Skip to main content

My Life's Just Fine

It's been a long week, I put in my hardest
Gonna live my life, feels good to get it right

Mary J. Blige, "Just Fine"

This was the first week of a huge educational experiment. My (great)nephew came to stay with me during the week for the purpose of going to PS 7. Since he has a cousin and a family friend who also go there, I drove carpool.

And BMNB has been out of town, chowing down on Southern food in South Carolina, calling me with restaurant dispatches while he's ordering ("I'm at XYZ restaurant ordering seafood gumbo, and one of my colleagues is ordering shrimp and grits . . . ")

So, for two and a half days this week, I was the equivalent of a single mom.

I had absolutely no appreciation of how difficult that is. I am in awe and I bow down to your organizational skills and sheer will, single moms.

First, I realized that if I don't get up on time, nobody gets up on time, except maybe the dog, and that's because she's hungry.

Second, I learned that dinner delayed is pretty much dinner denied. A hungry child is irritable, unfocused, and just unable to function. Not unlike a hungry BMNB, but at least you can tell an adult to go fix his own damn dinner.

Third, I learned that I have to be at least as organized as the child I'm trying to organize. I have no excuse for being late for not being able to find something to wear when I've told him to lay out his clothes the night before. My nephew has an organizer for his homework. My Franklin Covey organizer is a shambles. Maybe I need to be going to PS 7.

Fourth, I learned that you can't give up or they'll give up. And you can't show doubt or they'll have doubt. It's like blood in the water to sharks -- they can smell defeat and doubt in an adult from miles out.

Fifth, I've learned that those last words you say to them when they leave your presence really, really matter. So choose well.

Sixth, I've learned that there's nothing more fun than bopping to Mary J. Blige's "Just Fine" while driving with a 'tween niece in the backseat, hearing her sing out loud, "So I like what I see when I'm looking at me when I'm walking past the mirror," hoping that this self-esteem anthem sticks with her in the years to come, and ignoring protests from my nephew that it's a "stupid chick song."

Or walking your dog with that same nephew and just listening to him talk about his hopes, joys and fears under a starlit sky.

Between cooking dinner, making lunches, checking homework, driving carpool, doing laundry, and coordinating with the village of family members who are all working together to make sure these kids take full advantage of this educational blessing . . .

Yep, "I wouldn't change my life, my life's just fine . . . . "


Popular posts from this blog

When You Leave The Ghetto, Don't Bring It With You

NBA player Gilbert Arenas brings a gun to an NBA locker room. NBA player Ron Artest lets his pit bulls run wild and free in Loomis, California while playing for the Sacramento Kings. NFL player Michael Vick did time for fighting dogs. And NFL player Plaxico Burress is doing time for shooting his damn self.

What do all these men have in common? BMNB would say an inability to make a profound paradigm shift. I’m less eloquent than BMNB is, so I’ll say it differently: The inability to leave the ghetto behind.

Yes, call me saditty, bourgie, elitist, stuck-up, whatever. I don’t care. Until you’ve had a tweaker ruin your Thanksgiving turkey, you don’t even know (more on that later), and I’m not trying to hear you.

Living in Western Placer County, my husband and I continue to hear stories from folks like us who had to flee “those who can’t leave the ghetto behind.” You know these people, and they come in all races. In our case, we had returned to Sacramento in 2004 and 2005, respective…

Black Woman Blogging's Gun Control Proposal

Thanks to a relative who sent me death threats, I became a gun owner. Reluctantly.  What can I say.  You don't choose your family.

That said, I'm for gun control.

As far as I'm concerned, America lost its moral compass when we didn't do squat after Sandy Hook.  If you can allow a madman to murder children and not be moved to do nothing, you have no moral compass.  Period.

Now that we've broken an unfortunate record for the number of people killed in a mass shooting, perhaps we as a country are ready to get our minds right about gun control.  Perhaps.  So in that spirit, I offer my gun control proposal.

First, we need to agree on some real (not alternative) facts and principles:

1.  There is no such thing as an unlimited right.  Yes, people, there are no unlimited rights protected under the Constitution.  Your right to free speech?  Well, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment and even protected speech can be limited by time, place and manner.  Your…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…