Find Your Bobbette

Just like most of you, I recently learned about Luton Shelton’s illness.  Our star footballer has been battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) since 2016.  As per http://www.als.ca, ‘ALS is a disease that gradually paralyzes people because the brain is no longer able to communicate with the muscles of the body that we are typically able to move at will. Over time, as the muscles of the body break down, someone living with ALS will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow, and eventually breathe.’

A young man in his prime (only 32 years old) facing this life threatening disease…let that sink in.

Since he went public with his illness, I’ve been seeing several posts on social media pertaining to him.  Today it was one of his own posts that really made me stop and think, and it was because of the caption.

bobbette Taken from Luton’s Instagram page (@ls_21)

Luton and Bobbette have been together for over thirteen years, and are about to celebrate five years of marriage.  When they met, he was a healthy man ready to take on the world.  She could not have possibly foreseen what the future would hold – that the love of her life would be diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease, that his speech would become almost unintelligible, that her husband, the legendary footballer would get to a point (very early on) where he would rely on her for his every need; taking her from not just his wife and mother of their three young children, to primary caregiver.

It made me think about how the choices we make now impact the rest of our lives; how important it is to ensure that we look for more than just a pretty/handsome face and a little spark in a partner.  You need a fire, someone of substance; someone who will stand by your side on the field when the crowd has left the stadium.  Do you have a ride or die, and if you do, do you appreciate him/her?

I’ve had my own ‘Bobbette’ at different points throughout my life and not acknowledged it.  I have been fortunate to have a few good men cheering in the stands for me.  They’ve had a sign with my name, they’ve been shouting the loudest…they were my number one fan…and I didn’t even stop to give them an autograph.  Let’s be real – we have all had a ‘Bobbette’ and not appreciated him/her, and sometimes as a result of that, they’ve ended up walking out with the rest of the crowd.  Luton looked in the stands and saw value in Bobbette, and today she is by his side, sitting on the bench with him and seeing him through his darkest hours.

This couple really got me thinking that you may be scoring goals now, but will you always be?  When all is said and done, you want to know that the person you settle down with will have your back through the good and the bad, and literally through sickness and in health.  You want him/her to see all your flaws (yeah we are all FAR from perfect) and accept them, to appreciate and love you for…YOU…no matter what challenges life throws your way.

At the end of the game will you be alone on the field or will you have your number one fan by your side?

Click here to watch an interview with Luton, his wife and father – Courtesy of The Gleaner

To donate, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/luton-shelton-fights-als-disease

 

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Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice

 

Sometimes

They say nice guys finish last. Does that go for nice girls as well? Should ‘nice’ be out for 2018? You know how guys get friend zoned?  Well, I’m the girl who gets told a million times that she’s ‘wife material’ but despite that I’ve never even made it out the starter blocks lol.  My friends say I pick the wrong ones and so I’m to blame for that.  They could be onto something.  To be fair to myself, I don’t realize what they’re like initially, but that being said, they do give me signs early enough that should tell me to back up and walk away.  I think you have to be careful of what you put out there though. There is perhaps such a thing as being too nice and thus allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. Funnily enough, men seem quick to give effort to females who aren’t quite sugar and spice and everything nice though. Go figure.

Let’s take a walk through what I will refer to as my series of unfortunate events, or at least some of them.  They certainly weren’t funny at the time, but now I can look back and have a good laugh at them. Side note before you get going- my definition of ‘talking to’ does not equate to boyfriend/girlfriend status. It’s just the initial phase where you’re interested and getting to know each other. None of these made it past that.


But I Told You
A mutual friend told me that the guy I was talking to had a girlfriend.  Well, imagine my surprise.  I of course asked him about it and was told, “But I told you.” You know I hit the roof, right?  First of all he had told me diddly squat about having a girlfriend and then had the gall to lie and say he did.  Come on, how would I forget something like that? To add insult to injury, HE went off on ME about it. Huh?  Despite that, after quite some time passed I was able to forgive (maybe not forget since here I am blogging about it) and we were actually able to be friends.  In his defense, he was young at the time. Well, not that youth is a free pass, but hey…


The Disappearing Act
This guy would call me several times a day, every day.  That in itself is rare, isn’t it? No one calls anymore. It’s strictly messaging.  Anyway, I noticed the calls totally stopped and he wouldn’t pick up when I called either.  That was strange as we hadn’t had any quarrels or so forth.  I tried messaging to ask what the problem was and even that got no response. Well, after a while I saw a friend of his. The person had no idea that there was any interest on either side and so forth, and that we had been communicating.  They casually brought him up and said he migrated to be with his girlfriend.  Migrated? To be with who?  The girlfriend who I thought was just an ex he no longer had any ties to?  Remember though that the person didn’t know his friend had been pursuing me and I wasn’t going to reveal that at this point.  Thank God for my time in the performing arts as I had to act very uninterested and nonchalant and just say, “Oh really? How come?” He let me know that his girlfriend had ‘filed for him’ and that his papers came through so off he went. Can you say shocked?  In case you’re wondering, I never heard from him again. Not…one…word…


She’s Just a Friend
This is another good one.  You know when you get a funny feeling?  There’s just a gut feeling that tells you something isn’t right?  Well there was a guy who was interested in me but there was a girl who he seemed to always be entertaining.  Everything said something was up; my gut and my female intuition.  He would always deny it and insist that they were just friends. I asked about her repeatedly and was always given the same answer.  It just didn’t sit well with me; I wasn’t convinced he was telling the truth so one day I decided I’d just ask her what was up with them.  I figured I could get the truth from her.  Man, I wasn’t ready for her answer.  Her response was, “We’re together”.  Whoa! Listen, if she had slapped me it couldn’t have been worse.  So he’s naming the children he would like to have with me in the future, but is over there ‘together’ with this girl?  Joke was definitely on me because I thought it was her who was ‘the other woman’. Who would have thought it was really me? Dwl. Coincidentally, fast forward to today and one of the names that he had his heart set on turned out to be the name my sister chose for my sweet baby nephew.  I was like, “Lord, you have a real sense of humour”.  But I’m glad that the name now has a special and happy meaning for me, because I love my nephew to the moon and back.

Needless to say, things ended with the guy. Funnily enough, despite the fact that both the girl and I had gotten a raw deal, she still found it in her to give me attitude. She told me that we would just have to see which one of us he chooses. Umm really? To this day I remember my words to her – “You’re the only one in that rat race.  I’ve excused myself from it.  I’m not giving him the opportunity to choose.” Well he ‘chose’ her and that was that.

I won’t even lie. I definitely did my share of bawling and moping for this one. Looking back though, I’m like you know you REALLY overdid the crying on that one, right?  Like REALLY.


I Like your Friend
I was on the phone with my friend one day and she said that the person I was talking to had just sent her a text. It wasn’t a big deal to me because we were all friends. “Oh okay, what does he want?” She nervously explained that his text said that he didn’t mean to hurt me but he was actually interested in her and not me. Wait, wait…I wasn’t ready for it. He said what? Now that one came out of nowhere. I definitely didn’t see it coming because this same boy had been acting like he was interested in me. This one was quite a blow. Well, he started pursuing her and eventually started feeling that she wasn’t what he was looking for so it went nowhere.

A few years later I saw him at a party and I got the most heartfelt apology. It was the usual about me being such a sweet girl who didn’t deserve any of what happened. He really did seem sorry, but what was done was done. This was several years ago. We have managed to salvage a friendship (yup, the nice girl in me) and he’s now happily married. At least someone got a happy ending, right?


Waiting on the Right Time

This one I actually had no interest in initially.  He just wasn’t my type but he worked his charm (serious charm), until I ended up being interested. We got closer and closer, and one day a friend of his said, “You know you two would be so cute together if he didn’t have a fiancée.” ‘This can’t be happening,’ I thought.  I held my tongue until there was no one around and asked him about this fiancée who I had just been informed of.  Yes, it was true. He said that he had been waiting on the right time to tell me. Like really? Really? It perhaps wouldn’t have been so bad if I had been chasing him, but I had been going about my life and he made every effort to get my attention, all the while knowing that he could offer me nothing.

I’m just over here now like Jesus take the wheel, cause clearly I’m not doing such a great job. I met up with a friend recently and she cried.  Cried…like real tears.  She said she wants me to experience happiness and have someone who knows my value and treats me well. “You’re the sweetest person and you deserve to be happy,” she said.  I can’t even remember ever seeing her cry before and I’ve known her since childhood. Must be really bad, huh? Lol. I was talking to another friend one day and he reminded me that I bring a lot to the table.  My response – “Umm yeah, I may bring a lot to the table but what am I supposed to do if no one wants what’s on the menu?” Now what do you say to that? Hahaha. For real though, but you know what? Till then I will eat alone.

 

Have I finally learned my lesson? I hope so, but I can’t promise that I won’t maintain some of my ‘nice girl tendencies’, because that’s who I am and there may just be someone who deserves that part of me and will value it. What I can promise however is that I will be more cautious going forward and take heed when the warning signs pop up.

I can only hope that there’s something awesome in store, because I think I’ve had my fair share of ridiculousness.  Until that comes (if it ever does) I have other things to focus on.  Right now I’m working on self-actualization; I have so much untapped potential, and that’s my own fault to a great extent.  I’d really like to find out what my passion is; what it is that makes me feel fulfilled, because really and truly figuring out that piece of the puzzle is major in the pursuit of happiness. Everything else will fall into place.

Someone Come Get My Grandma

A little while back my grandmother had a far from subtle conversation with me about me taking the person I’m seeing to come and meet her. I had to stop her right there and tell her I am yet to meet him so there’s no way I can take him to meet her. How do I introduce her to a non-existent, mythical creature? Now she’s moved from that to asking me when she will have another great grandson. (My sister had the first and only great grandchild.) Can you tell me why my grandmother is watching my womb? Lol.

Below is a snippet from my conversation with her yesterday.

Grandma: Keep behaving and being the nice girl that you are and make sure you meet someone as nice as you are.

Usually she just tells me to behave and to be a nice girl. This time she had to throw in a little extra.

Me: Yes Grandma. You keep behaving too.

Grandma: And I hope soon I will get to meet my other great grandson. Ehem!

Bwahahaha. Can you say buss a big laugh?

Grandma: (Laughing) This is the first time I’ve heard you laugh like this. It sweet yuh!

Me: Well you’re giving me jokes.

Grandma: God spared me and allowed me to see my first great grandchild, and now I hope to see the other one.

Me: Bwoy Grandma…

Grandma: When are you coming to see me?

Me: Maybe on the weekend.

Grandma: Well, come with joy in your heart, and you can tell me about my great grandson.

Me: I hear you Grandma (more laughter)

Grandma could never begin to understand. I guess she’ll just have to continue waiting to be introduced to this mythical creature and continue watching my womb lol. I’m just over here doing me with no idea how anything will turn out.

The Good Shepherd

SheepMe looking for my shepherd like…

My friend and I were invited to church today. I really don’t go to church as often as I should and I didn’t want to disappoint the person who invited us, so to church we went! It actually was quite a good service. The pastor used the 23rd Psalm to kick off his sermon and then launched into the characteristics of a shepherd and sheep.  Of course the shepherd in this context is the Lord and the sheep would be us humans.  He said a shepherd is supposed to provide for you, protect you, love you, care for you when you are sick and so forth. Sounds like a good man, right? Lol. Tell me that crossed your mind too. Instantly my friend turned to me.

Friend: Shamieka…

*We exchanged knowing looks and laughed*

Pastor: Amen

Me and friend: AMEN!!!!! (in unison)

Yes, we need to get our acts together. There we are in church and totally twisting the lesson for our own (way off) interpretation lol but for real though, aren’t those some great qualities for a partner? I mean, we aren’t asking for too much, right? The Lord sees and knows that the struggle is real for us females. I’m knocking on 30’s door and I’m still in the wilderness looking out for a good shepherd. And trust me, I’ve been out there waaaaay longer than forty days and forty nights. Not to say persons haven’t crossed my path, but, hmm…

Perhaps in this case it’s the shepherd who’s lost and not the sheep (me), so if you happen to see my shepherd wandering around out there, please point him in my direction so we can head to the path of righteousness. Good shepherd, where art thou? BAAAAAAAA!

Not to worry, we paid attention to everything else in the service and took from it the meaning that we were supposed to. I think we’ll be making more frequent trips to church. 🙂

Tomorrow is Tuesday

keep-calm-yes-i-am-single

This morning I was tiiiiiired after an early flight, but  woke up at the crack of dawn, got dressed and headed downstairs to have breakfast. Feeling as though I looked the way I felt, it was so lovely to hear the kitchen staff tell me that I was beautiful. *Bats eyelashes* He asked where I was from too and very happily I told him, “Jamaica.”  Fellow Jamaicans, is it just me, or do you love telling people you’re from Jamaica?  Anyway, it was time to head out to the airport for another flight, and my cab driver was such a peach.  He told me I looked fresh like summer.  Whatever that means, yaaaay, I’ll take it as a compliment.  Y’all just boosting me up like Supligen. What a great way to start the day. Should just get better from there, right? Well, read on and let’s see.

We chatted on and on and he told me all sorts of colourful stories about his crazy ex-girlfriend and his daughters and their husbands. Picture him as that uncle everyone loves, and with a Spanish accent.  He was a real treat.  After hearing all about him and his life, he then turned the spotlight on me.

Driver: So what are you getting for Valentine’s Day tomorrow?

Me: That would be nothing. Tomorrow is just Tuesday for me.

Driver: Do you have a boyfriend? Husband? Kids?

Me: No to all.

Driver: Well you’re young.  You have lots of time! No worries.

(Yup there go my genes working in my favour; I’m looking youthful as ever lol.)

Me: I’m 28.

(Dropping my age was a game changer because all I got next was a long silence lol. Bear in mind that before this he had been talking like a parrot, then all of a sudden the cat got his tongue)

Driver: Ahhh well you know what they say. Tick, tick, tick, especially when you’re a woman.

Well thanks for the reminder, lest I had forgotten lol. First my grandmother on my case and now a random cab driver. Tick, tick, tick. Sorry, but tomorrow is ‘just Tuesday’ for me lol.  Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovebirds in advance!!!!

Two Simple Words – My Daddy

daddy-pic

I started this on Father’s Day but I decided not to publish it, mostly because I didn’t want to make anyone sad, particularly those who are close to me and can relate to this specific situation or those who have lost someone close to them.  Today I’m in a funk for all sorts of reasons and I’ve been blank for a while now, not finding the spark to write anything (or to even really do anything for that matter).  If you’re friends with me on Facebook that’s a shocker to hear, right? I always have so much to say and apparently people like it.  It’s the reason I started a blog in the first place; the push of my Facebook friends.  It surprised me to see comments from persons saying that they check my page just to see what I said that day, that I should write a book, make videos, blog…you name it.  I’m glad I took the advice and started the blog because it’s been yet another channel for expression.

Well, here goes…

I’m sensing this is going to turn into an epistle and that I’m going to share even more than I usually would. Why? I don’t know. Why on social media? I don’t know that either. It’s Father’s Day but I can only celebrate the memory of mine, but it’s a great memory because he was a great Daddy. I lost my Daddy when I was 15 (almost 16) and I was as much a Daddy’s girl as I am a Mommy’s girl. Even though we know death awaits us all, we still never expect it, and I certainly didn’t expect it when he passed. Not then and not that way. We were talking and laughing…I think we were watching ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ and at the same time I was on my laptop. In the midst of our talking and laughing, he gasped and his head fell back. I screamed for my sister because I didn’t want to scare Mommy but of course my scream woke her and they both came running. He was unresponsive. We tried getting him to the car but he felt like lead, and we couldn’t move him. All that time I was trying to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation. I didn’t know how to so I really didn’t know what I was doing but I did it anyway, thinking I could help.  Knowing now what I did not know then, if he was still alive at the time, I may have made matters worse being that I didn’t know the correct technique. During all this my sister ran outside into the street and screamed for help. My neighbours came running and assisted us to put Daddy into another neighbour’s vehicle (since it was bigger I guess. I don’t quite know).

We rushed him to the hospital and the whole time I continued ‘CPR.’ I expected a movie type ending where the doctors would rush out and use the paddles to shock and revive him. That’s really and truly what I expected. That’s not what happened though. A doctor did rush out, but she said, “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing we can do.” She didn’t get the right script. That’s not how it was supposed to go. Everyone went into the hospital but I stayed in the van. I remember rocking back and forth like a crazy person, talking to God, saying the same thing over and over. “How could you take my Daddy? How could you take my Daddy?” I’m not sure how long I was in there but my neighbour’s daughter remembered me and came and sat with me. What she said to me was very simple but I think it’s because of those simple words that I was able to handle it. She told me that my mother and sister need me and that I have to be strong for them. Jody Barnett, thank you. You couldn’t have been more right, and your words have stayed with me. She took me inside and I remember I sat by myself. I was already seeing what she meant. My sister was rolling on the carpet, the dirty hospital carpet, bawling. My mother was a mess too. I couldn’t bring myself to comfort them though. I was in a zone and wanted to just sit alone. At one point they sat on the chairs hugging each other and still I sat alone until I was called over. Truth is, I didn’t want to go. I needed space, to sit and process, but how could I say that I wanted to be alone?  That would have been selfish, right?  I went over and we all sat there hugging each other. Family members started coming and the police came too (to do a report). The doctor spoke with us.  I guess it was procedure.  I don’t remember much of that though. I do remember her giving my mother sedatives so that she would be able to sleep at nights. I don’t remember the ride home at all; not one bit.  When I got home I called my friend Robyn and left a message on her cell (she was at her high school ball). I calmly told her that my Daddy had died but that I was okay. I then proceeded to clean the house. I mean really clean. Cleaned the bathrooms, changed sheets, all sorts of things. I don’t know if it was denial or just how I decided to handle it. Over the next few days my friends would come by (well Robyn moved in) and they would sit there crying for Uncle Calvin. He was very involved and had been our ‘chauffeur’ between home and school and dance class. While they cried I would get them tissue and console them. “Wait, what’s wrong with this picture?” they would ask. It’s like we reversed roles. I don’t remember a lot about his funeral because as terrible as this sounds, I was half asleep. Mommy had thought it would be a good idea to give me half a sedative to keep me calm during the funeral. So as emotional as the ordeal of the funeral was, I was fighting sleep at times.  It’s bad enough that people saw that I barely cried in the days leading up to it and now there I was probably bucking.  People must have wondered what kind of daughter I was.  I definitely remember my performing arts group Little People and Teen Players Club. One of the songs they sang was “Three Little Birds” and To-Isis sang “So Hard to Say Goodbye.”  They delivered these songs beautifully.  I remember seeing little Asha crying her eyes out as she walked off the stage, and I forgot my own grief.  I just wanted to hug her and tell her that it’s okay.  Kareen, you gave me goosebumps when you came to the house the night before the funeral and gave us a taste of the song you would be singing solo on; “Nobody Told Me,” and best believe you gave me goosebumps all over again at the church.  At the graveside you would not have known that I was the daughter of the person being buried because I was way off with my cousin and her mommy. I was pretty far away from it but Ms. Levy (head of my performing arts group) came and got me and led me right over and put me at the front. I guess she knew I needed to face it.

Perhaps my experience with losing my Daddy has made me process the things the way I do now. I don’t know. I seem to have said I don’t know quite a bit throughout writing this. I forgot to say that our family doctor said he probably died instantly. As awful as any kind of death is, that’s a comfort to know, and at least I don’t beat myself up thinking that my shoddy mouth to mouth resuscitation made things worse.  By the way, all of this happened when I was preparing for CXC so it is by the grace of God that I did as well as I did – four 1’s and four 2’s.  The biggest thing for me is that I passed Math lol. How I ended up with a 2 is a miracle in itself. I can’t begin to tell you how terrible I am at Math.  I don’t even think my mother thought I would ever be able to tell time dwl. The only time I like numbers is when I’m counting money – from a child until now lol.

Jody, thank you again for something you don’t even know you did.  Robyn, thank you…you already know.  Anabela and Paloma, you may not have been in Jamaica at the time but your love and support traveled oceans.  Kathy, yours did too.  I remember your message letting me know that you were praying for us.  Ramesh, I can’t remember a whole lot from the service but I do remember seeing you standing there with so much concern on your face, watching me as I left the church. Matthew, I can remember you playing ‘big cousin’ as you always do even though I’m the older one and holding me as I walked out. Candace, forever my partner in everything, it was you who I was with when I was off at a distance from the graveside.  She too has had traumatic losses, one of which I was present for as she experienced it, and I replay that in my head at times, wishing that she never had to go through what she has, but she has been so strong.  Keisha, you took food for us, because Lord knows preparing food was the last thing on our minds.  Up to now, both you and Audrey still go and look for Daddy and wash off his gravestone whenever you visit your loved ones. Robert, there’s a thank you here for you too.  Keisha, Audrey and Robert…all Air Jamaica family. I wasn’t a part of the Air Jamaica family yet. I didn’t join it till years later, but what a beautiful thing it was to see the sea of colours (the uniform) in the pews. All that support.  My high school friends who came out; Chrystal, Shamay, Senna, Alison thank you. Auntie Joy and the rest of the family, thank you for not forgetting Daddy.  Even in the midst of your grieving, you walked over with us to visit his grave (we were there for another funeral).   If I didn’t name someone I should have, I’m sorry.

Out of the turmoil came the meeting of a whole new side of my family that I didn’t even know existed. Well, that’s actually a bit of a crazy story. I had a close friend at the time, Alison, and I used to be at her house all the time sleeping over. Her mother’s best friend lived in New York but would come and visit, and so being at the house as often as I was, I had met her. One day she told Auntie Cecile that she was coming for her cousin’s funeral.  Auntie Cecile told her that she too had a friend’s funeral to attend. Believe it or not, it turned out that the friend and cousin was my Daddy.  I had met this lady all this time before and not even known she was my cousin.  If one good thing happened, it was meeting Debbie and as a result, all these other wonderful relatives.  I am grateful for that, and if you know me well, you know that I love my family.

Even though I’ve experienced loss, I’m not good at finding the words to say to others who are grieving.  If there’s anyone who lost someone and felt I didn’t say as much as you expected, I’m sorry.  I just remember that with my Daddy sometimes my mind may not have been there in my grief right at that particular moment, and then someone would wish me condolences and there I was again, jolted back.  I guess I’m concerned about doing that to people. A big thing too is that I didn’t really know how to respond to people when they wished me condolences. I didn’t ever want to seem sad and make them feel sad or worry. So now I don’t know how to express it because I’m wondering if they’re feeling that way when I’m speaking to them.

I’ve held it together pretty well I think, and the only times I really break are if I hear certain songs, particularly Luther Vandross’ ‘Dance With My Father.’  That song just kills me.  Once I was in the back of my friend’s father’s car and it started playing. I wished and hoped and prayed that he would change the station but he didn’t realize.  My lips just wouldn’t move to ask him to do it so I sat there, sucked it up and silently cried.  I also get teary eyed when I watch fathers walk their daughters down the aisle because I know that I won’t have that moment.

Now we’re moving from funerals and sadness to weddings.  After planning weddings for others, and really enjoying doing so, I can’t tell you what I would want for mine (if that elusive occasion ever comes my way that is). For real…all I can tell you is that I want a nice ring and a nice dress.  The ring doesn’t need to be huge or expensive. I just want to like it. I mean, I’m going to be wearing it every day for the rest of my life. The dress…hmm…I don’t know what floats my boat there either, and this is coming from someone who has watched three million episodes of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and ‘Four Weddings.’ Once again, I just want it to look nice.  It should be flattering. The one detail that I do have worked out in my head is how I’ll walk down the aisle.  All the men who have been a big part of my life and/or my father’s will walk me down the aisle…each one will walk me a few steps down to the other.  I guess I’m going to need a long aisle, huh 🙂 My godfather, my sister’s godfather Uncle Howie who was also my father’s very close friend, Uncle Wilfred and Uncle Eddie, who along with the rest of their families became family to mine.  There’s also my cousin Matthew who actually wasn’t on my ‘aisle list’ until just now as I typed. I started thinking about how he’s questioned a male who was interested in me.  Actually, interrogated may be the right word. He always needs to know what’s up with his big cousin lol.  Of course there is my Uncle Bunny…Uncle Bunny has the last leg. He and Daddy shared so many conversations about all sorts of things. I can picture them now just chilling and talking. As old as my sister and I are, Uncle Bunny still worries about us driving and warns us about being careful about everything.  He always has words of advice for us too.  Always tells us how proud he is of us and everything we have achieved.

My Daddy is memorable for so many things.  His love of music is one, which he passed on to me. Show me someone else my age who can sing and appreciate songs from the Temptations (love them), Delfonics, Five Heartbeats, Ben E. King, Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole and so many more. Daddy would put on LPs and I would stand on his feet and we would dance.  He also had a love for cars, which I definitely did not get :/ I hate having to deal with my car when there are issues.  If I could have someone else do it, I would.

Every night when I was little he would read to me from ‘My Book of Bedtime Bible Stories.’  I still have it by the way.  I loved to read, and to satisfy my appetite for reading, he would take me to Tom Redcam Library on Saturdays so that I could borrow books.  I asked a ton of questions.  Can you say curious?  To help with that, he bought me a book called ‘Tell Me Why’ with answers to all sorts of questions lol. Still have that book too.  He would check my homework every evening when I was in prep school and leave a note with corrections if there were any to be made.  How many fathers are that attentive?  Although shy, when it came to dancing I was a morning star (as we say here in Jamaica). Ask me to do any new dance move and I was up for it.  He loved to see me dance and felt like I had a talent there so at 7 he took me to audition for a performing arts group. Wonder if he ever regretted that (just kidding) because from then and through high school it meant he was taking me to and from dance, voice and acting classes lol. My life became his and he would sit through hours of rehearsals.  If I needed new leotards, ballet shoes, jazz shoes, tap shoes or so forth, if it wasn’t Mommy with me getting them, it was Daddy.  Oh, and I did gymnastics too.  He was already gone when it was time for me to learn how to drive, but I remember when my sister was learning and he would let her practice at every opportunity.  I remember sitting in the car as she would drive to extra lessons and Daddy and I would sit and wait till she was finished.  He was there however to teach me how to ride a bicycle. He and Mommy bought me one which I was only able to part with just a few years ago because a little boy asked for it.  It was hard to give away but he needed it.  I was no longer riding it and it was more so the fact that it was a gift from my parents why I still had it.  The sentimental value was doubled because I spent many an afternoon riding up and down as Daddy watched me.  I went from training wheels to being a pro rider 🙂 but never did he let me go out there unattended.  Daddy was one to reward good work. My sister and I could get basically anything we wanted when we passed exams.   My strong will comes from him.  Well that’s from both my parents.  I guess mine and Daddy’s is unexpected though.  With my Mommy, you definitely see it coming that she is no pushover.  With Daddy and I it is more undercover.  You would think because we seem quiet that you can walk all over us, but no siree.  We are forces to be reckoned with.  I wanted for nothing, and can wholeheartedly say that I was fortunate to have one of the best fathers ever.

For the first time I didn’t re-read my post to check for errors and to ensure that it flowed or so forth so if anything seems out of whack, please bear with me.  I just typed and published.  I promise my next post won’t be this dreary 🙂 I guess this one just needed to be written, and perhaps you now have a little more insight and understand me somewhat better, if that’s even possible.

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S.O.C. – Save Our Children

Save our Children

We have made outcries for justice and peace in the past, but it seems that we need it now more than ever. Why are our headlines plagued with stories about gruesome acts being committed against our children? A crime against an adult is in no way, shape or form trivial; our hearts break for them too but there is a different part of our being that is rocked when we hear about children being victims of crimes. Our sweet, innocent children are being raped, they are being murdered. Once upon a time it was rare to hear of a case like this, but today it is becoming commonplace. On April 19, 2015 the headline in the Gleaner was ‘Killing our kids – At least twenty-four children murdered across the island since the start of the year.’ Read that slowly and let it sink in – children…murdered…24 of them…it is only the beginning of the year. This is Jamaica, land we love. Where is our love for each other?

A twenty-three month old baby was found stuffed in a barrel amidst clothing and food items, an infant seemingly a week old was found at the Riverton dump, a two year old was shot and killed along with her mother. We are beyond having a problem. We are in crisis mode. Every country has its struggles with violence but this really is unacceptable. It needs to stop. Children are disappearing, their bodies later being found in bushes. In two recent (separate) cases the post mortems revealed that both girls were pregnant. They were only fourteen years old. To make matters worse, they were impregnated by grown men. What kind of man gets involved with a little girl, sexually involved at that, and then viciously murders her? What kind of man shoots three teenage boys execution style? What kind of man ties up a seven year old boy and sodomises him? What runs through your veins and what do you have in place of a heart, because it doesn’t seem you can be human to look at another living being and do that. It breaks my heart to see the photos of the crying family members in the newspaper. How do you console them? What words give them peace?

I have to wonder though how we continue to be careless even though we see what is happening. I was driving out of the gas station the other day and had to pause right where I was because something disturbing caught my eye. There was a boy of around seven dressed in his khaki uniform and he was holding not books, but a baby wrapped in a blanket. Behind him was a little girl who seemed to be around four years old. She too was in uniform. I’m assuming that they were all siblings and that the boy was charged with the responsibility of dropping off the baby at a nursery (or relative, etc) and to also walk his little sister to school. I was further alarmed because he was not watching his sister keenly. She was straggling along behind him. Anything could happen to her and he would not know (but this is a child in charge of a child; he is not at fault). Thankfully he paused and motioned for her to walk up and she was soon in stride with him. Tell me now, how as a mother do you feel comfortable to make such a young child responsible for his siblings? The boy himself needs protection and should not be alone, much less the others. I drove off and found that I was very emotional about it. I called my mother with tears in my eyes and told her what I had just seen. It bothered me that this little boy was seemingly the man of the house and that these children were being exposed to so much danger and that what I had seen was quite possibly a daily routine. When I got to work it was still heavy on my heart.

Just today I heard a little girl singing at the top of her lungs as she passed my gate. My dogs don’t even like for people to whisper while walking by my gate so they made quite an uproar. I looked out and saw a little tot no older than five looking like she should be in her crib but there she was in uniform and ribbons in her hair. This poor child could have been happily singing one moment and snatched the next. Please tell me if these parents watch the news. If nothing stirred in you before to be wary of letting your young children walk the streets alone, with all these terrible headlines we’re seeing now, come on! At one point when I was in University I learned that there was a shuttle that passed within walking distance of my neighbourhood. I started taking it to and from school and as old as I was my mother would walk with me to meet the shuttle and in the evenings I would call her when I was nearby and we would walk home together. That is a mother’s love.  This was before all the madness we’re seeing now, but she ensured she would not be a mother who held her head and said, “If mi did know.”

Children are also being mistreated on another level. Just this year a sickening case was brought to our attention. While it was a nineteen year old woman, and she is therefore considered an adult by law, in my eyes she is but a child. She is disabled and was found living under inhumane conditions in the cellar of the home belonging to her father and stepmother. When I watched the policeman cradle her in his arms and carry her out (she could not walk according to reports), it was very touching because that small act was maybe the first time anyone had shown her any form of love in a long time. I remember the officer who spoke to the reporter coming across as being very shaken by what he had seen. It was indeed a tough one to swallow.

We are quick to reprimand the government and to make the wrongdoings in society their problem. We take to the streets with placards reprimanding our political representatives for not doing enough, but next time before stepping foot into the streets take a moment to stand within the walls of your own home and see what may need attention there. This is where we need to start. The persons who are preying on our children come from within these very same walls. Parents, it is your responsibility to instill discipline in your children and to watch them keenly. Stop turning a blind eye to their wrongdoings. The seemingly trivial misconduct turns into behavior that inflicts pain and bloodshed in the future. Also, do not leave it up to the teachers to do your job. Do your part parents.

‘Dear Mr. Jesus’ – is there a more fitting song? ‘Please don’t let them hurt Your children,’ the child sings. I remember sitting one o one with Ms. Cathi Levy at a piano learning this song for a performance. We performed it as a group number and I doubt that any of us really understood the magnitude of what we were singing about. We of course knew it was something sad but as young children we maybe didn’t fully grasp the enormity of it. Looking back now I can imagine it was a heart-wrenching piece for the audience. We were dressed in full white and seated on the stairs of the Ward Theatre stage and there was darkness all but for the spotlight that shone on us showing our sad faces. We sang, exit the stage and that was it. Now that I am older however, the song resonates so much more with me and it pulls at my heart listening to it. It tells a sad truth.

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