Sunday, June 19, 2016

Soulful Sunday - PM Dawn

Damn, the deaths that have happened in 2016 have been unrelenting. Y'all. I am not going to get over losing Prince and the deaths just keep coming. I think that one of the reasons I am so affected is because these folks are so close to my age. Like, I grew up listening to them... going through formative years TOGETHER with them. Take, for instance, this latest loss: Prince Be. Lead singer for PM Dawn. He was 46 years old. My husband is older than that. I am dangerously flirting with turning 40. These are my peers that are passing away. That shit, by itself, is disturbing. Scary. Add in that his music guided me through high school, y'all can see why I am extra upset.

Most folks know about PM Dawn because they were on the soundtrack to the movie Boomerang. That soundtrack made lots of folks famous. I remember when I heard "I'd Die Without You" when watching that movie... man. I had to find out ASAP who was putting out those melodies. Hearing these three featured songs always takes me back to 1991/1992. I was a freshman in high school... and trust me, that is enough explanation. Fourteen years old, trying to figure out love songs. Hot mess.

Music is funny, right? It allows the musician to put themselves ALL THE WAY out there. You don't have to accept who they are-- that is the beauty of differing musical tastes. Prince Be totally flew his "freak flag." I mean, this was the early 90s, folks were not wearing silk hoodies and lace over their eyes, making slow jams with their brother AND the guy whose music they sampled. These songs are beautiful. This is real R&B. Real hip hop. Here is to hoping that Prince Be rests peacefully.

Set Adrift On Memory Bliss I'd Die Without You Looking Through Patient Eyes

Father's Day 2016

Late night contemplations. It is 4:14 am. As I lie in bed with my daughter, listening to her deep, sleepy breaths while running my fingers through her curly hair, I wonder... what makes a dad? I mean, I know what makes a woman a "mother" - carrying a baby to term and delivering said baby. But does that make her a mom? Does that make her do the job of raising a child? Does it make her do that job well? I had a child, so I am mother, but do I embody the idea of being an active, fully participating/functioning mom? Likewise, what makes a dad? Some people in my family have a saying... anyone can be a father, but not everyone can be a daddy. Being a father seems to be merely biological, while being a daddy-- that is where the work is.

A daddy takes care of his family; wakes up in the middle of the night to tend to a sick kid; breaks his back to make sure his family doesn't go without. A daddy works multiple jobs (if necessary), is a cheerleader in all aspects of life-- on the field and in the classroom. A daddy always wants to see his children have better than he did. Selfless. Hard working. Sensitive (even if it is secretly). A daddy is not faultless. He battles with his demons daily so they don't interfere with his ability to care for his family. He swallows his pride almost daily. And that is not an easy pill to swallow. It is like eating two thick ass peanut butter sandwiches on whole grain bread and then realizing that you don't have anything to drink. But he does it.

A daddy cries when his kids are hurt-- hurt by a bully, a love or by a fall. His heart breaks when his child can't be understood. He would take the pain for his kid, if he could. He teaches lessons that he had to learn the hard way. He takes the memories of all the times he felt lonely or unloved, and tries to make sure that his child never feels that pain. He is there to softly soothe the heartbroken, comfort the crying, discipline the naughty. He is everywhere without being (terribly) overbearing. He gives his all. He gives his all-- over and over and over again. His sons use him as a measuring stick to determine how to be men. His daughters use him as a gauge to determine what kind of treatment they should be looking for. He demands respect... and he has more than earned it.

I know the qualifications... because I have seen them met first hand. There have been times- many times- when I wished I had a dad that would lay off, not be so demanding or at least not demand my best, 100 per cent of the time. But where would I be if he was lax about his expectations? Truly, I would not be the person that I am today without my dad. I may be a heathen, y'all, but I thank God EVERY day for my parents. I thank God that he gave me a dad that showed me that I never had to settle to be in a relationship; that I am in charge of my own life. I am thankful that I have a dad who respects my mom. A dad who taught me that loyalty to family is the most important thing someone could possess, a dad that brags about me when I am not around... but never lets my head get too big. I'd be lost without him. He is an answer to all prayers for a caring dad. I am glad that my daughter has hubs and Pops to look to for an example of good men. I am glad that my siblings know that when everyone else is against them, mom and dad will always be there. Thanks for everything you do, Poppa Hot, Black and Bitter. We all appreciate you more than you will ever know. Love and hugs!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Coddled Children, Horrific Adults

You know, things have changed in my life. Dramatic changes. Three months ago I was a housewife, now I am a stay at home mom of one tremendously adorable, chunky baby girl. I still run a household, but the mother part... the mother part changes everything. As a parent; a new parent, I hold the best wishes and thoughts for my daughter. She is not yet two months old and I already tell her that she can do and be anything. And I believe that for her. Hell, I believe that for me. I will raise her with all the insights that I have picked up, all the grace I was raised with, the sassiness, elegance, etiquette and chutzpah I can muster. I will do all that I can to provide her with a proper example of how a LADY is supposed to act. That being said, you never know how that will turn out. I mean, parents don't have a manual. Shit, I wish we did. There is no way to guarantee that your child will be a responsible, caring, empathetic adult. There is, however, a very easy way to make sure your kid will be a terrible adult... coddling them even when they display despicable behavior. 

By now we have all heard of Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer that was convicted of raping an unconscious woman. This "man" will serve six months in JAIL, not prison, three years probation and will have to register as a sex offender. For RAPING an UNCONSCIOUS woman behind a dumpster. So a judge totally kissed Brock's ass with that sentence... possibly because he also went to Stanford. Maybe it was because he wanted the victim to feel some sort of shame. Most likely the judge gave him that sentence because he doesn't have a daughter and/or he is a douche. Just when you thought that the shit pile was as tall as it was going to get, along comes a letter written by Brock's dad, Dan. Dan says that Brock's "every waking moment is filled with worry, anxiety, fear and depression." As they should be, Dan because your kid violated someone who could not say no or fight back. Dan goes on to refer to the rape as "20 minutes of action" and says that "incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock." He knows this because he is his father. Sir, have a stadium full of seats and shut the fuck up. Immediately. 

Also, much has been made about the amount of alcohol that was consumed by the involved parties. Sincerely, I don't care if a woman or man drinks from sun up to sun down. The act of taking advantage of an intoxicated person is criminal. I don't care if a man is drunk and walking down the street naked, if I proceed to have sex with that man I am a rapist. He cannot consent. If there is any situation which precludes someone from saying (and meaning) "Hot, Black and Bitter I am an adult and I want you to do naughty things to me" then I am guilty of a crime. Point blank, period. And, truthfully, my parents would never let me do something as heinous as rape someone and then give me excuse after excuse after excuse so that I could get out of it. They taught me right from wrong, so, if ever I decided to do the wrong thing, my dad would let my ass sit in jail... and I would deserve it. 

Maybe if Dan was more of a hands on father his son would not think it was ok to rape an unconscious woman. Perhaps if Brock had some "appropriate punishment" at some point in life then he would not be in the situation he is in now. Listen, I said it above, I am going to break my back to make sure that my child has everything she needs to be a productive member of society. That said, I will NOT play the ultra devoted parent when my kid admits that she has done something wrong. I am not going to coddle her when she does something wrong because the world will not coddle your children. Well, if your kid is not a white male or a professional athlete the world will not coddle them. My child is neither, but even if she were... I would need her to know that while I love her, I will not cosign horrific behavior. Now Dan wants his son to be able to "give back to society in a net positive way." How about you raise a kid that is not a rapist? Maybe that is how Dan should have given back to society? Whatever happened to parents being parents? Disciplinarians? Moral compasses? C'mon, y'all- make sure your kids are people that we all want to share space with. Make sure that your kids know that bad behavior equals consequences. 

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