Sunday, May 8, 2016


Today is a day of mothers and celebrating them. My heart aches a little today, my mind has been a flutter with this static and I've been a little off balance. Why do you ask? My mother passed away on May 21st two years ago. I didn't ever know who she was as a person, a mom or a woman. The last year of her life she was in and out of being on her 'death bed' as her doctors stated. 

My final conversation I ever had with her was filled with too many details which I wasn't able to focus on. I could only focus on how like her my smile is. Like her my cheek bones are the same. Like her my laugh is the same. Like her I too paint my nails and make sure I look presentable always. I longed to know the woman in front of me. I didn't ever refer to her as mom as that was a foreign title I hadn't ever used since I was 7 years old. 

I wasn't raised by her. I only knew of her from letters, cards, presents that seemed sweet but missed the mark by a year or so, awkward phone calls and then conversations I heard from other adults about her. I knew she was considered an 'unfit' mother by others. To me she was that woman who always was rushing, a mess and ready to dance at a moment's notice. Does that sound crazy? Not to me. That's what I ever knew of her.  

Stories were told to me. I learned my mother did colorguard in high school for marching band just as I did. I didn't ever learn a lot more about my mother. I did learn in that last conversation, which I didn't know would be the last time I spoke to or ever saw her, that my name was made sure to be pronounced Jo-elle and spelled Joël. One of those details came true and the other she longed for always. I learned to add the accent when a foreign exchange student in high school spelled my name that way so it would always be pronounced correctly when read. 

This month is a month I remember but in a different way. It's not that I want to remember any other way or that I am not present in my current family glory. I just have that tug, that pull and a moment. It is when I think of my mother most. I remember every memory I have of her. I surrender to it all. I have these memories and these memories alone. Nothing more and nothing less. 

When I take a moment to take in what is all around me I can be clear of mind. I will always miss that woman of mine that is my mother. I see her face staring back at me with ever single reflective surface I come across. I look exactly like her and she like me. The only person on this planet that did. Someone who is a complete stranger to me. Even with that last year of together time. 

So I take the few details I know and hold them so close to my heart, mind and soul. I cherish them as I could truly have not ever known a single thing. Not one detail! There was always that looming chance. I prayed on that. I prayed and desired to be able to know something about her, my mom, than to have her taken from this earth and not know one single detail. I got just what I needed. 

I will always bask in what I have versus what I don't. I will always be that cheery bubbly zany and make you think (you're a trip) and be demure me in a flash. That is me. I am me. I have a lot to be so happy about. So yes I will let you know how my name is pronounced. I will most definitely be the one singing in the car and dancing up a storm with my children. I will smile at myself because I do LOVE myself. What's wrong with being confident? 

I hope my mother can see I am well. I am happy. I'm a parent. I'm a dad. I am here despite life challenges. mother can proudly say she brought me into this world. That I am here and I'm able to reach many others. That I am able to have all I've ever desired and more. I hope. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Fog That Doesn't Hold Me

I miss all the love and excitement. The smiles and the laughs. The various fragrances from the women whom I hugged multiple times. I have something to share. Deep inside my heart is a sadness and a constant pain. My mind is always racing as I sit in worry daily. I've been taking care of my entire family without much support. I've learned that those friends and the ones who I thought I could depend on left or I had to show them the door.

When I arrived at Mom 2.0 Summit, I arrived at 3:40pm on Tuesday at the AirBnB I was sharing with 3 other attendees. I was dropped of by my husband and our children. It was a nice drive in. I was fortunate to have a nice place to stay. I was given the tour by the owner and then my family left. I was alone before 4pm until about 10:20pm. All that time I actually got to do nothing. I didn't speak to anyone, have to tend to anyone or have to think of anything.

For once in such a long time I was okay being alone too. The silence was a welcome respite. I read a book, I drank some wine, meditated, sat outside in the courtyard next to the fire pit. I watched the world from the balcony terrace as it was still moving bustling and beautiful. I even had a moment where I cried for sheer joy of being able to have that. To bask in the art of doing nothing.

I was once someone who didn't ever change his clothing until it was bedtime. That has changed over the years. So that first day there I didn't change out of my clothes into my pajamas. I remained in my travel outfit. A travel outfit! Well that I learned from my image consultant, Clifton Davis Clarke, who had helped me dress for Dad 2.0 Summit, he and I didn't have an opportunity to do the same for this event. I took what I have learned from his imparted wisdom to dress for this event. I was nervous.

I was also worried I'd shut down and let my emotions or my life stress hold me back. I have lived in a fog for so long that I was lost. I wandered around not even thinking of ever doing anything for me. I lost what made myself happy. Not that I needed to be selfish but I wasn't taking care of myself. I also didn't have the ability to. My fortitude was lost. I found it when I attended various events such as the National At-Home Dad Network and Dad 2.0 Summit both on scholarships. I also received gracious unsolicited help from some friends. Graciousness also abounded to help me attend Mom 2.0 Summit which was another wonderful experience.

I'm sitting here in my living room in silence. Always afraid of my reality. I sit and write plans and hope I'm able to maintain them. I have big dreams & I will pursue them until I breathe my last breath of life. I have so much strife and glory at the same time.

When you saw me, you see this man who is joyful energetic and infectious. You say I was a hoot and a holler that I made you laugh. You said you're my biggest fan or I'm your dance goal. Well I'm this way because it's the only way I know how to live in order to not fall back into that fog.

I will win. I've been winning everyday that I still fight the fight. I am not ever going to stop sharing myself, my story and I'm going to pursue those dreams. Life is very short and I've experienced hurt loss and disappointment. The better parts of all of that is I know what I will not accept from anyone.

So if you're here in my world and you see the shine in my eye or the hop in my step. Or the sound of my laughter, know that I truly am in that moment. That I am taking it all in. That I am relishing in the who what when where and why. I am.