These teens that live in my house know all I have been talking about is how I wanted to finish my three 20-page papers for grad school and how I wanted my semester in teaching to be OVER! When both had come, I asked that they let me sit/lay around and not do anything. Not cook, not wash… I didn’t even want to think. Just give me 24 hours to re-center my breath. They agreed.
We mailed out our Christmas cards and boxes to family in other states, put up our house decorations and caught up on television shows I had missed out on. We shared the cooking for the holidays and my youngest even baked desserts all by herself! Their grades are posted online so now parents don’t have to wait until the paper report comes out. I asked about them twice, and both times my oldest pulled out her chrome book and demonstrated that the website was down.
Today I asked about the site and it worked…
If you are a parent you already now what this face means!!! “WHY WOULD YOU WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO TELL ME WHAT I SHOULD BE EXPECTING WITH THESE GRADES?!” I am thankful that they let me relax when they saw I had fallen asleep on the couch or read a book of fiction that I had been missing. (for 4 months my life consisted of non-fiction books and essays!) But somewhere along the line, there was space and time to prep me! So now I am sitting at my desk trying to write a list of things that teenagers with grade point averages of 2.5 and 2.3 can do in my house! NOT TOO MUCH!
I now have three phones and an immaculately spotless home! I also have a list of their short term goals. After my lecture on education and questioning if they studied and gave 100%, I’m not saying we won’t be here again – but I am saying they will tell me ahead of time. (if there is a next time)
parents – (n) The hardest working person in the universe.
We can see beyond horizons and be as blind as bats.
We can hear as keen as owls and be as deaf as a day gone.
We can be energetically defeated.
parenting – (v) The hardest job in the universe.
I dare to say our most imminent goal is to ensure our children can live successful independent lives. And to make sure that goal stays in the forefront of our mind, we will do what we must. That includes perfect vision in a forest and closing our eyes in the light. As long as the goal is protected.
That is how I try to reach the parents of my students. Some of them have a spry and transparent engagement with the social and educational growth of their child. But the majority are only proactive towards their counsel to teachers on their personal goal and avoid any reactionary response on classroom feedback that does not comply with the said goal.
As a parent, I have had uncomfortable conversations in regards to the behavior of my three. And some have been the embarrassing repeated behaviors of “overly social”, “running in the hall” or “incomplete assignments. I had to grow into a position with my parenting to concede that, the same behavior I correct them with at home, is the same tone they exhibit with other adults. So when I get phone calls and reports that my youngest, who only stops talking when she is sleep, is “overly social” in class, I believe it. I’m not sure what it is that shapes in parents heads that their child’s calamity somehow stops the second they enter the school building. If your child is flipping furniture at home, there is a 90.9% chance you child will come into the classroom and do the same.
Continue reading as parents
My mother taught me how to make a living.
My father showed me how to create a life to live.
She was deemed responsible.
He was deemed selfish.
… I want to be selfishly responsible from here on out.
from the root? from perception? from the experience? when does sugar become sweet?
For me it is from the experience. And it is probably this for most others since we are not physically sugar canes. Be that, when does art become good? When is a love affair over? When is enough enough? When am I a bad parent?
These are all boundaries I have created for myself. My own little box I keep painted and maintained to look like my body with smooth brown skin. Perhaps like my mother felt when rearing my sister, brother and I, she was doing the best she could. She was doing what she knew and felt best at that time. And at times her decisions were based on her personal needs and I encountered moments of disappointment. However, what made me feel this way? The root, the perception or the experience?
It is all.
My oldest niece lives with associate disorder. (I have accepted this is the nice way of saying early stages of schizophrenia.) She dissociates herself with authority. She is bold and impulsive and therefore dissociates herself with effect. I am her guardian and have experienced bouts of fear and anger and sadness with this realization. Even though my sweetheart is an honor roll student in middle school, she does not understand these conversations I have with her. I can tell by the narrowing of her eyes. She just knows she is being scolded for “something”. When does her sugar become sweet? At her root? Her perception? Her experience? Is there truly an impact for her to acquaint with when she, like everyone else, is simply living out her karma?
Fear is the unknown. And like any parent, I send myself in frenzied panic attacks over her future. But when free from ostentation, I can empty my mind and live with her sugar being sweet under all three possibilities. Therefore declaring her a whole person.
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:
My sister, Kayla, loves to sing. I like that her hobbies are singing, dancing and she can paint and draw. When she grows up, she will give the world her gift of singing to everyone. When my sister sings, it makes people feel happy.
Everyone should have a sister like her because when people pick on me at school she protects me. She plays with me every time I’m sad. She loves me and she is smart and playful and nice.
Written by Kyra
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.
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.
My youngest sister, Kyra, loves to sing, run and play with us. I like that some of her hobbies are dancing, singing and mainly running. She runs everywhere she goes! When she grows up, she will give the world the gift of being a famous, fantastic Olympic track and field player. She will be in the 100 meter race and will be able to compete in the summer Olympics in 2024.
Everyone should have a sister like her because she is very playful, smart, fun to be around,and she acts like the big sister when I’m feeling blue. I love my sister very much. I would do any thing for her. I hope she makes it to the summer Olympics.
Written by Erika:
She is a first generation city girl. The advantage is she is the beginning. The disadvantage is she is the beginning. No one ahead to show her how to make a sharp turn left or that stop ahead doesn’t necessarily mean to quit. This is the personal genius she created from Mounds City, Arkansas to Kansas City, Mo. The mistakes she hides behind stones in the garden. The best of my mom I am taking with me. Indeed, all of her.
There are parts about her that are silently me and other parts I defy loudly. I am her history and sense of being. We both long to feel we “belong”. She is avid in knowing the parents of her parents parents and when and how and why. I love history. I have always been intrigued with before, the first and alpha. She is an artist. She is a writer and singer. Characters and voices move about in her head. She can differentiate them into various connotations and dictions. She is the inner shell, poked and laughed at. Mocked at for “thinking” she could be a singer. However, she is my outer shell. Protected me from these family discussions that killed dreams and independent thinking.
She signed me up with free modeling lessons at the community center. She helped me with my lines for the black history shows in elementary. She went outside her budget and bought me stickers to visualize my second grade poetry book. She allowed me to pretend and be “Coco” when I needed to escape my reality.
I defy her silence. For never speaking out just keeping me away. Keeping me separate from courage or confrontation. Keeping me safe but not protected.
I am her fear of not trying again. I am her fear of “once burned” so don’t do it again. I live her fears because I was taught to follow someone’s example, literally. I live her fears because I was taught how to live religiously not religiously live. And I was taught how to cope and cover pain and carry brick buildings on my back. At 20 years old I vowed to “not be like her.” Now 20 years after 20 years old, I would be an insane person to not embrace all of what she is… for her to be whole. For her to know I love all of who she is.
With three nieces looking to me and two nephews listening to me, I pray I give them the tools to accept my duality and love me 20 years from now. Love me through my contradiction. Love me past my fears. I pray they continue to break shoddy family traditions, take the best of me and grow themselves closer to God.