These little digs or shots of negativity, insults, slights, slickness, insensitivity, meanness, rudeness that come from family are like daggers. Short, sharp knives that after receiving so many can kill your spirit because they do add up and the silence of not saying anything about it can eat you alive. Either way, it gets old if you are the person being told to “let it slide” or “forgive them” or “respect your elders” or “that’s just the way they are.” At what point do we address the dagger throwers in the family and why is everyone afraid of them? We don’t want to hurt the dagger throwers feelings, but it’s okay for them to hurt other people’s feelings? It’s a logic I can’t seem to understand. We don’t want to cause any problems, but we refuse to put a stop to those causing the problems.
It was a dark and stormy summer night, literally when my friends arrived for a Rosé Wine Tasting at my home. It was raining cats and dogs, but they showed up and the last guests left a little after 1 a.m. The Rosé Sangria was a hit, the Rosés required an acquired taste which is nothing new in the world of wine. I cared more about the vibe and company. So, I decided to share the recipe for my made up on the spot Summer Rosé Sangria. I improvised and used what I had.
1 bottle of moscato rosé
1 bottle of Ocean Spray Sangria mix
1 1/2 cup of brandy
1 1/2 cup of Barefoot Merlot (any merlot)
2 cups of Simply Lemonade
2 tablespoons of triple sec
2 tablespoons of raspberry liquor
16 dark cherries (you can pit if you want but I did not)
16 strawberries (8, they were halved into 16)
Add all of the liquids in a gallon container, stir and then add the fruit. Let it sit overnight or you can drink right away. I like for it to sit overnight anytime I make a sangria. The alcohol and the fruit marinate and intensifies the flavor. I think this one is great for all summer long. I will making it at cookouts and to take with me to share with friends at summer concerts in the park.
Here are a few more pictures from the wine tasting. Next up is Reds this fall/winter.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was filled with fear. I didn’t know what to do. I was not married, the daughter of a pastor, and the father of the child broke up with me to be with his long time, off and on, high school sweetheart while my heart was shattered into a thousand pieces. I was in my mid twenties, making decent money, and free to change my mind, location, and clothes at a whim. My sister was the first one to know and the first one to support whatever decision I wanted to make. You see, the shame of being a single mother in the church and in the world, AND a black woman, was and is tremendous for some of us. Also, the double standards are real today just as much as they were 16 years ago. You know, women who have children out of wedlock are heavily criticized and penalized in the church and in society. The man goes scotch free pretty much to be promoted in the church and in the world. However, I found out my dad did not share the same view of the church as he told me “That’s my grandchild and we will do whatever we can to help you and the baby.” Also, through a prophesy a woman told me “God never made a mouth that he could not feed.” I am sure she sense my worry of provision.
I didn’t know the entire time I was carrying my child if I would have a boy or a girl. The second decision I made after deciding to keep my child was to arm myself with as much knowledge about being pregnant and parenting. I wanted to know all about the stages of a developing child during and after. I ate right M-Saturday noon and I had what I wanted Saturday evening and Sunday. I remember thinking, if something is wrong with my baby when he or she is born , I can have a clear conscious it was not my fault. It’s the same way I parent. Be strict when I need to, discipline if I need to, be flexible enough to try a different method if what I am doing is not working, education first, God is a must, admit when I am wrong, have fun, protect, loosen the rope of parenthood and give her more freedom at the appropriate time, be okay with her being mad at me, not understanding why I say no sometimes, because I have to be able to know I am doing the right thing and she will not like it or me all the time, but she will still love me and thank me later. Do all of that and more, so that when she flies the nest I can say, I did the VERY BEST I could.
So here we are at 16. She’s sleeping late like any teenager during spring break. Her room is messy. She’s a smart girl with good grades, a good heart, a funny child with a uncanny sense of humor, wise at times and naive at other times, you know….just a child growing up. She’s enjoyed her first trip to Atlanta, the World of Coca Cola, the Georgia Aquarium (saw a dolphin show), and shopped until “I” dropped. I gladly forked over my money, my family made accommodations and sacrifices to make the trip possible (as I am not working due to permanent health issues). I forgo my usual birthday plans happily (we share the same birthday month and our birthdays are three days apart) for her happiness and a memory of her Sweet 16 she will never forget.
Mother-Daughter relationships are very important as I am sure you already know. The relationships are delicate, fragile, and must be forged throughout a young girls developing stages in order to have a strong foundation for the teenage years and the young adult years. And for many it continues to change, but at the base of that change is a foundation of love and a REAL relationship a mother has created with their daughter. I believe a young girl should spend as much time as she can with her mother. They tell me a woman can’t raise a man, and to some degree that is probably true. Yet, I’ve seen men raised by their mother. If that is the case, can a man raise a woman? Yet, there are men that are left to parent a daughter. The truth be told, a child needs both parents. However, there are just some things a developing girl needs from her mother and a young boy needs from his father. (Or positive male and female role models).
There are so many things a mother can teach a girl and so many things she can relate to. There are just so many complexities in a girl’s life that a mother has already experienced that need to be shared.A mother has the ability to navigate a daughter through life, to shape her into a lady, a confident woman, a self sufficient human being, and a upstanding citizen. She has the ability to impart hope, self esteem, and discipline. She can help her to dream and to face reality. As much as you can tell the absence of a father figure in a boy’s life, you can tell the absence of a mother figure in a girl’s life.
It’s report card time and my daughter tells me her grades as usual. She’s in honors classes and in a special program at her school. I rarely ask to look at her report card because I trust she is telling me the truth. I have never had any reason not to trust her concerning grades. A food student. An honor student. Let me say, she’s in high school and from elementary to middle school, she has happily or hesitantly (at times) shared her grades. I’ve always looked at report cards up until her last year in middle school. So, it just got to the point where I rarely asked. Especially, since we don’t have to sign them anymore.
But, this morning when I woke up the Holy Spirit urged me to ask to see her report card. I did. I knew when it took her a while to hand it to me there was a problem. I prepared myself by telling myself to remain calm, remain silent, until you find the right words to express your emotions. She handed me the card and I could not believe what I saw. Her grades had dropped in two classes and she did not tell me. She lied.
I let my emotions run the gamut before I spoke. After expressing how I felt about the grades, the lie, and that I needed to think on the consequences, I asked her why didn’t you tell me the truth? I have trusted you to be honest about your grades as we have never had a problem with honesty in this area. She said, “I did not want to disappoint you. So I lied.” Then asked her why are you crying? I am not fussing. I am speaking calmly. She answered, “Because I am disappointed in myself. I tried. But, it seems I would do good on the lessons, but not on the tests. Now, I am worried about college.” She is in the 10th grade. I explained to my child the importance of asking for help, noticing when you need help, and communicating with her teacher and me when she needs help. My daughter is shy. She is less shy than she has been in the past only because of my extreme pushing. I know because I was extremely shy and it took me forever to be bold and to build courage. It did not come until my middle young adult years. I want her to be bold and courageous early. I spent half a year in school, in math class, unable to see the board. It was not until my teacher asked me “You seem to always ask questions after I finish board work or your board work has more errors than the lessons I give you. Can you see the board?” My answer was no. She was alarmed. “Why didn’t you tell me? Have you told your parents?” My response, “No ma’am.” They were upset, but suspected nothing because I was an A and B student (mostly) and always managed to be placed up front or ask a friend “What does that say on the board?” When asked why didn’t you tell us I had the perfect answer “I don’t know.” The optometrist was shocked. He showed my parents through the lenses what I had been seeing all of these years. Plus, getting your eyes checked was not something my parents thought to do. We were certainly taken to the doctor and dentist more than I cared to be!
Parenting, is not easy. Parenting is not something you get to run and hide from. It is not something you can ignore. There is no one size fit all child. However, a good parent means stepping up to the plate, uncertain, unsure, but taking a swing at it…over and over. Learning yourself, what works and what does not. Looking at your child through unfiltered lenses and knowing they may be just like you or nothing like you and dealing with them accordingly. She was trying to “handle it herself” not knowing, just like a teenager, yet trying to be adult, which is something we want them to do…grow up! Be responsible, yet not realizing asking for help or being honest is being responsible. Sigh. I am making contact with the teachers and seeing what can be done. This is responsible parenting. This was a teaching moment for the both of us and I am still debating the consequences.
Wednesday I was certain I wasn’t going to Thanksgiving Dinner. I just did not want to be bothered with all of the noise and hoopla. I’d experienced a really bad night of anxiety and insomnia Tuesday night. Worst in a long time, maybe of all times. Later on Wednesday evening I began to feel better, but not enough to change my mind.
When I woke up Thursday, I felt okay. I forced myself to have breakfast with a friend. I got dressed and made it to my family’s house with a plan in mind. If it gets to be too much, I can escape to my parents room or I can leave. To my surprise, my mother was much calmer than usual. She usually is high strung. I was grateful because I don’t operate well in panic and hype mode. I gave by putting ice in the cups, rolls in the oven, arranging the food. It was hectic getting food in a small space with almost 20 plus people. So, I went outside and sat until the line died down. Cool fall air and peace. I was happy as my nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, eyes lit up when they saw me and they ran to give me hugs. I was happy to see my latest 6 month old great nephew for the first time.
I gave thanks for good food as I escaped to my parents room to eat in peace as I watched HGTV and Unsung. Only to be interrupted by by wobbly walking one year old great nephew as he looked in on me and came to my plate for anything I would give. He’s not hard to please and out the door he went.
I made it. I made it back to my house with my sanity in tack and a to go box for breakfast this morning. I am thankful I did not experience the agitation of anxiety.