Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Report Card Tears

My teenage daughter struggles with anxiety and depression. She's been in therapy off and on for a couple of years to help manage it. The last few years, her anxiety has kept her from trying or caring about her grades in school. Her whole school life, up until the end of middle school, she was a straight A student. And then in the 8th grade she quit on herself. She'd have a few good quarters, a few good grades but a lot of "did you even try" grades to go along with it. I've been praying and crying from frustration of it all, not because of the grades but because of her attitude about it. "I just can't, it's too overwhelming, what does it even matter?" I know her, I know what's she's capable of, but what I don't know is what it feels like to manage depression. After seeing these disappointing report cards, at first, I was really hard on her. Punishments, taking away things, controlling her plans-- and I got nothing! No reward came from that. After a few failed attempts at punishment, I figured I needed a new approach. These last few bad reports, I'd take a moment to sit in the frustration of it for myself, cry if I needed, vent to my husband, pray, cry some more and then deal with her. I'd sit with her, tell her I'm proud of her no matter what she does, remind her how amazing she is, what I know she's capable of. Discuss her future with her, express some disappointment "only because I know you're brilliant. I've had years to witness how amazing you are, you've always been. I am sad that you let how you feel take over what needs to be done. I know you think you can't. I hear you. I feel that same thing sometimes and what I do is-- do it anyway. No matter what it feels like, I do it anyway. And I know this is my grown up self, it's what I am capable of because I'm an adult and I've learned it. Practiced it. But you don't have to do all that figuring out, I did it for both of us. Do your best, ok? Go to sleep at night knowing you did your best that day. That's all I ask." Then I kiss her, hold her and leave her alone. No yelling, no punishment. And I never bring it up again. Do you know how hard that is for me? But it's not about me. It's not what I want for her. It's what she wants for herself. I am not the one who has to do the work and I am certainly not willing to try. I can't cushion it for her and punishing her for not wanting it for herself wasn't working. I prayed. I cried. I dealt with it and left it at the feet of Jesus. I'd ask her about school work casually, she's assure me she was on it. I saw her put in some work, tried to help manage her schedule, offered to iron for her, help with her hair, fix her random snacks upon request. I pretty much tried my best to minimize any load she was feeling or fix anything that was causing her anxiety. I had some "get Mali out the house" initiatives because he requires so much of her and she struggles to deny him her time. I listened to her, sensed her needs, minimized her load and prayed for her and for myself...
At the beginning of the school year she said she felt overwhelmed by the course load, so we discussed what we thought she could manage, together went to guidance and Dropped AP English, dropped Spanish 4. Added AP History, French 1 and Child Dev. Kept her Pre Cal and her all VPA music classes, even though she wanted to drop those too, but then she wouldn't have been on stage with Obama singing her little heart out

Yesterday on the ride home from Shenandoah University for her VPA trip for a Music Therapy class, she told me her grades and I cried (bad idea, try not to have any cry moments while you're driving in traffic). Cried because I am so proud of the strides she's made, the anxiety she's overcoming, the effort she gave and the 3.6 she earned. Yes, a 3.6!!! Glory!

.So many takeaways... you pick!
Mental illness is real. Pay attention and do something about it If you don't know what to do, get them professional help! Talk to someone, there is no shame in it.

Children need your attention, your patience, your unconditional love, your support. Don't treat them like little pets that you just want to do as you say. They are people with voices, needs. It's your responsibility to guide them.

Prayer changes things. If I weren't at the feet of Jesus, I'd be crazy and she'd be crazy from me going crazy on her.

... the list could go on. But you take from it what you choose.

One thing about me though-- I am not one of those check SchoolMax for my kid's grades kind of mom. My mom just trusted me to do my work and I did it. My brain hasn't transferred over into this new technology of knowing kids' every assignment and school move. I have yet to find the time or energy to concern myself with checking up on her. Idk if it's a good thing or not, probably not. But I am a working mom with a full load. What am I really supposed to do if she doesn't turn in an assignment? Storm the school? Punishment? I've already determined that doesn't work for us. She doesn't need a tutor. She's smart, she just didn't care. I'm not gonna punish myself by taking extra time to sit with her. Who's making dinner while I do that? When will I sleep? I will just keep praying and trusting.

My advice: do what works for you. Continue to encourage your children and love them through what ever they are going through. God speed!

That is my peace!

Love, Tam

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ready for Back to School?

Hey guys, 

Craziness!! The summer is soon coming to an end. It's almost time for our angels/monsters-- whatever you got-- to return to school. Realizing my, 3 year old, little Tasmanian angel will be starting school this year...mentally, I'm not ready yet. I thought I had more time, a couple more years before I had to send him into the big world. As anxious as I am about this new adventure for him, I am also super excited for him. I may not be ready, but I know he is. He's a super cool, super smart, take the world by storm, sweet kid. And I guess it's time for him to bless school with his amazing presence! :) As I come to this milestone with him, I plan to take LOTS of "first day of school" pics, of course! I'm gonna need a cool sign-- thankful for a sister who simplifies my life with her creative preparedness. 

And since many of you busy working parents deserve to have life simplified-- to help create and photo document your "back to school" memories, Julita and the We Like to Party Shop has offered to share some First Day of School signs with you. There is one for every grade from Pre-K through 12th grade. Just click on the link below and print out the sign you'll need to help document your kiddie's first day...  and enjoy!! 

And if you have a special party or event that could use a touch of love and magic, check out the We Like To Party Shop on Etsy for your custom needs! 

Enjoy what little time we have left of this summer, hug & kiss the babies, and Happy Back to Schooling!!! 

Peace & Love,  


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Korryn Gaines "you think you know, but you have no idea. This is the diary..."

I knew her. She wasn't crazy. She was just (too) intelligent, (recklessly) conscious, self serving, narcissistic, destructive... Only difference was she was a he and I spent 8 years fascinated and terrified by him. I would tell y'all a story about how a regular "police, non-criminal" situation, rather quickly, escalated to a "SWAT, whole building fogged and doors being rammed in" situation-- but that was a different lifetime ago and "law-abiding, here's my license and registration, how can I help you officer?" FB not ready to hear that bedtime story. Almost had the story voided from my own memories until this.
Well-- It happens. and SWAT is not there to have guns aimed at them. I imagine my story would've ended a little differently had SWAT been threatened with a visible gun by an occupant of the residence. Nah, they didn't have to kill her. But she didn't have to go all GI Jane, I'm ready to die, rogue either. And knowing the police like we do, what did you think would happen? "That dog bites!" And you put your hand in its mouth anyway? 
And I'm not one of those "just comply" people. Someone dying is never gonna be OK with me, but in this particular case-- the "crazy" person got shot. Man running out the back with one year old-- yea that's me. Then again, maybe I was more like the 5 year old. I was right there and I still have the battle wounds from a fight that wasn't mine.
Maybe they targeted her, she definitely didn't deserve to die and I am sure they could've contained the situation without killing her :(. I wasn't in that house-- I wish it had turned out differently. But feeling how I feel about what I feel. And seeing her in the car during the police stop, hearing her words, having witness to her attitude-- it was so familiar. It curdled something inside me, reminder of a way I once felt. So I have this unpopular, biased view of the situation. Life.

This ended up here cause I could not sleep, it consumed me so much. I had to get it out somewhere, cause... restlessness. I don't even think Mr. B has ever heard this story. I for sure told it to my brother when it happened, and maybe as an interesting "have you ever been arrested?" story at a party among my closest friends. No, I wasn't officially arrested, but I was in the back of a police car in handcuffs. And I was in an interrogation room for hours being, well... interrogated.
It really was another life ago though. It happened to a different Tamika. I try to let my new life's memories slowly consume and replace the ones from that other life. But watching her videos brought it all back. The assertive arrogance, the belligerence, the willingness to "justifiably" turn a nothing into something. I could hear his voice. Police: Open the door!
Him: Don't you open that door! And if they come in, fight! Don't say anything, Don't be afraid. They ain't $hit, fcuk them...

Have you ever been a willing hostage? Was I terrified? Certainly. Or maybe, by then, I'd become numb to the fear I felt. Accommodating? Unfortunately so. Know who else was there, listening to the wrong enemy? His mother. Maybe she was the man who ran out the back, and I was the kid-- for sure. Was there a gun in the house? Yes. Was it pointed at SWAT when they came in? Thankfully not.

But all you law abiding citizens, who's hardest woes have been-- idk. I don't want to minimize your woes. But it baffles me how you have so much insight on something you've never experienced. Eat your dinner and go to bed-- and be thankful that you can.

Glad this isn't in my Timehop memories-- *goes back to forgetting* except now it will be, and maybe that's ok.

Oh this peace...


I texted my brother my thoughts in the middle of the night cause I had to share them-- somewhere. With someone who cared, understood... knows. And he texted me back...

I think u told me before. And I actually forgot about it too so I see how you ALMOST did. I have a story that I've wanted to tell fb too about police killings but I don't want them to think I'm crazy. Every time someone gets shot and police officers act like its so impossible and there's more to the story... 
I wanna be like I KNOW there's TONS of officers who join the force for the power to kill and get away with it. I know this because I was one of those people. Not just to kill whoever recklessly, but I had one specific person in mind. I had the ability to do it without becoming an officer. But with the way courts treat regular black people. Why would I risk spending life in prison? 
I didn't wanna pull people over everyday, work in hoods arresting people strikingly similar to the people I grew up with, or risk my life everyday for the betterment of the community. I just wanted to help my sister. I knew she was in an unsafe relationship, I knew he owned a gun and kept it in the house they lived in together, and I knew police officers were allowed to carry wherever, whenever and use deadly force if necessary. I kept this secret plan wrapped so tight that not even my CLOSEST friends know that's why I used to want to be an officer of the law. I kept it so tight that the person I wanted to kill would SEND me police jobs when he noticed certain departments were hiring. That's pretty scary. But I knew I was smart enough to devise a plan as an officer where I could have killed him and completely acted like I was just saving my sister in the heat of the moment. If her relationship lasted that long, I would've been another one of those murderers going home Scott free that you guys complain about on here everyday. If I was capable of devising such a plan and that being my sole purpose of becoming a cop, and I'm black... what makes you think with all the racism in the country, with all the possible KKK members in the police force, they aren't happy to wake up and kill a nigga on any given day. 

Since we were sharing stories that we aren't sure can make it on fb 🙃. I love you lol

he's told me this story before, but I "forgot" this story too. It just doesn't live in the forefront of my memories, like it maybe should. But whenever I look at him, I just love him and I know he has my back. I was telling Mr. B just the other day that my younger brother feels this responsibility for me that I will never understand. I appreciate it though. Having a younger brother and bigger brother all in one.. so when you look at my family and see how much I love them and care about them, here's a little insight to why. We roll tough-- K-K- K- Key unit! lolol

(He did not give me permission to post this)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

This is My Commandment...

Because I want to practice what I preach. One day I'm going to have to stand before God and account for myself. When He asks me about how I mended relationships and treated those closest to me, I want to be able to tell Him I did all I could. That I loved by His standards. I want to be able to say I didn't make any excuses for someone else's behavior, that I didn't put off the responsibility that was mine and blame others for how they treated me. I will make the best effort because I am a Christian woman... accountable, capable, and diligently on the tasks that I know are mine. "I can do all things..."
"Set your mind on things that are above..."
"Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness..."
"Present yourself to God as one approved..."
"For it is better to suffer for doing good..." #whateveristrue #whateverishonorable #whateverisjust #whateverispure #whateverislovely 
#causeiwanttoremember #accountability 

photo from Tuesday night's dinner table. Mr. B and I sit together to eat dinner, I figured I should take small actions in showing him that I value our time together. I fixed dinner and served it up to him with a glass of wine and a little table decor. Nothing fancy, but just little action to show my big love for him in a small way.  #babysteps

This post is so vague, I know. But it was about to be an IG post before I decided I didn't want to be that transparent on IG. Lately, Mr. B and I just have not been connecting. We've been bickering (or maybe just me) over some of the smallest things. It feels rough in our home. We're lacking love and compassion and it's been feeling like I don't even know the man I married. Don't worry! We are both very firm in our commitment to one another, but it can not (will not) go on this way and us remain happily married. I have a few gripes about him lately that make him unrecognizable. And maybe he has some too that are causing me to become unrecognizable. Does he recognize me? *shrugs*
But whateverthecase... I am a woman of action. I refuse to let whatever the devil has planned to take form in my home. I can not blame anyone else for the outcome if I do not put in the work necessary to mend what is broken.

Whenever the kids upset each other and aren't getting along. "Who are you responsible for? Whose actions can you control?" I have to practice what I preach. I can only control me. I know I am the root of my home. I control the temperature. I am the leader of the joy, of the love, of the sanity. Everyone is feeding off of my actions! Why am I not walking in that calling? I can turn it all around and make it all better just by a simple attitude shift. I can't control how he sees me, what he does, But what I am responsible for, I need to be on task about... diligently! Excitedly! 

Lord, I hear you. Thanks for the constant reminder of your grace. Thank you for clarity and strength and the resolve to remain on task. I am blessed. I will walk in my blessings. 

I'll keep you guys updated.