Archive | July, 2013

Trayvon…I have nothing new or profound to say, only…

15 Jul

Yesterday morning I walked down my driveway to pick up my newspaper, as I do every morning. I relish reading my Sunday New York Times while drinking my flat white Espresso. As I walked back to my house, I took the Times out of it’s plastic bag and searched for the headline: George Zimmerman acquitted of all charges.

Something inside me felt crushed and heavy and sick. I practically dropped to my knees on the asphalt. I gasped like so many of you, and held my fist to my mouth.

Inside my house, everyone was asleep. I read the story and then I did something I hardly ever do. I went on Facebook. I went to the newsfeed and read everything I could. I spent more time on Facebook yesterday, about three hours, than I’d ever spent in my life, but I needed to commune. I needed to vent, to talk, to listen.

I needed to look for answers, although I know there were none, are none.

The first thing I posted and tweeted was, “What do we say to our sons?”

Today I came upon a good, to the point piece:  http://ideas.time.com/2012/03/21/how-to-talk-to-young-black-boys-about-trayvon-martin

My son Ford came downstairs and saw me at the kitchen table.

You’re on Facebook?”

I stood up and looked at him. I had tears in my eyes.

“What’s wrong? What happened?”

“They let the guy who killed Trayvon Martin go. He’s not going to go to jail.”

My 12-year-old is at the precipice of early adolescence and teenage years. He has a thin, long body with rangy legs. His face is still all innocence, although he knows more inappropriate rap lyrics than I wish he did. He’d still rather play on his X-box more than anything, except playing baseball. His life is still very much like his face.

I stood up and hugged him close, letting my tears go.

He said: “Why, why did they let him go?”

I didn’t know what to say. How do I to explain 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow and subjugation and fear of the Black man?

The jury system; Stand Your Ground…

What he knows is that we live in a nice house in a nice town, in a good neighborhood. His friends aren’t white kids, they’re just his friends. The parents of his friends adore him and treat him like he is one of theirs.

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Ford doesn’t yet know what I know; that all people aren’t going to treat him like his friends’ parents, like our neighbors, like my friends. When he’s 15, 16, 17, perhaps next year at 13, some people might see him as a threat. I tell him this. I tell him that if that happens it’s because of their ignorance, not because of who he is. The need for this kind of conversation breaks my heart.

Like you, I can’t imagine the pain Trayvon’s parents feel. I do, however, know mine.

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Proms and Graduations and Birthdays, Oh My

7 Jul

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So, between being without a computer and all the activity around my daughter’s graduation from high school–including three proms–

I’ve not have a minute to think, much less blog.

Throw in my son’s baseball career (he’s only 12, but it feels like an occupation), where they play up to several games a week. The team made it to number one under husband/coach Cliff’s guidance only to lose the championship. Ford had pitched beautifully all season and with one hit, bases loaded, they lost the game. He felt responsible, even though there was a major fielding error that could’ve cost the game. Ford wasn’t considering that–he was devastated and so were we. Exhausting.

Then there was my Dad turning 88 on Father’s Day–a triple celebration of which I am was in charge and was produced a day after I drove to Philadelphia and back for my daughter’s boyfriend’s graduation party.

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The next week, we hosted a pre-prom party at our house.

All of this is great stuff.

Seeing my first born walk across the field  (in her knock off Valentino shoes), so poised and happy with her honors sash over her gown, I brimmed over with emotion. To my left a group of parents of Baldwin’s classmates from all the way back to pre-school. We all became friends at the Montclair Co-Op. On this day, we celebrated all of our kids. Yes, the tears were flowing, some of my reaction was relief. I had run a lot of this race with her–suffering with her through the defeats and celebrating the triumphs.

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I am so proud of her. I’m grateful to my family and friends who helped Cliff and me help her get to Sarah Lawrence.

I am exhausted.

I am happy.

I just wish my Mom were here to see it.