Tag Archives: aunt

future woman leader, my sister Erika

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My sister Erika loves to dance. I like that some of her hobbies are to play, dance and sing. When she grows up, she will give the world her gift of dancing. Everyone should have a sister like her because she’s fun, she doesn’t give up on anything, she’s smart and listens to what people has to say. And that’s way I love her.

Written by Kayla:
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some days i feel like water, like erika

all month I have been writing prose to acknowledge women that have directly influenced my life and perception on living as an artist. this week, I have decided to let these little women that are living in my home to write and express for one another and for women that they want to share information on.

last but not least, my eldest, the first one out the blocks. my scorpio. the fire and water supplier, Erika.

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where do I begin? my pre-teen… who would now rather be on the phone or in front of the television than bonding with her aunt. let’s see… the messy room, the junky school back pack, the fearless one… yes, let’s start with that. the fearless one.

not afraid to turn an event into the “Erika show” if she needs to! she has always been the popular one, ever since pre-kindergarten. you ask, “pre-kindergarten? she was only 4 years old?” I know! her theme song should be, “I AIN’T NEVER SCARED!” until she sees me waiting for her at the school bus stop or standing in the doorway at home. then that changes until school the next day and then it becomes her world again. and how does one maintain a healthy balance of that for a little girl? a little black girl?

she is a leader. she is the organizer. she’s cautious enough not to make the first move all the time. oh, she’ll send someone out ahead of her to test her plan! she’s strategic. she studies you. she’ll stare at me while driving. so, I study her back. I show just as much interest! where? who? why? I let her be the first to try things. the first to go to the theater with me, the first to go to the hair salon, the first to get a bedroom makeover, the first to try ballet, the first to play soccer… she’ll be my first out the gate. I have six more years to panic over that but like most parents, I wonder if I’m preserving as much of her fearlessness as possible? After all, God sent her this way.

she is the popular one at school. she is witty and going through her goofy 6th grade phase. she is an honor roll student and the one that the teacher’s say, “she could easily be an all A student if she just…” she is my fire starter who carries the water in her bag to extinguish it out when she’s done. get it? she’s feisty and “ain’t never scared”. she’s easy going with me, she understands I’m still figuring this parenting thing out but I’m in it for the long haul. with that, for me she stays true to her scorpio sign with water and flows with me.

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some days i feel like air, for kayla

all month I have been writing prose to acknowledge women that have directly influenced my life and perception on living as an artist. this week, I have decided to let these little women that are living in my home to write and express for one another and for women that they want to share information on.

next up is the middle girl, kayla. my mini me. my virgo. my cuddler.

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kayla is about patience. to love her you need it. she requires it. my sensitive, emotional little lady. she has always required attention, never the one to watch Dora the Explorer alone while you washed dishes. if you were in the kitchen, she was in the kitchen! if you were in the study room, she was in the study room! if you were in the bathroom she was waiting for you in the hallway! I usually stay up late to write and she would get up early, like most kids, so I would lock my bedroom door to get some extra sleep. this chick picked my lock one morning and got in! YES YOU HEARD ME! (haha)

I don’t recall kayla every drawing outside of the lines when she began to color. if she did color outside, it was her creating a totally different picture. she has always been meticulous. my mother hums and sings all the time and kayla has picked this up. she sings walking down the hall, in the shower, riding her bike… and she is a dancer. kayla is no doubt my artist.

she is also my follower. remember, she has never liked being by herself. God made her this way so I just have to continue to encourage her to trust her talents and what her heart is telling her. I believe she is so talented, she doubts herself just to fit in with everyone else. she is a gentle little woman, very giving and shy. not to toot my horn, but I really feel she mirrors me in a lot of ways. she is my art show award winning, talent show singing, honor roll having middle girl. not to the left, not to the right. just in between flowing to and fro, kayla.

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The Efforts of My Breath

I have been inside of my head for almost a month now. (translation: my nieces and one of my nephews are visiting with my sister, their mom, and their dad.)  When I came to the realization I would move down south to get custody of them, I made conscious decisions to listen to the silence of my Inglewood apartment.  I would lay in the bed and watch the sunrise chase the stucco across the ceiling.  I would pull my bedding to the couch and then lounge upon rising from my slumber with a cup of coffee and a movie from my dvd collection.  Time would be timeless and my day would plan itself.

Fast forward to five children: my calendar is full of their appointments and activities.  Waking up to their breakfast requests, me needing to be judge for who can watch their tv programs first.  In many ways I am more involved with my breath (purpose) versus chasing my daily goals.  There is nothing wrong with ambition at all but I suppose when it’s  yours,  you don’t see the immediate results.  Now, with the children, I can see daily the effort of my breath. 

I can see smiles of accomplishment on their faces.  I can see their sweat overcome defeat.  I can hear their laughter break through their fears.  It is immediate gratification everyday.  The current silence of my home is nostalgic to my creative life and purposeful meditation.  But I must admit, I look forward to seeing “the efforts of my breath” soon.

zero to five in 32 hours

I always knew the day would come.  From his entrance in 1993.  His in 1998.  Then she came in 2001.  2004.  And 2006.

2008, I packed up my single life in Los Angeles and made my trek to Atlanta to get custody of my sister’s children.  Her five children. 

I made this privy decision after the second girl was born in 2004.  When “it” was now apparent in my mother.  I could hear “it” in her voice.  But “it” was loudest in her silence.  The flat breath that would catch happiness and linger trapped between her sighs.  My mother not being able to enjoy the fruits of being a grandmother because she was in a position of subordination to being a mother all over again.   Her angered disappointment, which is different from both anger and disappointment.  Her thanksgiving needing to be a holiday of receiving.  Our conversations gave guilt to the quiet jazz filled afternoons in my LA apartment.  Our conversations consistently robbed Roy Hargrove and I of the enjoyment of our new bottle of chilled riesling.  I needed to resolve.  The options: the kids become wards of the state or raised by my mother, who had become quite lenient with her home rules and expectations.  Foster care had already been in the picture.  The kids had already been split up before.  The boys stayed together but the oldest girl, only five months old, was sent to be cared for by another family.  Stories formed with the youngest boy being mistreated by another child in a foster home.  Stories of the kids crying at the end of visitations upon not being satisfied with the answers they received to their inquisitons, “can I come home yet?” 

I wanted to create another story.  Help write another ending for them.  After all, intergenerational family rearing is nothing new to most cultures.  Even my grandparents’ modest three bedroom home had ever revolving doors to their nine children and 17+ grandchildren so this decision seemed natural for me too.  But like most, I presume, who choose this, we do not see the stories that await us.  The stories of the hard adjustment to living in a new city, the demands of your time (or what used to be), the depression, the anxiety, creating a personal/social life with five kids, dating, finding the “mommy button” and the arduous task of re-membering who I am and re-inventing my self as a woman, artist and active aunt of five.  Some stories are funny and some are serious.  From journal entries to day to day tales, this blog is about me going from zero to five in 32 hours.