Saturday, June 23, 2007

As a Mommi, It's Good to Have Days Like This

I begin to write this entry from beautiful Great Diamond Island, Maine. I am on a long girl's vacation weekend (Thursday - Monday) with my two best friends from college. I also brought my daughter with me since I figured she wouldn't be too much work, she's 8 going on 38. I left my son in the care of granny and daddy for the weekend.

The hardest part of the trip thus far has been packing and airport logistics.

Packing is a 3 day affair. I know you all think that I'm exxagerating. But, you will understand in the next two sentences. Day 1: Wash all of the clothes that have been piling up to assure the best wardrobe selection for yourself and the kids. Day 2: Fold and pack the best wardrobe selection for yourself and the traveling child. Day 3: Assemble your non-traveling child's wardrobe; pack it if he's going somewhere; or, coordinate matching outfits and leave in a place for daddy with instructions if you want him to look like something while you're away. The second thing you do on day 3 is put all those beautifully washed and dried clothes in clothes, not used for packing, in a basket to be folded and put away for a Day 4 to happen when you return from vacation. Yeah, you should have laundry done since you do it on the regular schedule you keep for yourself. Yeah, right?

Once you get that done you have to do the dropping off of the non-traveling child and get you and the traveling child to the airport on time and make the flight (a challenge in Atlanta where our security clearance line added an hour to our pre-flight check-in). Needless to say me and said traveling child missed the flight and had to have another another leg added to our previous two-leg trip to make it to Maine and catch the ferry to the island on time and night have to psend a night in a hotel, since I certianly don't have that allotted in my meager budget.

But, once I got past all of that and reached this place of beauty and natural wonder, I got to a place of beauty and wonder within myself. The long weekend turned out to be what my mind, body, and spirit needed. It helped me think through my personal dreams and ambitions; I was able to spend valuable quality time with my soon to be eight year - old daughter; and I also got some girl power that can only come when you spend real time with longtime girlfriends that know you from the core. My college friends, Tonya and Tish, always remind me who I am - the good and the bad. These women are key in pushing me to be the best I can be. Both strong and beautiful and very accomplished in their own right, tell me like I need it to be told, whether I want to hear it or not. They also let me know that I am not the only one that has some advice to give. I can't thank them enough for enriching my life for so many years.

I continue to write this entry in my home office reflecting on the blessings of the Maine trip.

All in all this trip allowed me the space to "be," - a rarity in life of everyone's schedule, including my own. And that space has given me clarity in terms of my role as a woman, wife, mother, magazine entrepreneur and marketing professional. I might be headed to grad school soon on a leap of faith, prayer and favor. There are many obstacles - finances, family, moving, the GRE and GMAT. But, I believe this will be the thing to help launch this magazine right. So, I am researching my options. I'll keep you in the loop on the way.

You'll be hearing more about my clarity, I am sure, in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I want to thank Tonya for financing this trip. I am the poor girlfriend now, with no steady oncome. So, it's good to have your girls help take care of the "real you." I also want to thank Tish for your generous and loving spirit. You are the midlle of the yen and yang that Tonya and I are and I can't imagine the beauty of our friendship without you. Thank you both for this friendship and all that we've shared - as college women finding our way and now woman to woman. And, I ant to give glory and honor to God for making it all possible.

I invite you to share with me a time and place when you got to "Be;" and what it did for your life.

Can I get a witness?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Mama's Dedication to the Everyday Dad

There are several dads that I have watched in my everyday life. Two of which are pictured left. However, none are mentioned in any of the Father's Day readings that I have perused over the past month leading up to this day of thanks for fathers.

So, I want to send a special shout to you all for everything you do, everyday, as a father. I want you all to know that this mother sees you and appreciates you for the joy you bring to my life as I watch you give to your children and mine.

The first man I watched on an everyday basis was my stepfather Johnny E. Sibley - daddy. The beauty of this man is that he married my mother more than 29 years ago with two children (one of which was me) who also had the responsibility of four younger sisters and brothers (my grandmother had died leaving my mother's siblings in her care).

My stepfather went on to raise my mother's siblings, myself and my older sister as well as father my younger sister with mother. And he did all of this while providing for his two children from a previous marriage.

Now, I know you are all acknowledging how amazing this is, especially in the mid-seventies - an era when men seemed to be abandoning the responsibility of fatherhood in light of all the pressure and lack of opportunity. But, more than the beauty of the idea of a man, my dad is that he showed "his girls" what a man is and how a man is supposed to treat his family by being there and living the example.

This truck driver helped me, as a girl child, avoid the pitfalls of looking for love from any man or searching for a father in a relationship because I had one all along. His memory is also helping me heal the wounds of abandonment I feel as a woman who has realized the hole in my heart resulting from the lack of connection with my biological father. The reality is that Johnny's fatherhood example has informed many areas of my life - most good and some bad. But, for all that he was (he passed in 2003 of colon cancer) and is to me, I thank you daddy. He is a true example of a father's covering.

The second man I watch on a daily basis as a father is my husband. He hates when I talk about him too much in public because he is so private. But, I have to celebrate him for all that he is. He is the provider and covering that I prayed for in a husband to take over where my father left off in my life. He will also be that and so such more for our children.

My children will feel the bond of father and child that I longed for. They will have what I've seen with daddy and my younger sister. They will not have the hole of disconnection that I struggle to heal. My daughter will remember their father-daughter dates. My son will remember father-son time, all with their biological father who honors and enjoys the responsibility bestowed upon him by God. We all will remember soccer Saturdays, Miami trips, Disneyworld, fixing things around the house and all of the other little and big things he does everyday.

And no matter how much he and I struggle in the husband and wife department, I will forever be grateful that he chooses our children as they choose him.

And to Darrel and Kota - two of the other fathers I watch in their everyday daddy lives - thanks for the haircuts, barbershop runs, hugs and "what's wrong, buddy's" for Jonathan; the encouragement, little pushes, discipline when needed, the ice cream trips and double family movie dates. You both are the uncles my kids never had, since I only have sisters. You're the daddy back-up when daddy's not there yet; or, when me and the kids are at your house - Darrel says I'm like furniture, a fixture at his house; sometimes I'm there more than he is :)

You both continue to inspire me as examples of what fathers are - the bear hugs, the firm tone and the soft touch - all in balance.

And you do it all while acknowledging your wives mommihood as being important. You do it all while letting her know that you appreciate and love her for all of the hard work she does. You smile at her. You hug her. You take her on trips, just to let her know that you see her in all of her glory.

All of these men do their daddy-duty and make me proud. I am proud to be surrounded by "real men." Men not caught up in the idea of what fatherhood is. but, men that are about the action of fatherhood, everyday. And, in doing daddy-duty, they are doing their men-duty. They are examples of the men that are covering their children, their children's children and their children's, children's children as things were meant to be.

I thank each of you for that. I thank you for being married and not just being a "baby's daddy." I thank you for staying focused on your family - contrary to popular culture. I thank you for standing against cycle of divorce in our community. I thank you for not leaving our girls searching for a man's love in all the wrong places; for not leaving our boys without men role models, for not leaving mothers working too hard to be mommi and daddy; for not leaving women carrying the financial burden alone.

This is not to say that I don't see these men for all that they are. They all definitely have flaws. They get on my nerves and their wives nerves sometimes. But, even as they work through their personal issues and flaws, they create a foundation for fatherhood that I am glad to have for my children and for myself.

And finally, to all of the everyday dads out there. I want you to know that we see you; we honor you; we thank you. And, your cheerleaders hope this blog entry serves as the memo to the world that acknowledges and honors you for the work that you do as the everyday father. We are here to let the world know that fatherhood isn't about celebrity, money in your bank account or having it all together. We stand to tell the world that you understand that Fatherhood is about doing your part in the "being family" equation.

And you're doin' it and doin' it and doin' it well!

Mommi's can I get a witness?

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Summertime - And Living is Anything But Easy?

As I sit down to write this blog, I can't believe a month has gone by since my last entry. I think to myself, my lack of writing is not due to a lack of something to say. It's more of an issue to find the time to sit down and write what's on my mind.

It's like the picture that I have chosen to feature of my son and his friend. I can remember when they were not able to hold their heads up; and, me and my friend Brenda were sleep deprived, cranky and so emotional we we had no control over when our next cry would be or what it would be about (that last part about the crying was just me, not Brenda).

But now, the boys are 3 and almost 4; giving their sisters a run for their money and have needs f their own that they are not afraid to let you know about.

"Mommi, I don't want to watch her show! I want to watch my show," my son tells me.

When did his show and her show become different? Nickelodeon, Disney, HBO Family, Sprout and Noggin are interchangeable, aren't they?

Apparently not.

Well that synopsis sums up my life over the past week, month, year - the evolution of my children's lives, my life, my marriage, my family life. They all change in the blink of an eye; and I wonder where the time has gone.

With so much change happening all the time, it would be easy to
glaze over it all and chalk it up to the memories of life with little
acknowledgement to the details. But,taking the time to do the details is where the love is. So, I will offer some details of the past month.

Working and Not - My part time contract position as an adverting executive helped me climb out of the financial hole I was in to finish paying tuition for the 2006-2007 school year - thank God. It also ended as quickly as it started with a (supposed) two week hiatus. Let's hope I start back soon. If they don't call me back within the two weeks, I guess I have to start really working toward plan B. I need the steady income of a job to take care of my responsibilities in the house as well as fund the magazine until it can fund itself. So, if you are in Atlanta and know of some work for me, let me know.

Simultaneously, I am working on the many aspects of the magazine launch - advertising, directing writers, writing myself and so much more that if I name them I will get tired
and overwhelmed.

Vacationing - We (my mom, my younger sister, my niece, my children and myself - my husband opted out) took a trip to my hometown, New Orleans, and my mother's hometown, New Roads, Louisiana over Memorial weekend. It was a blast to introduce my children to beignets, sno-balls and the French Market - my native food, my people and culture. We got to spend time with
Ta-Na, Nanny, Auntie Dee, Auntie Edna, Uncle Louis, Angie and Olivia - the family we
don't get to see in our everyday lives in Atlanta. The people that talk a little
different. Do a little different. The family/village that always have a big smile, big hug and big meal prepared especially to show their love.

Living - In between all of that there was the Girls Scout Brownie Awards Ceremony, end of Spring Soccer and the party; daddy giving me my one day off a month for some "me time;" the chorus concert; my son's three year old birthday and the two parties; Mother's Day; other people's birthday parties; laundry that had to be done, broken dryer or not; the school year
ending; summer beginning; and, my girlfriend since junior-high visiting from Dallas, TX.

Some time was also devoted to my husband and I finding little ways to take care of each other - him finding time to take care of the yard and fix the dryer, even with his busy
schedule. And, me offering, unexpectedly, to prepare him something to eat on-the-go as he headed to a weekend appointment.

For us it's not always about lovemaking that shows the other we care. It's the little things that let's the other know that we want to do our part to make the other's life easier. It's what we need in this fragile part of our marriage.

Working Some More - I have also been working for you - the Being Family Magazine audience/family - to make sure that our launch will be more than some print on paper. I am working out the details for three major things that will benefit all involved. First,
the Being Family Magazine Photo Contest. The contest will award prize money toward an education fund for the child(ren) of the winning families. Second, is the Being Family Magazine 2008 Calendar. The Calendar will feature the winning family photos and what "being family"
means throughout the year. An added benefit to this project is that part of the
profit will be awarded to non-profits the Being Family audience chooses and to
honor 12 teachers that are blessing our children in the classroom. The final project is the Being Family. Being Seen. Being Heard. '08 Family Resource Tour. This 7-city tour will bring the
resources, information, celebration and inspiration we need to support us in our
everyday work of being family despite what the media portrays of Black family

So look for more information on all of these projects.

And, let me know what you think about this entry or share what's going
on in your busy life that contributes to your story of "being family."

Write us at or comment on the blog by clicking the little envelope below!

Can I get a witness?