His Fear

His fear is something I made

I paved the way with worry

And each stone was artfully laid

His wings I clipped

I had always wanted him to soar

Yet I dutifully focused on each and every snip.

Funny how you tell yourself that you will write about this or that but somehow the words on the page refuse to bend to your will. I intend to write about love, and I will at some point, but there is something that pulls on my soul and fills me with regret. As I write my heart is heavy. It’s no secret that I have two boys that I love dearly and who’s company I enjoy immensely. I have written about how I was unsure that I have been the parent they needed at various points in time and this is one such time.  See I still haven’t mastered how to embody the power of two parents in this one body.

I am an adventurous and somewhat outgoing person. I feel that I am an odd mix of intro and extroversion. Yet no matter what or who I believe myself to be I am still just one and the one thing that I am to my boys is a MOM. I have never been of the mind set that raising a child solo was a good idea and I never wanted that for my children. But life doesn’t always go the way we plan. So somehow, I was supposed to figure out how to be the loving, nurturing mom and either find a replacement dad or be the tough pull yourself up and take on the world dad myself. For me this was an impossible task.

I am an overprotective momma bear and I am fiercely opposed to allowing men into my boy’s lives easily. I could never forgive myself if some guy that made me smile hurt my kids. This was one of the contributing factors to my extended singlehood. To this day I am basically the major influence on the boys. My overprotective mom ways have no counter. I try to temper it and I have always believed that I was doing a decent, all be it not perfect, job. Reflecting over the last few years I have struggled.

When they were young, I let them be free to just be a kid; to run, to play, to live, and just have joy. I took them on adventures and attempted to push them outside of their comfort zones.  I have given them as much freedom as I could and not go to jail for child neglect. They know how to cook, clean (not really), and take care of themselves. I even practice zombie apocalypse survival tactics, and yes, they would survive! However, in the last few years I have had to do one last thing to prepare them for the world at large. I had to begin the process of making them aware of their Blackness. I really wish there was someone, some strong male figure to deal with this so I could just be the one to kiss them and make it better. This was not to be, I had to be the bearer of bad news.

Some would say that I didn’t have to but most of those people would be my white friends. Friends that I love dearly and who are brilliant scientist, teachers and one that’s a data analysist. But all of my family, Black friends, know otherwise. I understand the numbers. I know that at this point in history that racism is not the worst its been. I know that the number of Blacks killed by police officers is small. I know all kinds of facts about race relations in America but the end of the day my son IS Black. That can be seen from the seat of a car when he is walking home with a bag of skittles. It can be seen the second he walks in for an interview. It can be seen from a police car. He is a great kid, he’s smart, with an amazing heart, and dry sarcastic wit. None of which can be seen from any distance. I know the probability that one of my sons will experience the extremes of racism is low. Sadly, I am pretty sure they will experience it on some level a time or two in their lives. I can’t afford to roll the dice and gamble that it won’t be my child that gets caught in a negative scenario. I don’t think any parent thinks that their kid at the playground with a toy would be killed. I have two Black sons and even if you don’t want to admit it Black skin is seen as a threat, a warning signal that triggers a specific hormone-based response in many. The fight or flight reaction is a natural evolutionary response to a threat. This reaction exists to protect humans from danger. Sadly, many have been conditioned to see Black skin as a threat triggering these same responses but in this instant it’s to an imagined threat. A kneejerk reaction to overhyped propaganda.  I am in no way saying that people who commit acts of aggression are free from blame for their actions. You are absolutely responsible for any actions of aggression against another human.  What I am saying that the nature of racism is complex and there are no real solutions that reduce the risk to my child to 0. So, I had to be the bearer of bad news. I had to tell him what his Black sin means, and I had to make sure he understood.

It was as if slowly squeezing the light out of the sun…..

Caged Bird

BY MAYA ANGELOU

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind   
and floats downstream   
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and   
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings   
with a fearful trill   
of things unknown   
but longed for still   
and his tune is heard   
on the distant hill   
for the caged bird   
sings of freedom.

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