Yesterday was my oldest son’s 9th birthday. If you add the six years we’ve been parenting our second son and the five (practically sleepless) months of work we’ve put in with our new daughter, that means my husband and I logged a combined 11624 days or 278,976 hours of on-the-job training to reach this milestone. In any other endeavor, I’d qualify as an expert. Alas, the only experts in this discipline are doling out advice from the detached perch of a clinician or the veteran status of Grandparents. The rest of us are like the kid in the back of the class constantly trying to figure it out.
The cool thing about nine year olds is you can already begin to see them morphing into the adult they will become. The cleft chin and lanky long limbs inherited from my husband’s side. The ashy knees and caramel skin passed along from mine. It’s all in there, including a dash of genetic mystery mix to keep us guessing. A few months ago, right around the time of the Trayvon Martin verdict, something shifted in my son’s appearance and his teenage face was revealed. It is difficult to articulate the mix of joy and fear that I now feel every time I look at him. I see so much potential, so much promise, so much good to offer the world around him. But I also see his future label as a “big Black man” and I feel so much angst, so much suspicion, and so much worry for what the world has to offer him.
Nine years down… nine to go. I remind myself of that shifting timeline to manhood every time he celebrates a birthday. Every year the task of raising him with the right foundation becomes more urgent. I am not alone. If you can relate, we are not alone.
This blog is an open invitation to parents of Black children to gather your expectations and your fears, your setbacks and your achievements, your prayers and your testimonies and join me for the journey.
My intention is to provide parents of Black children with a gathering point to share best practices for the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and cultural development of our children and to encourage each other along the way. For more information on our purpose, click here.
Thanks for reading.
3-1-14. Raleigh, NC