We entered the month of November in silence. Death has a way of keeping people mute. Last night, there was a rumor that the son of a Nigerian musician was dead. We prayed it was a bad dream and all would be right with the morning sun. Only that it wasn’t a bad dream and a little boy who recently turned 3 years old in October was indeed dead. So we started this month in silence. Started this month knowing that silence can have multiple meanings, whether for survival or exercising our fundamental human right. But then I am reminded by the words of bell hooks that when we end our silence, when we speak in a liberated voice, our words connect us to one another. So let me share the following, protect your kids at all times. That’s is it.

The very best of me.

From the very beginning, you have watched me. You have seen too, how long I have cried in confusion. How long will I cry for help? Tell me, tell me why, fishes fare better than me, swarm of insects too.

You neither raise your hand nor turn us away, you neither ride horses from a distance nor swoop down like eagles attacking their prey. You say nothing too, when our heart is broken into pieces as numerous as grains of sand.

Still, I will wait to see what you will do. Still and knowing what is known, I will write down clearly, all the vision cupped in my heart, write them down so that when they burst through, when they burst out like waters from a mother, waters from me, I will know your grace and time.

For I know this vision still has its time. I know it presses on to fulfillment. I know too that it will not disappoint. I know that if it delays, I will wait for it. I will wait, knowing it will surely come, it will not be late, this vision I still have for a life beyond broken spirits.

Image from Lucille Clifton’s EA series.

It’s impossible not to have your spirit broken once or twice or more as a mother with children under 10. My spirit was broken today. In the middle of listening to the word of God. I knew the day would be chaotic. Didn’t know it would end in chaos. My baby started with crying. Just as we got to the entrance of church. He wanted a toy torch and we have a rule, no toys in church. So I left it in the car and he started to cry. Tears streamed down his eyes and nothing could console him. So I let him cry, held him close until he calmed himself down. We were in front of church through this and the service had begun. Kids were ushered to Sunday School and I proceeded to let the word of God flow in. First reading was from Habakkuk, one of my favorite verses in the whole of the Bible. The inspiration for todays musing. I asked how long, how much should I have to wait until this thing called motherhood makes sense. He said write your vision for it, wait for it and in due time, all you hope for it will come to pass.

I did and well my spirit was broken before I could seal the vision in my soul. My middle son came out of Sunday school crying. He ripped his paper and didn’t get another one. A kind lady in church saw he was in dire need of a brain break and brought over some stress balls. I rarely carry them around as we never really need them and well this time I made a mental note to always have some around. She only had 2 and I have three boys who have a hard time with this thing called sharing. I pleaded with son number 2, pleaded with him to share with baby, he did, until he ran out of patience. Then he started to cry, insisting that we go get ice cream after church of which I said no and never by the way.

It turned into the worst thing ever as he began to wail and scream to no avail. The music in church helped to drown his tears, but not enough for all of church to feel sorry for me. I was tired and helpless, dealing with son number one struggling with sensory issues and baby clinging to me and here comes son number 2 crying because he wouldn’t get any icecream after church. So I let him cry, let him have the last word until we got to the car. I let my spirit go and made it crystal clear that I refuse to ever use my own money to buy him ice-cream. Ooh that I know my roots. I know where I am coming from and from this day, if he will ever pull that stunt ever in church or anywhere else, then he will let the world know too the roots that formed me.

Needless to say my spirit was broken today and I feel like a mother running out gas, running of being nice and kind too. In the end, they will always come first, always be loved and adored, but I know my roots. We did not hail all the way from Onicha Ugbo to raise children who have no idea where they are going to. I concluded by reminding him of his name. Olisa. It means God and he did not bring us this far, just for us to stain his name. My vision for motherhood is still clear and I will still wait for the opportune time, but until then keep mothers in mind, especially on days when our spirits are broken.

My son tried to carry an orange box bigger than himself today. I tried to help. He shoved my hands away, choosing to carry it alone. Until he couldn’t. He stopped trying, opting instead to sit right next to the box, fully content. Looking at him, I realized that I have been observing him wrongly. He didn’t need my help because he was capable of doing the work all by himself. His way. Most children are. I smiled. He smiled back, content with his box on the floor next to him. His way. I am reminded of writers whose words become sharp, all because they wrote their way. I see them in my little boy and his orange box

My son! Love him

My son repeats himself always. He is on the spectrum so we expect this. But these days I have been working to channel all his repetition into something useful. Enter writing letters. Today he woke up saying the same things he wanted yesterday, his toys for Christmas. I told him to take a piece of paper and write a letter to me indicating what he wants. He did. Here is his letter. We still have work to do, but I think I am on to something. Keep writing letters, even from your children to you.

P.s. he is also reading to his baby brother. His first time doing so. This one brought a huge smile to heart.

He drew a rainbow. A rainbow for me. He drew it up to show that I was a good mom. A loving one too. A rainbow, for a mom, good and loving. This is the recent image from a boy who just a month ago drew himself laying beside a pool of blood. I stood next to him in the image, crying. His teacher thought it was disturbing and we almost ended his art before it began. He is only five. These days he still draws. Not blood or me crying. But all the things he loves. Mom, rainbows and all things blue, yellow and green. No reds, except on rainbows for mom. If you let them be, their minds will do all the dreaming, with images turning from blood to rainbows to love. Blood to rainbows. Crying to loving. Life moves. The connections you will make are varied. So, keep breathing, keep being limitless, little black boy, keep letting your mind roam free, through this jungle to light.

A rainbow for mom by my son!

Lives healed by the sound of music. And lives restored in the middle of meltdowns, are dancing to their own tunes now. Becoming too, in tune with all the noise, and sorrow, pulling us down, sign of the times and full moon, all the good news, for lives lived beyond these times. I am on a quest to make sense of minds not typical but typical in their own way. And music is my key entry point. I don’t have it all figured out yet, but in the middle of another meltdown today with my son, in the middle of what seemed to be an endless display of a mind in disarray, music helped to restore all we couldn’t. It’s this gift and power, I choose to keep today. The never ending sound of music for healing.

I will write one day, how music got us through our vacation with my son on the spectrum!

Like mother, like son, the one we named after God, lives like his mother.

Always talking, always questioning, if it doesn’t feel right, he will be the first to ask. If it comes to his minds, words will be out and free.

Like mother, like son, the one we named after God, sees the world in big ways. Trees are big. Sky, too big. So are the oceans and everything that makes him relax. He maybe small today, but his tomorrow is big.

Like mother like son, the one we named after God, won’t stop talking. He keeps asking questions too. Why do you work so much? Why can’t we go to Drace Park?

His ways maybe tiring. His talking and questioning too. But, I’ll gladly suffer the tenderness of his kinda of love.

My middle son is forever in his pajamas. Not just to sleep, but to wear as day wear. We have tried though in vain to switch his style of dressing, but he keeps returning back to what he loves. Recently, I asked why and he noted that they make him feel comfortable and relaxed. He simply loves them because of their comfort. I looked at him and wondered out loud to myself, where does he get all his ideas from. He is only 5 years old. His ways are irresistibly charming and full of ease. His ability to live as he sees in world, in union with all that makes him relaxed is my keep for today. There is tenderness in his ways. I am learning that everyday. But most importantly, the fact that his ways are mine, keeps me hungry with every fiber of my being, for life.

Pour me juice mom, please pour some juice in my cup. This was the sentence that jolted me back to writing. I was in the middle of sorting groceries that I just bought. Exhausted and still trying to figure what to eat for dinner. My five year old son had other things on his mind. They included pouring a strawberry lemonade juice in his strawberry lined cup that he made for himself. I wondered out loud to myself that I didn’t even know when I asked him this question: why did you line the strawberry on your cup. To relax, said my son. That’s how I relax. Where did you learn that from, I asked again. From a cartoon, and this is how I want to relax, he said and walked away with his strawberry line cup with strawberry lemonade juice. We should all be relaxing like my five year old. Sure a strawberry lined cup will do. But beyond the cup, a little me time is critical. I looked at him in amazement. He is only five and prioritizes himself first. He is only five and understands what makes him relaxed. He is only five and seeks enjoyment things. That was my text to Daddy right after our exchange. A lesson I learned from my five year old. Life na je je, as we would say in Pidgin English. We should make time to relax and do all the things we love and want to do. It doesn’t have to be strawberry lined juice on a cup. But more so, that thing that keeps you going. I have been on a slump with writing. This is probably the longest I have not written in awhile. Of course death has a way of keep thoughts and word bay. Death stole my thunder and words would not do. I am grateful for my son and the lesson he taught me that I didn’t know I need. Life na je je. We should all make time to relax. I’m am off to relaxing.

Who are the people you fight for? I am learning about them everyday. Not the typical, my family, those I love and care about, but the people you are willing to go the distance for. Slay dragons or catch a grenade for. The people for whom, risking your life is expected. You will do that everyday, every time if time is all you have. The people you fight for are like the air you breath. Life means nothing without them. Water too and you know just how precious water is. The people you fight for are more precious that silver and gold combined. More significant for you than anything insignificant that comes by you. I am in the season of letting some people go, to do what is necessary to guard my heart. But for those that remain, let me tell you that I will fight for you. All I need is a day or time. I will go to the highest mountains for you. Pass through the deepest valleys of hell for you. I will willingly let fire burn me just so we come out finer than the most finest gold. I will fight and fight 700 and 70 times, no matter how long and no matter who. You are my destiny and together, we will write the chapter of why this fight we did together was necessary.

Of course I will fight for my boys, my everything me!

Once we suffered their desires,

camps where children play,

not childish games

but adult ways.

Now we grump, groan, growl.

Not as they want,

but

to let our wild moods out,

Let these feelings be.

We read bell hooks today. Stood by the mirror and let her words slide through us. There will be days where bad moods will force you to grump, groan, or growl. Whether as a child or an adult. In the end, just let it pass, no need to hide it, let the feelings be.

My eyes judge your fullness in delight. Ten years of coming into your light. On the day we dedicated you to the universe, the day we raised you up to the one who first loved you, surrounded by all those who loved you, I imagined this for you. I still do for today and tomorrow.

How it began!

That you will remain as beautiful as the day of your birth. That your days will be as as lovely as the sun. And your nights as majestic as the moon. That you would shine as bright as the stars and remain as breathtaking as the clouds in the skies. That you would remain as gentle as the morning breeze or as heavenly as summers rain. That you would soar beyond your wildest dreams and tower above the tallest trees. That they will speak of you in distant places and marvel at your kindness and gentle spirit. That your smile may melt the hearts of people and your presence enrich their lives. That you would dance like angels dance and let the most high guide you every step of the way. That you will succeed in everything you do and never give up when things become hard. That you will never forget who you are and cherish every beautiful moment on earth. But above all, may your rhythms continue to capture our spirits. May you continue to bloom within, like peonies in Spring. May grace, joy, peace, love and happiness be with you always and may good things and beautiful things follow you all the days of your life.

10 years later!

Seeing you today, seeing all of you, was a joy to behold. Belle, on this 10th year of your life, I pray you never forget the joy you felt today in this city of love. Seeing all of your melody and light, your laugh and stride, every single thing about you was the peace our soul needed. You are peace, and love and you make life easy to love. You make life love, with a breeziness that makes all around you feel good to be with you. You made us all feel good today. You made our hearts swell with joy, our lips quiver with laughter. You were more than a day. More than a groove that made us all move down Faiderbe to Trocadero, Palais Congress and back to Bercy village dancing to a tune you play so well. Only you are like jazz. You never worry about how your melody flows or your love shows. You gift it to everyone around you. I pray you keep playing this tune of life, your way. Keep playing it past this 10th year of life and beyond. I’ll remember love in June, remember the joy of so many we met in the city of love, because all of you, is unique and love. So do not be afraid. Your name and love is all you need. When you pass through deep waters, remember your name and love. Even if fires burn, remember who you are. We will give up everything for you. Belle you are precious to us. We will give up all we own for you. Belle you are loved and honored, from every single place on earth, including the tallest towers that greeted you warmly this morning. You put a lot of beauty into life. For that we are thankful and pray you never forget just how beautiful, how blessed, and how loved you truly are.

How it started 10years ago!
Happy 10th birthday!