I was greeted by roses today. Crimson-eyed ones. China ones too. Each had a story to tell. A symbol to sell. Crimson-eyed ones are precocious, full of color, full of life, a colorful life. China ones are love personified, plus full of happiness, full of beauty, a beautiful happiness. Such was my Monday morning. A wish for life that is colorful. A prayer for life that is beautiful. A wishful prayer so precocious, so lovely. My prayer for you. I was greeted by roses today. Crimson-eyed ones and China ones too. May their beautiful colors, keep your life full.

China roses
Crimson-eyes rose mallow.

He never stops spinning around. My son. He never stops. We were at music school waiting for his turn to begin his piano lessons. Rather than wait, he starts to spin around and around. With his cream-colored shirt and the label ‘full of sunshine’ across his chest, he spun around over again. The sun shines on him fully, like a ray that brightens up any dark day. He continues to spin and spin until he falls. Then slowly he got up and continued to spin. As if the fall meant nothing. As if his knees scrapped nothing too. So to is the story I want to tell. It’s full of sunshines, full of spins, full of falls, and full of rising up. When you raise four black children and work, when three are black boys and one a little black girl, when tears are your music and the floor your friend, life becomes a song that keeps spinning and spinning, sometimes our of track, sometimes with a fall, but most times with a rise. This is my story, this is my song. Welcome to a black mom in light. Welcome to light.

What good is a seed without soil? These words echoed by Father Cullen our Jesuit Priest during his last mass with us today has me restless. To germinate and become a flower or a fruit tomorrow requires fertile soil. So what then is your stance once you realize that seeds and soils go together, like raindrops and water. My stance is to stay in the middle of it. To burrow deeply into the soil and mark your territory. Of course the terrain will be rough. The deeper you get, tough too for any seed still requires certain conditions to bear fruit, like water and sunlight. I say still dig deep. Become one with the soil. Get to know the depths you go and love every single terrain you come across. Don’t wait to for when you become a flower or a fruit to tell your story. Rather step inside, with your paper and pencil or phone and write. Tell every single aspect of your story, of how you became one with soil. It’s impossible to become something other than a seed without some commitment to the soil, a kinship even. Commitment runs right through seeds and soils. Like the sun on sunny days or rain on rainy days. Every condition is committed to the end. Just like Father Cullen and his commitment with our Saint Matthews church. Though this day has arrived and he will now be leaving us, we still remain his seeds. And what good are we without him.

We will miss you Fr. Cullen.

Materials that absorb all light appear black to the eye. By definition, a black body is supposed to radiate light. Yet we failed these bodies with George Floyd, and the teenage girls, and everyone else that witnessed his killings. For them, and all black children, I fiercely want change. No young girl should have to witness another person die, someone that could have been her father, her brother, her uncle, someone that she still apologizes to, for not doing enough to save his life. For Darnella, and her bravery with recording an unthinkable act for eight minutes and 46 seconds, I desperately want change.

So I ask what would it take to bring change to our children? What if children, teenagers, black ones in particular, can come into bloom, like light, radiant with possibilities? What if their radiance can be transferred from one place to another, from one moment to another, from one child or teen to another? What if they decide how this transfer should occur, how to light the pathway so that all their brilliance can shine forth? What if there is an explicit focus on the role they can play in shaping the vision of their radiance? I imagine such a world is possible, if only we let children be light. I imagine such a transformation, a radical one, can come to fruition, if only children have a say in shaping their brilliance. I imagine that young people as creators or designers of innovations can lead to solutions that matter to them, if only we let them radiate all their possibilities. I imagine this world because it’s time for change. We have done deficit model work for too long. It has informed how we view our children, with black children, black girls in particular, seen as adults and not children before the age of 13. I am prepared to change that. I believe our children can have a future radiant with possibilities because we the adults stepped out of the way. They can and will design such a future if only we let them. I am dreaming here of course, but I believe that these dreams can be inspiration so I am leaving this here for the moment that I let my dreams become possibilities. We all have the capabilities to embrace a radiant future for our children, if only we let the light that is them, be them. By tapping into this radiance, I hope that I can join the chorus of people who truly mean what they say when they say enough is enough.

Myself and my household have reached fatigue levels when it comes to the pandemic, homeschooling and work. We are also ready for 2020 to come to an end. Nothing seems as it should. Time seems to be going neither fast nor slow and it’s only the 10th day of December. Day 31 can’t seem to come fast enough. Or should it. What difference would it truly make if today was the end of 2020 and I have nothing to show, nothing to share, not even stories or experiences of how 2020 taught me to live. It did. For all its headache and heartaches, all its pain, all its chaos and role confusion, 2020 taught me to live life, experience it fully, notice it, invest in it, not passively but actively, as if every single minute, every single hour, day, month, mattered. They do. 2020 will go down as the year I started to find my flow, one experience at a time, even one daily keep at a time, all on my own terms and I have so many books like this one below to thank.

I am also blessed to see and experience life clearly through the lens of those who sacrifice theirs daily or the little sacrifices we make for others. Around 4:30am this morning I watched as my husband rushed to work for yet another case of stroke. He got home last night around 9:30 pm and barely slept through the night with one page after the other. I am a light sleeper so whenever he is on call, I am too. The hospital where he works has a Covid-19 surge and one critical manifestation is stroke. As I type this, he is probably scrubbing in to remove yet another blood clot from a Covid-19 patient. Apparently he does this often, performs surgeries on Covid-19 patients, intentionally exposing himself and his family to the virus and yet people refuse to wear mask.

I should also be sleeping but I can’t, not while I’m still breast feeding a 5 month old boy who eats on demand. Then there are the never ending obligations, never ending homeschooling assignments. By the time you add all this up, the ability to experience life on its own terms, to learn new things, to empathize or even grow beyond my limit is the last thing on my mind. Yet, I am determined to experience life to the fullest. Not with big things, but subtle things, slow things, passing things, even mundane things often taken for granted. Like typing this as I breastfeed my son in one arm. It’s my way of a staying up as he breastfeeds. Even the sacrifice of yet another sleepless night is worth it when you consider how babies create ripples in one’s life that is startling, with demands of fixed attention for every breath, every smile, every milestone achieved, every single moment demands attention. I wouldn’t trade this world, the serenity of a breastfeed sleeping baby after another round of feeding, for anything.

Neither would my husband. Every case is precious to him, another life worth saving, another clot worth removing and though it takes sacrifices like sleepless nights and early morning surgeries in the middle of a pandemic. If he was typing this, he would also agree, that we all need to keep experiencing life as is. Our experience won’t be perfect or by design. In fact, quite the opposite with sleepless nights in some case. But it’s ours, however we choose, it’s all ours to experience. So keep it, especially on your terms. I should be sleeping but I’ll rather do this. Experience life, one keep at a time.