Monday, November 13, 2017

{Kids Style File} To Be Fresh, Fly, and Ten-Years-Old

The other day, Aiden and I were out shopping and I found myself schooling him on how to tell if something is priced too high, what the actual worth of the product is, and how/where he could go to get a better deal. Because: bargain hunting! Duh!

Truth be told, I find myself doing that a lot these days with him -- schooling him on life. Particularly, things in life for when he doesn't have me standing right next to him to answer his questions or bail him out of a potential problem.

I find myself teaching him how to be smart and savvy. I find myself pointing things out that seem sketchy, suspect, a little weird. I find myself teaching him why it's important to exercise self-control, especially when he's riding these NYC trains. I find myself teaching him how to be a cautiously optimistic New Yorker.

Quite frankly, I find myself teaching him how to be independent.

Because homie is ten-years-old now. And although he still believes in the Tooth Fairy, the pre-teen years are upon us and before I know it, he's gonna be independent.

Before I know it, he'll be traveling to and from school on his own instead of having me chaperone him, he's gonna be hanging out with friends instead of having me bring him on a playdate, and he's gonna be learning how to navigate through life.

Before I know it, he'll be weaving in and out of friendships and learning how to find his way and find his people.

I'm not quite ready of all of that yet, but Aiden's excited and ready. I can tell. Plus, he's had years of experience of watching me hustle and grind.

Little by little, I know that I'll be able to foster a little more independence in him and help him become a little more self-aware.

And to think that just two years ago I was right in the thick of fighting like hell to get him to reach him full capacity and just last year we were right in the thick of making appointments with a psychiatrist and coming to terms with our "new normal".

I'm happy to report that these days, things are pretty damn good. *wipes forehead and brushes shoulders off* The kid is crushing it in school, he's really into sports, he has solid friendships and loves to hang out with them, he's learning how to control him impulses and manage his frustrations, and, most of all... he's happy.

He's happy.

My baby is happy.

And fly.

And dope-boy fresh. (Shout-out to Jay-Z.)

What a difference a year makes!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Ten Years In the Game

Aiden turned ten the other day and my mind is blown at the fact that I actually have a ten-year-old. That I've actually been responsible for the growth and development and well-being of another person for ten whole years. That I've actually survived -- and thrived -- at this thing called Motherhood.


That kid.

He makes me laugh, smile, think critically, contemplate, cry, go back to the drawing board, think some more, parent the hell out of him, and repeat.

Aiden and I... we've been through some things together. Even though I've been raising him, he's seen me grow up and glow up. He's seen me through many stages and phases. He's seen me through ups and downs, highs and lows. He's seen me fail over and over again, buckle down, grind through, and crawl towards success.

Aiden knows what it's like to watch his mother grind.
Apple picking in NJ 
Disney World
He knows what it's like to wake up at 5am and get dropped off at the babysitter's house because mommy's gotta get to work. Then fall back asleep for an hour or two and get dropped off at school at 8:30am by the babysitter, not your mom. Then get picked up from school by the babysitter and not see your mommy until well into the evening.

Because we've been there.

He knows what it's like to nap under the desk in my office because, even though he was tired from waking up at 5am, we couldn't go home until the work got done.

Because we've been there.

Modeling Uggs at Kids Fashion Week aka PetiteParade

Ballet-ing it up!
Columbia University, my alma mater

He knows what it's like to be displaced and still have to wake up the next morning at 5am to get mommy to work on time and himself to school on time. Because momma don't play that.

And yes... we've been there too.

He's seen me go from a stressed and stretched-too-thin graduate student to a stressed and stretched-too-thin single mom to a broke recent grad to a busy employee. He's seen me figure out how to make it all work in order to become the Vice Principal that I am today.

He's been right in the thick of things when we were a family of three, then a family of two, then a family of three again, and now a family of four. (No, I'm not pregnant -- yes, I'm including HEB in our little family.)

He's seen me struggle financially and borrow from Peter to pay Paul and make a dollar out of fifteen cents. But he's also seen me sacrifice and save and pay for some pretty epic adventures and vacations. From the beaches on the Jersey Shore to museums in Philly to ice skating and sight-seeing in Chi-Town to Puerto Rico to Costa Rica to cruising all over the Caribbean... we've had a crap load of fun. Together.




Costa Rica
Jersey Shore

Puerto Rico
He's seen me learn -- the hard way -- that I've gotta take care of myself first. Especially if I'm gonna be the kick-ass mom that he deserves.

Speaking of kick-ass, he's seen me advocate for him and cheer him on and fight like hell to get him what he needs to be successful. He's seen me be thoughtful in the parenting game and get him what he needs -- be it counseling, a psychiatric evaluation, participation in sports, or supervised visits with his other parent. One thing Aiden knows for sure is that I will never not fight like hell for him.

Because we've been there.

And I'll always find more fight inside of me when it comes to that little boy.

He's seen me lose my cool and get it back again. He's seen me lose my way, get stuck, get unstuck, and try to find my way back to myself again. Another again.

And yet, raising him has taught me that I don't have to be defined by my worst decisions. I can learn and grow and move forward. Gracefully. I can bow out of toxic situations and toxic relationships. Safely. And gracefully. I can show up for myself and put on my oxygen mask first.. before taking care of him.

Ten years.

Of ups and downs and losses and lessons learned.

Ten years.

We made it. We're making it.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.


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