Friday, October 20, 2017
"Hey, watch me kick this bucket!"
I only hope I live the kind of life and have the kind of relationship with my daughter that she would be willing to tell this joke at my funeral service. . . and the kind of friends who would laugh because I would want them to (and at least ONE good friend willing to dress as the Grim Reaper with a "You're NEXT" sign!). On a more Macro level, if they think of me and smile. . .then I've done my job.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Where are the Negro Saves The Whitey films? Where are the stories like the true story of my father turning around the Boy Scout Troop I belonged to from a troop that was dying spiritually and physically into a troop that not only made me an Eagle Scout, but boasted more Eagle Scouts during his tenure than in the entire history of the troop?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I almost died recently. According to His will, I Am here now. By His spripes I Am healed.
I Love you guys.
I am walking a rough strech of road now and I Am Blessed to walk it with my Wife Carol.
I Am blessed to have the support of my family and dear friends.
Carol will leave with Zikora in two weeks because of her visa and will come back a month or so later. I will miss her. I miss her now just thinking about it. But she could use the break.
I have a brain tumor in the language processing part of my brain. I have a biopsy hole in my skull. I pass out, have bouts of lethargy, seizures, moments of confusion and i am in extreme pain all the time. I take meds for these things with varying success. (I do have have fewer siezures) The meds have side effects as well. Oh, I musn't forget the fractured shoulders. With all of this going on, I am weaker than I used to be.
I currently am not the bear-handed brick breaking, open-handed coconut cracking, 4-minute mile walking, mental giant of a man. I'm not supposed to be by myself, walk anywhere by myself, exert or stress myself. be around ye olde style TVs , My arms are in braces most of the time. I'm suppossed to be an invalid.
I am in constant pain and TVs and Computers do hurt me somehow, but I am actually afraid to live down to the standard I have been prescribed. I could only get worse living that way. So I walk a few miles a day.(slowly) I write when I can. I dont break bricks any more, but I can do a 15 minute mile.
My God is glorious! Jesus strengthens me and the Spirit carries me!
My health improves, but I havent started the treatments yet. The Radiation and the Chemo are said additional trails and trubulations on the way to recovery.
I pray and am thankful that the Spirit will conitue to carry me through this trial.
I may never regain my full strength, but that thought will not stop me from trying. I Will Be strong.
I love you guys and can use all the support you can spare.
Friday, September 25, 2009
9.22.2009 I was awoken suddenly at 1:37 a.m. I couldn't determine what awoke me. I couldn't immediately return to sleep. 10 minutes or so later I was snoring. At 1:51 a.m. I'm awakened by a phone call. I hear my mother's muffled voice crying hysterically. My sister in-law then appears on the line saying "Seko, Papi's gone. He's gone."
I couldn't breathe......... "Are you saying that he's dead ? Is that what you're saying ?" hoping that Dad was moved to another room in the Rehab' Center. Life nudged me and I fought back throwing the telephone receiver at the mirror shocking my wife awake. "What, what is it Seko ?" I couldn't answer........Too busy screaming.......Too busy crying.....I wanted to break everything in sight. I ran out of the room yelling and grabbed a lamp on the way out hurling it towards the window. Rhonda's trying to calm me down while I run down the stairs and out of the house screaming. "Don't drive, don't get in the car" she begged as I ran down the streets of my neighborhood. I had to get somewhere where I couldn't break anything else. Finally I fell to my knees on a patch of grass near the main street. After a while I sobbingly returned to my house, dried my eyes, and gathered myself........ Until I looked into the worried face of my 7 year old daughter. The look on her face weakened me as I fell to the floor crying and trying to catch my breath. I couldn't look at my son, I didn't want to make eye contact with him as I couldn't be a strong supportive father at this moment in time. I hated that he saw me completely floored and unable to control myself. I tried to breathe to calm myself but I couldn't. I felt as if I lost the reason to breathe.
Eight hours ago I returned from an anniversary trip to New Orleans with my wife of twelve years. I planned to see Dad as soon as I returned, but became wrapped up in seeing a few counseling client's instead thinking that I'd be able to see Dad tomorrow. Tomorrow never came, tomorrow will never come. Enroute to the nursing home to hold the lifeless hand of my father I sent the text: "My father is now my ancestor."
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Pouring libation has become very real to mi ninos since their Grammy (Maternal Grandmother) died 15 days ago. This photo taken by my daughter on the day of the funeral is one of my favorite memories of the home going. My wifey is adorned in the pink on the left, a flower blooms in the middle, a family member (Dionne) stands on the right. As our family grieves a flower blooms. My mother-in-law is now ancestor. Ashee
My son has been very strong-seeming. As I traveled to the hospital minutes before Grammy walked into glory he was crying. When we arrived at the hospital to drop off the Wifey he held a stiff upper-lip wiping away his tears with a look of hope and faith on his face. Looking at him I kinda of felt sorry for myself. He seemed to have a faith that The Almighty would heal his Grammy. I had a faith that God's will would be done. I wished I had his faith at that moment, it seemed to be more optimistic. Watching my praying-serving-tithing-minister-devout Christian father struggle lately has left me truly questioning my faith in my faith. During the funeral my son cried watching his mother stomp and shout forcing her pain into praise. He was more worried about his mother than anything. The daughter-girl held onto her Grandfather's (Grammy's widowed husband) hands, fell asleep in his lap, and kept him comforted. My kids were caring for their adults.......... Ashe.
A week prior the Lil-Man cried out loud as the Wifey and I tearfully shared with our kids the news of their Grammy's passing. He cried out loud for 30 seconds then trained his watered eyes on his mother watching her every move as he sobbed softly. The Lil-mama howled-out her pain for five minutes shaking, rocking, and reeling. Five minutes later both wiped their tears and hugged their parents, held their parents, looked towards their parents. A week later my son shared with me as we entered the house from a trip the son shared "When I walked into Grammy house I started to say "Hey Gra....." then I realized that she wouldn't be there. I almost said her name Dad. I'm so used to calling her as I walk into her house." Then the Lil-man started talking about Naurato a cartoon action figure. He was beginning to allow himself to grieve. As I later shared the experience with the Wifey I noted "He needed to wait until you were better before he could allow himself to feel it. It's hard watching your mother feel pain." Tonight after being directed to go to bed 45 minutes earlier the Lil-Man walked down the stairs. Normally I'd reach for the belt, this time I looked in his lowered face and knew that I needed to be patient. Son-Sun walked over to his mother without saying a word and fell into her arms sobbing. Wifey encouraged him to cry and we all shared a wealth of tears. Fresh out of tears the Lil-Man walked away and back towards the stairwell.............. Grammy will be missed..........Ashe.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Tonight I returned from work with the Sun-son who was too sick to go to summer camp. It was about 6:15 pm. He hung with me today and I completed reports and delivered paperwork and such. As I sat down to take a phone call he ran up to me stating "Mom needs you upstairs immediately. The struggle begins...
Around 7:30 p.m. I drove into a car wash to vacuum the truck when I received the call from the Wifey. I had dropped her off minutes ago at the hospital to check on her mother who had been rushed into the hospital. She was now calling me telling me I needed to return. I dropped off the kids with a friend and returned to the the hospital.
It's now 12:00 am the next day and I'm writing this entry. I'm nervous about the struggle. We must now share with our kids that their beloved Grammy is an ancestor.
I know that there is nothing that I can say that will wipe away their tears. Truthfully I do not know what to say. I do not know how to say it. As I held onto my mother-in-laws lifeless hands in the Emergency room I asked her to allow Christ to tell her what to tell me to say. I know that as an ancestor I'll be visited by her somehow. I pray that it comes before my kids awake.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The day I became a father......
My sun-son walked into the room this morning at about 5:55 AM and said "Hey Dad, Happy Son-day !" The ritual began. Normally the ritual would entail me calling him "Kofi" all day long until 7:00 P.M. and then calling him his given name symbolizing the seven days he was known as Baby Varner or Trooper until receiving his name seven days after his birth(day). He bested me today ! He went further... " Dad.....You known how you say that today is a birthday shared by Mommy, you , and I ? Well, I think we should include Mama's parents and your parents cause, I mean because....without them there would be no you and mommy. Then you married mommy and had me !"
- Foils ! Bested again !
Then the lil' Diva-daughter pipes in from down the hall "Don't forget the great grandparents ! Without them there would be no grandparents, there would be no parents, and then I wouldn't have a Big Brother !" (Emphasis on the last part, I think she relished the thought.)
Here's the kicker....
"Without God there would be no birthdays. God is everybody father. Happy birthday GOD, happy birthday Mommy. Happy Birthday Daddy. Happy birthday ME !" I think he left his sister out on purpose for a purpose.
There was nothing that she (the daughter-diva) could say. There was nothing that I could say. I placed my hand on top of the Son's head saying "You're right. Now go downstairs and let's have breakfast." As he left he took a part of me with him. My concerns. My fears. My insecurities. His statements took away from me the things that didn't need to be a part of my life. Last night I placed my hand upon my ailing father's head and did the 'Blessing of the Head ritual' ending with thinking "I hope I can be the blessing that you have been to me." Hearing my sun-son this morning, I think I'm Nine years in the right direction. Happy Birthday GOD ! Thank you GOD, Thank you Yeshua (Jesus), Thank you Ancestors. ......................Amen- Ashee
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Circa 1987 I was in a college psychology class and our instructor self-nicknamed "Mr. R.E.O." (Read Early & Often to pass my class) was encouraging us to debate each other. As the discussion turned to 'fathers' a classmate stated with extreme anger that "Fathers ain't nothing. We don't need fathers. Ain't nobody's father ever done nothing for them." I shared how my pops had cooked most of my life and had been in our house everyday except when he took the family our of town. I ended by saying how I enjoyed my pops' food until the #@tch interrupted me yelling out "I'm glad you grew up in the Huckstable's Home but the rest of us had to live in reality. " As I sat there confused I slowly realized how blessed I had been, how much this #@tch was gonna' pay for embarrassing me, and how much justified anger she showed for her mother's bad decisions. As the entire class erupted in laughter I attempted to respond by saying "I'm sorry that you grew up in the ........" stuttering I realized that I couldn't come back on her and be right. I sucked up the embarrassment and kept it moving. I kinda' laughed to myself, she was fat, unattractive, a female, and angry. There was no way I was gonna' win this war with words. A few seconds later on a young lady stated something nice about her father and a few other students agreed. The fat, unattractive, female kinda put her head down on the desk and then I felt a bit sorry for her. I also noted that she had some sexy legs for a fat unattractive female and she stopped being unattractive......... I digress...........
Now (2009) Pops:
All my life my pops has fathered me. The last 8 months I've washed him, fed him, cleaned after him at times, and guided him with some financial decisions. He shared one day how he ended up having to care for his father, and now his first son was caring for him. My pops has become legally blind and is so sick sometimes that life surely feels like torture. I'm having problems sleeping and I'm over-eating and I realized the other night that I'm making myself sick.
What's wild is how my son and daughter know how to say the wrong thing at the right time and make everything alright. Just when I begin to beat myself up comparing my son-status to my brother's son-status (he'll probably always win the "Best Child Award" if there is such a thing) or I begin to think about my pops becoming an ancestor, one of my kids walks up and hands me a handmade card/picture/structure that they made for me effectively washing away the depression. I know that I'll have future fears, pains, tears, and worries about my father - yet It's rejoicing to know that my kids will have a 'creation' up their sleeves to Daddy their Daddy. Thanks be to Father Almighty, thanks be to the Son of Father Almighty, thanks to the ancestors. I love you Pops. I love you Moms, I love ya' kids.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
All that being said. This is my lovely Wife Carol. Looking all cute. She's wearing a skirt that I made.:-)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
My daughter has said that there are no women superheros, so I've made it a point to try to introduce her to Storm and other Black women superheros. Its been pretty tough finding them, especially finding women that have starred in solo books. Captain Marvel & Storm are pretty much it for major publishers. Milestone Media has a bunch of good ones - none of them starring in solo books, but cuz they actually look like my daughter they'll do - but until I get copies I'm not about to hand my bagged and boxed runs over to my 5-year old!).
BTAIM, I recently stumbled across Dr. Germon "Askari" Miller. She was a victim of domestic violence in her early 20s, dragged herself several blocks to the emergency room, with broken bones and other busted body parts and was mostly homeless for two years while ducking her abuser. To defend herself, she began training in African Martial Art styles, becoming so good that she was recognized as a Grandmaster back in 2006.
I really wish I had encountered her back in 2000 when I was looking for an Afro-Centric art style and a connection to my roots. I stumbled across, and became a disciple of, Capoeira back in 2000 not knowing anything about N'golo, the Congolese/Angolan martial art it is based on. Turns out, there are still practioners out there of traditional African martial art styles (and some not so traditional - 52 Blocks, Shackled Hands, etc.) - I just didn't know how to find them in the dark ages before Google and Youtube.
Dr. Miller is organizing an *all-Female* Martial Arts tournament - April 25 @Riverdale Baptist School in the Fieldhouse - 1133 Largo Road - Upper Marlboro MD 20774. For info call 301-233-6659 or 202-550-1146 or email email@example.com.
I can't wait to bring Eva and let her see real life superheros. Axé!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
he's a greedy monster.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
On our car trip home from the babysitters, Eva regaled me with a tale of how Clorox, Lysol and Dreamworks all were fighting to see who was the best. Apparently Lysol won because it got all the votes and then they all ate yellow flower petals.
Monday, January 12, 2009
"Look at those ornaments," I said, incredulusly. "They're HUGE! I wonder where you can get ornaments like that from"
"Maybe they come from Giant" she said with a grin.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This has been a difficult year. I know I lost a significant amount of funds from my investments, I've struggled with my D.J. business and my Real Estate business, I've struggled with decisions regarding returning to College, I've struggled with fidelity (and have been victorious) as I've been presented with so many tempting opportunities, struggled with not wanting to go to Church on Sunday mornings, struggled to force myself to maintain a calendar, struggled with a year-end's loss of income as many of my dependable year-end D.J. clients have cancelled or have not had their events, struggled with maintaining a consistent work-out schedule as I'm struggling to get my sexy back, and most of all I've struggled with trying to rearrange my schedule to include more time with my family. "Where there is no struggle there is no progress." - Frederick Douglass
During our annual Umoja dinner celebrating the first night of Kwanzaa the family (Wifey & Kiddies) and I were enjoying a great meal prepared by the Wifey. Being lazy and knowing that I'd be involved in two public Kwanzaa celebrations that would require a lot of work and decided not to venture into the garage to search for the Kwanzaa Shrine. I began saying Habri-Gani and the Ninos both shouted out "Umoja !" It was on ! I then asked the kids the annual "What do you know about Kwanzaa?" and the son and daughter both shared much more that my Wife and I thought that they could remember. The son then described the process of the candle-lighting in the manner that I've taught them: Red candle, Green candle....(repeat).......ending with the Black candle. The daughter then stated "First the struggle (Red), then the hope (Green), for the people of God." The son quickly blurted "You know, people who struggle have to have hope." The wife and I stared at each other for about 10 seconds shaking our heads. The Lil' man did it again. Every once in a while he will naively say something so thought provoking and revealing that you would expect it to come from an elder. I then considered the struggles I've handled this year, and the struggles our country has handled this year. 2008 was a difficult year for the United States. One great thing about our country is our ability to struggle the struggle and to struggle to have hope for our people. I began smiling in wonderment until noticing that the children have been looking at me with that look as if they were saying "Dad.......Are you here ?" We finished our meal and held our Candle lighting ceremony without the candles doing it all in our heads. As I left the table I remained stuck on the words from my son. "People who struggle have to have hope." Feeling warm I realized that once again the Almighty has spoken to me through my children..........Parenthood is such a wonderful struggle.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Red/Caramel: (Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, too Oprah)
Black/Dark Skin: (Oprah too Wesley Snipes & beyond)
Today while eating lunch with my daughter she laughed with a peer sitting nearby saying She's red. She then looked at me and said "You and me are Red, Mommy is Black." I looked puzzled until a light-skinned boy who sat across from us said "I'm Red too !" The daughter looked at the peer smiling and said to me "Yep Daddy ! He's Red like Bebe (my light-skinned mother). My lil' mama is now race-conscious.
It's been interesting with lil' mama in public school as my son takes in everything but shares very little. Lil' man will tell you only the most interesting things that he experiences, while lil' mama' gives a full narrative. In example: The son: "Lunch was cool, I didn't get in trouble, I ate my veggies (Political talk: He ate a few of his veggies)." The daughter: "Ohh Daddy. We had hot-dogs, beans, and broccoli. I ate everything except for the fruit. I didn't have time to eat Daddy. So-and-so kept talking and our table moved from Green to Yellow. I told her to stop and she stuck her tongue out at me. I loved the hot dog. I added ketchup to it and ate it while the rest of the class was sitting down since I was at the front of the line".........and so on, and so on, and so on. So now the Wifey and I have a chance to really find out what's happening at their school.
Lil' man really didn't speak about racial differences when he was a first grade. Lil' mama, our current first grader, speaks about race in a very cavalier manner. This year's campaign of Senator Obama has made race a very interesting topic lately. Lil' man became intrigued with Obama towards the end of last year. "There has never been a Black President Dad?", "Why were people mean to Blacks and Dr. King Dad?", "If Barack has a White mother why does he look like he is Black ?" Now Lil' mama is asking about a lot of people. "What is she daddy ? Is he Chinese ? Are they Indian, do they live in Tee-Pees ?"
Lil' man is now noticing how many Soul-folk (people of color) are in a room as he enters the room. However, it's a little different than when I was younger. He thinks that it's cool to be Black "but it really doesn't matter Dad. Everyone is cool to me." I used to feel somewhat of an outsider as frequently I was raised in situations that were either primarily White frequently or primarily Black infrequently. I remember a friend named Brian who was a next-door neighbor cursing at me saying "It's all your fault Ni##er ! My family gotta' move all because you and the rest of your Coons moved in." I remember crying to a teacher who hugged all of the children in the class except me sobbing and saying "I feel all alone, I'm the only Christian in this Catholic school classroom." Without physically consoling me she said "Are you sure you are worried about that ?......We all love Jesus, and Jesus loves us all. Go back into the classroom and stop crying." I wasn't really worried about the Christian/Catholic thing. She knew it. I knew it. Kids wouldn't get near me saying that I had a special strain of cooties.....Ni##er Cooties. I then began a campaign to get my parents to remove me from the "costly" Catholic school to the "Free" public school so I could meet and matriculate with the Soulful neighbors who began to invade our Columbus Ohio neighborhood. I needed back-up. As a child I always looked for a Black looking face so I wouldn't feel alone, I felt the need for back-up. I was one of the only Black kids in the Columbus Boys Choir, I was the only Black kid in my mother's preferred church and was always in great demand for the Christmas play. They always held a special part in the play....... I was the Black King who visited the Christ-child. The year I tried out for the part of Joseph I caught peer-related hell. It's funny that I caught hell since the part of Mary that year (of one of the years I was the King) was played by a very light skinned girl who later became my best friend. [She now has changed her racial designation from African-American/Black to American Indian (with some African ancestry) and I believe that she has married a guy from Hawaii (He's lucky....Dawn is gorgeous, smart, and a very church-involved trust-worthy-faithful type of woman). Her father was known as one of the first Black Judges in Ohio and her mother has successfully sued that church for discrimination.] I was too dark to be Joseph, she was o.k. to be Mary as maybe no one would know the difference. I can't remove the fact that her mother was a very powerful member of that primarily-white congregation and I was a frequent visitor. She also earned the part as an active member of the youth group, and I may have been seen as a radical. I remember Dawn-Karima telling me in one of our conversations that people always expected me to join the Nation of Islam and how many people related me to Michael from Good Times who was the "radical" in the television show family. He thinks that counting the Soul-folk in a room is a novelty, I felt alone. Times have really changed for the better.
Raising children in today's America is different. I can't and won't give them my anger towards the racism I felt. I temper my statement that involve race to ensure that my scars are not passed on. I do imbue them with a love for their African, Indian, and European ancestry. I do imbue them with a love for African culture, an interest in the struggles and achievements of (so-called) Africans throughout the world, the historic accomplishments of (so-called) Indians and a love for the coolness of being Black. It's a little difficult when we discuss and watch movies such as Ruby Bridges, Dr. King videos, and when we recently saw The Express. Lil' mama has repeatedly asked "Why are they being so mean to them ?" while the Lil' man has heard me say my scripted statement "There was a time in America when unfair things happened to people of African ancestry. That time is over and ended a long time ago" so many times that he can almost say it with me.
This is a new America (USA). This is a new time. My children embrace the Red-Black-& Green as well as the Red-White-& Blue and don't see a problem. This is a good time.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I was away in North Carolina on a trip the day that the Wifey' and the kiddies went to meet their new teachers for the 2008-2009 school year. After meeting her new teacher the lady-girl told her granny about the meet-and-greet. "Imagine that... A White woman trying to teach a Black girl something." My Lil' one has had a time in her young six years where every important Woman in her life had been a woman of some type of African descent. Her reverence to these women echoed in this statement. As the story was relayed to me I had to think about her response for a few days. I'm sure there are numerous people who might find that statement as racist or prejudiced, or something along that line, yet I have come to view this in proud manner. My parents' generation, and these before it have all suffered from Black-inferiority complex. My Lil' one is proud of her ancestry and all that comes with it. For now.......
So I hear progress in her comment. Her paradigm was going to shift and she nailed it. She was moving from being solely taught by Women of primarily African descent to a Woman of primarily European decent. Imagine that, her paradigm shift statement showed us how much our lot in America has changed. There was a time when the White teacher would automatically hold greater esteem in the world than a Black teacher. I know elders in our community who still hold their breath as they pass or interact with White peers for fear that the American progress they have witnessed was simply a dream. Decades later I still see my father fight to stop trembling as he nears a police officer as he survived the times of racist Police brutality. The Black Power revolution that occurred during the Civil Rights era was so very necessary to begin fighting this Black-inferiority complex. Our radical embrace of ourselves was so necessary to now move into a natural, non-radical, self accepting place that our American people have come into. This was a new experience for her and her outlook on life is a new outlook for many older Blacks. When sharing this experience with older Black women I've received smiles and words sharing how unbelievable it is for a Black child to hold these Black women in such a regard that she would be surprised by having a White teacher.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The process of educating our boys requires. . . early work responsibilities, management responsibilities and social responsibilities. . .A man must understand that his decisions are binding and there is real import to decisions
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Weeks prior the staff at the hospital shared with me and the expectant Wifey that a child had to have a name prior to leaving the hospital. I told her than it wasn't the tradition of my culture to name the child upon birth. She asked me what my culture was. I said 'Pan-African' (I had to come up with something, I wasn't prepared for that question). I then asked her if she would have this conversation with me if she thought I was Jewish. She admitted that if she thought I was Jewish she wouldn't have asked for the name prior to birth. Seventeen months later as the Wifey and I had our pre-delivery session at the hospital the hospital staff smiled at me when she omitted the section for the child's name saying "You'll name the child in seven days right...?"
The first time I held my child was marvelous, magnificent, and truthfully ............ I don't remember it. I remember doing the counter-pressure pushing against Wifey's back as she screamed bloody murder providing me with the 'natural' birth that she knew that I wanted our child to have. She was a trooper also. He came out screaming bloody murder as I fell onto my knees to worship but ended up barking like an Omega as the doctor stated "You have a son." The look on the doctors face was priceless. He didn't know what to think of me in earlier sessions and today I'm in the Grand Buba that I wore at my nuptials, and that I plan to be buried in barking loudly. The family was in the room outside the delivery room and they came rushing in after I scared the Doctor and delivery staff excited awaiting the newest VArner child. My brother Daniel videotaped the whole event, he almost fainted when the son came through the delivery canal. On the video that he captured you can see the baby's head pop though and then Daniel says "Oh my God" and the camera lens goes from the delivery scene to the ceiling with the sound of a thud as his head hit the wall.
That day: I remember pouring libation and praying, thanking God for a safe delivery and a son. I remember taking him to the nursery and I remember how he wouldn't stop crying in the hospital room. I don't remember touching my son.
I know I cut his umbilical cord. I know I changed his diaper. I know I fed him. I know I cleaned him. I know I wrapped him in swaddles. I just don't remember holding him.
This became important to me as I was watching "City of Men", the Brazilian film of one of the worst areas in Brazil. During the film a depiction of the nurse encouraging the father to hold the child for the first time. He was afraid. I had held and guided children for over 15 years prior to this day...... I was afraid too. What struck me the most was while watching this movie I realized that I can't remember holding my son for the first time. Seventeen months later I don't remember holding my daughter for the first time. Now the son is eight and the daughter is six and I'm about 50 pounds heavier and I hold them as often as I can. I perform "the blessing of the head ritual" everyday as they prepare to board their bus. I ask God to "bless their head so that they may think of you, bless their face so that they may face you, bless their eyes so that they may seek you, bless their noses so that they may breathe your spirit, bless their mouths so that they may speak of you, bless their ears to that they may hear you, and bless their shoulders to carry your cross." As I finish this the son and I try to punch each other leaving a religious/sentimental moment with a fun filled macho guy touch. The blessing of the daughter's head ends with a big huggie and blown kisses. I may not remember the first touches, but I'm ensuring that they will remember the embraces we shared. Hopefully those embraces will mean as much to them as they mean to me.
My first fatherly feelings: Struggling for cultural continuance, feeling the resistance as the wifey pushed them through, feeling a reason to worship, feeling as reason to express joy, and then fear........... Thanks Almighty, we bless your presence.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Kindergarten graduation (from a religious school held in the sanctuary) as one of the highest scoring students in that class. He walked away from the event with a Bicycle as a present from the school. The Wifey is jumping up and down and screaming and all I could do was smile and bark (The Omega that I am) since I was holding the video camera. His test scores indicated that he was reading on a third grade level and mathing' on a second grade level.
This year (06/05/2008) the Lady-Girl graced the stage as the Valedictorian of her class. Her scores showed her reading on a 5th grade level and mathing' on "just under a" second grade level. She waltzed off the stage (make believe once again) with a bicycle and the entire crowd in hand. Her Mum is jumping, the family is jumping, and I keep yelling "That's Number Two !" Everyone on my row is looking at me and thinking "She's number one,
she had the highest scores) but I'm yelling "That's Number Two !" This was our second success story and second free bicycle ! God is good. Parenthood is good. I'm so proud.
I've counseled so many parents who have more to complain about than to be proud about. 14 years in the school system has filled me with so many kid-complaints. My kids have been a great buffer as I've really grown weary of the complaints. It's good to be proud.
The weird thing about this 'kid-pride' is the shared experience factor. I've done so many things incorrectly in my life, it's refreshing for me to see something go well. When my son-sun and lady girl walked the stage I walked with them. As I beam with pride watching their other accomplishments, I feel like I accomplished with them. When they struggle, I struggle. When they win, I win.
While en route to Disney Land a woman and her husband sat behind the family and I. After the plane landed the lady stopped the Wifey and I to share how impressed she was with our children. She noted how well behaved, smart, and articulate they were. She shared how she taught elementary school children for over 30 years and she recognized both bright students and good parents when she saw them. Initially I was a bit offended by her statements. She was an older Caucasian woman with a 'southern proper' personality, I initially thought she was surprised to see two Black (African-Indian descended) children behaving. It kinda' affected me the same way I've observed our White-American family marvel at the "articulate" speaking ability of Barrack Obama. "Why are you surprised people ?"......... As she detailed how she marvelled at the way my daughter read and the vocal inflections of our son I quickly dropped my defenses and began to listen to God speak through this messenger. When she was informed that the lil' girl just graduated from Kindergarten and the lil' man was just promoted to the third grade she was even more ecstatic. Her inviting smile warmed as she showered additional accolades upon "mis ninos" and then reminding me that the Wifey and I are great parents. As she continued to speak I thanked God, thanked Yeshua (Jesus), and thanked the ancestors for this moment. I then prayed quickly and in a non-obvious way that the remainder of my kids lives they will honor our Trinity and Ancestors in their walk-in-life. Jah-Bless !
Parenthood has been difficult. I've made countless mistakes.... The Wifey probably has a running list. However, it's been the best part of my life. When my boss stated "You are a failure.....You are a failure !" the thoughts of my kids' accomplishments kept me calm enough to brush my shoulders off.
A few days ago I was counseling a young man who felt the weight of the world on his shoulders as he and his girlfriend are expecting a child. As we talked and processed his problems I shared that over any personal achievement, the achievements of his children will give him the greatest pride. He wants to be the parent that his parents weren't. We discussed how difficult pregnancy is for women and for involved men. As he looked into my face with a sense of struggle I said "It's hard to be involved in a pregnancy. It's not for soft men. The woman will get on your nerves and wanting to truly leave the relationship is natural, but your strength is supernatural and you can overcome those short-lived feelings." He blew a breath of frustration as he shared how difficult dealing with his girlfriend has been and was glad to know that he wasn't a punk for having the feelings he was having. He did know that acting on those short-lived feelings would make him a punk. We then spoke more about parenting and the type of parent he planned to be. As he spoke I could only think of pride that I have with my kids. I'm so glad that I married and had children. Most of the women I dated prior to the Wifey were much older, already had teenagers or adult children, or didn't want children. I remember one woman telling me that our relationship needed to end because I will be a great father someday and she couldn't bear children. I hated her for her position then, I love her for her position now. Our break-up opened the way for me to find the best woman for me, and opened the way for a dude who didn't want children to become a proud father.
Blessings upon fathers.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
(Watch as I loose authority over my attire for an event that will happen 15 years or (hopefully) more in the future.)
Seko: "That's why I hope no one else asks me to be in their wedding. I'm not wearing another Tuxedo in a wedding !" (said jokingly as I have to wear a duck suit each weekend since I'm a professional wedding entertainer.
Wifey: "You men are getting a taste of what women go through price-wise."
Seko: "It doesn't matter, I'm not going to wear another tux to a wedding."
The little 6 year old girl: "You're wearing a tuxedo to my wedding !" (spoken firm and loudly !)
Seko: (Brief pause of disbelief)
Seko: "Well....." (Another brief pause of disbelief)
Seko: "That's not going to happen for years lady-girl."
The little 6 year old girl: "You're still going to wear a Tux for my wedding."
Three days later as I'm entertaining for Carla and Travis' 7/12/2008 wedding it hit's me during the Father / Daughter dance....... This little girl told me what I was going to wear in the future in no uncertain non-negotiable terms. Who made her boss ? ("She get it from her Mama....")
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
So then my friend wanted to know what he could do when the hugs, the interest, the pride, the love, the sharing, the accomplishments are not enough to wash away the resentment. I shared how I often tell myself "I'm bigger than that." seems to work for me. I use these few words as a mantra almost daily, not out of ritual, but out of necessity......
I've had to kill some of my dreams to be in a relationship. I've had to kill some of my dreams to be a father. Truthfully I have to keep killing these dreams as they seem to arise the next day, next week, next year. I found that these dreams are similar to a Phoenix, rising out of the ashes. It's similar to the "Christian" construct of dying to self daily to allow the Christ to live in you daily (I'm aware that historically the concept of dying to self daily to allow the creator to live more fully is older than my religion.....Back-up off of me you haters). I have to die to self daily to allow the Father and Husband in me live. Being myself and being a Father doesn't always jibe. Being a Father is a more developed position that being myself ever could be. Having a committed relationship is a far more advanced state of existence than simply 'being myself' could ever be. The truth is, being in a relationship makes one bigger.
I ended the conversation with my friend realizing that I really had nothing concrete to help him over the hump except for him to know that I was always here for him to speak too. Upon the close of our conversation I realized that having my friend to bounce ideas, concerns, and worries off of has indeed made me bigger. I just pray that he feels bigger from our call. Bless you my friend, let's grow together ! Daddies til' the day we die !
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Carol Has been more than a trooper. She'd be super active, if I didn't remind her to take it easy.
We're buying a house. (I'm all for it, but it's been her idea from the get go-when most people would say a house and a baby in the same month is more than a bit too much.)
I LOVE my WIFE :-)
Monday, June 2, 2008
We've been really busy, doing the one thing that you would never gues.
We've been loking in Ipswich for the last 3 weeks or so. Found a gem, but by the time we looked for more and offer was put on it, so Carol's a little down. I feel that if it was meant to be for us, God will get it for us.
It's a little calmer than London where we live. And the Pund goes a little farther. It's a little over an hour to commute to LCentral London, so we aren't far from her family. We wouldn't/wont be far from her family.
The best thing is that it is near the water, Ipswich river of something. Really nice
We got a car 3 weeks ago. Carol refuses to be the mom with a stroller being passed by the bus because therre are already two strollers on board.
So we got a 2001 Mazda 323 Auto. The Automatic, means I can drive it. Man She was adamantly againt ?Automatic at the beginning, but after she test drove one, she fell in love with the notion.
So A Brotha can drive.
I was doing 90 on the expressway this weekend.
I scared Carol a little bit. We got Prince the greatest hits going and I was in my groove. The Music was blaring(I had a raging headache that seemed to disappear at around 80MPH.) The speed limit here is 70. I'd been driving at 60 for the last two weeks, and finally was doing 70 comfortably.
Since 70 is the limit, people tend to do at least 80 in the fast lane. I was in the fast lane because there was a 60MPH-er in the slow lane. And there were trucks to pass.
Anyway, After about 10 minutes at 70, I started to do 80. Carol turned the music town, was getting nervous. (I was driving safely and breaking no rules) I was like, Man. I never get to have any fun.
Later, She said, that my transformation from Nervous Ninny to Speed Demon took her aback,
she'd never seen me drive and she agreed that I didn't break any rules and was driving saftely....
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
While I was just thinking to have a party, Quiana had the great Idea to have a baby shower.
It was the best baby shower I'd been to. (The only one.)
Carol was cherished, gifted and adored by my Blood and she Truly appreciates it.
I think the experience was a transforming one for her.
Personally. I could cry for having come home to my folks.
People came from up the coast and down the coast, just to see us and celebrate the baby. (We're having a girl, by the way.)
Carol was very touched by the outpouring of Love and affection.
Coming home and being around Family was very heart warming.
I miss you guys.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
"Yes." is say as I'm playing it back in my head. "You know what I realized. I feel like we're best friends on vacation."is what she said in full.
Her voice was so soft and sweet, I wasn't going to say anything other than 'Yes, Dear.'
Carol says, "But this is better because I feel like I'm on vacation with my best friend and everything we do together is soo much fun and when we get home, you are still there. It's like going home with my best friend."
Stunned by the simple beauty and peace of her words, I could only say:"Yeah, Sweety. I feel just like that."
I love my Wife.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
It's wild how a missing tooth and an afro can alter one's look so drastically. Come this Easter (2 weeks from now) he will finally be able to cut his hair and leave his O.H.(Original-Hebrew) look and return to his clean cut N.O.I. (I won't even explain) look. I always thought he looked like the Honorable Elijah Muhammad with his hair cropped short.
Easter is gonna' be interesting this year. This year he gave-up Sodas during Lent (like the wifey and I really allow the kids to drink the liquid-death in an aluminum can frequently), and the lil' girl gave up watching Blues Clues for Lent. I gave up sugary-sweets, the wifey gave up nothing...as usual. So Easter Sunday she and the kids will be dressed in new clothes while I wear old clothes as I have never understood the connection between buying new clothes and celebrating the day our ancient Roman-Catholic Church leaders choose for Yeshua's (Jesus) resurrection. I've heard the "Christ gave his best, you should wear your best !" junk............but I'm out of second grade now and that just doesn't fly with a brotha'. So Wifey and the kids will wear their "New Suits for the Newly Risen Savior" (another line a Sunday-school teacher tried to force-feed me) and the Sun-son will be drinking sodas if he can find them (I poured them down the sink) and I'll be in a corner office somewhere eating as many gummy bears as I can hide from the kids.
Sun-son will be 'rockin' a fresh Ceasar' (wearing a closely cut hairstyle) and hopefully his tooth will have arrived just in time for the Sodas to ruin his teeth. Until then my lil' honor-roll earning, "Can I have an allowance ?" asking, "Here's my X-mass list" in March providing, "Watch me crank dat' Soulja Boy" dancing, Suburban-hood child will be nappy and one-toothless. Power to the people yall'.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Side note: The next day daughter-girl shared with her mommy-grandmother how she attempted to sneak another peek at Obama. She ended her description of the event by saying "Grammy, they're both trying to become President......but we already have an American president !"