The universal synonym for unconditional love.
When you become a mother you experience what it truly means to love someone more than yourself. You evolve immediately and the depths and lengths that you would go to protect your child/children are immeasurable. There are so many indescribable joys of becoming a mom and it shouldn’t matter what you like or where you’re from but unfortunately, there’s an undeniable weight that every black mom in America carries; mine unconsciously until now!
The park in my neighbor in Round Rock Texas should be a safe place for my son and me but much like churches and schools and movie theatres in the US, these safe havens where we should be able to let your hair down, forget our troubles and be at peace, more and more, seem to cause unexpected turmoil, tragedy, and unrest.
On a few occasions I have felt the sting of racism there, both times from children, but this time, in particular, the realization of raising a little black boy in America was so unsettling I literally burst into tears.
Deucey, my son, is probably the most active kid I’ve ever seen. His favorite place to be is outside and no matter the temperature, and living in Texas in the summer it’s usually unbearable, he doesn’t care, he wants to be outside. It can be challenging at times but I must say I do prefer his fast pace and love of outdoors to the alternative.
Because of this, we frequent our neighborhood park. We live in a huge community so outside of my immediate neighbors I don’t know many of the families that visit the park. However, I always go out of my way to speak to as many willing parents as I can. It’s who I am. I’m very outgoing and I love meeting new people. I’m also well aware that my son inherited my outgoing personality and waves at every person he sees and will walk up to other children to play without any reservation. The way it should be!
On this day there were many kids in the park, which Deucey loves! As he was playing, at the top of the playset is a steering wheel. He pretends to be driving and I’m cheering him on which attracts the attention of a little white girl who was playing nearby.
As every other kid would, she starts making her way towards the excitement, in this case, the steering wheel, and just before she got there, Deucey walked off and went down the slide.
He immediately heads back up the steps and walks towards the steering wheel again and before he was even within arms reach of the little girl she yells “Don’t do that, don’t touch me!”
My entire body was covered in chills and my eyes welled up with tears.
Why did this simple, innocent experience instantly bring me so much angst?
Why was I crippled, why was I crying, why was I hurting?
At that moment, the weight of being a black mother in America presented itself in a way I could not hold in.
I thought of the Central Park 5, wrongly accused of rape and only recently released from jail, the history of white women accusing black men of crimes they didn’t commit…I thought of all the mothers that have lost their sons to police brutality, how many young sons fall victim to the prison system and then I saw my son.
Standing at the top of the swing set, I yelled out to him “Be careful,” because that always gets his attention and he stopped walking, I needed to say something, I needed to prevent what my body thought was happening…
No matter the words black mothers muster up, or how many speeches we give it will never be enough to protect our little black boys in America.
Until that day, I only saw my son as a black baby boy but I guess I hadn’t really come to grips with the fact that sooner than later my Deucey would be a black boy then a black man in America.
Why does this incredible honor have to feel so burdensome?
Why do I have to live with the worry and fear that the beautiful little boy I am raising that is full of potential, has the most precious dimples, already loves people, loves to play soccer, and already thinks he can beat Mommi in a race, might one day be in a situation where none of that matters and the only thing someone will see is his black skin and it won’t mean to them what it means to me.
It won’t matter if he’s innocent, non-violent or running away he could still be forced to take his last breath…
As I write this, I too can’t believe or fathom the pain of the mothers who have lived this truth. Their beautiful little boys no longer here to fulfill all the potential they possessed.
Sometimes this reality makes everything feel so grim, especially on days when I scroll down my Instagram feed and see another hashtag created for a young black boy gone too soon.
And I won’t lie, many times I ask God WHY?
Why does racism exist? Why do my people have to suffer the way we do? Why would a race of people be superior to another based on the color of their skin? Something they have no control over, something they didn’t work for or earn? I
It blows my mind and sometimes sends me down a never-ending path of questions and uncertainties.
But like everything else in my life that I don’t understand I give it to God.
I trust that there is a reason for everything and I realize the very same thing that makes it feel daunting to be a black mother in America is the very same thing that allows me to see the beauty of being a black mom in America!
I see that no matter what the circumstance, black women find an inner strength to push forward.
We find a resolve and we give ourselves permission to choose joy and hope in the midst of undeniable injustices.
In that moment I might have been at a lost for words, I might be shaken, but I will never be broken.
I’m a black mother in America…
And like every other mother that has come before me I see hope in my son’s eyes. I see the possibility for greater things and I keep pushing him. I keep pushing him higher because I believe one day the world will see in him and in exactly what I see!
This series has been absolutely incredible!
I hope you’ve checked out some of our other blogs and enjoyed hearing from our mommies as much as I have! We love you.