Frozen Memories

Time has slipped by, and no matter how hard I try to reach back and hold on to it, I can’t. Sleepless nights with crying infants… gone. Toys scattered across the floor… gone. Sticky fingerprints on the refrigerator door… gone.

And I don’t know where the time went.

My baby, my beautiful boy, is now a young man. And as he closes out his last year in middle school, I have mixed emotions. Pride. So much pride for the smart, kind young man he is. But it’s bittersweet because I know one day he will spread his wings and venture out into the world… without me.

There’s a fear that once he leaves, he won’t come back. That he’ll be gone forever. But I push that fear aside because I know no matter what path my son takes, he will always come home. He will come home because our house was built on a strong foundation. A foundation of acceptance, of love, of hope, of dreams.

So I take a deep breath and I blink back the tears as I stroll around my home, stopping at one frozen memory hanging on my wall for a moment before moving on to the next.

Painted faces.

Sunshine-filled laughter.

Chocolate-ringed mouths.

One tear slides down my cheek, then another. Because no matter what the future holds, the past was beautiful. It was ours. And the future? It’s his. And I have no doubt that greatness awaits him. He is going to take life in the palm of his hand and own it.

But his mama? She will be here on the sidelines, cheering and snapping new frozen memories.

Death’s Near

Death whispers.

Its voice wraps around my heart and squeezes. Soon, another loved one will pass, and a piece of my heart will leave with them. Because no one left behind loses someone and goes unscathed.

Death stays with them.

Forever.

As time slips away, wrinkles form, hair grays, joints creak. And with every wrinkle, with every gray hair, with every squeaky joint, I am reminded of how precious time is. Because as I get older, my loved ones get older—grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles. And hiding in the shadows, Death is waiting and watching.

Sometimes I can feel Death closing in, and the fear is debilitating.

A world without my mom… without my dad… is unimaginable. Even though I know one day, Death will come, and I will be without both. So I cherish today. I cherish every moment. And when the time comes for them to leave this world, I will not have any regrets. Because although I have failed many times throughout my life at many things, I have never failed to tell them I love them. That I appreciate them. That I am thankful for them. Because without them, I would not be the woman I am today.

A woman who is relentless in pursuing her dreams, no matter how unattainable they may seem. And most of all, a woman who loves her children and always puts her family first.

Death’s near, but so is life. So is love. And that’s what I hold on to. Today. Tomorrow. Always.

Haunted

The chipped asphalt stretches for miles. Miles I’ve walked hundreds of times. Ghosts of my children stand in front of the old grocery store—five-years-old, seven-years-old, ten-years-old—and a pang of sadness wraps around my heart, squeezes. Toddlers turn into children, children turn into teenagers, teenagers turn into young men.

And I can feel them slipping away.

So I cling to the memories. Memories of little, chubby hands wrapping around mine. Of giggles serenading the sunlight. Of wet kisses smacking against my cheeks.

I closed my eyes one day, a mom to two small boys.

I opened them the next, a mom to two young men.

Time slipped away. And no matter how much I want to reach back, to hold onto them being babies, I can’t. Life happened. My babies grew up. And now I stare at empty seats, and I wonder where the time went.

Their heads now tower over me, their hands envelop mine. Men. My boys are young men. And they will take many paths in their lives. Some will even be the wrong paths, but they will learn something valuable from each. And I will be here, waiting and watching, with my arms held open wide to welcome them back home. To hold them when they fail, and I’ll whisper words of encouragement. And when they succeed, I will be here, waiting and watching, with my arms open wide to welcome them back home. To hug them and congratulate them.

As long as I’m alive, I will be the sunlight in their darkest moments. And I will be their biggest cheerleader in their greatest moments.

Because one day, I will be nothing more than a ghost. Nothing more than a memory. And I hope that what I do here on this Earth carries them through the rest of their lives. For there’s been no greater accomplishment in my life than my children.

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Love Fights Through It

Not a single picture hangs on the eggshell walls. A faded couch and recliner fill the cubicle-sized room. Legos are scattered across the vinyl floor.

Living paycheck to paycheck. Fighting for their family. Fighting for their dreams. Fighting together.

An official letter sends one a thousand miles away. The other is left carrying their hopes, their future. Phone calls, emails, and letters fill the void. Together, they fight. Together, they hold on.

Land, oceans, and sand separate them. One fighting for his country, the other fighting to bring their son into the world. One fighting for freedom, the other fighting emotions as their newborn son fights to breathe.

Machines beep. Machines breathe for their son. Machines keep him alive. Weeks feel like years. But phone calls keep them from falling apart, from giving in. Together, they fight.

Six months pass. A father meets his son. Holds him. Holds his wife.

The eggshell walls are still bare, but it doesn’t matter.

Love fights through the rain, through the storms, through the battles of life. And they’ll continue to fight. Together.

🧱The Echoes that Built Me 👷🏼‍♀️

Life is a beautiful, messy thing. When I was young, I thought I had life figured out. I blazed through each day, taking whatever path tickled my fancy and hoped for the best. As I became older, I realized I didn’t have a mother lovin’ clue. But through the chaos, the echoes of people, places, and events in my life molded and shaped me. 

Growing up, my grandmother poured her positive spirit into me. If I said I was going to do something—no matter how crazy it was—she believed not only could I do it, but I would excel at it. All the conversations, all the emails, all her words of wisdom and hope echo within me. Even though she’s been gone for over eight years, I hear her voice cheering me on. Through her, because of her, I learned perseverance. I learned that doors would shut, but if you keep at it, others will open.

My father’s leadership echoes within me. Who I am as a person was created through the conversations I had with him. Conversations that I will carry with me always. I learned to listen, respect others’ differences, and stand up for what is right—even if it meant standing alone.

I learned how to be a survivor because of my mom. The horrors she faced as a child and as a young woman could have destroyed her. But, instead, she chose to place one foot in front of the other. She decided to have a family and pour her love into her children instead of letting the hate she grew up in taint her. No matter what I face, because of her, I choose to be a survivor. 

Unconditional love echoes within me. The love I have for my children. Strong, steady, powerful. It is unselfish. It is humbling. It defined me and shaped me into a better person. A person that sees through a different lens. A lens of compassion, hope, understanding, and faith.

No matter how many doors closed, what obstacles I faced, or the heartache I felt, I was prepared for them because I had a strong foundation. Every echo built me into the woman I am today. For that, I am grateful.

Ms. Write Life

To My Son on Graduation Day

It’s hard to believe it’s here already. Graduation. When I first held you, eighteen years seemed so far away. Then, I blinked and my baby boy turned into a full-bearded young man.

Parenting doesn’t mean perfect. I didn’t always get everything right. But one thing I did get right was you. Even at nineteen-years-old and scared out of my mind, I never regretted having you. I regretted my choices that would negatively impact you. My boy. My innocent child. I was young, dumb, and didn’t have a clue. Until you were placed into my arms.

I am the woman I am today because of you. One look into your eyes lit a fire inside my soul. I wanted more for you than I wanted for myself. I stopped walking down deadend streets. I reflected on my actions. On my life. And I changed. For you. Because of you.

 Love doesn’t mean perfect, baby. It’s a flawed, beautiful thing wrapped in emotional highs and lows. But family is everything. When it feels like everything you’ve worked for is crashing down around you, your family will be there to hold you up. They will be your rock. Your encouragement. Family first. Always.

Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Don’t be afraid to fail. But most of all, don’t be afraid to love. If I fail at everything else in life, I will take my last breath knowing that I never failed at loving you or your brother.

 I have so many hopes for you. But no matter what path you take, no matter how many times you stumble, I will be here to cheer you on or pick you up. Love you. Always and forever.

Baby Blues (J’s Song)

            ~❤️ Mama~

 

Love Chooses Me

It’s so easy to get lost in the negativity of the world that we can lose sight of what’s right in front of us. I listen to the news or scroll through social media and there’s so much anger and hatred pouring out that I wonder what life will be like for my children when they’re paving their way through life as adults. It seems like the world thrives off of division instead of unity. Every application defines us by our gender, our race, and sometimes even our socioeconomic status. All I see is an application that divides us and judges us by what box we check.

            I can’t control what’s happening in the world, but I can control what kind of person I am. There’s good people in every race, in every career field, in every city and rural community. There’s bad people as well. We have a tendency to let a few bad apples define a group as a whole, and we cast judgement on them. I refuse to choose the toxic web of hatred. I refuse to judge anyone based on what box they check on an application. You’re either a good person … or you’re not. Your wealth doesn’t make you a good person, the color of your skin does not make you a good person, your title does not make you a good person – the only thing that determines that is you and the actions you conscientiously take every single day of your life.

            As the world is in turmoil and chaos, I opened my mailbox this afternoon to find a package from my husband. It isn’t my birthday. There’s nothing significant about today at all. But, this man, sent me a gift just because. An ordinary day turned significant in mere minutes because of a simple act. An act that conveyed love and brought joy to my heart. Every single day my husband chooses me. His love chooses me. And I wonder what the world would be like if we ignored the news media, stayed off social media and just focused on doing one small act of kindness each day. We can cling to the darkness and be swallowed by it, or we can choose to be a beacon of light, keeping the darkness at bay.

            I married a man because he was a good human being who loved my child as if he were his own. If your vehicle is stuck in the snow, he’s going to stop and check on you, and pull your vehicle out. If you’re stranded on a lake in a boat with a useless motor, he is going to check on you and tow you back in. That’s just who he is. That’s why I married him.

            As we go through life, there will always be struggles and adversity. Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect. Finding someone who accepts you for who you are, cheers you on no matter what and is a steady hand reaching out for you when the ground is shaking beneath you, is life changing. There’s ugliness in the world. But there’s beauty too. Today and always, I choose love over hate. I choose kindness over indifference. I hope you do as well.

~ Ms. Write Life ~

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