My son told me yesterday, he would buy me flowers forever when he gets older. I smiled. He is only five and still reminds me of God every time I look in his eyes. I forgot to pen one more moment with him as he turned 5 back in February. He reminded me of why it matters yesterday. So here he goes. I hope you keep moments with God. He will give you flowers forever.

We took the best of ourselves. The best of our minds. The best of our peace, the fullness of our hearts and gave them to you. Son, whose skin is the color of the night, with eyes as brilliant as shooting stars. See the full moon. See how it persistently tends the night skies. It knows places in the night, dark and never spoken about, like flowers blooming in the dark. Ways to love without failing too, even at the darkest hour. What I know to be pure and genuine is in the way you care for others beyond yourself. The way you love persistently. Only you are like the moon, so full, so full.

Everyone that loves you know the outbursts is not in your voice.

Hands flaring. Nose glaring. The outbursts are not by choice.

Pitch getting loud, redirection leading to nowhere.

These outbursts are only noise.

For a mind overflowing with visions of sunsets, and Orion and dreams of a little star that could, even as tears gently roll.

In the end, there are lessons with each noise, lessons though not by choice, and lessons through your voice.

And they all remind us of choirs of angels singing at a place called Gethsemane.

This beautiful image from Lucille Clifton Everett Anderson series helps to personify what a meltdown often looks like.

We went to the Live Sky Tonight show at the Planetarium yesterday. It was a first for us. When we visit the Planetarium we usually watch the show the Little Star that Could. This time, I decided to try something different. I completely forgot my first son only loves the same thing. He is also obsessed with the solar systems and I thought I was doing something great to expand his knowledge base. Well I thought wrong. The show was great. He loved every moment of it. It was the end. He kept on asking so when are we going to watch the movie Little Star that Could. I told him we didn’t come for it plus besides it happens only in the morning and we’ll it would have to be another day. That didn’t go well with him and right there in the middle of the room, a full melt down began.

We pleaded and pleaded but his mind went somewhere else. Completely unable to process anything we were saying. So I did the best I could, with baby in my arm, picked him up, and proceeded to walk him out of the planetarium. There were stares. The kind that makes you want to go somewhere and hide and wait till the world is asleep to come out. My son kept raising his voice as if he would get help from his over stimulation. We kept walking what seemed liked forever until we got outside and straight to the car. I felt really terrible for my other kids because they wanted to see other parts of the planetarium. But having a meltdown meant that we had to all go home.

Keeping this here as a reminder that having a child on the spectrum will push you out of your limits. We don’t have meltdowns as much as we used to. In fact during the show I remembered when we first came to the Planetarium and how I vowed we would never be back. I watched in amazement as my son sat still and took it all in. There is growth through the spectrum and we see it for ourselves every single day. But there are still moments and days where nothing seems to work and it’s like the beginning where nothing seems to make sense. We know these days are part of his stories and that he is even sorry, in fact always sorry for causing such a meltdown. He says so himself, apologizing for what he can’t seem to control. That’s why I will always be grateful for him. For the grace he teaches even under enormous stress. My only hope is not for this to pass, but more for us to remember that lessons of a meltdown with children on the spectrum. The grace too that follows after so much stress. We keep learning from him every day.

We are how we live. How we bake too, like meat pies made in love. How we dream, how we hope, through thick and thin plus time. I choose your eternity. Choose your smiles too. Something about the power of you. Keeps me smiling. Like how we smiled today. How I hope we smile tomorrow and eternity.

Big smiles full of joy. 

For pies full of meat, full of potatoes, full of love, full of you. All of you. Your smile, like blue skies, brings joy, brings light, brings goodness, brings life, for things as simple as baking. I encounter this love, time and time again, everything we bake. I feast in your love. This love I name, that glimmers with each pie we make, begins with you. As the meat pies rise, so must we. All of us who choose to keep this joy, for meat pies made with love. What we did today, is all that counts. Through meat pies, laughter, flour in disarray, but love as we know it, our way is the real mood. I am loving us, through meat pies, the source of our joy. Keep them with your kids.

Spring time picnics have begun

These words are just one to keep.

‘Black stands out best of all. Black is the most beautiful. Our body gleam all colors in the sun. Black is the most beautiful one.’

They are not mine. They belong to the late great Ashley Bryan. We read his book Beautiful Blackbird tonight. It’s a story about how true beauty always comes from within. Also how no matter how much we may feel invisible everyone wants what they think black folks have. Of course he meant for this to represent black birds, but if you remove the word bird, you will see that everything black is still the most beautiful of them all. My message to my kids. Keep this for you.

I watched you the other night and wondered out loud to myself, where are you.

Surrounded by so many of them, few that looked like you, I felt like screaming out loud, where are you.

I waited for you to turn, waited for you to look my way, waited to see if your stride is still as confident as you are, waited to hear whether your voice is just as striking too.

You did. It is.

There you are. There you are still more beautiful than the rising sun.

Still with your crooked smile that melts my heart like on the day you first arrived. Still with a voice so serene, so charismatic like the call of birds.

Someday, somewhere, someone like me, will write about you, about your confident walk, your crooked smile, your charismatic voice, and how something tried but failed to dim the sun, and all it’s brilliance.

To know you, is to see the sun.

Image by Miranda M with ua_designed on instagram.

I think about black girls a lot. Black boys too. How they live and grow in a society that batters them before they turn 15. I watch whether they still stand erect as trees or not. Whether they have voice. Whether they remain rooted or not, in something stronger that whatever society throws their way. And society is out for them. I know this too well having grown in places that would rather we remain invisible than seen. Few care to dig in the night. I know. But when the possibilities of treasures like stars resides in them, why not dig. I choose to dig to see their light for myself. All they ways they bend and still stand. All they ways they speak, walk, confident in their words and stride. I choose to see because seeing is all we can do when society would rather they stay invisible. I hope to write one day letters that celebrate them, lift them up to, through the struggles, and still remain a fountain of joy for them. This is my prayer. That I too will keep seeing all black girls and boys, just as they are. Like the brilliance of the sun.

Through the eyes of our children, you continue. I see you, flickering your hair, smiling back, knowing that I know you live. You live.

March 6th, 2009, we laid my father to rest. I think about him everyday. Anniversaries hit differently to. I wish he was alive. But these days, I am seeing through my children that he is and will always be alive. It’s in the little things they do too that reminds me of him. Keeping this here to honor him, his love, our memories of life together that I see reflected through the eyes of our children.

Maybe it was the cold.

I have never liked the easy wind of cold winter days.

Maybe it was the place.

I never understood the bewitching charms of Augusta.

Maybe it was the month.

I have always ignored the swiftness of February.

Or maybe it was you.

Now, I truly wonder if it was you.

Life for you is so simple, so good.

You know your name. Olisa,

God. Yes, you know, it so well,

but that’s not all. Because I know him too, God. I do.

And we both want to be his branches and he the vine.

We both want to remain in him and he in us.

Like the sun every morning,

or the wings of eagles rising higher,

or streams of water flowing in a river,

or tall trees growing in a forest.

Yes , we want the unending joy of these things and him taking us to green fields where we rest,

to streams of water where we drink,

strength for all this life brings,

but most of all like your name implies Olisadubem,

to guide our feet along the right paths.

Your name is all you need.

Your name is…

You came in the afternoon. Around four, forty-five. On two, seventeen, seventeen. Daddy was there the entire time. Just him, you and Gillian, our nurse practitioner with a smile that never fades. Only three of us. She looked at Dad and asked if he was ready. He smiled. She knew he was. He wore the scrubs. Green scrubs. Put on his gloves. Latex free gloves. She stood by his side and together they said it was time. Dad said to breathe. I did. The contractions were coming. She counted. I pushed. We did this 4 times and by the fifth, you gently came into the world. Your dad gently brought you into our lives. You were the only one that got that gift. The only one that Dad did everything, from the beginning till the end. Gillian trusted him. She knew he had done this way more than her, knew he did this first before spending time now with the brain. Knew I would also be in great hands. She gave us this special gift. She let us bring you together, to the world.

I always wondered why your ways are seamless, your strides effortless, even your smile totally divine. Honestly, everything about you is always divine. There is gentle ease about you, so peaceful like flowing rivers. Every aspect of you, son of my womb, is flawless. Even your ways are limitless. They call it grace, I hope it stays with you always. As your turn around once more, this fifth season of you, there are four things about you that are so amazing to me. No, five, that keeps me looking at you. One, your voice is so powerful. I pray it continues to thunders over our home, over our lives. Two, your smile is breathtakingly beautiful. I sincerely hope you continue to use for glory. Three, your caring for others, even you fierce protection of your brothers is supreme to me. I pray you keep it, always. Four, your likeness, I adore how it falls like rain, this radiance around you. But of all this, I stand mesmerized by your name.

We named you after the one who forms mountain. The one who creates winds. The one who turns dawn to darkness. The one whose face is light. We named you after the one who stirs up the sea. The one who makes the waves roar. The one who strikes with flashes of lightning. The one who thunders over mighty waters. We named you after the one who makes nations leap like a calf. The one who shakes the desert. The one who twists mighty oaks. The one who strips the forest bare. We named you after the one who gives hidden treasures. The one who stores riches in secret places. The one that blesses his people with peace. The one enthroned as king forever. You my child, we named you after God. May he be your guide always. Happy Birthday Olisadubem.

We remind ourselves, each day, all children are precious. Black, Brown, White, no matter the color, or creed, all children, whether strange or foreign, are precious. Recently, I have been struggling with the reality that some children have nothing precious or valuable within them. I often wonder too what happened to them that at their tender age, they only know hate. To see them seduced by it, to hear glimpses of their hate expressed through actions, such as stepping on another child’s foot for no reason and intentionally, or telling them they don’t belong in certain places or spaces, makes me cringe.

Yesterday, I found myself screaming and giving way to much attention to the spiteful ways of hateful children. Then almost immediately, I felt so sorry for them. I felt so sorry that they don’t know love. I felt sorry that they weigh themselves down with hate. I felt so sorry that they have no place to shed a tear or even be heard. For if they knew love, if they felt it deeply within their heart like all children who are precious and valuable do, then maybe they won’t be as hateful as they are. Or they maybe worse. These are the realities I am slowly learning. That when children bully, that when they go out of their way to be mean to other children, that there are deeper issues at hand, one that begins from a place where no love exists. And I feel so sorry for them.

I pray they find love. I pray they bask in the warm gaze of acceptance for their ways. I pray they learn of it ways, it’s joyfulness and kindness. I pray they see it too in other children. But most of all, I pray they learn one day that they are indeed precious or valuable, even though no one at home tells them so.

And for those who endure their ways, I leave these words for you. I praise you for your valiant struggle. I praise you for asking them why they hate, even though your questions keep leading to more hate. I say always, always ask why. I praise you for your voice. I praise you for speaking up, fighting back, even though they remain least willing to be civil. I praise you for demanding to be heard. I praise you for using your strength to weigh them down with love. I praise you too for feeling sorry for them. No matter how many times they hate, I praise you for looking at them despite their hate. By looking, you teach love. No child that knows love, can look away when others know hate. So I praise you for looking. I praise you for teaching them civility, for reminding them about humanity, for doing the work necessary to love your enemies as your self. You are indeed precious and valuable. Truly remarkable in every single way. And your love, like Dr. Martin Luther King once noted, is the only force that can turn their hate into love. We never get rid of hate by meeting it with hate. Even if they choose to destroy or tear down, that’s what most haters do, I still praise you for transforming their hate into love. For letting your words and your actions speak love. This is a reminder that you are indeed precious and valuable always.