interesting, storytelling time but that's not why I'm here...

You guys have fun though!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mali, Oh Mali!

when there just aren't enough words for the amount of love and joy you feel... Happy 1st Birthday to my Mali!

But of course... I always have words. :) 

Three years ago, I miscarried. I wasn't sure about more children after that. It took a LONG time and a lot of tears to heal my heart. I have never known pain like that EVER. In life. And I know pain. Getting pregnant made Jerry propose to me though, going through the loss made me love him more. Getting married made me want to be a "just us". We'd discussed not having more children. I guess I am the only one who really meant it. Jerry wanted a son, so before we even made it 6 months married I was pregnant. I didn't even get excited. I wasn't sure about it. I had all kinds of doubts and fears.I didn't want to give up being Tamika. I didn't want to have to sacrifice my freedom, my life, my relationship with my husband. I didn't want the change of having a new baby in our home, on my body...
 I must've been out of my mind. I am so thankful God knew better than me. 
That boy, this child, my Mali... is my whole life. Nothing about loving him and being his mother ever feels like a sacrifice. His restless nights, he constant desire to be in my arms... it is ALL my joy and pleasure. I have never been more excited to play at 3 a.m. in my life! Everything about him is perfect. His timing in my life, his smile, his bow legs, his daddy's big nose on his little face, his bright beady eyes, his wild curls, his big stinky feet, his soft little hands, his cute lips, his laugh (fake or not), his kisses, his cry (fake or not), his hugs, his will, his defiance, his mischievous little grin when he's up to no good... he's so cute and so funny and my heart is so full. Being Malakai's mom is the greatest, most wonderful feeling. I am so sad he is not still my precious little baby, needing to be carried and held. But I am also so proud of his independence, his learning, watching him explore and grow and figure things out. 

His life is a blessing to my entire soul, my entire being. I thank God for Mali. I thank God for giving him to me and letting me be his mother. This job, this one year has changed me so much. Who knew so much love even existed? Now I know. 

It's funny how things work out. Two years ago I was discussing not having children, last year I was pregnant, this year I am the mom to a wonderful one year old... The faster he grows, the more I want to have another just to have those moments again. And at the same time, I just want to have this ONE! So that every moment of me is his and doesn't have to share his moments. Plus now that dad has his son, and I'm so consumed with being Mali's mom, the "no more children" tables have turned. HA! 

Today, I celebrate my sweet baby boy turning one year old. #bittersweet 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lessons For Your Dating Daughter…

…before she begins dating.

I don’t want to have a dating daughter. *shakes head* NOPE! I really don’t. But knowing I can’t control everything and having to, as of late, deal with a dating sister-daughter, certain topics have come to mind that need to be covered.
Some of these topics have already come up and because I’m dealing with a teenager, who can’t hear me over her feelings, it’s already too late to discuss… for now. But it’ll come back up and I want to have had it already covered before she won’t be able to hear me again. No seriously, it is best to cover all topics with teenagers BEFORE it becomes a necessary topic to cover. You should focus all conversations with all teenagers when it seems irrelevant, because by chance you need to talk about something with one of them and they are currently dealing with that issue, they are incapable of hearing you. Their own feelings, attitudes and opinions are already ringing too loud in their ears that they are unable to take in, consider or process what you are saying… no matter how right, helpful or accurate you are.
So for my own reference, and yours too, here is a list of things that should be covered with our teenaged daughters. 

1.       Have standards on your time… Just this weekend, I was asked to chauffeur a date. This date was scheduled for Saturday, then rescheduled (by some boy) to Sunday @1. I accepted this first reschedule. At 12, I am ready for my chauffeuring duties BUT the boy is missing, unavailable, not responding, messages not going through, something! Thanks to iPhone technology, you can tell when your messages are not being received by the other party, and it was clear that he was not getting the messages that were being sent. Ok, maybe his phone is dead or something, but when 12 became 1, and 1 became 1:30… it was time for me (a woman with standards and boundaries regarding my time) to move on. BUT clearly this particular dating teenaged girl does not have the same standards for her time. I don’t want to look like the unsympathetic big sis here, but… Boo! You got to move on with your day.
This boy scheduled this date on Sunday at 1, he should be sure to be available by Sunday at 12 so that we can leave the house to get him. We should not be dressed and ready to go nowhere because he has not gotten your messages today. He should have been prepared, ready, looking forward to it and waiting for you. Not the other way around. Now he is finally responding at 2pm and you are upset with me because I have standards for my time and have moved on. I did not stand you up, he did. I did not back burner you, he did and I am not the one who did not fulfill my obligation to the plan, that was him. I am just here, patiently, but adamantly moving on with my day. I already found a man who respects me and my time and I married him. I can’t, with right mind, wait on some 18 year old boy. I’m just not built for that. You should not be either. BUT, she likes this boy and is willing to over comp for some young man who has not earned the right to her compromise. His grandma and dog are still alive. An uncharged phone is not a good enough excuse for me. We’ve def had a talk about standards before, but it needed a refresher and this time discussing it in the moment, I was not being heard. Her feelings were just too loud to compete with. This is just one fresh example of standards, but… our girls need to hear from us (before it happens) what an unacceptable demand on their time looks like. It’s ok to not be readily available, he will learn to respect your time and do better next time. And if he is not willing to accept your boundaries, he is best left where ever he is. Have standards!

2.       Learn how to spot and deal with a crazy… Hopefully your daughter never has to deal with a crazy person, but she should know that it is real, it is out there and there is a way it should be dealt with. I have been watching this show “Under the Dome” (don’t ask! It’s some weird sci-fi show Mr. B has me on…), but in it a girl gets kidnapped by her boyfriend and I want to yell at her through the screen. “Stop provoking his crazy!” First off, look for signs of crazy. Some crazy is more obvious than others, but watch for the signs. Pay attention to how he talks to and treats others. If he yells and curses out his mother, he is okay with treating you the same. If small things (like traffic, petty disagreements) evoke an angry response from him, run! If  everything feels like personal injustice to him, everyone and everything is out to get him and he doesn't/can't take any responsibility to things that happen to him, leave and don't ever look back! If you’re not sure, and you’re still getting to know him, be sure to avoid private places or anywhere that you’d have to be alone with him. If you do find yourself somewhere alone with a person who appears crazy in any form, no need to push his buttons, pretend all big and bad and provoke him. The world is crazy, people are becoming increasingly braver with the level of nuts they are allowing themselves to reach. No need to try and match their crazy and wind up dead in a ditch somewhere. Sometimes crazy just needs a little ego stroke. This is not the time to test out your female machismo. Yes, you are the ish and he shouldn’t talk to you any kind of way. I guess he does not know who he’s dealing with. Sure you could tell him you’re going to get Pookie and them on him. But that is not the way to deal with a crazy. Crazy likes to match crazy and it is quite possible his crazy will blow your crazy out the water. Do not get angry. Just play it cool. Keep it calm. Speak in low, almost sensual voice. Say all the right things, whatever it is he wants to hear. Pretend all is well. Be hurt, be sad if necessary. But do not get angry, say mean things or act as though this is the end. Speak of the next time you’re going to see him, and when you get away… STAY AWAY! Do not just meet him to get anything, not for a second. He may be normal over the phone and calm for many a times after that first crazy incident, but DO NOT (I repeat) DO NOT trust it! Crazy knows how to be manipulative and regain your trust. He may be so good at crazy, that he’s even better than before. But whenever you see that first proof of crazy, believe it and stay away from it. Do not be fooled. Crazy is not cute!

3. ...  

4. ...

This is list is clearly still in the works. There are an endless number of lessons that should be taught to our daughters as they become interested in boys. I make it a point to sit down and talk to my girls as these thoughts come to me. I don’t want them to ever say I didn’t tell them. So as it comes up they know what I’ve told them, then can make an educated choice at the best course of action to take. Our children will never do everything we advise them of, but it is still ours job to prepare and inform them. Feel free to let me know anything you think should be added to the list. And I will update it as it comes to me.

That’s my (I’ve been there, done that, bought the T-shirt and wore that joker out) peace!

Love, Tam

Desperate isn't cute
Do not want to be the topic of locker room talk 
It's not okay for you to be crazy either 
You are worth the wait 
No, you can not date his "friend" too

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Fatherless...

Good morning...

With Father's Day in our rearview,  fatherhood has been the topic of recent conversations. There is the argument that single women can successfully raise children without the presence of their father. And while I agree that this is possible, I (a woman raised by a single mother) also disagree...

On Father's Day, I avoided FB. I logged on in the morning, saw the massive profile picture updates of  FB friends with their fathers, statuses honoring fathers and... I had to log off for the day. I couldn't deal. I felt hurt, I felt a loss, and it made me sad. I'm no hater. I am happy for those people who have active, loving fathers, but it just reminds me of what I am lacking. And then I got to reflecting on life without an active father... I even tried to go back and post a status honoring my husband as a father to our children... I couldn't even muster that. I just didn't trust myself to type anything on FB. I would've got to typing and next thing I know *blackout*  and all kind of words about my own father would've ended on there and before I could stop myself... SEND! POST! UPDATE! (whatever that button says) would've gotten hit. So, sorry boo no FB post for you. But it would've said...

To my husband and father to my children, Jerry, I love you. You are an amazing husband and even more amazing father. Seeing Mali in your arms brings my joy to my heart. Thank you for being present in his life daily. We love you, Happy Father's Day.

And truth, even that made me sad. Having a child did this to me... this recent sadness and feeling a loss of not having a real father. I see my son and I yearn to be with him, spend time with him, see how his day was. What does my father feel about me? Even seeing Jerry's face when Mali walks to him... he lifts him, smiles, holds him tight. There aren't many words, just actions. My father had words, I guess... but where were the actions? Watching Mali leave my arms and reach for his father... everyday I see this, and I smile because I am really genuinely happy. I am glad my son will have better than me. But also, I ache. Mali will have something I never had. Something I didn't even think I needed anymore... until now. After having a child of my own and being old enough, wise enough and affected enough to know the difference, to know better.  And it sucks that knowing better means knowing I missed out, am still losing out.
I see adult women honoring their fathers for his roles in their lives. Knowing his active presence, love, guidance and support made them who they are... What more could I have been then?

Along with this topic of fatherhood, single motherhood gets brought up. People want to honor their mother on Father's Day and I get it. You want to give your mother credit for doing the best she could at filling that void for you, but...

She was just a kick ass mom, not a father. How can any woman be a father? Fatherhood (and I don't know too much about it, but I can imagine...) is more than the role, more than teaching manly lessons and coaching and being stern and silently supportive. It isn't something that can be emulated, then translated by a woman. It's more a subconscious role that can only be played by a man who cares for a child. It doesn't have to be biological and it isn't even something every man can carry out. If every man isn't even capable of it... how can a woman? It is gender specific. As much as any single mom out there wants to feel like she has it in the bag. I'm sorry, you are incapable of filling that role for your child. But it's ok, all hope is not lost.
I remember being a child with a half ass father and I was a fine child. It didn't affect me right away. I was missing something pertinent to my life, but it's lack wasn't being felt yet. I didn't know back then. I had a great mom and great family and I felt loved and cared for and confident. Then I hit puberty and it's effects started to show. "I am missing something I need..." and it wasn't even obvious on the outside, not even obvious to me at the time. I felt fine, performed fine, did well in school, behaved... but when you look down to the heart of it (and alot of 20/20 hindsight)...  I was hurting even then. Hurt I can now pinpoint. Hurt that, quite possibly (but we'll never know will we?), could've been prevented. I can speculate all day and you don't have to believe me.. but I KNOW had my father actually fathered me, it could all be so different. Not that it didn't turn out just fine, but here I am, still hurting.

And I know my dad. He's always been nearby (I can't say close). I can, to this day, call him and he'd talk to me. I can invite him and he'll show up. But he'll never call me, never invite me, never just show up in case I need him. And I don't understand that. He'd be offended that I'm even discussing it. But I've done my share of reaching out... I've let him know how I felt. Told him what I needed. How he could make it better so that I didn't still feel like 12 year old Tamika when it came to him. I've played the grown up, the mature one... and it never ends up as planned. So after I've felt like I'm on the path to healing, I get pushed right back in that place. And my current solution was working... he's this really nice guy that I like, that I'll invite to events for my kids so that his grandchildren at least know what he looks like. But I'm not expecting him to be a father, or a grandfather for that matter. The excuse used to be, or that I made for him "he was young, he didn't know any better, he did the best he could." But how long can that be the answer? What's stopping you now? But I was "ok" before Mali, before Father's Day reminding me that it sucks to not have a father.

One year (and I'll try to go back and scroll FB... *I thought it was 2009-2011 sometime but I couldn't find it) I posted on Father's Day, something like...

Happy Father's Day to my dad who did the best he could. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for filling the void... blah blah. (or something)

Edited 6/20/2018: (I found it! It showed up in my FB memories from 2010) Happy Father's Day! Thankful to my Heavenly Father who loves me, knows me, accepts me, leads me, and has never forsaken me and Happy Father's Day to my earthly father who I love, he did his best... Happy Father's Day to all fathers 

And of course I am friends with my dad on FB... I called myself not saying anything mean, telling the truth, crediting him for his attempt. He didn't like that. He took real offense to... the truth? Could you have done better and didn't? Did you think you did good? Was I not supposed to tell people? What? What's the problem pop?
Does he realize there is still time to fix it? Or did he just accept that I think he sucked and he will continue to suck? I need answers! lol

but yea, I am a child of a single mom who did a good job and seriously, a Father in Heaven who loves me and cares for me. And I am a single mother and since I have all these "feeling fatherless" issues, I probably didn't do that great of a job. I'd like to hope my little Ki will be ok, I pray she will be better than ok... she's still a work in progress. BUT I am a single mother because I was raised by a single mother, fatherless, misguided, unprotected. So... take from that what you want.

I think children are resilient, I think LOVE covers a multitude of sin, failure, lack, hurt. I think mothers can love, pray, teach, and guide their children to productive, successful adults. But I think having a father makes the job 1000 times easier and I believe those fatherless children, no matter how amazing they are, still have a little hole in their heart where something was missing. They can turn that into triumph or it can be tragic. And that isn't something a mother can control.

And these conversations are only about the fatherless because it is much more common today, but.. those children without mothers, who are being raised by their fathers, are also hurting. Quite possibly even moreso than fatherless children. A mother's role... my goodness! It's everything to a child. Motherhood is not a job that can be replaced by a man, a father. Is that ok for us to say? ... without all the single dads having hissy fits about their role? lol, I think so.

Women, stop being so sensitive. Listen to the truth. Take steps to make sure your child's story is one of triumph.

I love you all. Love me back, ok? I'm hurting. :)

That's my peace... and I will find peace. I always do.

see 4 year old Tam baby looks just fine... 

this is how I survived being fatherless

and the peace I have today :) 

my life, why I live... my motivation to be better

oh I love her, I love her

thankful for the love between Mali and his FATHER


how I survived, surviving, I will survive. 

Mali knows his Pop Pop! 

*heart melt*

my ROCK! 

...and then there's a whole Tam Team. Please don't feel left out. I am loved and I love you all. Just couldn't find more pictures. :)

I'm gonna try to get down to the heart of the matter...