Everything The Light Touches

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Name: Sarabi
Year you graduated high school: N/A
Year you found out you were pregnant: 1994
Number of children: 1

The Uh-Oh Moment: For as long I can remember, the Pride Lands have been my home. I am very territorial so travelling wasn’t a huge thing on my to-do list. I was all about hunting with the other lionesses. It was actually my first hunting trip my mother let me go on by myself. I thought the butterflies in my stomach was the anticipation of my first kill. I knew I wasn’t nervous about being alone because some of my cousins from my pride were with me. But I knew something was off.

Then I saw the gazelle. It was injured from barely escaping a lioness earlier. It trailed behind the rest of the herd after they stopped at a watering whole. I crouched down as I waited for the rest to give us more space. I watched as the pride got ready to scare the stronger gazelles away, but I couldn’t steady my breath. Every inhale I took, my body would shutter and I would rustle the brush around me, alerting my dinner about his eminent demise. I had to move or rely on someone else’s kill. I didn’t want to bring home second-hand meat on my first expedition without my moms.

Right when I was about to pounce, my legs gave out. I threw up in my crouch space and my prey got away. I relaxed in the shade until the hunt was over and went home with my head hung low. As soon as I laid next to my mother, she knew what was wrong with me. I was carrying a king.

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I was nervous. Mufasa was only a year into his reign as king and he had so much on his plate. His father’s rule was great and he was under a lot of pressure to continue that success. I didn’t know if he was ready for yet another huge change. But when I told him, he gained a new zest for life and kingship. His judgments were quick and always fair. He distributed the workforce among the animals perfectly and everyone lived in harmony as he made clear the principles of the Circle of Life. And never for a moment did I feel alone while carrying our son; Simba.

The Mom Moment: I became a mom when the local shaman Rafiki displayed Simba to all of the animals of the Pride Lands. He stood at the tip of Pride Rock and lifted him up for all to see. I couldn’t hear the roars, chirps, and hoof pounding. I was ready to snatch my son out of the crazy baboon’s hands until I felt Mufasa’s paw on mine. He hit me with a reassuring smile and nuzzled in my neck.

***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad.***

Father/Dad: He is a DAD, paws down. From the time he was born, to his last heroic breath, Simba’s father earned every strand of hair that crowned his mane. I never imagined that a man who had to look over hundreds of species of animals would still find time to dedicate every waking moment to his son. But then again, being the son of a king, Simba would not have a normal adult life. Mufasa knew this and and he did everything in his power to prepare him. From teaching him how to terrorize our trusted adviser Zazu, to telling him crazy myths about the stars in the sky, just to put his mind at ease and let Simba know that he would always be there for him.

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Unfortunately, my husband died in a stampede accident. That same day, Simba disappeared. The Pride Lands fell apart and we were ruled over by famine, drought, and Mufasa’s jealous brother Scar, who allowed scavengers to move into the Pride Lands.

Them vs. You: Discipline, routine, and order. These are the things I learned from my parents which I immediately passed down to my son. If we don’t hunt, the prides don’t eat. If the lions don’t protect the pride, it leaves us vulnerable to other prides. We all have a role to play in our cohabitation. As a mom, I focused more on grooming and feeding Simba, while Mufasa took on more of his schooling. I didn’t have the chance to be there for Simba after Mufasa’s death, but the Pride Lands took care of him and brought him back to me safe, sound, and as wise, strong, and brave as his father. He also had help from a meerkat and a warthog.

Fearful Moment: I never got to grieve with my son. I actually grieved for him. When my husband, his dad, died and then he ran away, I thought I failed him. Should I have gone searching for him? Was I doing the responsible thing as the Queen of Pride Rock by staying around? I didn’t know if my son was in denial, mourning, or if he was even alive for years. I guess to avoid feeling like a failure as a mom, I did everything I could as a leader in dark times.

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Fearless Moment: I mistook my son for my husband. That sounds weird, but I saw my husband’s strength, resilience, conviction, and determination in the demeanor of my son. Once I snapped to it, I realized my son was alive and ready to take his rightful place. We fought against Scar and his tyranny. We pushed back and conquered all of his alliances in the Pride Lands. My son’s  roar signaled new unity among his newly acquired people.

Support System: The pride of course. Simba’s childhood friend and now wife Nala went on a search for him when we needed him the most and I could not leave the pride. And then upon his return, Simba told me about these two guys,  Timon and Pumbaa who looked out for him in the jungle. And who can forget my trusted shaman who blessed my child when he was first born and showed him the way when he was lost.

Final Thoughts: Hakuna Matata. After he came home, Simba would hum this, say this in random conversations, and even draw it in the sand. I never got around to asking what it meant. I’m just always so caught up in him being home safe and stepping up for a role he had to take on way too soon. But every time he says it, something in him resets and he approaches every situation with strength and clarity. So, HAKUNA MATATA.

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Parent and Dating #1

Me & Mine + Them = X(?)

Describe your perfect date: A perfect date would be simple. Dinner, movie, a few drinks. Enough to relax and enjoy myself. I just want an adult conversation and laughs.

I’ve learned one of the hardest things to do while your children are young is dating. I’m a single mother of 3 boys, ages 7, 5, and 4. They are my life!

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I work full time, come home to do homework with them, cook, clean, and make sure they are showered all before bed. In between that I gotta spend quality of time with each of them. I’m exhausted by the time they get in bed so having to fit dating in there is difficult. All the late night calls/texts get harder when you are tired.

What are some of the red flags that says, “Don’t bring him around my kids”: If he never has his kids or never talks about them.

What if he doesn’t have kids: If he’s aggressive or gets mad/annoyed easily he won’t be able to tolerate kids. I need someone who’s patient, who’s going to be willing to show my boys new things especially how to treat a woman, be a positive influence in their lives, and just be willing to spend quality time with them.

On your days off you have to find a sitter just so you could have a date (while at the same time feeling guilty for not spending time with your children). Sometimes I feel it’s just easier to forget dating and just focus on your kids. But at the same time when they go to sleep, you are all alone, no one to talk to about your day, no one to hold you when you’re having a bad day and no one to be there just for you.

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“I need someone who’s patient, who’s going to be willing to show my boys new things, especially how to treat a woman….”

So do you take a leap of faith and try and trust someone again? Do you take those extra steps to make time for someone else? All that goes through my head when I decide to talk to someone. Always questioning if they are going to understand how hard it is for [me] daily. That plans could be ruined at any time for a sick child or no babysitter.

I don’t want all the extra stress. I already have enough being a single mother. I just want someone there for me. To love me the way I deserve. To be the missing piece to my little family.

Will I ever find that piece?

This Is NOT An Attack On Momma Bey

 

And I know this disclaimer won’t be enough for some of the Beyhive, but I need you to know, her IMAGE, her immediate look was simply the catalyst for this. NOT her personality, NOT her personal morals and values, NOT her assumed motherhood and/or womanhood.

I saw, I thought, I wrote. So let us begin.

The 2016 VMAs had a lot of ups and downs for us 80s babies. We saw too many people we don’t know, and we saw too many people we know cater to the demographic we kind of know. But what do we know?! Are we not doing the same thing our parents did when Juvenile took over for the nine-nine and the 2000 (you assumed the twerking stance, didn’t you?!)

But like many of all ages, I was holding out for a diva and a queen. And neither of them let me down. Beyonce took the stage in all of her glory. She brought a world tour caliber performance to basic cable (you remember the black box days).

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And I LOVED that. But what caught my attention was who was with her on the red carpet and the correlation of her performance.

Beyonce Knowles rolled in with Blue Ivy, both of them decked out in couture. When the lights went down and the smoked cleared, I was giddy with anticipation. Beyonce, beyonced all over that stage. Pyro, dancers, lights, using the entire space, it was a marvel! But then I saw something peculiar.

For more than 30 seconds, Beyonce used the camera to do this…

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I’m not saying this woman has not always embraced her sexuality, but the most we’ve seen her expose is this…

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After all was sung and done, I wondered, Wasn’t her daughter at the show? Was she watching this in the green room?

Yes, Beyonce is a performer. Yes, this was just a performance. Yes, it’s about costume and props. Yes, raunchier has been seen and done. And yes, Blue Ivy was probably whisked away with the nanny after paparazzi had their fill. But Beyonce sheds more as she gets older (which is usually hand and hand with wiser and maturer)? If not Blue, one of her friends can look up the Queen and say, “Hey, I know what your mom’s cheeks look like.”

My question; where does the buck stop? I am all for women, no matter what’s added to their title, being able to express who they are. But in the age of accessibility, most of us are in agreement for shielding our children from inappropriate content before they can comprehend it. So why throw ass cheeks in the camera that your daughter can see with a click of the mouse? And again, this is on the assumption that Blue Ivy could have been there watching this as opposed to an exclusive tour show where she would be no where near.

If your daughter wants to do the same at an too-early age, how are you going to combat that?

A mother can be sexy, but is there such a thing as being too sexy once you’re a mom? Does motherhood equal conservative/restriction? Does celebrity give a new definition to motherhood? Has social media affected the image of motherhood? At the end of the day, HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO VIEW YOU AS A MOM and what will you do to ensure that?

Pregnancy Scare #15; Fearless Mom: FranShaun Harris

Franshaun Harris

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Age: 25
Year You Graduated High School: 2008
Year you found out you were Pregnant: 2014
Number of Children: 1

The Uh-Oh Moment: December 2014 I found out I was pregnant going in to get my yearly
physical and asthma checkup. Now a days, doctors give you all the test in the world. I simply went to the doctor to figure out what I could do to reduce my asthma symptoms. He went over my labs and came back in the room and said, “Congrats are in order, your test came back positive.” Mind you he never said what test he was talking about, he just had this huge smile on his face. I thought of every worst possible scenario, but then he said “Are you ready to be a Mom?” From that moment, my life changed.

The Mom Moment: Becoming a mom has always been something that I’ve wanted to do. I
have looked after children since I was a child (at the age of 13). It was a joy to watch how they learned and how they explored the world with such innocence. At 21, I had my first God child, Iyana. She was a sweet baby and words could not even immense the feeling I had of being her God mom. Months later, her brother Elijah was born and he too became my God child. I kept them for weeks and sometimes months at a time. They saw me as a second mom when their birth mom, Ladonna, needed a mommy break. I adore them as if they are my own. In that moment I became a mom. Having these two God children of mine was a joy BUT having my own son was an indescribable feeling.

My moment when I realized that Nasir was mine is when I was sitting at my mom’s house and he was crying and crying and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I sat on the steps going crazy. I then went back in the room and picked him up and said, “Ok, what is that you want? You’re clean, you’re fed, and you have a nice little clean butt.” He just looked at me and smiled so big. That moment I was like ok Shaun you’re REALLY a mom now.

***Any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a Dad***

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Father/Dad: By the time I was six months pregnant, everyone who I thought would want to have a family with me, left me. My best friend Tony is his father. He and I have an awesome friendship. Because of personal issues outside of him and me he can’t be around to see his son. However my other best friend Timara has stepped up and she has been dad. She lost custody of her first son, so I knew in the back of my mind she was nowhere near ready to start another family. But when I called Timara and all I could do was cry, she simply said, “Babe, no worries. Wipe your face, I’m here.” At that very time is when I knew no one else would love my son as much as her and I.

During surgery, I panicked and Timara sang to me to keep me calm. It was the Sponge Bob pizza song. I will never forget it. The doctors finally delivered my son, and Timara asked me his name (even though we had discussed it before) he then became OUR son. She has been a huge part of this Journey with no questions asked.

Them VS. You: I was raised by my mother and step-father. My mother was very strict and stern. Whatever she says was always a go. She never reasoned with me and my sisters and everything had to be done her way.

As I got older and began to express myself, my mother and I didn’t speak for months at a time because of my preference in dating. I was being raised by a “Christian” woman who thought homosexuality was the devil himself, so I hid it for a long time.

My dad on the other hand was more open and willing to see our side of things.

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Nasir will be raised by two moms, I will give him any information that he wants to know about same sex relationships. I’m sure that he will be curious as to why but I will let him know that no matter what he’s loved. I want him to know that love is love and he can be whoever he chooses to be. In the future he may not understand that he has two moms but I know that I’ll become an open book. I want to educate him on these type of relationships because not only are there more same sex couples out but that his mom is a part of that community and he will learn to have a level of respect for it.

In these times peers of his may already know things that he may not and I will definitely answer any questions and fill in his blanks.

In becoming a pre-school teacher, I have become a big disciplinarian but I have an open mind. I have learned patience and I’ve learned to be more lenient with how I do things. I’m also more creative so that when my son gets older, he’ll be able to come and talk to me about almost anything.

The Fearless Moment: I had been so overwhelmed and I fell into postpartum depression. My support was jacked up and Timara and I lived in two different states so it was a struggle parenting separately. Nasir had another crying spell and I called Timara on the phone and she played J.Cole through her speakers and Nas instantly knew who was on the line. Anytime he cried after that, I played J.Cole and everything was all good. He became a music baby and music has been our calm in the sleepless nights.

Support System: Nasir has a spirit so joyful. He has attracted so much love since the day he arrived. We finally moved to Delaware so that our family could all be in one place. My family has been supportive but the help and passion I get here couldn’t be greater. The Manson’s have taken us in as if we’ve always been a part of their family. Most times I barely have to lift a finger when we visit them. The love and support that we get from our families is amazing. Especially with her family.

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There is always a helping or a praying hand. I find so much strength in God first,
and faith. I am coming to understand why he has blessed me and I can’t thank him enough for my family. I stay grounded in my faith and with a higher power behind me, I can press forward. I never thought with all my doubts, that I’d have so many people who love him and want to help me raise him. He literally is a part of a village of 4 different families that have so much love to give him. I couldn’t imagine in all my years that the saying was true, “It takes a village to raise a
child.”

Final Thoughts: Being a Mom is one of the best things that happen to me. Even on my worst day when I feel like I’m alone, I’m reminded that I’m not. For those who feel like they are alone, pick up a phone, write an email because you never know who’s willing to be your shoulder to cry on. No one is ever alone in anything. Being a mom takes away that feeling and can erase any pain. The love I experience from him is nothing short of amazing and I couldn’t have asked God for anything better.

Nasir is teaching me so much about myself and also showing me how to evaluate those around me. If some ones spirit isn’t right, he’s not happy. He shows me true joy and happiness. He’s always smiling and being silly and it brings out the best in me.

Pregnancy Scare #14; Fearless Mom: Timara Manson

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Name: Timara Manson
Age: 25
Year you graduated high school: 2007
Year you found out you were pregnant: She found out she was pregnant in 2012
Number of children: 1

The Uh Oh Moment: We found out we were pregnant in 2012. I was with My ex-wife Camille. She carried our son.

I went in the bathroom and I guess she just peed on the stick and left it on the counter…and it was the plus signal. I was like, You pregnant. But I said it to myself in the bathroom like, She Pregnant. So I had to go back in there and be like, You pregnant. You was gonna wake me up and tell me you pregnant?! And she was like, “Babe I don’t know what you talking about; I just peed on the stick and put it on the counter.” So I told her to take another one because it could not be accurate because you’re not supposed to let them sit for too long.

So she peed on a stick again. I called my mom. I was so excited and so happy. I was floating around the house. It was great.

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The Mom Moment: I became a mom, to be exact, May 2013. My son was two weeks old and my wife had came downstairs, gave me a kiss on the forehead, and left out. I thought she was just going for a walk. I woke up the next morning and she still wasn’t home. I called her, her phone was off. I really thought something went wrong. And then I got an email.

An email basically saying she couldn’t do it, she couldn’t have this family, she couldn’t handle everything. She didn’t want to be a mom. She really did all this for me and she was going to go about her business.

I had to pack up my son from Philadelphia , call my mom and get a U-Haul. Tian, my best friend, came down with the U-Haul and we put him in the car seat. I was looking at him in the car seat. I had him bundled up. I kept saying to myself, How could you give birth to a child and just leave…just leave us…and all you gave me was an email. She disabled her email, her phone number, everything. She just let go of everything. This was my wife. And I just looked at him and said this is my son. He’s me. This is a reflection of me. This is my baby and I was gonna do everything I could for him.

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***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad.***

Father/Dad: Camille is a mother. She has always been a mother. Camille did not and does not want a child. She feels like our son is a responsibility and she [had the baby] for me. At the end of the day we are co-parenting; he is a responsibility to her and he is my child.

In the beginning, I thought everything was fine. She was my wife at the time. Camille cheated December 22nd, 2012. I packed my stuff Christmas Eve, and left my wife, and moved back to New York.

From that day forth, everything was a roller coaster. The pregnancy was fine. Us having the baby was fine because she was doing it naturally for me. But she was very unhappy. She thought the baby was going to be a healing for her bipolar, her PTSD, and her depression from her time in the military (while she was pregnant she didn’t take medication). But that wasn’t the purpose of having a child.

I told her to be positive but I just couldn’t make her happy. At this point Camille was still dealing with the dude she cheated on me with. She decided that she wanted to be with the both of us but I couldn’t accept the fact the she cheated on me while she was six months pregnant. We went through our ups and downs, but I was at every doctor’s appointment. Anything she needed to do we did it together because that was my baby, and she was my wife. I needed to make sure she was good regardless.

Them vs. You: I am my mom, my grandmother, and my godmother. I don’t tolerate the talk back, I don’t tolerate all that crying, we not about to go back and forth, I don’t want to even to hold your bottle when it comes down to it; I’m propping it up. I am my mother’s child down to the tee.

The only thing I would do different is I want to explain myself to my son. I need him to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing, what’s the reasoning behind it, and this is the cause and effect for whatever’s happening. My mom listens to my sister and what she goes through. So I will be doing the same to my son. I want to hear his side of whatever he’s going through and not be judgmental. Like, really have an open mind. Yes he’s my son but he’s not an angel.

At the end of the day all I wanted was an explanation from my mom in order for me not to put my hand in the fire.

Fearful Moment: May 9th 2014. That’s his birthday. I was [in New York]. I woke up like regular. I was supposed to be driving down to Philly to see him. We were doing his birthday that Saturday. [Camille] wouldn’t answer her phone, she wouldn’t answer her text messages. I didn’t hear from her all day. I went through every emotion imaginable. I was angry. Then I was confused. Then I was…just sad. Then I was just trying to figure out what was happening. Finally, she wrote me a message saying, “You’re never gonna see your son again.” I wanted to go to Philly but I just didn’t know what to do.

Coming to the close of the day, I just broke down. I was hurt. My heart was broken. I just wanted to hold my son. I just wanted to hug him, I just wanted to say Happy Birthday. It was funny because I kept saying all day, I’m sleep. I’m gonna wake up, I’m gonna start the day, and everything is going to be fine. That’s it. I just wanted to be there. I just wanted to see him smile and play some Beyoncé for him.

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Fearless Moment: I used to play Beyonce CD 24/7; non-stop! [Aram] knew that song, any time…what’s the name of that song?! All night! We be all night. Drunk In Love! I played that album everywhere I went. You play that song and that baby be jumping and popping. He’ll pause and the beat drops, and he’ll jump on the couch. He watch for his boo. On T.V., on the phone, on the computer, Beyonce was his boo. He would go to sleep to that album. Everything was good.

Support System: My mom didn’t know [I was trying to get pregnant]. I just called her and told her.  I called her at 4:30 in the morning. I sent her the picture, she was happy.

[Camille’s] family…they were happy, but they wanted her to be with a man. They didn’t understand why she thought she could raise a baby, a son, a child, a SON with another woman. They said you NEED a man. You need a male figure in his life…he was going to be too soft.

She defended [us] at that time. She wouldn’t let her family disrespect me regardless. They could feel however they wanted to feel, she didn’t let them do it.

Shannise [Timara’s friend] was excited. She was GREAT. She was there through every step. [Shannise] has my back 100%.

Question: Does she encourage you to reach out to the mom or…

She let’s me handle it. Whatever I want to do, however I want to do, she let’s me.

Final Thoughts: You will always be a reflection on who raised you and the five closest people in your life. The five closest adults in your life.

There’s a whole lot of mothers out there trying to be mischievous and go after their baby dad for money or time. But you have great men out there that all they want to do is spend time with their child. And you won’t allow that; you want to take them to court and you want to fight them. Then they don’t want to be around you anymore.

For a mother who is going through things with her child’s father, you need to forgive. Period. It doesn’t matter what you guys been through, that child did not ask to be here. There’s no reason for you guys to be going back and forth, there’s no reason to be bitter. You need to forgive him, let go, so that he can be a better father for his child. Period. I’m not saying that it’s easy, but there’s no reason to go around the boat when you can forgive, let go, and let God do what he do.

For a father who hasn’t seen their child, it gets better overtime. If it’s meant for you to be there, it will happen. It hurts but it’s just something you gotta experience.

I find my strength in helping other people. Now I have the testimony and the knowledge to tell a father, an absent mother, or even another lesbian couple that this is what it is, this is what it feels like and no, it’s not easy. But you can get through this.

Those eyes have a story already!
Those eyes have a story already!

Continue reading “Pregnancy Scare #14; Fearless Mom: Timara Manson”

Her Responsibilty; MY Son.

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Everybody is going to sit and tell you, “It’s okay. Baby you’ll get through this. It’s alright” But you do not know that pain.  It’s like my son is dead to me. You have to lose a child in order to know the pain I experienced. I couldn’t even sit on the train and hear a child cry. I would cry. Like that good, hiccup cry, I couldn’t even hear it. I would bust out in tears. I didn’t have faith in anything.

[But] when I rebuilt myself back up,  I got myself together, I said no. God got me. Everything happens for a reason. If I aint never been through the things I’ve been through, I would not be sitting here today.

FULL STORY COMING SOON!

What is your biggest fear for your child?

From Julia Olatunji, PSFM 5

My biggest fear is Trinity growing up in general. She will bump into major obstacles.

First thing is the opposite sex. I don’t want her to fill a space in her heart that her father left there in the opposite sex. I want her to be fully confident in the woman I’m raising her to be.

Second is her gender. I feel as though females are preyed upon. We are seen as sexual objects. The way this generation is going it seems as though it’s getting worse. I want her to feel empowered by who she is as a person, not by the way people see her physically.

Third is her race. As we all know the African American race is preyed upon and belittled. Even our own race is turning our backs on each other.

Lastly is education. The school system is not set up to prepare one for the real world. Yes we get our general education but they leave out what is most important to learn to live and sustain in this life. Learning financial responsibilities can be an elective; sex-ed can be an elective. Do they still teach home economics and shop class?

I know that in general I can lead her down the correct path in all of those points. The truth is, as a parent, eventually a child will stray. It is my responsibility to make sure she lives well in this life, but I would love for her to learn productivity with and from her peers.

Spare or Spoil?

It’s been a while beautiful people. Work has been crazy, and I’m cheating a little because I am prepping this very piece while on the clock. But our 13th story is in the works and a timeless subject has been brought up.

DISCIPLINE.

In the age of video phones and instant uploads making everything a must-capture moment, we need not do much accept type “bad” in YouTube’s search bar and be flooded with cursing tots, sagging teens, and the reckless transit antics of our youth.

The question I pose; how do we stop it at home? Parents cannot control their child’s EVERY action and influence, but they can instill and reinforce how they expect them to behave and conduct themselves outside of the home.

I received pops and beatings as a child. I’m not anymore prone to violence than the next educated, law-abiding citizen. Growing up, I learned there were consequences to my actions. If I didn’t want to get popped, I wouldn’t do the action I got popped for.

I do believe in teaching moments, but simply taking away a material object or a privilege doesn’t seem to work in this day and age. Kids just get their rocks of somewhere else. “I got caught cursing out my teacher, so my dad cut off my 4G. I’ll just make a video cursing the same teacher out over wi-fi so my friends KNOW it’s real in these streets.”

I ask you parents and caregivers, how should we discipline our kids to prevent Tom Foolery such as this:

Pregnancy Scare #12; Fearless Mom: Melissa Canselo

Name: Melissa Canselo (Mellocan)

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Age: 25
Year you graduated high school: 2009
Year you found out you were pregnant: 2010
Number of children: 1

The Uh Oh Moment: I will never forget this day! It was a spring morning, May 20 something. My son’s father & I had a strong suspicion I was pregnant, but obviously the test confirmed it all. I traveled all the way from Harlem to his house in Brooklyn to take the test. I wanted us to share that moment together; we were excited.

During the pregnancy we argued a lot! It was a tough time because we didn’t know each other as well as we should, so we bumped heads a little on certain views on parenting and what not. And it was a stressful situation because I was going to school full time and neither of us were employed.

The Mom Moment: For me it was all in the decision making. In other words when my mind was made the rest was a given to love and taking care of my baby. But if you want a more specific instance where I felt like a mom for the first time, it was probably when I started “nesting”. At 8 months pregnant, me and my family painted the room, put together the crib and baby changer, and arranged the stuffed animals… [we] just had everything for when the baby came home. I felt so ready for his arrival.

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***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad ***

Father/Dad: My son’s father & I have a healthy relationship. I would say in comparison to most young adults in our age group with children we do a great job at co-parenting, but that didn’t come easy at all! I had high expectations for Antonio as a father only because he showed a side of himself that convinced me he would be a good dad.

When my son got sick his father and I didn’t leave the hospital for a week. He risked losing his job with the police department. He was there every step of the way. He takes my son every weekend and I have him during the week. He picks him up and takes him to doctor appointments if necessary. He gives me money in hand and anything my son needs he gets it so we’ve been pretty successful in that way.

Overall he is a very good dad. He does his best to be fully involved and consistent. I feel that as a man he actually enjoys being a dad.

Them vs. You: I was raised by mom who is a Jehovah’s Witness so I try my best to stick closely to the moral values I received from the Bible as a child. I feel like spirituality is very important to give to your children and I am privileged to be able to pass that on to my son. He loves God.

It hurt my feelings when my mom would always nag me. It made feel like she didn’t see me as independent and responsible. It took a while for her to learn certain boundaries and to respect me as my own woman. But then it’s kind of difficult to do that when I live under her roof.

Surprisingly my father began to gravitate towards me once he found out I was having a baby. But before then he was usually nowhere to be found. You know, very in and out.

Fearful Moment: In April of 2014 my son suffered from these severe seizures. I thought I was going to lose him. It was very hard for me to cope with his illness. All praises to God he isn’t sick anymore! I learned a lot from that trying experience. I learned how strong children are and how much of a fighter my son is. I learned that God won’t give you something that you can’t handle; and with his help I handled it.

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Fearless Moment: My son is literally the tiny male version of me!! It astounds me sometimes. He is four and he already finishes my sentences. My favorite first was him standing up in the crib, using the potty, and first day of school.

It just made me cherish and appreciate all the blessings that come with being a parent. There are no perfect situations, and there will be hard times, but giving it your all and seeing those little smiles and hearing those little laughs makes it all worth it.

I had to realize that every time my son tells me he loves me, kisses me, hugs me, I must be doing something right.

Support System: Well my closest friend moved away to DR last year. We were trying to keep in touch via email; I would write and send pics from time to time. I haven’t spoken to her in months though….She was very concerned and worried, and she had every reason to be. However her concerns and worries didn’t get in the way of her showing me love and support.

My mom always tells me that I do a better job with my son than she did with me and my siblings. But I don’t agree with that, I wish I was half the mom my mother was.

Final thoughts: At times I felt like the worse mother on earth. I find my strength in God and my mother and all the other mothers who struggle and do their best to provide for their children.

My son saved my life.
MY SON SAVED MY LIFE.

I was young and carefree, living life recklessly, going down a destructive path. When I brought a life into this world, it was no longer about me. That forced me to start thinking ahead and wanting better for myself; to be a better ME in general so that I could be the best mom for my son. I just hope that when he is 25 years old he can look back and say that his mommy was a great mommy. Nothing would make me happier!