Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Single Mom War Stories

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I can tell you first hand accounts of being young, with child, and single. I can tell you “war stories” from without and from within. It’s all in my book, Healing the Single Mother by Nicole Jackson. But, on this day, if you are a newly single mother of young children or teens, by way of divorce or NOT (I was not) I want you to know one day you will look back and realize, “This TOO HAS PASSED.”

All of your sleepless nights, tears (bottle up by the Creator), fears, mistakes, lessons, and heartaches/breaks, perhaps the lack of participation from the other parent, lack of respect from others, the statistics, will all pale in comparison to the child(ren) you are trying to raise into productive, respectful, law abiding, compassionate adults. One day, you will look at them in awe, in bewilderment, and wonder, “Who is this amazing person?”

If you are trying to instill morals and values into them be relentless at it. I hope you let them know it’s not okay to hate other people because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation or to mistreat people because of their occupation as the janitor or trash employee (which make a decent wage in some cities actually). Stress the importance of an education, higher learning, a trade, or being an entrepreneur. Talk to them about finances and good credit. Teach them how to learn from their mistakes and your mistakes. You know, you do make mistakes and it’s okay to let your children know that you are not perfect.

If you are doing something and it’s not working, it’s okay to try something different. What worked for us as children, or your parents, may not work for this generation. But what does work and will always work is spending quality time with your children without distractions. Game nights will always work. Listening to them, allowing them to express their feelings and thoughts always works. Discipline always works. Real life conversations will always work. Getting out in nature, the park, will always work. Loving them through the teenage years and hard knock lessons, will always work. Encouraging them, cheering them, correcting them, will always work. Saying no will always work even if they don’t like it or understand. Saying yes will always work. Being their perfectly, imperfect parent…will always work.

~Nikki

The Heart Epiphany Series: Part 1

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The Heart Epiphany by Nicole Jackson 

Love is in each one of us. You are love and you are loved by the Most High, the Creator, God, the Universe, angels, and ancestors. Yes. I said ancestors. You are a walking living breathing temple, sanctuary, goddess, and your heart is a sacred place. Of course, the temple needs maintenance. We should take care of ourselves. Spa days, manicures and pedicures, the beauty shop, deep tissue massages, and “me times” are wonderful. Traveling the globe, a girl’s night out, and going on shopping sprees are fun. We should be able to do these things without being attached to a mate or friend. This is self-care and self-care is a part of SELF LOVE. Self-care is more like the maintenance of the outward appearance. But SELF LOVE is the inward maintenance. Self-love is an inside job.  “Self-love is not simply a state of feeling good. It is a state of appreciation for oneself, that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.”-Psychology Today, Dr. Deborah Khoshaba.  And while self-care does make us feel good at the time that it is happening, SELF-LOVE can make us feel good about who we are as a person for a lifetime. “If self-care is a sparkler then self-love is an eternal flame.”-Nicole Jackson

~Nikki

Parenting Young Adults: Ignoring Clear Instructions

 

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I bet you thought I was talking about the young adult? No, I was talking about the parent “ignoring clear instructions.” Today I was driving taking the long way home so that my college student and I could change the scenery and feel some fresh air. We had a discussion. After the discussion, I could sense she was thinking and feeling something. I asked what it was and she said she didn’t want to talk about it. I pried. She said I really don’t want to talk about it but…

She did. And she said I really don’t need any advice or support or encouragement. And what did I do? I did not try very hard to resist giving just that; advice, examples, support, etc.

Transitioning from parent to guide isn’t easy. Some parents never make the transition. I mean you are forever a parent but your role changes several times. As a parent we want to be more, less, or the same as our parent (s) were depending on our experience. Personally, I try to be there in ways my parents didn’t know how to be or in ways they didn’t understand were important. I learned today that I was doing something I don’t like done to me. Sometimes when I am in my thoughts and feelings, I just want to be there. She wanted to be “just be in her feelings and thoughts.”

This wasn’t a life changing, threatening, urgent, put on my Life Tour Guide moment, it was a “Oh. Okay. Let me turn on the radio or go to my own happy place and space” moment. Oh well, you live and learn in this PG (Parental Guidance) life. I’m just passing on a “take it or leave it” tip.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Time Well Spent

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My mom is the primary caregiver for my father. He has Parkinson’s Disease which is a result of being in contact with Agent Orange when he was in Vietnam. He also has other illnesses and diseases that have developed after Parkinson’s. Imagine you retire and you develop a disease that DRASTICALLY changes your outward appearance and your mental and emotional well being.

My dad has always been this strong guy with muscles. I remember him lifting weights and hanging from his biceps. I remember the big round weights that go on the weight bench. I remember the children in the neighborhood racing against him and they would lose. So, if it’s hard for me to see all of that, his mobility, his muscles, his strength disappear, it must be incredibly hard for him to deal with. He’s stubborn, but I think by now he realizes he needs help or assistance. Yet, he fights to keep most of his independence because he doesn’t like anyone doing anything for them. Especially, if they make it known they really mind doing it for him or that it’s a problem. I get that and the stubbornness from him. My dad has always had a sharp mind. He still has it. He is like a walking history buff and Bible. He is still pastoring and this is his last year as his health has really declined. Last week when he was in the hospital for rehab, we talked about poetry and just when I thought I knew it all about poetry he throws out poets I never heard of. He recites some lines. This is my dad.

This week my mom was out of town on church business and I was “hired” to take care of my dad. Even though my mom is the primary caregiver, all six of us children are there to do our jobs. We all chip in. Some more than others because some work full time and others have illnesses of their own (like me). We seem to take on our roles and fill in when needed of roles of the others. It just worked out that way. I took care of Dad this week and I got to see him in a different way. I got to see the struggles in a different way. I heard the yelling as he napped. It was something about war. I got to see the depression that he sometimes denies. I got to experience the moodiness and irritability that we rarely see. But, I also got to see the determination to wash his own clothes, put his dishes away, wash up, and put his clothes without my assistance a few days. I saw the sweat pouring down his face and the tiredness that followed those simple tasks.

My favorite part of the experience was getting him out of the house to sit on the porch as he likes to do and we listened to a famous sermon on YouTube by Reverend C.L. Franklin (Aretha Franklin’s father). He was unsure he could get out of the house or go anywhere with his new fancy walker (which he calls the Cadillac). I had to encourage him and he made it to the barber shop with his new walker.

Even though it was really hard work taking care of him all week from 7 am to 7 pm it was time well spent. The pain and exhaustion that I felt daily, the pain meds I had to take, the willing myself to get up, the swelling and the joint inflammation, the mental battle,  reminded me of why I had such a hard time working my last full time job.  By the time you recover, it’s time to work again and creates an endless cycle that worsens your health. However, all that I experience this week was worth the quality time spent with my dad. Care giving is a job. It’s a job for the one doing it all the time and the ones who do their parts regularly and the ones that have to fit it in. However, it’s rewarding knowing that you helping someone you love and it has it’s moments that will someday become memories.

~Nikki

Mother’s Day: Fish & Bones

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There is this saying: You have to learn to eat the fish and spit out the bones. It’s a secret to some and obvious to my bloggers, that my relationship with my mother can be described as turbulent. I am not ashamed of this. Many mother and daughter relationships are at it’s best, “complicated” and I speak on behalf of some of those women. Here is the post I posted on Mother’s Day about my mom and photos from my day as a mother.

My mom and I are like oil and water sometimes. Some say it’s because we are alike and some say it’s because we are different. At the end of the day we love each other. I get my strong value for family from my mom. I get my strong work ethic from my mom. I get my cooking skills, my creativity, my fashion sense & need to have a lovely home from my mom. The idea of the finer things in life yet making the most of your lot in life. I am a giver and will try to help everybody and will feed everybody. I get that from My mom. My mom has her own big personality and it gives us many laughs. My mom is the best because she’s going to put family first and she’s going to protect it. She’s going to come through and this is why we come through for her. I love it when I make her laugh and she says “Nicole, You’re so crazy.” That’s us. That’s family. That’s love.

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Someone to Take Care of Me

 

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I am tired. I am worn. I am wounded and run ragged. It turns out that I am human. I know it. Does everyone else know it? It doesn’t seem like they notice I am burned out. Is it not obvious from the flame coming out of my ears? What about the way my body moves in the early mornings and late nights? Can they tell? Do they care?

It has been a very long two weeks. I’ve had very good days, but more bad days and a few very bad days. Yesterday evening was a very bad day. I have not had much time to myself and I am not sure that is what I need. Anxiety seems to pile up and heap on top of me at moments of financial decisions and the future of my well being and as my daughter’s graduation from high school slowly approaches. I worry about my mother who has obvious issues to me, but none to my siblings. I get angry about my father’s Parkinson’s Disease. I cannot sleep and when I do it’s not as restful so I take a sleep aide and I sleep too long (even with it spit four ways). I have not heard back from my therapist as I have missed an appointment. I call, I leave a message, and silence. I have been journaling nothing but frustrations.

Yesterday evening after an outing with my mother who is very high strung and nervous like, after taking my daughter to and from ACT prep, taking her to and picking her up from a birthday party, I was in very bad shape. I called my mother and told her I would not be at church tomorrow. I do not want to go anywhere, do anything. I am tired of everything. I told my daughter she could get the dishes. Fix her own breakfast in the morning, fix lunch and dinner for us. Also, said I wish I had someone to take care of me. What about me? Yes, unselfishly, what about me? Oh, the Lord will take care of you. I know that. Do you know that I am not talking about that? I would like to be taken care of and not because I having a melt down, but because we all want to be taken care of in times of trouble by another human being instead of always being that human being who does the “fixing” and taking care of.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: The Auntie Mom

I was an Auntie before I was a Mom. I remember when my first nephew (that was younger than me was born) like it was yesterday. My dad was cutting the yard and we got the phone call that it was a boy and his name was Jeremiah. It was a sunny day in June with clear skies and I remember the grass being so green. My Dad started to sing “Jeremiah was a bullfrog and he was a friend of mine.” He meddled my nephew with that through childhood and even now! My second nephew I had the pleasure of giving him his middle name and he was my first job at 8 weeks old. He later gave his younger daughter the same middle name! I was a babysitter. Those two gave me a run for my money! And there were more nieces and nephews to come.

I am writing this piece for my friend Jackie and Alicia whom are Aunts, and all of the women who want to have a family someday and to the ones that may not be able to. You are a mother by heart. You are a mother because you nurture someone somewhere. You may even be a mother figure to a friend, a sibling, to a class, the motherly one on the job, a doggie mom. You care. You will jump in and fill that roll as an Auntie Mom. I tell my niece Brea I am your Auntie Mom. She’s the fireball of the bunch and I keep close reigns on her because I love her. I was once known as the General and Sargent but, I have been promoted to Lieutenant by my nephew Brandon. I am the Aunt that will play football, dolls, fix you a good meal and bake cookies but, I also believe in discipline.

All of my nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews are my children. I wanted more children but, I am unable to have any more because I had to have a hysterectomy. That was tough and sad. But nothing beats hearing, “Auntie! Auntie Nikki! Ti-Ti!” and getting those hugs. It’s the same feeling as “Mommy!” and receiving love in the hugs. It’s the same pressure to watch what I say and do and how I live my life. I still have to impart instruction, wisdom, and love.

~Nikki aka Auntie Mom