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.

 

 

“He’s dead!”  The only words I truly remember hearing on July 22, 2005.  This short narrative on what has been coined “Flashback Friday” will show you that miracles are still happening.  If I start rambling, please forgive me and understand that even 11 years later – I still get choked up.

We were planning a nice evening for ourselves after walking in the suburb of Grosse Pointe eating ice cream enjoying the afternoon.  You see, his mother had come and taken my kid to stay with her for the weekend. I was only a little uncomfortable but felt I could show them I trusted her with The Kid.  As we parted ways to get dressed for the evening activities, I received the call no mother wants.  I heard him trying to say the words my mind wouldn’t allow me to hear through tears and a muffled tone.  His exact words were, “They say he’s dead.”  In my disbelief, I responded, ‘who?’  The answer was my son.

I was driving and pulled over to the side of the road and began to sob uncontrollably.  No one was there to console me during this horrific hour. In a flash, I called my mother.  She asked me to come to her but I couldn’t – I had to get to him.  I had to be there with him.  I needed to find out where he was.  I wiped my eyes and headed toward Belleville, MI to find my one and only son.  I had the news but something wouldn’t let me rest.  The horror of calling his dad filled me and I didn’t even bother to call until I saw him for myself.

As I broke every traffic violation between Detroit and Belleville, I thought about the funeral arrangements for about 10 minutes.  Then I said “No!”  A simple prayer was all I could focus on for the rest of the ride ‘Lord please give him back to me, please don’t take him away.’  As I got closer to the exit, I realized I was going the wrong way, I needed to find out where the hospital was that held his body.  A gas station at the exit ramp became a figurative fork in the road of this entire story.

I jumped out of my car and began to ask everyone where the hospital was and shared the tragic ordeal and begged people to help me.  When I tell you not one person had the answers I needed and shared no additional information.  I screamed and cried louder and harder at every person that offered me no assistance in my time of need.  Then someone in the crowd called the police on or for me.  As he approached me, I was ready to give him the complete business if he didn’t display a spoonful of decency.

He was the sign that people always say they’re looking for from God – sent here to give me a message.  He begged me to calm down, sit down and breathe.  After several minutes of resistance, I followed his directives without sitting down.  It was in this moment that he probably became the best part of this day.  A 13-year-old boy from the apartment pulled him from the bottom of the pool. (His name is Matthew.) He informed me The Kid was at University of Michigan hospital.  The 1st officer on the scene had administered CPR 3x and he was NOT reviving.  The officer went beyond the instructions and tried one more time and The Kid began to choke.  My knees gave up on me and I buckled right there in the gas station.  He informed me that the pulse was faint but he was en route to the hospital.  Thank you, God!

I got in my car as a passenger by legal intervention and allow my ex to drive me there to the hospital.  While in the car I called my mother again, she said she was praying for him but she heard the EMS’s siren and knew they were preserving life in the vehicle.  She informed me she would be there shortly.  I was calming down at a rapid pace.  His dad was called and he informed me he would be there.  I just needed to see my boy.

When I arrived at the hospital the attendant began telling me to calm down and explained even more to me.  She said “he began modeling (1st stage of rigor mortise) and was unresponsive again in the EMS.”  At this point, I didn’t care what she had to say. In a VERY authoritative tone, I told her – take me to him now.  She informed me she was trying to prepare me for what I was about to see.  We began walking toward the room and I told her ‘he just learned how to ride his bike, was only six and was so excited to visit with friends this weekend.’  As I walked in that room, my knees failed me again.


There was a machine assisting him to breathe, tubes were injected in him everywhere and he had a shiny glaze over his entire body.  This wasn’t my boy.  They hadn’t determined if he was out of the water (no pun intended) and I went to him and whispered in his ear “I’m here… Stay here with me.”  I walked out the room and into the waiting area.  The Kid’s family started filing in to see him and check on me.  I wasn’t in the mood for conversation, hugs or explanations. I needed to know this would be alright despite how it looked.  As the early morning hours of the 23rd fell upon us and family members began to go home, I saw the opportunity I was looking for and I took it.  I just wanted it to be him and me.

I apologized for not being there and for his current state. I told him I needed to go home but I would be back before he woke up.  Getting comfortable in the chairs was almost next to impossible.  I guess the chairs were operating as designed. (Just a little work jargon to make me chuckle.) Something inside of me knew that everything would be alright. Around 3 in the morning, I tiptoed out of the hospital, cruised home to shower and get more comfortable.

The next morning he was awake and that evening they took the machines off him.  When he saw me he screamed my name in excitement.  The next words were etched in my heart and brain for eternity:  Him: Mom, we’re about to go swimming. Me: You already went.  Him: No, we didn’t.  I began to cry.  He’s brain damaged was all I could think.  It was later explained to me this could be blocked by the traumatic experience and all of the medication his little 6-year-old body was exposed to in the last 24 hours.  I accepted this way of thinking.  They moved him to another room for observation.  Sunday afternoon, we went home.


Outside of some slurred/incoherent speech and reduced cognitive impairment due only to the meds – he was perfect.  So, if you ever wonder – why I go to the mat about him it’s because I know he’s been given a second chance.  I refuse to sit by and watch him throw it away. So when I hear people say miracles aren’t real – I look or think of my son and tell them “every day is a miracle.”  Never stop believing in the impossible.

Summer of 1998, I got pregnant.  Spring 1999, I gave birth to a son – 2 weeks early from the expected due date.  Fall 2013, I watched him walked in to MLK High School for the first time.  Spring 2016, I dropped him off to board the bus for the New Hope Black College Tour.  For the first time in my life I dealt with the idea that this is about to be my life.  In this series, I will expound on my feelings, changes and experiences I go through as we draw nearer to this moment.  I’m about to be an Empty Nester, for real!

I knew this day would come.  Hell, in those parenting conversations with other parents we joke about the day when our children leave for good and we’re “Free” again.  The part that never comes up is how will we deal with that moment emotionally when it comes.  Some of my friends have the joy of having multiple children so the time is prolonged until the youngest to eligible to leave.  In my case, this is it!  This moment comes a lot sooner for me than many of my friends.


I got my first experience to life without him during spring break this year.  We decided he would go on the black college tour to experience HBCUs.  I really didn’t want him to go to one in the beginning then I changed my mind.  It may be in his best interest to be around “his people.”  Here’s a partial look at the itinerary:

I had created a full list of things I would do while he was gone.  This included going back to dance class and catching the ballet.  I cooked like a gourmet chef for myself and didn’t concern myself with closing the door to get dressed or shower.  This was a comfort I wasn’t use to but it felt freeing.  However, I kept wondering when I would talk to him.  He called me Tuesday morning while I was at work.  We chatted for a short time before he boarded the bus for the day.  It warmed my heart to hear his voice and see his face.  He was off to see Fisk University and get on with the rest of the tour.

We texted one evening while he was on the bus and no more until he was in Ohio returning home. I felt myself becoming excited as time got closer to him being back.  I needed to see him.  There is definitely strong connection between he and I and it showed its head several times while he was gone.  I missed having him around to talk, watch sports and do the things a mother asks a son to do.  Even though, I didn’t need to take that trash out until he returned, lol.  The juice stayed plentiful and my snacks remained in the cupboards all week.  I came to realize he takes my mind off being unmarried, not having more children and a very limited social circle.  

When he got in the car, all he could think about was Coney Island and seeing his home.  He spoke to the gate that shields us from some of the Detroit ills, our building in the complex and his bed.  I was happy to have him home and made note of my feelings.  I’ve been his mother everyday for 17 years (minus my vacationing hours). Even then I picked up items to bring him back from my travels.  Back before TSA became the CIA of the airport, he would run to me screaming “Mommy” and I would melt.  He’s grown over the years and thanks to great genes and prayers- he’s become the tallest person in my immediate family. That’s huge because the tallest use to be Shawn at 5’11”.  Now, he yells “Ma or Mom” when he’s trying to get my attention.  He’s become a young man and I witnessed the whole thing.  


Revelation: I need to create a healthy balance of activity to fill the void I will feel. 

I bet you already knew the top 2 was going to have something to do with football.  It does but this time it has more to do with a player.  Education is extremely important to me.  So when I thought the BS “No Child Left Behind” program and desensitized guidance counselor were going to succeed, I knew I had to take action.  The events that happened in the pass 5 days confirmed I was not alone.

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The official close of the football season has come and gone.  We attended the banquet, broke bread with his teammates and picked up his awards.  While they celebrated, I kept my mind on what I needed to do to make sure that he achieved higher over the final months of his junior year. When my frustrations with his grades were expressed to the guidance counselor, he told me I had nothing to worry about.  Excuse my English- WHAT THE FUCK YOU MEAN?  I’m looking at the grades and the shit ain’t looking good.  It was then that I figured out why he was so calm.  As long as he continues to get Ds, he’ll graduate.  Not from this house with me as his mother.  Things had to get better before he went back for the 2nd semester. 

In a quick rant on Facebook, I expressed my disgust in his current scholastic patterns and explained how this effected the Christmas holiday for him.  A few nights prior, I let it rip in a no holds bar to his dad and stuck it in the mail for him to receive it pronto.  I was fed up to a new degree.  It kept feeling like we were running out of time and he couldn’t see it or didn’t think it was that serious.  I couldn’t wholehearted buy him gifts and he hasn’t given his best efforts in school this term. During the late night hour of Christmas Eve, a few good men spoke of helping me communicate the importance of education with him.  I appreciated the gesture and overwhelming concern.  What was I going to do to get through to him?   

December 26th the thread was revived with talks of when and where we were going to meet for this discussion.  WHAT?! They were serious about helping me.  I agreed to their terms and without giving any information about where we were going exactly, I got the kid up and ready for the conversation that could ultimately change his life.  We talked as we rode into our old next of the woods on the west side of the metro Detroit area.  As we walked into the restaurant, he was curious about our business here.  He caught a familiar face and smiled.  It was his football team’s Dr. Cecil Forbes.  I knew this would make him a little more comfortable in lieu of everything that was going on.  In addition, James Johnson, Calvin Evans and Shaka Senghor joined in for the CTJ talk.

We sat down and I opened the conversation.  Each volunteer took time to introduce their story to him and expound on the ways their lives have been impacted by their choices.  He was listening and instructed to take notes on what was being said.  I sat there and watched the chicken he ordered get cold but it never really held any interest for the 16 year-old that generally eats on sight.  He was entranced in the conversation these men were giving him. He was given an opportunity to speak and they instructed him on the manner in which he should speak to another man.  They informed him that they would be there for him to make sure he succeeded. At one point in the meeting, I broke down into tears after I explained the significance of his life.  This broke him down and pushed a more intense conversation.

I’m not here to expose everything that was discussed but I will say they got through to him.  As they prepared to end the dialogue, they exchanged numbers, pleasantries and informed him of a pending follow up.  They ordered him more chicken to take home.  I would say this is by far my most rewarding post in all of social media. (It’s even topped my Oprah tweet.). This wasn’t about me.  It had everything to do with the love of my life being this guy’s mother and the lengths I would go to for his success.

Never stop fighting for your kids. Moms never give up on your sons. I thank these four men for slowing down to talk to mine within 48 hrs of my cry. You are my brothers and I love you all for loving me and passing that love on to him. I’m optimistic that together we can and will inspire the changes needed for SUCCESS! 🙂

It’s hard to think about a career move with a high school sophomore.  We’re looking into universities, scholarships and concentrating on the current curriculum.  So, where would I have the time to think about what I want?  Now!  It’s the perfect time for me to consider my options for the future. One of my biggest desires is to go back to school and get a graduate degree.  I’ll be an empty nester in no time.  Hell, I’m practically one now.

Going back to school has been on my to-do list for some time.  Of course you all know that so much has went on in my life over the last few years.  However, that should not be an excuse.  I have put this off for far too long.  It keeps wearing at my mind.  I need to make an appointment to get my my facts straight and wrap my mind around going the educational distance for me.  With so many programs to choose from, I decided to stay with the school of business and work on a MBA.  I don’t have any lavish plans for my career afterward.  I’ve just always wanted a Master’s degree.

As I set my vision board up all of the things I’ve dreamed about and long for are present.  The one image that drives me up the wall and seems urgent is that post-graduate degree.  Everyone keeps asking me “why?”  My response is always the same – “because I should have it by now!”

As I accomplish items on my board, I’ll be sure to share with you.  What dream have you foregone and want to conquer in the near future?

It’s been a while since I chatted with you guys about my journey to happiness.  Somewhere between the spring and the upcoming summer I became lost in living and not telling my story.  I’m not going to hold you up as I get you caught up on all the details.  There’s a bridal shower, new business growth, Beau Miss Home additions, a house guest, Victoria’s Secrets, beautifully tressed, Poshmark, his super 16 birthday, the garden and Oscar (my bike).  Seems like a lot!  It probably is but I won’t drag it all out in this post.  Let’s dig right into it in chronological order.

The last time I spoke with you all was on an “Oprah Says” post.  What I didn’t tell you was I was playing host to a house guest better yet recognized as the man I love.  These were unfamiliar waters for me as I have kept individuals away from this level of intimacy with me.  We’re talking about sharing my space with another adult and a teenager.  I was slightly uncomfortable about it at first because we had just finished arguing about something.  Then the more he was here I relaxed but I had to wrap my mind around the “TEMPORARY” sign that hung over the matter.  This was not the way my life would be always, things would go back to normal for all of us soon enough.  It was fun and very insightful.  I learned more about myself and the intricate nature of our relationship.  Thanks to some unconventional guidelines and very open communication, we made it!

20131225-185955.jpgThe older I get get the more people I know entering into the martial stage of their lives.  Some of you might remember this picture when I announced my current place of employment.  All of us ladies, started this journey together with hope of making strides in our careers and lives.  Two of them have went on to pursue other positions within the organization.  The other has begun the walk into holy matrimony within the next several weeks.  We’ve enjoyed the bridal shower and keeping a far from “Bridezilla” engaged in enjoying the moment before she gets her MRS degree.  I’m sure we’ll all meet again at this gorgeous occasion.  Can you guess which lady is making the leap?  Well it sure as hell ain’t me!SoMe 3

A while back, I told you all about me making extra money through Poshmark.  Since that post I deactivated my account and settled for taking my garments to local secondhand stores for profit.  I opened an account again – not to sell but to purchase whatever I had been looking for and couldn’t find at the stores.  So far, I’ve scored a coat, sweater and my favorite Zara tunic that I was swooning over after my one night stand in Chicago last year.  It has been a godsend to me as I’ve become over exhausted with traditional shopping.  Whenever I think of something specific I want, I click on the app and search through hundreds of offerings until I discover the exact item I’m looking to buy.  Try it out!

In the process of all of this happening, my number one guy turned 16.  That’s right, in 1999 I gave birth to a little baby that has grown into a young man.  We didn’t do much in the terms of celebration.  Partially on the terms of the kid’s procrastination and indecisive ways.  We just couldn’t reach a conclusion for the party.  It came and went but I was still excited to witness it.  We’ve been through a lot.My Duke

I’m going to stop right here.  There has to be a reason for you to come back and visit with me once more.  We’ll get into some of the other topics, in their own post or a remix version.  In the meantime, keep a smile on your face and offer one to someone in need.

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