Monthly Archives: March 2015

Celebrating 10 Years of Natural Hair

It’s almost the end of March and I couldn’t let the month pass without mentioning that I am 10 years “natural” this month. I don’t recall the exact date, but I know it was March 2005. I just knew my hair would grow and grow with no issues. I’ve had braids of all types for a good 15 years off and on – box braids, cornrows, micro raids…just about everything except “Dookie” braids. I couldn’t being myself to put anything with that name on my head.

Anyway, I noticed that whenever I did have braids (in between my perms, texturizing, and Jheri curls- whew, that’s way BACK in the day) my hair would g quickly and be thick and full. I had a hard time keeping the press in my hair – it always, ALWAYS reverted if I was near any type of heat. And my hair is grade 10Z y’all; I always say my hair is ‘straight from the motherland’.

The real issue is that I never really learned to manage my hair well by myself.  I could cornrow it, but that’s about it. So it was easier to get a perm, where the style would last a few days, then I would have to try to style it (sometimes well, sometimes Epic Fail); or braids,which  always looked decent. So I thought that the switch to natural hair would be alright..

Until  I switched to natural hair. I had no idea how much was involved. I have learned so much in my 10 years of :washing, trying to go, trimming, cutting, twisting, curling, straightening, Bantu knotting, crochet braiding, wigging, afro- ing, pre-pooing, shampooing, co-washing, deep conditioning, product trying, diy-ing, you-tubing, and natural hair reading.  I learned that you have to try several products, several styles, and have patience, patience, and more patience.  You have to be able to start over, at any given moment (3 times cutting it short and starting over), and you have to be willing to rock your look, with  any style.  You have to find a routine and good products that work for YOUR hair, and stick with it – the products and the routine.  I’ve learned all of this, and more, the hard way.

But I wouldn’t change it for a thing.  I appreciate my hair, it’s length and thickness, it’s elasticity and shrinkage, it’s softness and fullness when washed/conditioned/moisturised.  I like the way it holds a twist or Bantu knot.  I do not care for the tangles or knots,nor the slow growth at times.  But it’s all mine, and all me. Happy 10 year hairiversary to me!  Looking forward to many, many more years off exploration and adventure!

A few thoughts on death

I attended DMagicScientists’s chapel at school today. They were supposed to give an update on the recent missions trip, and I wanted to hear it; mainly to known what to expect for next year.

Anyway, I didn’t see D, but I sat directly behind one of his classmates whose mother just died. The funeral ins tomorrow. As the kids were singing the praise song, he stared straight ahead, shoulders tensed, mouth closed, stoic look on his face (the few times I could see, when he turned to the side).

They all just got back from Spring Break this week, and almost everyday, we’ve talked about him and his younger brother. What a horrible event to go through, at any age, but especially when you’re Tweens – they need their mom.

When we found out last week, I tol D to make sure he called, sent a card, and reached out afterwards to invite him/them out sometimes. He said, “But I don’t think he wants to do anything. He’ll probably just shut down. If you died, I wouldn’t want to do anything or talk to anybody”. I acknowledged that he and his friend may feel that way, and asked him to consider a few ohings:

Everyone handles grief differently. Some may cry all the time, some may not want to talk, some may want to talk about It often. Friends just need to give people their space to grieve

Everyone takes their time to grieve. There is no t rule on gettin over a death. I don’t think you ever “get over it”, you manage through it until it’s more and more bearable over time. That could be six months for one person, or two years for someone else. And when they have moved to thin”new normal”, that doesn’t mean they forgot anything, or that it’s “over”. Again, they probably just learned how to manage through it. Anything could set them on a wistful spell- a song, a scent, a sight – anything. Friends should be aware, acknowledge, and help them feel ok about it.

No one wants to feel isolated or singled out. Grief is not the time to leave friends out. Still invite them to outings, play dates, and other stuff like before; and let them decide if they want to attend or not. don’t assume “oh, she’s still in mourning, so she won’t want to come”. The distraction might be a welcome change, but you won’t know unless you ask.

Acknowledge what they’re going through, even if you’re don’t quite know what to say. Sometimes someting as straightforward as “I’m sorry, and I am here to listen” will help, or even just sitting with the person in silence, if that’s what they want. Your presence, and offer of continued friendship and support, will bring a measure of comfort to them, even if they don’t feel it or recognize it in the moment.

Prayer does change things. Praying for their situation on your own, in your own words, demonstrates sincere caring for another person. Praying with them and for them demonstates compassion for that person. And the prayer is also for you. As we say in church, prater is talking too God. So when you make time to talk to Him, He will answer – and He might show you when and how to help your friend .

Those are just a few things I shared with him. About 4 hours later, the school sent an email with some documents attached that pretty much stated the same thing. Thank God for the Holy Spirit guiding our words, thoughts, and actions.

Back to the young man. I remember us talking about him and his brother every day since school started back. D has been saying that he seems fine; he has been talking about It, laughing a bit, and behaving like “normal”. I told him to be aware that he could be up and down emotionally for the next few months or so.

Today, as I stood behind him, and watched him stand and sit on queue. I could tell that he didn’t want to be there, in that space, at that time, praising God, agreeing that “He is good”, when his other wS no longer here. My heart ached as I thought of his next few years- finishing middle school, starting to like and date girls, navigating highs school and also activities that to along with that, senior year, college, graduation, grown up life – all without his mom there. I teaed up, and had to catch myself.

People lose loved ones all the time, I know., and I’ve ben there. It was just hard to watch s child going though hat type of grief. We often send comfort to he parents or adults involved, and forget about the children. They need our love, support, encouragement, compassion, and prayers too. and not just through the funeral, but continually.

Are you ever too old for Easter Baskets?

I have been creating Easter baskets for the last 12 years, ever since my son and nephew were born. My god-daughter, who is in her 20’s, got a few baskets many years ago but I didn’t keep it up and we didn’t keep in touch for several years.
Anyway, D & ‘nephew J’ have benefited from my determination to give annual Easter treats, and when son J joined the family, he also got in on the action.

Now we have two young godsons, and I’m trying to keep up the tradition with them. They’re both under 5, so I figure I could just devote my basket creating treats to them. That’s what I thought until today. Two years ago my friend said to me “you better not get treats for my boys and skip D & J”; and since they were a little younger, I agreed with her. Same thing last year – 5 little people got treats. This year, I was sure I could just get stuff for the two youngest, my godsons.

I was on the way back from the grocery store with D and I made a quick stop at the CVS/Walgreen’s-store to get a gift card for someone. I saw a couple of Easter baskets and picked up two. I already got most of the candy and other treats last week, so I’m thinking I’m on a roll – just about done with the supplies and Easter is still two weeks away.  I get in the car and tell D that I got two baskets, and the conversation went downhill from there:

“So I picked up two Easter baskets for C & J”
D: “And for me and my brother too, right?”
“Wait, you two still want Easter baskets? You’re almost a teen, and he is 11”
D: “Um, yeah, we still need baskets”
“Well how long do you think you will want Easter baskets?”
D: “Until I die…”
“So you expect me to get you something every single year for Easter until you die?”
D: “Of course. Wait, weren’t you planning to do that? ‘Cause that’s what I’m expecting”

Womp womp – guess who has to get some Easter treats for almost teenagers? I was planning to give them some candy, but actual baskets of goodies? What the bleep? I was hoping that could fall off my radar, but now I’m being told it needs to happen forever??? How do you type the sound of somebody sucking their teeth? Because I am doing it now…a lot. But you know I’m going to get the baskets for them, right? This year….

If You Don’t Learn that Spanish!!!

So D is taking Spanish for the first time this year. I have just enough knowledge of it to be dangerous. I told him that I could practice with him daily if he wanted. Kind of like what I did with piano, until he passed me (which didn’t take long). He didn’t take me up on the offer even though I tried. He often said things like ” what does that mean, we didn’t learn that yet” or “I don’t know what you’re saying; you know I’m in beginner Spanish right?”

My Spanish is beginner! I didn’t practice nearly as much as I should have and as I said, I know just enough to be dangerous. So my wisdom told him that he needs to practice every day. That’s the only way he’ll learn it.

In my opinion, the best way to learn is by doing. Maybe because that’s what works for me – I need someone to show me once or twice and to look over my shoulder while I try it – and then I’m good.  So I tried to tell him the same thing with Spanish – watch Spanish language channels or listen to music from Spanish stations.  I’ve even asked him to practice out loud so that he can hear himself.  No bueno.  So what do I do here?  On the one hand,I don’t want to be “that parent” who regulates my child’s every move; on the other hand, I don’t want him to miss out on an opportunity to learn another language – most schools don’t start foreign languages until high school, so he’s getting a head start.  I guess I need to step back and let him figure it out on his own.

If I’m honest, I just don’t want him to make the same mistake I did – become lazy about practice and miss the chance to learn it really well.  I only know a few phrases here and there because I didn’t keep up with it like I should have; and I was hoping this would give me a partner to practice with – maybe even jump start my desire (again)  to learn it properly.  But this is the part where I need to step back.

It’s his class, not mine; and my role is to guide and cajole him into practicing and studying – not make it into a “do-over” for me.  I had to remind myself of that as I was writing this blog.  I never want to be the parent who lives or re-lives her life through my children.

So I’ve given him the advice I know,  I remind him regularly to study/practice, and I now I leave it up to him to get it done. But he better learn it!