Tag Archives: Learning

T-Talks: Two Moms

TD1: Mom, why can’t I have two moms like you? I want two moms.
T-Mommy: Why do you want two moms?
TD1: So I can have two moms and two houses and two brothers and two sisters, like you have.
T-Mommy: Well, you know what it means if you have two moms? It means that Mommy and Daddy won’t be together anymore.
TD1: :-O
T-Mommy: Is that what you want?
TD1: NOOOOOO.
T-Mommy: I don’t want that either. Mommy has two moms because my Mommy and Daddy aren’t together anymore. And I don’t want that for you. But you know what? You have a Godmom, and she’s kind of like a half-mom. So you have one and a half moms.
TD1: **big smile** So I have two moms. And I have a Goddad, so I have two dads and a Godsister so two sisters and a Godbrother, but only one brother. [TD2] Wake up! You have two moms and two dads and two sisters, but just one brother.

Black Girl Magical Excellence

Have you ever witnessed something that set your spirit on fire and motivated you to get out and do something great? And you wanted to share it with everyone you know?

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The official Hidden Figures Poster from foxmovies.com

That’s what “Hidden Figures” did for me. This movie was two hours and seven minutes of pure black girl magical excellence. In case you’re not familiar with it, the official description says it “is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.”

But it’s so much more than incredible. It’s the story that so many young girls need to know. And I can’t help but wonder why I was never told this story as a little girl. (I mean I know why. You can’t be told what those around you don’t know, but I still wish they did know. So that I could have known.) But now that I do know, I want my daughters to know. And all the little girls and the women that I know. I want them to know too. And not just them, but the boys and the men in our lives as well. I want them to know the greatness that surrounds them, and how important it is that they don’t ever try to dim that greatness.

From the moment I saw the “Hidden Figures” trailer, I knew that I wanted to see it. The more I saw commercials for it, I decided that this was a good story for the girls to know, but I was on the fence about taking them to the movies to see it. A movie about overcoming racial and gender oppression is sure to have some, ahem, “inappropriate” moments, right? In a bit of a spontaneous decision, I decided to preview the movie, and I wasn’t disappointed. I was in awe. I don’t think the TDs are ready to see the movie (maybe when they’re a few years older), but they are definitely ready to hear the story.

The entire time I watched the movie, I kept thinking this could be my girls. Do they know this could be them? I have to tell them. I have to tell them this story. Because they’ll never know what they could be if they don’t know their history. And their history is full of amazing people – like these three black women, who broke down barriers to make history. They did what no one else in the room could do at a time when they were considered the bottom of the bottom of the barrel. The epitome of black girl magical excellence.

Now, my goal moving forward is to share their awesome stories with the TDs and find more hidden gems from our history to share. Because as TD1 told me the other day, “I want to be everything when I grow up.” So, it’s my job to show her what everything looks like.

Reach for the stars and land on the moon, Baby Girl.

T-Talks: Library Edition

Last Monday, the TDs were out of school, so we went to the library. They had a fun, free concert and then TD1 wanted to check out books. (Apparently, she’s a pro at the whole process because her class regularly visits the library.) While we were there, the following convos took place.

 TD1: This book’s not English.
T-Mommy: No, it’s Polish.
TD1: Why’s it Polish?
T-Mommy: Because you picked up the Polish version.
TD1: All the other ones not English?
T-Mommy: They are. You picked the English version for the other books.
TD1: Good, because I don’t like not English. I don’t know how to read it.
T-Mommy: I see. Well you can learn how to read Polish.
TD1: What’s this one? This one English?
T-Mommy: No, it’s Spanish. I forgot [TD2] picked this one.
TD1: Cuz her need to learn Spanish.
T-Mommy: Yes, SHE needs to learn Spanish. You do too.
TD1: Good, she need learn all her Spanish. I don’t. I already know how to read. *walks off*

*playing Dora on the computer*
TD1: Mommy, how do I get to the cooking one? I need you to take me to the cooking one. I need the cooking one. I gotta practice for my cooking class and I gonna get SO MAD if I can’t practice cuz I love my cooking class!

TD2 Is An Ar-teest

We recently put TD1 in Awana* (but that’s another story), and as I was working through her workbook with her, there were a few activities that required drawing.  Of course, TD2 wanted to draw as soon as she saw Big Sister with the crayons. So I got some crayons and a couple of scrap papers for TD2.

I continued going over the lesson with TD1, which included learning that A is for Apple, God loves us, A is also for all, and all have sinned. Occasionally, I’d stop and check on TD2 to make sure all walls and floors stayed clear. Suddenly, I hear: “Maaaaaaa, look! Looooooooook! Eat apple. Eat apple!!!!! He ea’in Apple.” So I took a look at what she was pointing at.

I can’t tell you what it is exactly, but I can tell you that it’s something.

She shows me the picture she drew of what in her words is someone eating an apple. I must say my mommy grin got really cheesy.

  1. She’s only 2 1/2.
  2. She can’t even write her letters yet (we’re working on it).

BUT she drew this.

It also makes me wonder which one of her uncles have been been practicing with her……

*Awana is a year-long Bible study for children where they learn the Bible through activities, games and songs and can earn badges. Kind of like a Boy/Girl Scouts, but for the church.

“Election Means You Choose”

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On Tuesday, like so many others in our timelines, T-Daddy and I voted. It wasn’t anything unique or special about our voting experience. In fact, it was pretty non-eventful – we went, we waited, we voted, we left. The day was pretty typical too. We woke up, went to work and, as always, had a ton of stuff to do afterward. It was in the midst of planning the logistics of our to-do list that it hit me: Today was Election Day.

I mean, of course I knew it was Election Day. It was right there on my list: Go home. Grab items. Vote. Pick up TDs.

But, it was Election Day. And I hadn’t in the days, or weeks, leading up to it talked to the girls – mainly TD1 – about Election Day. Or the significance of voting.

I briefly thought about picking them up first and then going to vote, but that would throw off the logistics and we were already on a time crunch. So I resolved that next election, I would better plan to ensure that I did my due diligence as Awesome T-Mommy.

The plan: talk to them about elections – why we have them and why they are important before Election Day; go vote with them early on Election Day and then have breakfast afterwards to talk about what we just did and why it’s important.

Yup, that would work. I can educate my children by including them. I was feeling good. Like I was back on my game after missing an easy shot.

So we voted. I shared my plan with T-Daddy and he loved it. We picked the TDs up and I looked at TD1’s daily activity sheet. Under Social Studies: Elections. I looked at T-Daddy and smiled. I might have dropped the ball, but her teachers didn’t.

When we got in the car, as we always do, I asked TD1 about her day.
Me: You learned about elections today?
TD1: Yup! *smile*
Me: What did you learn?
TD1: Eleshions mean you shoose.
Me: What do you choose?
TD1: You shoose who’s in sharshe.
Me: That’s right. You choose by voting for who you want to be in charge.
TD1: Yup, that’s what my sheacher said.

Clearly, there’s more to it. But we’re on the right track. And just because the 2014 elections are over, doesn’t mean this conversation has to be, or is.

Treasure Today

Speaking Your Mind Or Being Disrespectful

“Respect Your Elders.”

That was one of my mom’s golden rules growing up. Disobeying that was a cardinal sin. It made her look bad, and among other things, she would not have a disrespectful child. She’d kill you first. As a result, my family will tell you I had manners. Instinctively, I still say “Hello, how are you?” on the phone.

Talking back was a huge no-no. If someone older than you said something, it was fact. You didn’t disagree. You didn’t correct. You didn’t argue. No ands, ifs or buts about it.

I never thought twice about this rule until I started working in corporate America. I went from my peers being the same age as me to being the youngest on my team, even if I wasn’t the lowest salary grade.

I faced an even stronger internal struggle in Kansas where my friends were 10+ years older than me. I had friends that were the same age as my aunt! Luckily, they never made me feel like I was just some youth’s that needed to stay in a child’s place. However, there would be times where I was reminded that they were closer to my parents’ age than my own. And in those times, I would often wonder if my conversations with them were perceived as disrespectful. There were times where we had some pretty intense debates, and though there was no love lost I couldn’t help but wonder if my speaking my mind was taking as me talking back.

I’ve been reading a lot of professional development articles lately and I’ve noticed that I have a lot of mild mannerisms. In other words, I lean out when I need to lean in. I know why this is. I don’t want to be seen as confrontational or disrespectful. But the problem is I’ve been employed because they want me to challenge them. The powers that be decided I bring a fresh new perspective and they welcome me speaking up.

I’m just not always good at it. But I need to be. If I want to have the career that I desire, I need to find my voice and use it – loudly and clearly.

I also need to teach my daughters how to find their voices. To navigate the lines of respecting others without silencing themselves. I want them to know that they should always have respect for others as human beings, regardless of age. And, that their opinion is not any less significant because they may be younger. It’s important that they know they can speak up and offer a differing opinion without being considered disrespectful.

Their future careers depend on it. Their value and worth, the way they see the world depends on it.

Why Can’t It Be Easy?

About a month or two ago, Todd and I got into a huge argument, and after we both had calmed down, we tried to restore some normalcy to our relationship and routine. The problem was that the issue that caused the argument in the first place still had not been resolved. We spent the next few weeks avoiding the elephant in the room until it grew so big we could barely fit in the room with it.

I was ready to attack the elephant and reclaim my living space, but Todd wasn’t. And then I persuaded him to address it before it reached the point of no return he was. So we sat down and we had a long, overdue discussion about us. Our issues. Our fears. Our doubts. He went first, telling me his biggest issues with the relationship. And I listened, asking permission to speak to make sure I didn’t cut him off. I responded to his issues, explaining things that he didn’t understand. Then, I went. And he did the same. And throughout the conversation, we both acknowledged where we were wrong and agreed to work on those things that bothered the other. And in those areas where we could see the other person’s side, but didn’t totally agree that we were wrong or they were right, we did the unthinkable – we came up with a mutually satisfying compromise.

And together, we decided to move forward. The End.

Only, a few days later, I couldn’t help but feel like it wasn’t the end. It was too easy. We both took the high road and handled the entire conversation with class and maturity and worked together to make sure both of our needs were going to be met moving forward. Yet, somehow I still felt unsettled. Maybe I should have yelled, or put my foot down more. Why did I agree to compromise? He’s going to think he can walk all over me now. No, I didn’t have a particular issue that I felt I was too easy on him with. I just couldn’t believe the conversation went so well. And then, I caught myself. Why can’t it be easy? Who says that relationships have to be hard? If we both have the same endgame in mind, why can’t we work together to get there? Why does it have to be a Me vs. Him scenario?

I am extremely proud of how we handled a delicate and difficult situation. I hope that we continue to handle future situations like this. I hope that we can continue to grow and mature as individuals and a couple and reach a point where we are teammates and not competitors. We are in this for the long haul, and how much easier and more fun it will be if we are side by side for the journey of parenthood instead of at each other’s throats.

So, why can’t it be easy? Because it definitely doesn’t have to be hard.