Monday, June 30, 2008

She's Growing Up

I can see it clear as day. It’s not that far away. Nope, the day Miss Olivia prefers the company of her girlfriends in lieu of hanging out with the Mango crew is fast approaching and as much as I enjoy seeing her blossom into her own incredible, independent being, I am mournful.

I’m also trying to be preemptive, like this weekend when I invited two of her friends over to bake cupcakes. We had a great time and they’re a really funny bunch, but while watching them interact I could tell that my role as the center of her universe is seeing its last days and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

It’s normal, I know, just part of growing up, but this is a new phase of motherhood for me and I’m not quite sure what to expect. I pray we’ll always remain close and connected. I have no siblings and I love the intimacy Loverman and I share with the kids. I don’t want to ever lose it, but I know change is inevitable. I just need to remember that change can be good--- right?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not Your Average Joe

The other night, Olivia’s girlfriend (we’ll call her Haylie) from around the corner called and asked if she could come over and play once she finished dinner. Of course, she’s a lovely girl with wonderful manners (I’ll admit, I am a sucker for good manners).

Haylie showed up while my kids were still eating their own dinner and joined them at the kitchen table. Olivia finished her meal before Yannick, and after clearing her plate and putting her dishes in the dishwasher, she turned on her heals and she and Haylie headed out the kitchen towards the front door. Before they got completely out of earshot, Mr. Yannick offered an “Au revoir Haylie,” but it wasn’t in his usual six year-old voice, he actually mustered up a sexy little growl that spoke volumes. It certainly got the young lady’s attention because Haylie turned around and gave my little Mack Daddy a sweet smile and said, “bye Yannick.” He seemed utterly satisfied with his efforts and her response.

Later that evening I recounted the story to Loverman and asked him why Yannick didn’t just say, “bye?” Why did he think Yannick needed to make an impression and practice the one French phrase he knew? Loverman turned the tables on me and asked, what did I expect, a simple, “See ya?” He reminded me we named the boy Yannick, not Malik, and he’s destined to be a bit more suave than your average Joe.

Lord help us!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Going Above & Beyond

As I’m sitting here watching with profound sadness the HBO documentary, Hard Times at Douglass High, a painful indictment on the nation’s public education system, my sense of total despair is tempered by an article I read in today’s Philadelphia Daily News touting the retirement of Dr.Erlene Nelson, a kindergarten teacher at the Drew Elementary School.

Dr. Nelson is a 78 year-old great-grandmother and on Thursday she ended her tenure of 51 years as an educator in the Philadelphia School District. She has taught in the city’s school system longer than any other teacher in recent history. It’s estimated she’s taught more than 3000 students.

In addition to her retirement package, I hope Dr. Nelson has been offered combat pay, because teaching in the Philadelphia School district is no joke!

I salute Dr. Nelson and her years of service. She is a true heroine, and her career as an educator should be heralded and celebrated by all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

School's Out

Yesterday, Yannick had his kindergarten graduation and today is the last day of school. I’m not a big fan of these new fangled traditions of graduations for pre-schoolers and kindergarteners. I’m old school and as much as I believe in celebrating kids’ milestones and acknowledging their achievements, I’m often dismayed by how overboard some of us get when it comes to these occasions. At Yannick’s graduation there was more than one kid decked out in a tuxedo--- Yikes! There were so many of those damn Mylar balloons offering kudos to soon-to-be first-graders that you could hardly see the stage and graduates.

As happy as my kids are that the school year is finally over, I bet they wouldn’t believe Loverman and I are even happier. That’s right, for the next 10 weeks we can enjoy more civilized mornings and no more sleeping with one eye open for 60 mins. between 5am – 6am, promising to get out the bed after a sleepy “just five more minutes.” Hooray!

Monday, June 16, 2008

She's a bad babe!

I was recently introduced to the sounds of the beautiful Ms. Esperanza Spaulding and her new self-titled CD has been in heavy rotation on my ipod ever since. Check her out and enjoy!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Being Sated

I may not be qualified to say this but, we’ve had a mighty fine Father’s Day, if I say so myself. I’m extremely happy about this, because Loverman’s birthday and Father’s Day are usually angst-filled days for me. I’m cool with finding gifts he’ll enjoy, but when it comes to cooking a meal to seal the deal of the day, I’m at a loss. Loverman is the cook in this family and unlike the kids and I; he doesn’t eat chicken and turkey, just fish and vegetables.

Before meeting Loverman, I was more than satisfied with my cooking skills. I was far from being a foodie, but I’d made many a man happy with a home-cooked meal. I remember the first meal I cooked Loverman--- it was baked flounder, with sautéed asparagus and potatoes. He politely cleaned his plate and commented on the evening’s wine selection. The next evening he offered to throw something together and let me tell you, from that day forward, I never looked back and he’s been handling most meals ever since. I’m not sure if I even remember the menu for that first meal, but whatever it was confirmed that I was out of my culinary league. This man can literally make something out of nothing when it comes to cooking in the kitchen and it’s prepared in such a way where you can literally taste his deep love and affection for you. Not only that, but he’s even skilled at cooking stuff he doesn’t even eat, like BBQ chicken or the Thanksgiving turkey. With my role of cook out the window, I’ve become the family baker and housekeeper. I see the kitchen as his artist’s canvas and I do my very best to make sure it’s in tip-top shape whenever he’s ready to go in there and do his thing.

So, back to today’s minor triumph--- over the past few years I have attempted to make him a special meal on Father’s Day and up until today, my efforts have received a lukewarm reception. I’m sure he doesn’t mean it, but his lack of enthusiasm when it comes to my cooking has done a bit of a job on my confidence in the kitchen. In spite of this I make attempts on his birthday and Father’s Day to give him a break from the kitchen. I scour cookbooks looking for just the right recipe, while trying not to feel anxious as the day approaches. This year, I mentioned my plans for today’s Father’s Day meal to my mom. I’d found a recipe for salmon stuffed with spinach I thought he’d like. My mom countered this suggestion with one of her own--- fried whiting, with candied sweet potatoes, sautéed collards, corn and corn bread muffins. Loverman loves fried whiting and my mom’s candied sweet potatoes. I agreed this was something I think I could handle and Loverman was sure to enjoy. Mom offered to hang out with me in the kitchen as I cooked today’s dinner.

I didn’t mention today’s carte du jour to Loverman until he asked what I was up to in the kitchen late this afternoon. I sensed he was a bit surprised, because on the rare occasion I choose to cook, he accuses me of cooking for the kids’ tastes and not his own. He may be right. They’re much easier to please.

When it came time to sit down and eat dinner, everyone seemed happy and ate well. Loverman went for seconds and thirds. Olivia housed the collards and Yannick asked for a second piece of fish. At the end of the meal we were all sated. My satisfaction came not only from being well fed, but for also preparing a meal that pleased and satisfied my man. The absolutely best, most wonderful father and husband I know.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Get Over It and Get On Board

O.k., so I’ve got to make a concerted effort to stop reading comments on posts on sites such as CNN and The Huffington Post. I can’t believe some of the madness I encountered while reading comments to an article on regarding the reaction of a number of Hillary’s supporters following Saturday’s concession speech. I thought it was a great first step in bringing the Democrats back together, but I’m obviously still high on the fumes of Obama’s ascension to presumptive Democratic nominee, because vitriolic hatred abounds and some of these broads cannot see past their own disappointment and vow to support McCain in protest.

Sure, it’s never easy when your guy, or in this case gal, doesn’t win and maybe it’s because I’m so used to being on the short end of the stick when it comes to my candidate not winning, but opting for McCain is simply not the answer, nor do you have the right to shove Hillary down Obama’s throat as his vice presidential running mate.

Get over your loss and get on board, because more than your hurt feelings and overwhelming disappointment is at stake. We’re at a very critical point in our history. Our economy is tanking. Our standing in the world community has been greatly compromised, and during the last 8 years, our domestic infrastructure has received virtually no attention. John McCain knows only one thing--- war and combat and even four years under his administration will lead to the further determent of this nation and our children’s future and other than Condi Rice, I’ve yet to encounter a woman, who doesn’t want to ensure a better, more secure future for our children.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Today's the Day!

I am so excited I could just about BURST! Barack Obama has just secured the Democratic nomination and as a 43 year-old Black woman in America I never thought I’d see this day. A Black man is running at the head of the Democratic ticket for President of the United States. But, dreams do come true and for all Americans this is the beginning of a new day. So, excuse while I head outside, because I’m sure I can still catch a pig or two☺

Yes we can!

Monday, June 2, 2008

No Comparison

This morning Good Morning America raised the issue of why members of Trinity United Church applauded Father Michael Plfeger’s mocking of Hillary Clinton. They positioned the story to mark the contrast between how Blacks vs. Whites interpret Plfeger’s display.

Hmmmmm…. could it be that they agree with him? Is it possible that as hurtful as his portrayal may be to some, even to Hillary herself (and her supporters), he could be right on point with the underlining cause of her (and their) bitterness? And, with all of this discussion about mocking, why wasn’t there an uproar when Hillary mocked Barack with her “celestial choirs” speech in Providence, R.I., a few months ago?

Sure, I know where GMA was trying to go with this little discussion, but at least the brothers and sisters of Trinity were enjoying a harmless parody, whereas back in the day, White folks gathered friends and family to witness and celebrate the lynching of thousands of Black men, women and children. So, if we're going to take the time to deconstruct the differences of the cultural "read," let's do the hard work and provide a historical context.