Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On Raising a Perfect Black Boy

It's been two years since I wrote this post, and unfortunately it's just as relevant today as it was then. Another unarmed black boy was shot and killed, his shooter walked without consequence (this time without even a trial), and all anyone without skin in the game wants to talk about is the dead black boy's flaws and imperfections. People are desperate to shift focus away from the voices of despair, the voices of people who actually live this life, this fear, this injustice everyday toward discussions of how if the dead boy had been more perfect, he'd still be alive today. Of course they want to change the discussion, because actually stopping, listening, and bearing witness to this pain is so much. And it forces us to look at ourselves and how we have benefited from a system that holds down so many others.

I have to tell you, I'm so sick, so tired of hearing it. Two years later, as my child grows more beautiful and more imperfect by the day, I feel even more terrified and helpless when I hear about Trayvon's pot smoking or about Mike Brown's shoplifting as justification for their deaths. I'm so disheartened when white folks who say absolutely nothing about justice for people of color have quite a lot to say about the riots after another exoneration of a black man's killer by a majority white jury. I'll tell you this: If it were my kid or the kids in my community being killed with impunity, I'd be doing a hell of a lot worse than throwing rocks.

Greg and I try our damndest to raise good kids. We're doing a pretty decent job, I think. But no matter how hard we try, we are never, ever going to raise perfect kids. That becomes more and more clear as they get older. They will push limits. They will make stupid choices. They won't always show as much respect and deference to authority figures as they probably should. But I only feel a chill in my spine when one of my children shows me that he won't ever be perfect. Because time and again, society tells me that anything less than perfection in a black male is justification for on-the-spot execution.

If you're tempted to reply to this post with arguments about the guilt or innocence of the dead boys, just stop. Channel your energy into considering the pain and injustice of the fact that time and again, these boys are killed without ever having a chance to prove their guilt or innocence. Stop. Bear witness. Believe black people when they take the time to share their experiences. Don't try to explain the experiences away, because you haven't lived them. Neither have I, but I'm listening and hoping to glean some insights and use my privilege to make life better for my son and for every other mother's son who won't walk through this life with the benefit of the doubt granted by white skin.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

6th Famiversary

If this blog exists for nothing other than the annual hair commentary (a.k.a. famiversary video), it still serves a purpose, right?

Six years ago this weekend, we met chubby, shy, quiet Sidamo for the first time. Six years ago next weekend was the last time we ever used the words shy and quiet to describe Sidamo. Here is our gregarious, loud, funny, loud, smart, loud, adorable, and loud guy reminiscing with the former version of himself.

And this time his sister wanted to add some commentary of her own. I love how much these two love each other (most of the time).

Happy famiversary, Sidamo. We're so glad we found you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Someday my children will be able to brave Big, Scary Santa without me, right?

Monday, November 5, 2012


Time for the quarterly blog post, I guess. I do wish I kept up with this space better, because now that the big kids are growing, they (and we) love going back and being reminded of their antics. With that in mind, here's a little slice of life that was nothing unusual, but special just the same—a little alone time with Nora, during which I just admired her quirky little personality, her exaggerated facial expressions, her sweet voice, her inimitable fashion sense.

I'm going to post a few more catch-up posts in the coming days, just so the changes of the past few months don't go undocumented. Especially for poor Elliott, who, as the third child, will just have to trust us when we tell him that during babyhood was as adorable, brilliant, and lovable as his older siblings. At least as far as we can recall.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fisher boy

Camping, for Sidamo, is fishing. He spent most of the weekend either fishing or asking to fish. When he's actually fishing, he's not nearly as peaceful as he looks here: His line tangles, his hook snags, he catches nothing but the bottom of the river. In short, he's frustrated. And yet he is desperate to do it more. It's not really a mindset I understand, as someone who avoids frustration and discomfort at all costs, but it's pretty typical of how Sidamo navigates his world.

(I should say here and now that all photo credit goes to Greg. Except the crappy pictures: When you see those, you can be sure they belong to me.)

Sidamo's second-favorite activity: Scrambling up rocks—especially if those rocks meet water. At Rocky Mountain National Park, there is an awesome alluvial fan, which is the technical name for the strewing of rock that occurs when a body of water floods. Or something like that. What do I look like, a guide book? Anyway, the end result is something it would take 23 playground designers 23 years and $23 krillion to build. It kept our entire crew of 4- and 6-year-olds (we were camping with friends) busy and happy for hours despite the record-breaking heat.

These pictures, for example, were all taken by Greg. I was busy sitting in that teensy bit of shade you can see way off in the distance if you squint, with a hot little baby on my chest, scoping out where I'd install the air conditioner if it took them any longer to get back down. (Mama gets cranky when temperatures break 80; see note above about frustration and discomfort.)

Sidamo is getting to a very fun age for outdoor adventures. He can hold his own and is motivated to explore and try new things. The trick is just getting his needs met while also attending to the littles (and the cranky mama), who have a little less tolerance and endurance than he has. I see some solo dad-Damo excursions in our future.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dirty girl

Here's Nora within 15 minutes of arriving (clean) at the campsite.

This is why, when she tells me she's going to be an archaeologist, I believe her. She is happiest when she's eyeball deep in dirt.

We have another camping trip planned about a month, but we're hoping we can get back up there again sooner than that. The kids are in heaven when surrounded by dirt, sunshine, and water.

Unfortunately, our state is on fire right now. It's scary and awful, and absolutely heartbreaking for everyone affected. Please send your love and good thoughts toward the foothills and mountains. We, being in the city, are just fine, but our hearts go out to those who are not.

The High Park fire, seen from Estes Park

Monday, June 25, 2012

Elliott's first camping trip

I'd say he enjoyed it.

Recap to come, but I thought everyone's Monday could benefit from a little happy baby.

Family portrait

Our family, according to Nora. I think the conehead is Puddle. The biggest one is Sidamo, and the others vary every time you ask. The upside-down, hemorrhaging one is usually, but not always, Elliott.