so i had a talk with my son last night

My little man and I went to Barnes and Noble last night, and after he talked me into buying legos (again) instead of a book, I decided to grab another Kindergarten level workbook for our evening study time.

One of the first pages in the workbook has a blank picture of a child where the workbook owner is able is to draw himself. We layed on one of the rugs in our living room, grabbed a new box of crayons that were bought specifically for these summer study sessions, and got to work. He started coloring his face brown and he looked at me and said, "I want to be white."

What? He pointed to the white crayon. After I recovered from the shock I asked him why. "Because all of my people are white." I thought about my son's school and once again, for the upteenth time since last August, I wondered if I was making the right choice. He's super smart, thoughtful, obedient for the most part and we can converse with one another about simple biblical concepts. And honestly, HE IS JUST SUCH A SWEET, SWEET KID!

My sweet, beautiful, brown boy!

My sweet, beautiful, brown boy!

NONETHELESS, MY HEART BROKE. Sometimes I look at him and get teary-eyed because he is soooo beautiful. I used to joke with my husband when I was pregnant, telling him that if we had a little boy that I wanted him to look just like his daddy. Big pretty brown eyes that have a slight slant, super long eyelashes that will remind you of the prettiest dolls’, and even, beautiful and blemish-free brown skin. So many times I have felt like God favored me by deciding to allow me to be my little man's mom. There are so many people who try for years and years to have children, and, unfortunately, never do. I have began to understand this on a whole new level as my husband and I have tried to have our second baby for well over two years now. Imagine going a lifetime trying to become a mother, wanting to have a baby to love on and raise? My heart sincerely goes out to every woman in the universe who hasn't felt her baby's hand in hers, or little lips brush her own cheeks. It is such a gift. 

My son attends a small school, and while his particular classroom was prodominantly white during his first year (pre-k), overall, the racial diversity in his school is quite fabulous. I knew that race would play a big part in his schooling eventually, due to none of the children in his class looking like him. I figured I would have to answer questions as he gets older and more mature, and in anticipation of these questions, I thought well, maybe I should take him out of this school and put him in a more "mixed" environment, or, maybe I should homeschool him, making it so much easier to avoid akward situations. At least at home I could better control who he is around on a regular basis. But who am I to say that his being around different is wrong? Naive thinking of a first time mother. We can always change schools, but racism is still racism and there are racist parents who send their children to public schools and private schools; and, just as importantly, just because he is the only one that looks like him doesn't mean that there would even be anyone racist in the general environment, realistically, it would be more of an identity issue. I could home school, and while things would be "easier" now at age five, what happens when college comes, and moving away and the shock of a diverse world is staring my son in the face? Thankfully, we've not encountered racism in our current school, and when concerns were brought to the Principal, it was nice to know that she doesn't see color and stresses that "we are all God's children," but honestly, it's easy to say that and speak in generalities when you child has never been the only one who looks like him (or her) in their classroom.

I feel very strongly about raising a son who is proud to be who he is, not only because of our black history, but because he is who he is because God made him to be that way, BUT how can I do this without changing the environments that we are deeply engrossed in? I've felt very lucky in these last five years because my son is HAPPY. And when I say "happy," I mean he has been able to be an innocent kid, which is all we've ever wanted for him. Here are a few things that I've made sure to do, in order to keep him this way...

1) We've talked to our son about God from the beginning. I didn't grow up in a churchgoing home, and, as a believer who is actively chasing a relationship with Jesus, I always wonder if some of the mistakes I (stupidly) made would have been reversed or made different if I knew myself as a daughter of the Highest King. I mean, there used to be so many things that I was afraid of before actively following Jesus that I can now view for what they are: minor things. I want my little boy to know that although he has an earthly daddy, he has a bigger, perfect daddy in Heaven who made him who he is for a reason. 

2) I've always told him how special and beautiful he is. Most importantly I call him a champion, because he really is quite awesome. I want him to always remain humble, but at the same time know that it is okay to be confident and proud. 

3) Until now, I've never really spoken with him about race. Sometimes, it is easy to identify others by their race, but that is something my husband and I have never done. We are all God's children, and while it may be easier to categorize someone by their looks, it is also just as easy to not do so. This may not be a realistic decision for an older child, but at age five, I do think a large part of these words my little spoke yesterday have to do with his truly noticing outer appearances of others more as he grows up.  

As I work on incorportating more racial pride into my normal everyday and conversations with my son, I will share and post more regarding this topic! (I hope I have lots to say in the next few months!)

In my online search this afternoon to find parents who are facing this same issue, I came across a TED talk, and, basically, it was beautiful. Check it out!

 

https://www.ted.com/talks/clint_smith_how_to_raise_a_black_son_in_america/discussion

 

 

xoxo

marlena

the slow boil...

Prior to becoming a mother, my television habits were atrocious. I would plan meals around prime television nights, and I'd even binge watch and sit in front of my television for hours on end. I would grossly involve myself in scripts and plots that were entertaining and adventurous, although many sometimes reflected lifestyles I didn't necessarily agree with. After becoming a mother, amidst my many opportunities to smother and shield my son from all things "not innocent," I just recently began to analyze his television usage. As I became more reserved in my viewing choices for him, a question found its way into my head and it really made me think....

Solitude.jpg

If I regularly watch TV shows that go against my moral beliefs, am I condoning the immoral behavior if I continue to partake and spend my time watching these things?

This is heavy. You have morals. You have a standard for yourself, your family and your actions and how you portray yourself. BUT, can you explain away continuous watching of things that are against scripture and what you believe in personally, all for the sake of entertainment? If you've ever watched TV, I think it is safe to say that generally, content handles enormous themes in very simplistic ways, making viewers morally uncritical. Let's think about this desensitizing process. For example, if you drop a frog into boiling water, it would very well jump out (or at least try). On the other hand, if you put the same frog into a cool pot of water, bringing it to a boil slowly, the frog remains unaware its being boiled to death. Such is this life dominated by visual entertainment.

God's word tells us to not be lukewarm Christians.

Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop --- some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown (Matthew 15:20).

So if we apply these verses from God's word, what is the take away pertaining to the topic at hand? We obviously would like to be mothers who are like the last type of seed in the parable above. We want to be good soil. We want to read and immerse ourselves in God's word and produce fruit. Think of the good fruit as our family, our babies whom we want so badly to protect and raise in Christ. It is hard to raise a strong, devout believer when we ourselves are wishy-washy at best. But, in a world that is so fact-paced and social media and media driven, how do we survive?

Social Media Mom Tips

Television Usage

Monitor what your littles view before they view it. Understand that some cartoons are merely cartoons in appearance with heavy subject matter and language meant for an older audience.

Allow your littles to watch what you yourself teach at home. If you don't condone certain words and/or language to be used in your home, don't allow your children to absorb such language on television from strangers.

Be careful as to what subject matter you allow your littles to learn from the television. If you want to be the one to teach your child about pregnancy or dating relationships, teach them and model to them what you'd like them to know from your own relationships before they see it somewhere else.

Social Media Usage

Easy: Think before you post! Constantly remind yourself that whatever you post is a reflection of you, your family and your role as a believer.. You may be as close to Christ as a non-believer gets, so always be a light!

 

xoxo

Marlena

...and it's yellow folks!!!!

So......

We never got the phone call! Little man earned his yellow belt :)

I absolutely love when things come to conclusions that favor my dedication to prayer. And before I move on, there are things that I have prayed for for a long time (like months and years' long!) that I have not received. I think that is one of the key lessons about prayer. We have a mighty God who promises to answer our prayers, but sometimes in our limited knowledge, we cannot understand why we're not on the receiving end of things when we want them. Always remember in prayer, no matter what we are believing God for, we need to pray that in our situation His will be done. And, most importantly, that He knows what we need when we need it.

Verses to remember:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).

Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full (John 16:24).

And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive (Matthew 21:22).

You may think that something like my son earning his new belt in karate is a minute praying matter, especially when considering more serious matters of health, life, finances and a multitude of others but, I think that is so important to ask God for those things that may seem smaller as we wait on His will to be done with the bigger, tougher and more complicated prayers we seek Him for.

I love, love, love highlighting prayers on my prayer cards as they are granted. God is so good!   

I love, love, love highlighting prayers on my prayer cards as they are granted. God is so good!

 

 

 

 

xoxo

Marlena

we can't do it all for them...

Last Thursday, I stood alongside my husband, our shoulders slightly touching as we watched our Little complete the obstacle course and move his little body through the stances required during his recent belt testing in karate class. My heart beat fast.

Proud mama that I am, I found myself wondering. What if he doesn't get his yellow belt? What if he is the only one who doesn't get it? What will be the best way for me to explain why he didn't pass his belt test? Realistically I could say, "Well, baby, you bounce in class. A LOT." It makes me smile to picture him doing something well in class and bounce, bounce, bounce himself away, sometimes talking to himself in his own little world. But then I see his instructor look at him and give him a slight nod "no" to get him back on track and my heart beats a little quicker. He's got to get this new belt!!! Surely he is ready! But is he?

Since becoming a mother, I find myself championing for my son and everything he does, whether it be karate, raising money for school functions, and the list goes on. And on. And on. But as much as I hate to admit it, as I watched him during his first belt testing attempt ever, I am slowly beginning to realize that I cannot always do for him. He's got to learn, grown and create his own accomplishments. He's got to start putting in the work for these things he wants to achieve.

A nervous wreck throughout the entire process, hastily watching and comparing his movements to others' in his class, we finally finished, and I coerced my husband to go along with us to World Market to start out hunt for new dishes. My Little started asking about his new belt and when he was going to get it. Not knowing beforehand that it took a few days to find out the testing results, I gave him a squeeze, many kisses and opened a the usual soda he grabs whenever we head into World Market and asked him the most important question I had asked during this entire belt testing process. Baby did you do your best? Nods. Says yes. Smiles. Accepts kiss and hug from Mama. Moves on.

Parents were told that not receiving a phone call on Monday or Tuesday was a good thing. Meaning, parents of the children who did not pass their belt exam will get phone calls from instructors today or tomorrow. Today is Monday. It's 11:15 and there have been no calls yet. Either way, we're moving on. My baby did his best. He has excitement in his heart for what he is doing in class. That's all that matters :)

To be continued...

xoxo

Marlena

nap mats and cold lunch...

Okay....

My sweet baby is officially in Kindergarten!!! OH.MY.GOODNESS.

The entire morning was an absolute cuteness overload. Picture this, tiny child, cutest face you've ever seen, and a backpack almost half as big as his little body. Actually, don't even try to picture it, just check out my sweet baby below!

Beaux William on the morning of his first day of Kindergarten.

Beaux William on the morning of his first day of Kindergarten.

So, being the smother mother that I am, I took off of work on Monday and Tuesday of this week to help my family get into the "flow" of our new schedule, i.e.,  kindergarten for my little man, karate after school four days a week and daddy working from home, all before my going back to work with a new work schedule. Whew! (It almost makes me tired just writing that!).

Upon drop off, I assumed that I would have to comfort my little with hugs and kisses. I mean, he's so small, going to big boy school would surely be a scary ordeal. Surely, he'd be scared, right? NO, MA'AM. He was a champ! I actually had to walk into class after loading up his cubby and kiss his sweet little face!

The night before,  I didn't go to bed as I stayed awake to pack his lunch, backpack and supplies, and really, to just think about what was happening. As a small baby, just a few weeks old, I had to go back to work and take my little to childcare. It was devastating. I won't elaborate too much, just because it is still a very sore topic with me and still hurts my mama heart. Years later, after a few different child care experiences, here I found myself sitting around the evening before Kindergarten absolutely expectant. As mentioned in a previous post, I found a quaint little classical school, one that I had completely overlooked in my quest to do more, be more, have more, etc., (check out my post in July about contentment) and in my excitement for this new adventure, it hit me hard that the time I fought so hard to have at home with him for so long, was officially gone. I would never have those moments again of nursing, holding and rocking. Ultimately, my dream of being able to be a stay at home mom for him would never become a reality for me. It makes my heart sink admitting that. Talk about a reality check that will pull the chords of your heart like nothing else.

Monogrammed nap mat (bae was a fan of shark week this year!) and monogrammed lunch box and backpack.

Monogrammed nap mat (bae was a fan of shark week this year!) and monogrammed lunch box and backpack.

I was genuinely anxious all day. I rested quite a bit, if for anything because I didn't sleep at all the night prior, but I found myself wanting to see what he was doing, and most of all, know what he was thinking. Was he scared? Overwhelmed? Or, like his daddy, just go with the flow, no exuberant thoughts running through his little mind at all? :) I learned a major lesson after pick up, however,  all realizations of my son losing his vulnerability were put on hold when I heard about the first day. Given that he had awaken the night before his first day and laid on his nap mat while watching late night TV with me for a few hours in the living room, I was almost sure that he knew that his blanket was attached to the mat. BUT, he did not. Or better yet, if he did, he was just used to having someone spell it out for him the way that I always do, and the way his previous teacher had in his pre-school. In a world where kids know so much at such a young age, sometimes we assume the littles know more than they do. But unfortunately, during my soon to be regular after school "drill," where I will question my little and ask questions about EVERYTHING he will share with me about his day at school, he told me he had a good day, but he was cold at nap time. Picture me rolling my head like the girl from that awful, scary movie years ago, and of course my question is, why were you cold sweet boy?

Because I didn't have a blanket. My heart sank. In my attempts to perfect everything, I didn't do something as simple as go over my son's new supplies with him, showing him how his nap mat cover operated. I really blame myself. While I truly believe he forgot to cover himself up and didn't want to sleep without his blanket like he said, I had already texted his teacher during nap time and she texted me back and said he was sleeping like a pro. So of course I assumed he was comfortable. So while I was okay that he slept well, I will say that I know there is a panic that comes over my face and in my voice that I think he secretly loves when I get into protective mode and he knows already that while I'm at that point, he gets away with basically everything as I work to make amends :) Ahhh...the joys of being a mom. In order to show him that he had a blanket in his cubby too, the next morning for day two, I had his teacher pull his nap mat out and I physically showed him how the he could pull the blanket down and pull it back up once he laid down. He got a kick out of this by the way! And honestly, it made me feel good that I think he now knows that he had a blanket the entire time, and although I didn't explain the way I should have, but mama had prepared him for what he needed once again :). FYI,  If you don't have children, there is nothing worse than feeling like your child thinks he is unprepared, or feels like he doesn't have something he needs while others around him do. It hurts doubly when they have what they need and just don't know.  We won't even get into lunch, when he told his teacher that he didn't want his HAMBURGER HELPER heated up. Oy veh!!!

For all of you who have sweet babies, good luck to you this school term! We don't get the past to do over, but we can make sure that we are truly living in the present! Teaching them how to properly open their nap mats and all!  :)

Father,

I pray for my little and his sweet friends at school as they learn to navigate the world of Kindergarten and big boy school. I pray that his sweet teachers are covered by you and your protection and know you on a personal level. I pray that they seek you in all they do! In Jesus' name, Amen.

 

xoxo

Marlena