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.

 

 

It was a nice August 16th and I actually wore a dress to work. I was fighting a headache for about 3 hours.  While joking with some co-workers, I realized I was unable to communicate in my normal fashion. Ut oh, this thing is happening again. I sat polarized for a few moments waiting for it to pass.  It didn’t and I packed my things up to go home.  As I walked through the door, my son knew something was wrong with me.  I was in complete denial. After 7 hours, 3 phone calls, my sister, and mom visiting, 2 hours of reading aloud, my son decided to drive me to the hospital.

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As I walked from the parking lot to the receiving desk, I cried. What was wrong with me? He had to speak for me because at the time – the words would not form as articulately as I desired them to. They rushed me to the back.  No real information had been given and I was extremely agitated when they told me I would have to stay. I let the kid know he could go home, no sense in us both being uncomfortable in this overcrowded Detroit hospital ER. In addition, I let the doctor know the only way I was going to stay was if they gave me something to go to sleep. Whatever it was that they gave me I didn’t wake up until someone was trying to take off my pants. (It was good but I ain’t had NOTHING that would make me NOT realize my pants are being removed.) I was in my own room. Oh shit! I need to let somebody know where I am. True to form my phones needed life support. Mission: Text as many critical communicators as fast as possible.

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Yeah, you read it right! They believed I had a small stroke. Not a TIA again.  An actual, fuck yo life up stroke. What was my 36-year-old ass doing in here being diagnosed with this? Something called an ulceration of my carotid artery. Causing me to experience some speech impairment. My son had contacted my family. Some of my FB family reached out to me that were actually working in the hospital and in communication with me through our group message. I had reached out to the Mister on my way home the previous day and he found out they were keeping me later on. I felt a lot better but I really just wanted to get out of there.

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I took so many tests my head began spinning and every day I thought would be the day I’d be going home. Home wasn’t on the agenda until Friday. While I lay in that uncomfortable hospital bed with these foam boots on my legs, I analyzed my life. I never planned on leaving my son alone without a sibling.  He was 17 and depending on only himself.  I thank God I had grocery shopped over the weekend. He would stay late into the night then go to practice and come see me afterward. My room buzzed in the evening hours with visitors. It was nice but I wanted to go. When they began talking about me leaving, I perked up.  When she brought me the discharge papers, I was dressed. The nurse wanted to wait for a wheelchair, I opted to walk out.  The smell of the fresh air was welcoming. The taste was fulfilling and walking through my front door brought immediate satisfaction.


The main side effect I experienced from this was -slight aphasia. In my eyes, this was right up there with losing the function of one of my limbs. I know it may sound a little vain but communication is one of my strongest attributes.  As I sat alone in complete silence, I would speak aloud – searching for the right word and annunciation. Each day I became more frustrated and withdrawn because I wasn’t 100%. No matter how much better others said I was, there was no I could accept it.aphasia

The doctor had referred me to speech therapy but I was waiting for them to reach out to me with an appointment date. In the meantime, through my Googling, I learned that continuous communication would help my chances of strengthening/curing my ailment. I didn’t want people to hear me like this but I knew I had A LOT to be thankful for considering what I had been through.

Saturday was my 1st full day out, I got dressed and went to get my nails done. Once I returned home, I received a call from the security desk with a delivery. The kind people from my job sent me a welcome home present. I could just eat up all the kindness I was feeling, no LITERALLY. This was just what the doctor ordered. I needed to do better with my eating habits and fruit never hurt anyone. A few family members came over to share in the get well greeting.img_1601

I wanted to get back to work. I needed to feel normal again. After a few long conversations with a good friend, it was decided that I would work from home for a few days then return. Monday morning, I slid into the office picked up a few things I needed and was whisked outside to prevent me from taking on any additional assignments. While at home, I realized I needed this time. My body was still tired from the uncomfortable hospital and early morning test. It felt good to be of some assistance to my team again. They all instructed me to take as much time as I needed. They knew more than I did because I hadn’t thought about the 99 follow-up visits. They all stopped by to check on me and wish me well. This was appreciated but I didn’t wanna feel like an invalid. Moreover, being back at work has certainly assisted with overcoming the slight aphasia I was diagnosed with my the doctor.

Mission: Take pills as instructed. I hate taking medication because I believe the body it so sophisticatedly independent – it doesn’t need any help getting better. Not so this time, I was ordered to take what I would consider to be a fist full of meds.

Taking this medicine was almost as frustrating as the aphasia. I had alarms everywhere. The pills were on the dining room table and I felt like shit if I forgot to take them. Then one day while out on a Sunday afternoon to get some air, he asks “Mom, what happened to your legs?” I’m completely oblivious.  I look down and around and-

The bruising caused by the Plavix and aspirin combination was too much and I fell into a depression. I struggled with if I had bumped myself by accident, should I look into getting some of those foam boots I wore in the hospital or stopping the meds. Which one do you think won? If you guessed stopping the meds, you’re absolutely right.  My vanity was taking control of me. I reached out to my doctor and she gave me the green light to stop taking the Lipitor. I continued to take the Plavix and the bruising continued.  It wasn’t until I went back to for my stroke follow-up that I was instructed to continue the Lipitor and aspirin to stabilize the cholesterol. It was during this visit,  I was referred to psychology. Check out the reason he thought I might need it. Ya think!?img_3019

I never used this and by this time I had been to the speech therapist. She was very comforting and gave me some good information on what I could do for continued strengthening of my vocabulary and communication skills. By this time, I was experiencing sporadic episodes of “not being able to find the right word.” I had to get better.

 

 

Mission: Look for alternative ways to stay alive. I’m sure many of you can guess this hasn’t been easy on my family. I’m so young and we have a history of stroke in our family. More than that, we have a long life expectancy. I mean my mother is 70 still cruising around doing her own thing. One night The Kid walks in after football practice and says, “I can’t go away to college and you’re sick.” No truer words have been spoken by a mother, ‘I’m going to be fine. You go on and live your life.’  This put me on a task like nothing else had already done. I have to stay healthy. Not only for me but mainly to keep this stress off of him. The main concern of the doctor is controlling the cholesterol. I can do that! I MUST do this.

Here’s what I have learned in my short recovery:

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These are the signs of stroke. I have to table my fear of the hospital and bills. If they could put all my medical info at the dentist office, I’d be alright.  🙂  I need to be open with those around me if I should have such an episode in the future.  Time is the most important thing. (If you pay attention to the first image in this post. You’ll see I’m extremely blessed to even be typing this right now.) There are NO signs of severe stenosis and no apparent reason to consider the surgical removal of the ulceration. I have a be a little more patient with myself and keep my phone charged (ain’t no telling where I may need to go). I like the way it was explained to me. “A stroke is like and accident on the freeway. There will be traffic while they are trying to clear it up and traffic begins to move as if nothing had happened. The wait is determined by the size of the wreckage.” I just had a small fender bender and I have to be more careful to prevent a pile-up. This happened to me to force me into a lifestyle change. I need to eat healthier – bottom line. My cholesterol isn’t bad but I need to get back to the gym to assist with this, as well. Most importantly, I made the decision to NOT have any siblings for my son and by God, he will not be alone until the creator is satisfied my purpose has been completed.

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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 bojrok 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 goGZing 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.

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Last year my son informed me that he wanted to take the High School Test which is a big deal here in Detroit. See it’s the passing or failing of this test that let’s you know if you’ve been accepted into one of Detroit’s premier high schools. For the 1st time in his life, I felt he was taking some real interest in his future. It was a semi-cold afternoon in January as we rode toward the testing site and I asked him “Are you ready?” He said, “I’m fine.” During one of my regular chauffeuring trips to get him EVERYWHERE he needs to go. I told him I was proud of him and that everything would be alright. The closer we got to the hotel (that’s where they took the test) I sensed a change in his demeanor. When I pulled in front of the building he reached for the door and said “I just got nervous..” He opened the door, walked inside and that was that. When I came to pick him up after the test he made mention that it was easy. That’s when I got nervous!

The results take a significant amount of time to get in. The kids are on pins and needles wondering – Did I pass? #19 is coming home with bad news of his friends that didn’t pass. His own teacher told him he wouldn’t pass and that he was a failure. I hope you all know that I didn’t take her words light and my actions were straight from the GHETTO MOMMA HANDBOOK!! She got the message and left mine alone. His birthday came which is April 3rd and still no answer, on if he got in. One of his friends that came out with us told us that he failed. In some strange yet appreciated way, Lorez’s faith kicked in and he screamed to the top of his lungs that HE PASSED. I looked sideways, because I haven’t received anything in the mail stating that this was a fact. He explained to us on the ride home, they send out all the failing letters 1st then send those out to the students that passed. The next morning, I could’ve start calling him prophet Wilson. There the letter was informing us that he had been accepted to the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School of Detroit, Michigan. Needless to say he wasn’t as excited because he already knew, somehow.

May 8th, marked the day that we would go in for Freshmen orientation for the graduating class of 2017. Within the first 20 minutes, I broke down because my Duke, Manchild, Kid and favorite son was growing into a young man I was proud to call him my son. The majority of his friends decided to go to Cass. He was here all alone. The reality of this moment meant more to me than words will ever be able to describe. As a single mom I was beating the odds. This 14 year old black boy was taking life seriously, not becoming a menace to society or becoming another negative statistic. I shield my tears as not to let him see and took in this moment. My first-born was on his way to high school. Hell, it feels like I was just in high school (15 years ago, lol). Last & First Day The morning of June 5th, I pulled up to drop him off at the only school he’s ever attended in his educational career Martin Luther King Jr. Education Center Academy. Today was graduation day and it started at 1pm. With a truck full of emotion running through my body, I got dressed and there on time. As the graduates marched in I spotted my joy on any day, sitting there cooler than cucumbers on a side salad. Then my phone start vibrating. It was him texting me that his dad was coming to this glorious occasion. Let me be honest, I damn near lost it!!! All of the chapters from the GMH were running through my head: Wtf, wtf, wth, no he didn’t, somebody hold my purse, let me at him, I’m bout to tear this mutha down and who do he think he is!!! Then the Kid text me again and says “Calm down.” I told him I would try and he graciously replied thank you. I look up at him and mouthed that I loved him. Then I noticed a strange look on his face and right when I was about to text him, Shawn screams out “Hey Rolo!” The clown had moved closer to me and was trying to speak. My friend Daryl had to push the word hey out of my mouth, literally with a nice little shove. Then his mother appeared and I gave her a big hug and this other lady was with her. And you know what they wanted – SEATS, and I had a few. His godmother’s and Shawn’s seat, so I let them have them and opted to stand for the remaining portion of the ceremony. If my emotions weren’t already all over the place before, they sure as hell were now.

As they gave the awards, announced the schools that each child was promoted to Lorez stood alone as the only member of his class going to MLK High School. His cheering squad was the loudest because we already know the greatness that is within him. They announced that he held a 3.6 GPA his entire final year. He grabbed his certificate, walked across the stage and out of the first 2 portions of his primary education. Then I spied with my observant eyes this guy that looked familiar to me returning toward the rear of the auditorium after taking pictures… And I want to field goal kick the phone out of his hand with my 5″ heel sandals I was wearing. But I remembered the message “Calm down.” As the newly promoted high school freshmen walked out to meet their families and say their farewells to the staff, I shed a tear. I did it. I got him over this 1st hurdle. I stood there for a moment and took it all in and orchestrated an opportunity for me NOT to run into this guy that screamed out.. “That’s MY son,” that I almost recognized. Esha stayed back with me to keep me calm and I was glad she was there to bring me some peace, in a storm I was about to manufacture comparable to a hurricane.

I realized that I need to talk with his dad about the anger I harvested toward him in his absence in my rearing of this amazing child. That’s all I have to say about that.

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After the pictures were taken, we went to lunch, spent more money in honor of a job well done and enjoyed the company of good family and friends. I reflected on the events of the day. Something that I heard Oprah say came to me, “there’s a time in our child’s life when we as parents are the manager. Then we must shift to be the consultant.” My time was drawing near for me to become just that in his life. I’m very proud of him to this point and his future looks very bright if he stays focused on his goals. 🙂 for me – I have a high school student!!!

Congrats to all the GRADUATES this year!!!