Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Time Flies.....

Picture this…..your sixteen year old comes home and says, “I want to talk to you and I really want you to listen and think seriously about what I’m going to say.” What is the first thing that goes through your mind? I know…me too…..you hold your breath for a minute and hope for the best…right!?  You just never know with teenagers! You just never know. So that’s what I did, I held my breath and I listened. The last thing that I expected to hear was, “I’ve decided to graduate high school a year early.”  My eyes lit up; a little from relief and a little from shock, and then I said, “What…why?!” She said, “I’m done with high school and I’m really ready to move on with my future.” I said, “How on earth are you going to do this.”  She said, “I knew you wouldn’t even listen if I didn’t have a plan, so I already have it all figured out. I’ve talked to everyone I need to talk to, and I know exactly what I need to do to get it done.” She knows me soooo well.  Don’t just ask to do something…..know how it’s going to get done. How could I not listen after hearing that?  Not only did she have a plan, she was beyond determined to make it happen. After I heard the plan, then we had to wait for Daddy to come home so we could talk to him about it. We make decisions as a family and this was big. Without going into every little detail….after much discussion, many phone calls to universities, and multiple meetings at the school…..it was a go!

Well, that was five months ago and here we are today…..our sixteen year old is graduating from high school exactly one year early. Yes, ONE YEAR EARLY! I can’t believe this day is here! How did this happen so fast?!? I’m not talking about the five months going by fast, I’m talking about our "baby" graduating from high school!

I know it’s a cliché, but I swear it was just yesterday that we were letting go of her little hands as she walked away to her classroom on the first day of kindergarten. Flash forward! This week we will be "letting go" of her "little hands" again as we watch “our baby” walk across the stage in her cap and gown to receive her high school diploma. Proud? That is an understatement! It’s all so surreal. Boy, did she earn this one! Big time! I have never seen such determination or hard work in my life. She knew it wasn’t’ going to be easy to finish school a year early, in fact she just told us the other day that she really wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to pull it off.  But she did!  Goal - set - done!

Tatiana has always had a mind of her own and has ALWAYS done things, shall we say, “her way,” but this….I’m speechless. It’s hard to truly express how proud we are of our beautiful daughter and all that she has accomplished in sixteen short years. Time truly does fly…..and very soon, so will she.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Love of My Life.....

The love of my life..

He looks different than me.
He acts different than me.
He is different than me.

None of that matters,
because he is,
the love of my life.

They said he was too ghetto.
They said I was a fad.
They said we wouldn't last.

 Here we are today,
even stronger than before,
and he is STILL the love of my life.

His family is all that matters.
His family is his life.
His family is his world.

That is what's important
and that is why he is, 
the love of my life.

He is my best friend.
He is my partner.
He is my lover.

What more could I ask for,
I'm full of joy
from the love of my life.

He is my rock.
He is my shoulder.
He is my heart.

He is the love of my life.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Agree to Disagree?

As you all know by now, I'm not one who is shy about voicing my opinions and beliefs.  I have never had a problem speaking up or speaking out about things that I feel strongly about.  In fact, when I was younger, that “attribute” got me in a bit of trouble throughout the years!  I always felt that it was more important to speak up about what you believe in then to worry about getting in trouble.  Needless to say, I was in trouble a lot! Just ask my parents. Wait, no, on second thought…don’t!  Who knows what they will reveal!  =)

Recently, I had separate conversations with different family members that left each one of us at opposite ends of the “opinion spectrum.”  Ironically, both conversations had to do with gay marriage.  I don’t even remember how the topic came up, but I do remember, very clearly, how each of us felt about the subject.  It was prop 8 all over again, but this time in my house.

The first conversation was interesting because the family member I was talking to felt that gay rights should cover everything but marriage.  I didn’t get it.  Why everything but? I used the example of my marriage being against the law back in the 60’s and asked them how they would feel if Jamie and I could not legally be married today.  They said that was totally different.  I said no it wasn’t.  They said yes it was.  Back and forth we went.  I said it was about the right to marry.  They said marriage is between a man and a woman.  Interracial marriage, gay marriage….rights are rights as far as I’m concerned.  As this banter went on, I could see that neither of us was EVER going to change the other’s mind, so I finally said, “Look, I love you, I totally disagree with you, and clearly we are just going to have to agree to disagree.”

Then came conversation number two.  This time with a totally different family member.  Once again the topic of gay marriage came up. Go figure.  We were discussing current events on the news and one of the stories was about gay marriage.  This conversation wasn’t so much of a back and forth, but more of a; there is no way in hell you are ever going to change my mind, kind of conversation.  The exact words from this family member were, “I hope they realize they are not going to heaven.”  Okay, are your eyes popping out of your head yet? Mine sure were! I said, “Do you seriously believe that!?”  The answer was a very, very strong yes! I couldn’t believe it. Tensions were rising, and at this point even my daughter was getting uncomfortable.  She is about as open minded as they come and she was visibly upset that a relative could feel this way about someone else’s right to marry.  She finally said, “Can we not talk about this right now!”  We were all “enjoying” a family meal and the mood had quickly gone South.  Straight to hell, apparently.

Opinions shrouded in religion drive me nuts.  “Gay people aren’t going to heaven?”  Really?  Who decided that?  Ohhhh religion…..why do you have to be so mean?  Against my norm we changed the subject and moved on.  Mind you, I’m not done…I will talk to this relative again and ask them if they really believe that gay people are “banned” from heaven.  I will ask them if they really believe God is that mean.  I know He’s not, and it breaks my heart that people are being taught this in the very churches that are supposed to teach love.  I don’t get it.

So in the end, I will love my “opposite opinioned" relatives with all my heart. I will agree to disagree.  For now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

After All This Time....

Relationships can be so tricky, especially in a mixed race marriage. In a world seen through rose-colored glasses we all get along, but once the glasses come off that’s not always the case. Jamie’s Mom (otherwise known as Gigi), was, to put it mildly, not thrilled when I entered the picture. When her son chose to marry a white woman she was not happy! She did not attend our wedding and for years she and I had no relationship at all. None. Sadly we didn’t get close until she was literally on her death bed. She became ill while visiting from Atlanta many years ago. She was in the hospital for quite some time and Jamie and I went to visit her almost everyday. During those visits she witnessed our love and our family’s closeness. She realized that her son and I were happy; and, skin color and everything else aside, in the end that’s all that really matters. All the “bad blood” had finally melted away. I’m sad it took so long, but oh so happy it finally happened. I just wish we had had more time.

Heartbreakingly, she was never able to go home and passed away while she was still visiting. We were with her to the end, so in a way it was a blessing that she was here and not home in Atlanta. I will never ever forget the heartbreak my husband went through on her very last day so many years ago. He was filled with pure and utter sadness at the loss of his mother that he loved so much.

Flash forward to present day. We were volunteering at my sister-in-law’s church and a little piece of Gigi appeared. Jamie’s sister said, “Oh, I found this the other day when I was cleaning out some boxes.” She then handed us a card in an envelope. It was a Christmas card from the last Christmas that Gigi was alive. She has been gone for almost 10 years, so it was surreal to have this card show up out of the blue. In the card she wrote that she was sending her love to Jamie, to me, and to Tatiana. Jamie and I sat on the church steps and cried. For Jamie, his mom came to life –if only for a minute through her handwriting; for me it was a little treasure of love sent to our entire family, even after all this time.

So as Mother’s Day approaches, I’m thankful, that, in the end, Gigi and I were okay.