Tag Archives: aging

Filling up the Holes

Tees Bday Post largeTHIS POST WAS TEE APPROVED…(but without her approval)
(Oh…and she MEANT that I Was 29…not that SHE was 29.  That would be strange.)  

 Over the years since I had my daughters, I’ve often thought about life, death, legacy,  what’s really important and deep stuff like that.  (Hey…I’m a deep kinda guy.)…but, it would always leave me with a BANGIN’ headache and no answers,  so I would kind of just place it on the back burner until another situation came up that would put me in one of my Prince listening, dark room sitting, meaning of life pondering moods. 

One of those times came when my brother died almost a year ago and it left me with one big question that I’ve been internally debating ever since.

What exactly is legacy?

     It ain’t as simple as one would think. Well, it kinda IS, but  there’s a lot of stuff that muddies the subject for us.  It took me a LONG time to sort through it, but I think I can bring some clarity.  Through it all, I hope that  I can help some of you benefit from my ignorance so that you don’t have to go through it.  So hang with me, and I’ll try to shed some light on it or, more colorfully,   like one of my friends from my Air Force days used to say, “…throw some dirt in that hole”.  

     What I discovered is that as men, we often place such a huge value on providing for our families financially and materially, that we leave  ourselves with almost no energy to provide for them mentally and spiritually.   We sometimes worry so much about getting that hot, new toy,  or the latest Jordans, or the newest video game system (Okay…maybe that one was more for ME than the kids…but you get the picture.  DON’T JUDGE ME!)  when in fact, our time and attention is the MOST important thing that we can do for our daughters.  I now look at it like this…”If I can buy it, it will  eventually be useless…buy if I can INSTILL it, it will last forever…..You can’t run out of character.”

So in a nutshell, be careful not to fall into the trappings of giving your daughters STUFF.  YOUR time is one of the few things that no one else can give her and that can never be replaced.  Simply put, once it’s gone, there’s no getting it back.  That makes it valuable beyond measure.

When I first adopted the girls, we would sometimes go to a coffee shop together just to hang out.  I would get some kind of foo foo latte or something, and the girls would get what we affectionately called a “moo- moo steamer” or, plainly put, a steamed milk with flavoring in it.  We would sit there and I would read a newspaper and they would  pretend to read as they sat across from me.  One of my biggest regrets in regards to them, is not doing it more often.  I can remember looking across the table at them as they “read” but gosh…it sure would be nice to have a LOT more memories of it, but, as I said…you cant get time back.

So, the keys?  Share your time, and make good use of the time you share with them.  Here are a few ideas that I think would be great to do with your daughters.

1) Leave work  sometimes and pick her up from school “just cause”.  Go see a cartoon at the movies or maybe just go for a nice long walk and talk about life.

2)  Deliver flowers to her school for no reason.

3) Have lunch with her at school.  (That is IF you can still fit in those little tables….Let me tell ya, years of eating like the government would be making it illegal tomorrow made sitting in them chairs one  hecukva experience for yours truly.)

4) TELL her how important she is to you as often as you can.

5) Take her fishing.  (I wish I had pictures of when I first took my girls fishing on the pier.  It was HIGH-LARRY-US  and they absolutely LOVED it.  They STILL love to go.) Yes, I DO know how to spell hilarious…but EVERYTHING is better when spelled phonetically.

6) Take funny faced pictures with them.

7) Two words:  Pillow Fights.

8) Take her  kite flying. My daughters STILL talk about how I took them kite flying.  To them , it was the most amazing thing in the world, but  if I describe it, I’d call it “Daddy running around a field with a kite in his hand while they held the string.”

9) Hold her hand as often as you can.  There will be a time when you wont be able to anymore.

10) Listen to her.  Even though she may be little…she still wants to know that she’s important enough to get your attention.

In my mind, the litmus test is this:  “When I’m no longer here…and my girls are describing me to their children….what words will they use?”    I think of that…and then act accordingly.

BAM!  That’s some high quality dirt that I  just threw in that hole!


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Models, Media and Meaningful Motivation – Part Two: Media


I talked just a little bit yesterday about the power of visual imagery in shaping girls’ perceptions of themselves, and we did a little experiment with the t.v..  This time, we’re going to talk a bit about NON visual imagery…and being that I’m the simple minded guy that I am…I always need examples. So, we’re going to do a little experiment with music.

So, all that said, this is what I want you to do.  Plug your headphones into your radio, and settle into listening to ANY popular Hip Hop/R&B radio station in your area; the more popular, the better.  ( I only chose Hip Hop/R&B, because that’s primarily what I listen to…..Well, that and talk radio and stuff like that.  I kinda like talk radio.  Okay, so overall, I’m pretty boring….sue me.)  Do this for an hour.  Just listen for any references to violence against women, sexual references, “baby mamas”, gold diggers, groupies  or references to women’s body parts and write them down on a notepad. (Also, keep in mind that this is PUBLIC radio…and the stuff that you DO hear has already been cleared as being “ok” by some censoring body(ies)).    Just like yesterday, use your own daughter as the measuring stick.  If it’s something that you wouldn’t want said about your own daughter to your face, write it down.   It shouldn’t take more than thirty minutes before your hand starts to cramp up from all the writing. Wanna know how I know?  I know ’cause I did it, and not because I sit at a keyboard and type all day and that my fingers get tired of doing actual WRITING.)  I walked away with this inescapable fact:  Even our own media ain’t necessarily our friend.

Now, I know that BET and R&B/Hip Hop stations aren’t the only media outlets that feed us negative stereotypes of females, and I don’t mean to single them out…not solely.  I also know that the musical stylings of other genre’s of music probably portray women in a negative light as well.  I ALSO don’t think it’s a “Black” thing…I think it’s simply a pig headed, chauvinistic, objectifying, self aggrandizing thing that spans all cultures.   I think that I I could safely bet that if I was a fan of Rock music, or Heavy Metal, that  I’d find the same messages in that music as well.  However, I try to only speak about my personal experiences on what I know and since it just so happens that I’ve always been immersed in the Hip Hop and R&B culture, that’s what comes out.

Now before you start getting all huffy, and  I start getting the hate mail about my  trashing Hip Hop and R&B let me share with you a piece from one of my earliest posts…one from when I first decided to write this book about raising my girls.

“… allow me to be the first to say that I’ve watched the videos…heck, I ENJOYED the videos. I’ve uttered the “B word”  and Ho out of both jest and anger.  I’ve talked junk about my conquests to my boys, and overall, I’m still a work in progress, but I think that if we are truly honest with ourselves we can work towards fixing this.  And since a reformed, renewed, revived, and restored former crackhead is the best to give advice about the dangers of using crack, and  why one should not smoke it, I offer up my insight in regards to not promoting disgusting, destructive, disingenuous, disheartening, degrading images for our lil girls. ”

See?  I pointed the finger at myself first.  I noticed early in the game where my error lied…..(laid?…heck……ANYWAY)  Yeah…I convicted MYSELF before I ever called anybody else out.  I found the mote in my own eye, so to speak.  I can’t really take any credit for the change of heart, though.  It really came from my girls.  True story…at first I used to doubt the whole adoption thing.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it.  It was tough.  But night after night, I would go into their rooms as they slept.  I’d kiss them on their foreheads whisper “I love you.” in their ears, and kneel at their feet to pray for them, and one night it hit me…These girls need somebody to protect them…and I that was the beginning of the change for me…I went from somebody that could call a woman a Ho, to someone who couldn’t stand the thought of it anymore.  (God can make dummies into geniuses, huh?)

Anyway, let’s get  back on task here.   (Besides, I can’t have you guys goin’ ’round thinking I’m some kinda softy that tears up at the thought of his daughters…I got my tough guy, street cred to maintain! )

I also know that  a lot of times, our music does offer  positive imagery as well.  Heck, our local R&B station here even plays Gospel music on Sunday mornings.  However, once again, I’ll quote someone from my past, “One well planned right don’t make up for a life full of lefts.”  Simply put, just because a drug dealer deals only a little bit of crack in the neighborhood, then hands out turkeys on Thanksgiving, doesn’t make him a hero…just a crack dealer with a marketing budget.   The end result is still a community getting destroyed.

So, this is what’s happening thus far.  Our daughters are already being told by the images that they see that they are..not skinny enough, not “elegant” enough,  not pretty enough and overall  just not good enough.  Then, to top that off, they’re being told verbally that they are only good for the use of their bodies and how they can benefit men.  I know…it was kinda eye opening for me too.

And don’t think that there’s a minimum age to start falling victim to this stuff I’ll put it in perspective for you…I have a 7 year old little niece ..She’s a very petite lil thing and is one of the lights of my world.   I’m constantly affirming her and her value and her worth to the world.  I try to make sure that she realizes how important she is and that her true value comes from within and not without.  That said, why, in the Yosemite Sam Hill  did she come to me one day and tell me that she was fat and that she needed to go on a diet?  I SWEAR I can pick the little girl up with one hand and spin her above my head like a basketball without even breaking a sweat.  (Trust me, that says a lot coming from a doughnut eating, remote control hogging, couch potato like myself, but that’s another story.)  Then, to top that off, they’re being told verbally that they are only good for the use of their bodies and how they can benefit men.

Okay, I think I’ve held you captive long enough for today.  And in the morning……we talk SOLUTIONS!  (Done in my best Donkey from Shrek voice).Tomorrow, we talk SOLUTIONS!


Posted by on March 20, 2013 in children, humor, life, parenting, Uncategorized


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Okay…too much fiber ain’t good….trust me (Sidebar convo)

Now, to help you understand some of my future posts, and the mental battle of wills that would almost always take place between me and my daughters, I decided to give you a completely unedited look at my psyche.   A look that I may come to regret later, btw…. 

 If I was to describe myself, i would say that I am a Type A/Z personality. (You like that? Cool, ’cause I just made it up.) My definition of a type A/Z person is one that only has two speeds and doesn’t recognize that there even IS a middle ground. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell. I’m either 0% in or 110 % in. Don’t laugh, because I bet that there are people in your life that would describe you the same way if you asked them.   I’d even say that it was safe money to bet that when it comes to their family, most Dads are like that too. Here is one pretty funny example of how this personality type has gotten me into a bit of , how can I say it; uncomfortable situations.  As always, this is just between us friends and  all true and from the heart.

A few years ago, my doctor diagnosed me with high cholesterol. I KNEW it was bad, when he opened the test results…and started reading down the list of stuff like this…..”Item A…good… Okay, item B is good….okay…within limits…..whoooaaaa…” Anyway…as he spoke, his words began to fade into a series of ,”Wonk…wonk wonk wonk”,sounds that were  accompanied by visions of Krispety Kremity dougnut goodness dancing away, hand in hand with my 30s, off into the night.  Yep, the first thing I thought of when he was talking about my cholesterol, and the potential of heart attack and stroke and drooling on myself in the corner was Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  It makes ya wonder, exactly what do they PUT in them things, CRACK?!?!?!?

I kind of came back to my senses when he mentioned SOMETHING to the effect of lowering my cholesterol thru exercise and a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat. Well, seeing as how I’m a fan of deep fried, SALTED, pig skin with FAT attached (We call it Fat Back in the south.) , collard greens seasoned with boiling salted pork, and anything of a fried nature, I figured that the low fat route would definitely NOT be the   one that I would be inclined to take. So, I focused on the fiber angle. It seemed easy enough…lots of fiber would equal lower cholesterol. Okay. Check…I got it. With THAT, a light bulb went off in my head. I had seen some commercials about some kind of fiber stuff that you could buy at the grocery store and mix into water to drink and it would supposedly (and magically, apparently) help to reduce cholesterol. So there it was….my solution; right there in the medicine aisle of Kroger’s. I copped a bottle.

Now, under NORMAL circumstances, meaning circumstance involving an individual that was NOT a Type A/Z, this would be a non interest type of event. You know, nothing worth mentioning. But remember when I defined a Type A/Z as either 0% or 110% in? Well, that kind of clouds the issues a bit. The directions on packages can clearly say, “Mix in one teaspoon of powder with one full glass of water.”. However, somewhere between the packaging and my mind, that text becomes: ” Take three times the recommended dosage per glass to achieve three times the result at three times the speed.”   If you’re drawing a mental picture of me standing in the middle of the Kroger’s aisle,  staring up into the air as I ran the numbers, you have a pretty good image of how it really did look that day.  By the end of my thought process, the math seemed simple enough; if one teaspoon per eight ounce glass is good, then 3 HEAPING tablespoons per eight ounce glass must be REALLY good. That makes perfect sense………right?

So, I’m not sure if that amount of fiber ALONE would have done much damage, but being that I am a chronic “over doer” , I simply could not leave well enough alone. I was doing things like eating Cheerios for breakfast (’cause I heard that they were higher in fiber than my beloved Cap’n Crunch), downing a couple of Fiber One bars for snacks, scarfing down a salad for lunch, munching on a couple of plums in the late afternoon and washing most of them down with my “Super Water” concoction of about eight ounces of water and 3 TIMES the manufacturer’s (and probably most physicians’ recommended dosage) of Metamucil.

Now, i don’t know if you know what those levels of fiber can do to a man in a sudden burst like that, but let me be the first to tell you, it’s far from being pretty. It started out with a slight rumbling in my stomach that quickly turned to something that I bet would sound like a college drumline in the midst of a turf war against a marauding band of jackhammer wielding hooligans with my insides as the prize.   It sounded like my stomach was arguing with itself!!    Seriously,  I can’t even come up with enough colorful adjectives to describe the sounds generated by my digestive tract as it tried to deal with the sudden influx of fiber.  And you want to know about PAIN?!?!?  Yo have NO IDEA of the pain that stuff caused.  Dude, I was CRAMPING like a CHAMP!!!!!   It felt like I was going to give birth to a full grown WILDEBEEST; horns n all!

That wasn’t the worst part, though.  It was the after effects. Now, how can I put this mildly? Okay, let’s try this: Ingesting that much fiber makes an individual GASEOUS!   That’s about as mild as I can put it.   Man, I swear, some mornings I’d get up and my blankets would be floating….Wait for it…wait for it. (Admit it…once you got it, that was funny, right?

Okay, I think I’ve embarrassed myself enough for a lifetime by telling this story……………………………………………………but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be telling more.

See ya next time.

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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in fatherhood, Uncategorized


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