The year was 1999. I was 19 and in April of that year I was given the charge of being a mother to a boy – a black boy. In my efforts to raise him, I vowed never to let my single-parent status hinder me from being a support system for the kid. His father, who cut out soon after due to another birth and a decision I had to make has been figuratively present. In his absence, I ran to my brother for help and that was working out okay until this year.
I’ve told you all about some of our struggles and triumphs in high school so far. As I’m preparing to close the book on this chapter of his education. A portion of my support system has been broken. In February, we learned that his dad would be required to serve 2 years with the Michigan Corrections. This is due to his involvement with illegal drugs. My son got the news from friends at school that know his dad. A hard blow to get during a time when your mind should be focused on your learning. No matter how much he hasn’t been involved in this kid’s life, he still loves him because that’s his father. When he came home to me, the 1st thing he said was “he’s not going to see me graduate high school.” I didn’t realize that was a big deal to him. In turn he started going to my brother and talking to the Mista more. I felt comforted because he still had a few men he felt confident he could talk to when he has questions. He has a few more uncles and grandpas but these were his go to people.
A few weeks ago, we learned that my brother will be away from the next 6 years in the MDOC – you know the reason. Another blow to the structure I had in place to support me as I try to encourage him to go on and be great. It seems like my son shutdown after getting this news. Now, his favorite uncle wasn’t going to see him move on in life after high school. He has went to see him a few times but I can tell the change in his attitude. You know us women, we like to talk but he hasn’t wanted to open up about his feelings on either of these situations. I have overheard him talking with his friends on the phone about being disappointed and not wanting to let them down. He still has the Mista, but at this point, I think our situation isn’t permanent enough for him to trust another man right now. I see him trying to figure life out on his own.
This whole ordeal is working on me and all I am able to do is educate myself on how I can assist him during this time. It’s not going to be easy but here is what I’ve discovered so far that semi-mirror my story and offered me advice:
He has found a few people to look up to through his football team. All I can do is hope, pray and help him get through these next couple months and his senior year. I have a few people in my network that have offered to sit down and talk with him. In the meantime, I’ll keep you all posted. Moreover, I really just didn’t need this to happen at this time.