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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Appreciation, Lack There Of & Father’s Day

In Family, Love, Parenting on June 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

Father’s Day.  A day meant to celebrate those men who have handled their business, been an integral part of their children’s lives & have left their footprint on their families.  The reality is father’s are mostly under appreciated and taken for granted; they play second fiddle to ma dukes & it isn’t even close.  No matter what good or how many sacrifices a father has made, mom’s always take top billing.  When something goes wrong – dad’s fault.  When relationships end – what did dad do?!?  When the children have to finally fend for themselves – dad never helped.   When decisions or advices are given – let me see what mom says or the enteral “…well mom thinks….” It’s crazy to me. Now all good moms deserve kudos, for sure!  I mean I love my momma dearly and that love is well deserved, but I loved my dad just as much; appreciated all he did and provided. I tried to let him know whenever I could how much too.  The advices given, the life lessons, the time spent coaching, car pooling etc.  At times it’s like we are just participants in their lives.   Any news to share, we have to hope the wives fill us in.  Any mistakes or tumbles occur moms are given first crack at resolving or providing comfort.  God forbid a father makes a mistake or says the wrong thing, the backlash is swift and lasts a while; for mothers – maybe an hour or two.  For you step-dads out there, this is magnified.  At times it feels like you fall behind not only mom, but friends, family members, social media and the family pet!  Good Father’s take solace in knowing they are doing all they can, as best as they can, in making sure their charges grow up to be honorable and responsible adults.  We have to keep pushing forward, unnoticed to make sure all ends well.  Keep providing, protecting and loving.  It’s what good dads do. So for all you good dads out there, enjoy your one day in the sun.  Take in all your efforts, love them all the same and smile knowing you are doing one hell of a job!  

Happy Father’s Day my good brothers!

There are two things we give our children – one is roots the other is wings.

               – Unknown

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The Barber Shop, Lessons & A Lasting Impression

In Education, Family, Love, Parenting on January 16, 2016 at 3:16 pm

I arrived for my haircut appointment like any other day, hoping my barber was on time, checking my emails & reading my news.  Luckily my barber was only 2 minutes late, which was a small victory in itself.  My barber and I have a pretty good relationship.  There’s a respect factor we had from the onset.  He talks to me about many things, personal and not; we go back and forth and I try to provide him with my insights or opinions when requested.  The barbershop was alive and the conversation ranged from sports, to what they did the night before, to who the best rappers were; the usual harmless fun barbershop banter. It was fun debating certain comments with them and listening to them state their cases.  While in the chair, a brother walks in with a young girl, maybe 12 – if that.  The young girl is carrying  a rack displying bracelet beads as the male with her walks station to station peddling the “homemade jewelry”.  When they arrived at our station, the brother begins to converse with my barber briefly.  I initially thought to myself, damn, another interruption – I gotta go.  I look up at the young lady and can tell she was a bit uncomfortable or shy about approaching folks while carrying the merchandise.  Thoughts were running through my head, you know – was this some sort of street scam, who would use his daughter to peddle items just to make a buck, were these really home made?  But within seconds, I thought otherwise – more like who cares and I focused on the obvious lessons being taught.  The brother appeared quite humble and respectful as I asked the young girl if she made the jewelry, which she replied by smiling and nodding her head yes.  Her dad smiled too and said she made each and every one of them.  He would glance at her,  trying to cajole her into verbally selling her creations, but you can tell she was new to this.  A deep sense of respect hit me.  Here was this guy, in my humble opinion, teaching his daughter entrepreneurial traits, confidence building tactics and survival skills.  Here was this young girl, tagging along with her dad, willing to learn and deal with the ups and downs, the rejections and the triumphs, each time she tried to sell her creations.  Her smile was bright and her eyes, while unsure, still twinkled.  Her dad, well his eyes showed pride and even admiration toward his little girl.  I was moved.  I have been at the barbershop hundreds of times, many of which included interruptions from people selling all types of items – most ill begotten.  Not this time, this time it was simply a daughter & her dad, striving together to succeed.  Small victories each time, but lessons nonetheless.  Now all this occurred within 2 minutes – maybe.  I purchased two of her creations, telling her to keep them for herself – cause she earned it.  Her dad very surprised, looked at me and smiled.  We nodded at each other with mutual respect and they went bout their business.  I went bout mine, smiling, happy and full of hope.

“Picture jewels being handed to an innocent child….”

– Tupac Shakur

Progress, Accomplishments & Prideful Celebration

In Education, Parenting on May 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

Twenty-three years ago today my first princess was born. She was such a cutie, quiet & full of smiles. Today she remains the same, just more beautiful! This weekend is her coming out party, her celebration, a celebration about her & all she has accomplished; no more than when she graduated from Stony Brook University this last Friday! The pride I felt to see her accomplish her goal is unexplainable. I sat there remembering all her doubts & struggles; the many conversations & “lectures”, her stresses before a tough exam or course. Through it all she persevered, not by just making it, but making it with success & some acclaim. As a parent, there is no better feeling than seeing your child reach a goal with such veracity! To see her smile after the ceremony was priceless. As the oldest, she has set a great example for her brother and sisters, something to emulate & strive for. My hope is that she takes this day, her 23rd birthday, to celebrate (responsibly of course 🙂 ) and applaud herself for all she’s done! Yes – it is she who accomplished this. We as parents may lay some groundwork or assist when needed, but ultimately it is the child who must take it, utilize it & grow from it. In that vain, she has succeeded. So go ahead and enjoy your weekend sweetheart! Have a great time, bask in your accomplishments. You earned it all. Just remember tho, this is just the beginning. Don’t stop now…..the fun has just begun.

To acquire knowledge one must study; but to acquire wisdom one must observe.

– Marilyn vos Savant

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Caring, Effort & A Good Father’s Pain

In Family, Love, Parenting on May 6, 2014 at 10:01 pm

When does it start? When does your child begin to disregard all you have taught him by example, let alone words, and instead begins to listen or allow outside influences to cloud their thoughts and shape their behavior? To in some instances, turn against their father in ways not understood? Now all father’s are by no means created equal. There are plenty of father’s out there who are not involved in any meaningful way, who are by all intents and purposes, donors. They deserve the resentment that may come their way. But the funny thing is, sometimes…shoot most times, these jokers are never subject to any. This post is about the pain a good father feels when his likeness turns on him for reasons outside his control. The hurt a good father feels when he looks in his son’s eyes and sees a blankness, a resentment or a misplaced anger, even while his own eyes show the hurt he can’t hide even when he tries. There is an emptiness a good father feels after all he has done or tried to do for his seed(s), only to be told he does nothing, means nothing or is not cared for, even though he knows those sentiments may be coming from elsewhere. At some point, the child – regardless of what he hears elsewhere, must recognize or realize what is right and make his own decisions. My eyes well up just writing this, thinking of all the efforts a good father continues to make, with indifference returned to him. How alone he feels, when others who know better, either remain silent or by continued association, stay on the sidelines, watching the crime unfold – but yet do little to prevent it. Yet, even through it all, a good father perseveres. He continues to try to get through to a piece of his heart, even when he’s obviously not being heard or appreciated. All the good father can do during his private moments, is hold his head high as he looks in the mirror, a tear running down his face, and feel a comfort -small as it may be – knowing he’s done all he can. Unfortunately, try as they may, it doesn’t dilute the struggle or hurt. A good father pushes forward, amidst the turmoil, always letting his child know he is there for them. Is tough love going forward the answer? How much is a good father supposed to accept when unconditional love is not working? When is it ok for him to resist, while he awaits for his child’s awakening? The truth is all a good father can do is try to understand the root of the issues & where it comes from; to be there when that awakening finally comes with open arms. So until that time comes, I will always remain your FATHER.

There is a time for departure even when there’s no place to go.

– Tennessee Williams

Smiles, Joy & The Birth Of An Angel

In Family, Love, Parenting, Uncategorized on March 17, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Life has no script, no concrete plan for anyone. Plans are made, re shaped & rewritten. When you feel lost, something finds you. When you feel you have reached the mountaintop, something knocks off your equilibrium & a tumble ensues. But there are times, moments when we are blessed. When things enter our lives that bring nothing but positives, brings excitement, brings utter joy. Recently I had one of those moments, moments I feel deeply will be everlasting. Cambrie Milana Naut entered the world on January 1, 2014 @9:53am. Seeing her beautiful face as she grabbed my finger left me speechless. My heart beat furiously as I looked down at my lil princess who entered this world to remind me of all that is good, that I too am blessed & how my life will forever be altered. At that moment a rush of emotions flowed through my body as I envisioned all the stages in her life. I kept seeing her smiling at me as she grew from a baby, to a toddler, young girl, teen & finally a woman. Her face was pure, her smile priceless, her energy real & her spirit a joy. In a matter of seconds decades flashed before me & a sense of calm came over me, for here I held a love child, destined to share her ups & downs with me. Who I believe will love unconditionally. When I brought her into my wife’s arms, I felt an enormous rush, a deeper understanding of love, as before me was our future, a creation born from our deep love & passion. I looked at my wife in awe, amazed at her strength & grace during the process; overjoyed with sharing this beautiful being with the love of my life. Eagerly looking forward to our forever with the bundle of joy before us. I couldn’t stop smiling, doing a little dance & shouting to everyone within earshot that a princess was born. People will ask why have a child at this stage of my life? At my age? I reply why not? Having a child at this age provides me with a chance to more intently absorb all the nuances & growth they undertake. To have an opportunity to provide Cambrie with all the knowledge I have learned, all the experiences I have gained. To soak in all her achievements & patiently deal with her failures. To guide her with a steady hand & a pure heart. Cambrie Milana means angel – bringing people together, a name that suits her perfectly. She is our lil angel, who brings our separate worlds together, solidifying our love. She is the perfect combination of us, an Angel in the truest sense of the word.

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.

– John Lennon

Heartfelt, Struggles & A Daughter’s Love

In Family, Love, Parenting, Relationships on January 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I have been going through some deep emotional strife recently, things that have caused me to call into question many things. It has caused me to question my spirituality & my life’s meaning. Sometimes, I can’t understand why things go the way they do or how people can allow them to spiral to a point of no return. Although my heart is heavy folks, I have tried to keep my mind clear. It’s just that my heart has a strong current, a strong pulse & has been messing with my mind. It happens to the best of us. In one of my most vulnerable moments, I remembered a passage my oldest daughter wrote to me last Father’s Day. It brought me solace, a reprieve from my sad & troubled soul. I share it with you all now hoping it can show you how one’s child can bring you comfort when it is most needed.

Three days ago, you shared with the world a blog honoring your father. A blog that showed how close you were with him, the struggles of a true man, the appreciation you had for him and still do til this day, but never getting the chance to show him how much you really admired him. It’s funny how God works because all those things you felt about your father, I feel ten times more about you. I believe I know one of the biggest reasons I was put on this earth, and it’s to be there for you. You’re the most amazing, hardworking man I have ever met. Through your “daddy jewels”, discussions, inspirations and lessons, you have showed me what a true man looks like. I’m here to protect you, love you and always remind you that you did turn out fine- a man, just like your father. You know what they say, “they wait till your dead to give you your roses.” While sad, it’s true; so I promise myself everyday that I’m breathing on this earth, to show you how much I appreciate you pops, that I love you more than life itself, and that I understand. Words will never truly express what you mean to me, but if this rose can help make your Father’s Day a happy one, this brings more than you know, but not as many as you truly deserve.

Thank you princess, you mean the world to me. I love you…

Do your job so well that when you’re not there it speaks for you.

– Consuelo Kickbusch

Time, Resolutions & New Beginnings

In Education, Friendships, Parenting, Relationships, Self-Improvement on January 1, 2013 at 10:30 pm

2012 was an interesting year with many ups & downs. It started with such promise, saw it’s share of turbulence & potential then ended with a thud. Once the new year rolls around we get reflective, thinking about what we can do the following year to improve upon our lives while making positive footprints in the lives of others. The problem with resolutions, noble & full of promise as they may be, is they are often short lived. One starts with such enthusiasm to accomplish it all, but inevitably it fizzles, causing us to fall back into our old baits & routines. It is hard for most people to sustain the energy to change everything they feel the need to change; it is why I suggest people take small gradual steps, toward reasonable attainable goals, to fulfill their souls. Focus on the most important goal or needed change in your life & gradually work your way to achieve it. Truthfully, we should not feel the need to wait for the new year to hold ourselves accountable. I guess the new year allows us to hit the reset button, to forget any transgressions and to build on the positive steps taken. Time can be our ally, allowing wounds to heal & resolutions to be reached. Everyday is a new beginning; an opportunity to grow, strive & accomplish. If the new year is when you decide enough is enough on anything, then be definitive. Stay the course, know what you want or need, then take the necessary steps to achieve. Everything that happened the preceding year had a purpose; learn from it. Embrace what was learned or gained, not what failed or was lost. What one considers failure others may see growth. I will share a few of my resolutions with you all to hold myself even more accountable. I hope to become more spiritual & patient. More understanding & compassionate. To read more & develop a long term life plan. But most important, the same resolution I hope for year after year, is to find freedom & inner peace. Being true to myself going forward is a great start.

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.

– Henri Bergson

Thanks, Thoughts & A Son’s Ode To His Dad

In Parenting, Relationships on June 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm

June 11, 2012, would have been my dad’s 82nd birthday. I awoke that day, as I do every 11th of June in a somber mood. I laid in bed, looked to the sky & whispered I Love You Dad. My Dad died 20 years ago, in 1992. It was an unexpected death as I remember getting the call from my younger brother, who was still living at home, advising me our Dad had collapsed & was being rushed to the hospital. My heart stopped as I innately knew the outcome would not be good. I jumped in my car & drove the hour into NYC, in a downpour, praying, crying to God to please allow me to speak to my Dad before he goes. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the hospital, my Dad had already passed. I was the first & only person they allowed to see him. There he was, lying alone on a gurney in a supply closet. A piece of me died that moment too. You see my Dad & I had a special relationship. I was his first born son & I adored him like no other. I remember once when I was a little boy, I saw my mom cleaning out his closet. I thought my Dad was leaving so I went nuts, crying, kickin’ & screaming, until they brought me to him, where he waylaid my fears. I remember looking into his eyes that day; he had a sort of twinkle in it – I guess a look a father gets when he realizes how much his son loves him. My Dad was a humble, hard working man. He went to work everyday, never missing a day, no matter how he felt or what the weather was like. Sometimes, when off from school, he would take me to work with him. I remember being so proud of going to work with my Dad. He was a maintenance man at a building complex in Queens, NY, where he would take two trains early every morning & walk a quarter mile to get to. I remember how I would smile as all the tenants seemed to love my Dad, always telling me what a nice man he was. I can honestly say I have never heard anyone have a cross word to say about him. At his viewing, it was a standing room only crowd. The place was packed with well wishers & people whose life my Dad touched in some way or other. Some would say I was a headstrong kid, but I could always count on my Dad understanding me, defending me & believing in me. When my siblings would complain or make an off-handed comment, he was quick to tell them to listen to what I had to say; smart man my Dad! He taught me many things about being a respectful, loving family man. He introduced me to my beloved NY Mets; we would sit together & watch them on most nights, cheering them on. It saddens me we never had the chance to see a live game together as adults. One of my biggest regrets is that I never really did have a chance to tell my Dad how much he meant to me, how much I cared for him, how much I appreciated all he did before he passed that fateful night. If I could give a year of my life to my Dad, I would folks, so I can tell him all the things I should have when he was here. So I could take him out, watch a few games with him, let him know he was revered. Although I believe he has truly watched over me all these years, it would be great to give him a hug & for him to see his boy turned out fine, a man – just like he was. Happy Birthday & Father’s Day Dad…I Love You.

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.

– Lionel Hampton

Birth, Adolescence & The Real World

In Parenting on May 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Today marks the day my oldest child turns twenty-one. I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. She always had a smile on her face, happy as can be. She’s all grown up now & still smiling. She is a special young lady, my princess, with whom it’s pretty cool to be able to converse with about adult topics. She has grown into a level headed, thoughtful, intelligent & of course beautiful young woman. But it is also sad for me as my little girl is all grown up. Time for her to enter this world with all the ammunition I tried to give her & some she picked up on her own along the way. As her father, I worry not if she is ready for the world, but if the world is ready for her. Ready to embrace her spirit, to give her the chance to excel. All these years I have watched her interact & embrace different people, never judging, always learning. She is one to accept the good in everyone, to see the positive in things. Now life starts for real. No more trial runs, decisions start to really count & the reality show goes live. Is she ready? As a baby, she slept through the night. She was always a quiet child, never giving me much trouble. When problems arose, she handled things with a quiet dignity, a trait she exhibits til this day. She used to write poetry, words flowing through her pen that would amaze me, as she expressed deep feelings not common for her age at the time. She was always interested in my “daddy jewels”, my words of wisdom. The other day I walked into her room & there she was listening to Nas’ ‘It Was Written’, one of my favorite hip hop albums, I smiled knowing she understood. She’s all grown up now and I expect her to attack life with vin & vigor. I hope she takes advantage of all opportunities & that her heart is never broken. I have prepared her as best I could and I can not be more proud of the type of young lady she has grown into. So go ahead princess, live life, excel and stay focused. You’re ready!

Life doesn’t run away from nobody. Life runs at people.

– Joe Frazier

Parents, Children & Appreciation

In Parenting, Relationships on November 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

As a parent of three lovely children, I often sit alone & wonder when did they change?  When was the exact moment they all of a sudden knew it all, did not need your advice & had a hard time listening to rational conversation?  As I sit there, a deep sadness befalls me as I realize how little appreciation most children can have for the sacrifices some parents make for them.  Sure some still call from time to time to say hello, others mostly when they are in need of something (usually financial relief), while others don’t call at all.  Now I know, even in the teenage years, they have their own lives, with problems that seem enormous to them….I mean I get that, I do.  We as parents should provide our children with some space to make decisions & handle their issues on their own.  But it’s the back talk, the defiance or downright rudeness they respond to you when you ask them to do certain things certain ways.  They do not realize how sometimes it isn’t about them, that you can use some help or a little understanding from them as well.  How bout when they call you with a problem & you do your best to provide them with a few solutions.  Usually I try to give them a range of acceptable behaviors.  There is an optimal way to handle, an ok way to handle & a wrong way to go about it.  You let them assimilate the info, but then the moment comes when they disagree or want you to see it only their way; BOOM they turn on you quick, the back gets up, the mouth opens & before you know it a tear rolls down your eyes as you realize how little thought the child has put toward you & what you asked or advised on.  Take out the garbage?  Clean your room?  Clean your dish?  It’s like you ask them to give up all their worldly possessions.   They stop listening, talk over you & completely shut you out when you try valiantly to explain things to them, when it doesn’t fit into their world.  How about the times you call your child just to say hi, you miss them or how much you love them and the voice on the other end sounds disinterested, bothered or pre-occupied?  Or after a good conversation, where you think you may have made progress & you are feeling good about your relationship, so you follow up in a day or two trying to capitalize on the good graces, only to be told, sorry dad I’m too busy or you get voicemail with no response.  Have you ever asked them a question & get ignored?  Yeah, reminds me of that song, Cats in the Cradle by Cat Stevens; it’s a great song & really tells the story of the cycle.  I wish my kids knew how much I would give to have my dad alive just for a while so I can sit & talk with him, break bread with him & thank him for helping me be the man I a today; to let him know how much I appreciated his unconditional love.  I tell myself I always showed him that; he must of knew….didn’t he?

As parents, we give our kids two things; we give them roots & then we give them wings.

Chinese Proverb