The flashy affair was over.  Finals were happening in a few days and The Kid was ready.  We attended the Senior Parent Breakfast and waited to pick up our cap & gown.  You will notice I talk about this moment as if it were mine but we worked at this. So, we celebrated this moment together.img_4143

Now, this senior breakfast wasn’t a high point for me.  Especially after I saw that buffet line.  In true fashion, that kid knew I wasn’t about that life and he got my pancakes. Not wanting to be a brat I stood in line for the other portion. During the running around, we took this picture. Yup – he got me by a few inches! God answered my prayers. 😉  This was the final whoo rah for the seniors.  The final grades were being calculated and the verdict would be announced the coming Friday.  These 10 days were taking the longest time to get to us.  This was the only moment we were really waiting on.  I told you about part of our struggles to get here.  See, his dad graduated out of summer school and he didn’t want to repeat that experience. We worked our asses off, he more than me but I kept a light fire under it to keep him on his toes.  Then June 9th happened and he handed me this when we met up with each other. img_4187.jpg

For the 3rd time during this journey, I shed a few tears.  He reached over and hugged me exclaiming “I told you I’d get it done.”  This cap and gown made it real. I held on to that thing like it was mine because somewhere in my soul it was.  I worried, prayed, and cursed to get him right here. I’m that teenage mom that had never even baby sat a child and here I was about to watch mine walk across the stage to accept his diploma. My expectations were firm but my methods kept changing but he did it.  Yeah, it would’ve been easier if he had done it my way but this was his story. I needed to let him do it his way.

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So the morning of the graduation was here, and I posted the picture that matched my mood.  Hashtag #TheFinisher – I was beyond ready and I even packed a handkerchief. img_3986

This picture captured everything I was feeling about this meeting.  In a graduating class of 262 students, all I could see was him.  He strolled pass me as they marched in the theater of the Michigan Opera House.  This was a long ceremony and for a short moment, I was ready to rip all the programs up because I didn’t see his name. When I found it in its respective area, #CarryOn. Then they asked the graduates to stand up and I was on my muthf’n feet -which happened to be in some 5″ heels but let’s go. Then I got this message: I remember this paper being in his room on his desk and of course he forgot it. Now, I gotta run down the aisle like I’m on the Price is Right. Then I got back to my seat and cheered for all the kids that spoke when they were on the phone with him, introduced to me, called me “Ma, Auntie & Ms. Wilson.” Then I saw him make his way to the stage. #Leego The announcer said Lorez Wilson and I lost it – screaming, clapping, jitting up the aisle (my footwork was unmatched) and I did all of this while taking pictures.

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Did you notIce me mention I cried? NOPE! I had shed all the tears prior to this day.  This day was for smiles. We did it. In 1999, this event seemed to be a million years away but with each passing year, I realized how close we were.  As we made our way out to the streets of Detroit, I couldn’t wait to see him and congratulate him one more time. I found him in the swarm of black and yellow.  His smile was as bright as the day but I saw something in his eyes.  We snapped a few images in the daylight.

I asked to see the diploma and he told me they had to pick it up from the school later on. WTH DPSCD? We left headed to Joe Muer for lunch with Grandma. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you he cut his hair off prior to graduation. I was looking at a young man ready to make his mark in the world.  Little did he know he had already done a good amount of that through me.  I was different because and for him.  He is the best part of me.  Everything I never knew I needed.img_4240
While we were at lunch I learned his dad had not shown up to the graduation, after I gave up my opportunity to monopolize this event. I knew I saw something in his eyes at the theater. It was sadness.  Afterward, he went and got a tattoo (how could I say no- I have 16) and I sat down to REST.  I thank everybody that was on this journey with me. All of your help was and still is appreciated.  You never left me out here to do this by myself. The village of Marti truly came through for this kid. There are so many to name but I’m positive I’ve already told you personally. Eternally grateful to you all for everything because I know your love for him is an extension of the love you have for me.

August 1st, while I’m sitting in my chair at work listening to inspirational music this little exchange occurred and it gave this chapter closure.

As we tackle this next mission, I’m positive he’ll be just fine but I’ll be right there to throw an assist if needed.

 

 

The word prodigal means wasteful – particularly with regard to money. In these days and time, more than money I care about the education of my son. In a previous post, I explained the measures that were taken to remedy the matter.

The 1st report card showed minimal improvement. I had about had enough and was ready to throw my hands up. Screaming and shouting into the ungodly hours if the morning provided the instant release I wanted. What I needed required a more concentrated approach. I needed to talk with him.

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We talked and he told me what the problem was. His teachers have communicated the recent improvements. I have to remain vigilant in my review of his work load. I was in high school before and I’m not ready to throw my hands up with him. It’s time for me to fight even harder. For all the known and unknown reasons. More than anything else – because he is my son. Any encouragement or tips you may have is greatly appreciated. I have two more years to create a certified non statistical young black man within the city of Detroit.

Following the kid’s freshmen year of high school, I knew some things needed to be changed.  He had not given his best effort at all in school.  Hell, he didn’t even put forth a good effort, according to my standards.  In a moment of defeat, I felt I was losing him to the plagued Detroit Public Schools.  His entire educational career to this point had been filled with above average scores and grades.  So the excuse about high school being a big transition had worn out with me.  This was the school he chose to test in to and passed to be accepted into the math & science program. These grades were that of someone just passing time. I knew we definitely were not passing time, we were here for excellence. What could I do to help him understand the seriousness of this moment? I mean, I had done everything, I thought, from taking the phone away, keeping him in the house and accessing his records to locate missing assignments and poor grades. Next year had to be better than this. Then in an effort to correct the poorest grades on his transcript, he went to summer school. I saw this as the boost he’d need to get him on the right track scholastically. I was wrong again. These grade mimicked those he brought in during the regular school year. Moreover, what was I, the parent, going to do to show him I meant the strictest of business when it concerned his education?

It came to me out of desperation. He needed to see what life holds if you don’t take your life seriously. There was only one option – send him to his dad. This post is not about deadbeat dads, bashing men or the effects of father inactivity. No, no, no! This was about needing a break from the cushy life he has been given, appreciating the efforts I make to benefit him and understanding why I push him so hard. This was not an easy thing to do. We have been together since April 5th 1999. (There’s a story about that but I’ll save it for another post.) I was angry, this was unacceptable. The feelings I had with regard to this issue were disrespectful to me. Never in his lifetime did I think I would need to send him to live with them. (There’s another story here but I’ll tell it to you when I tell the other one.) As I talked to his dad on the phone, I called him my BABY. It was in that moment I knew this had to be done. Here’s a young man 5’10.5″ and I’m calling him my baby. I rushed him in the car and took him to his semi-permanent residence.

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The tears flowed as I pulled away. Had I given up on my only child? No – but the emotions I was experiencing made me feel I had. I returned later that evening to bring him clothes and needed essentials. He apologized and asked how long did he have to stay. My reply was given through tearful eyes, “until you get the importance of education and understand that I am hurt.” He knew I meant business.

The weeks passed and on my off days I would go see my son. We’d sit and talk about what he’d observed, realized and most frequently when was he coming home. I usually got around that question effortlessly. A series of events took place and not to be the one to spread other folks business, I’ll just say – these certainly were NOT the types of things I wanted him around but he learned from them. One morning around 1AM my phone rang. It was my son calling me, crying out of frustration and discomfort from the streets of Detroit. The only thing I could think of was get him back to the confines of the house. In a plea to come home, he told me he understood everything I told him to focus on and vowed to be better. In a sheer moment of stoicism, I told him I wasn’t coming to get him and we were no longer doing what he wanted me to do. From that conversation on he never asked me about coming home again.

The new school year was coming up and he was quite anxious about it. My last visit there I informed him to pack his things up and be ready after I got off work to return home. You should’ve saw the excitement in his face. He didn’t have any idea of what I had in store for him. Check out the Agreement of Achievement I produced.

This contract was my written way of expressing I was NOT HERE for the foolishness he pulled freshmen year. As he sat there and read, he asked questions about different things and signed his name in agreement to all terms.

The school supplies were purchased and I had sent a private prayer up requesting favor on his behalf. In hopes that he was still a member of the MSAT program in his school. The 1st day came and he was ready. His schedule displayed the satisfactory in the delivery of my prayer and he was still registered into those AP classes. The homework was out on the table and he appeared to be more organized.

We’re well on our way to a better year than last. I think there is an external factor I’m not accounting for but I’ll keep my mouth shut on that until I get confirmation. I heard it with my own ears as I was waiting to pick him up from school one day. The young man says, “Hey! I didn’t even know you was back here! What classes you got?” Number 19 says, “Most of my classes with the 11th and 12th graders, I’m really smart I was just clowning last year.” There it was – the truth!

I have noticed a change in him. Call it maturity, fear or an act. I like what I’m seeing so far. The 1st report card will be here in no time and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the results. Some times it’s hard to let your children grow up, chastise them and define their own course for their lives. We never want to be seen through unkind eyes. Moreover, when you know what’s best for them it’s our job to encourage the best from them.

“Men are what their mother made them.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson