Daddy Issues?

There is one man on Earth that can make me cry just by looking at me. I don’t know what it is or why it happens but it does.

I am talking about my Dad.

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I want to make this very clear, I love my father with all of my heart. My Dad was and still is an amazing man. He is the type that will change tires for people in distress, rescue an animal from harm and volunteer to build parks for kids. Dad has always been tremendously hardworking and skilled in too many things to mention. He was an awesome provider who made sure we always had what we needed and more often than not, the nonsense we wanted as well. “Mr. Phil” as he is lovingly known, was involved in my life from the day I was born. After he did his bid as a parent, he became an amazing Grandfather to Chloe, then Sofia and Scarlett, each grandchild 4 years apart in age. He lovingly gave us all nicknames, I am “Bird” and my sister is “Nuda”. The kids are “Cooper, Bo-bo and… Bo-Bo TOO”, I guess he got lazy by the time the little one came around, besides every family needs 2 Bo-Bo’s. I was never scared of him as a disciplinarian, I can honestly say he never once raised his hands to me or my sister, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times he yelled at us. Trust me, it wasn’t because we were the perfect children, it was just the way he was.

I love my Dad dearly, but something about our Father/Daughter relationship gets me very emotional. I’ve always felt like it was missing something. I think I have textbook signs of “Daddy Issues”. I constantly wonder if he ever wanted a son and ended up with me, a girly girl who wouldn’t go fishing or hunting with him. I question if our differences in opinion on things like politics and world issues make him think less of me. Of course, he’s never said anything of the sort but my mind can go to some crazy places.

So, what are my “Daddy Issues” about? As far as Father/Daughter relationships go, by all means, we should be good, RIGHT?

Full transparency, I am crying right now as I type.

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Why so emotional? Well, as of today my father is retired. As of a week from today, he will be settling into his new life, hundreds of miles away.

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Here’s a true story, when I was 15 years old I came home from school and my Dad was sitting at the table. I had never seen him home before 6 pm, so I knew something was wrong. I ask, “Are you sick?” his reply, “Nope. I just quit my job.” I am a teenager who didn’t know much about life, but I can tell you this much… I knew that I had a whole “lifestyle” that he financed so this news shook me to the core. The thought of him being unemployed meant, no weekly allowance, I’d never get the “DKNY” Tennis Sneakers I asked for and forget the money I spent on weekends for things I would much rather not mention. It was devastating! Did I want to know what happened? I wanted him to tell me what we were going to do to “survive”. Life as I knew it was OVER. In the 30 seconds between him saying he quit his job and me screaming crying, he said “it’s gonna be fine”, I didn’t believe him so I asked him, “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?” At 15, everything was about ME, so selfish.

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Looking back as an adult who has had a job for 16 years with a company I love, I cannot imagine how much courage it took to walk away from the only real job he ever had. I realize now that he was working 6 days a week, more than 10-hour days. His commute was miserable, the people were difficult. I never took any of that into consideration, I could only focus on ME.

He had worked for 17 years with one company. By that point, my mother was no longer a stay-at-home mom, so there were two incomes. We went from doing layaway at K-Mart to shopping at Nordstrom and Macy’s for school clothes. It was a big deal for me. Sure, I sound so obnoxious, but I am being honest. I didn’t want to go back to the days where we just survived, I loved being able to LIVE. I was a selfish child who didn’t even realize that to live, my father was making the ultimate sacrifice. He was unhappy, unhealthy, exhausted and emotionally drained. Dad was never around to do the things I see so many dads doing these days, like going on field trips or sitting to help with homework. By the time he got home from those long draining days, we had family dinner and it was bedtime. When I think back on my childhood, dinner’s on weeknights, every Sunday and one week a year when we would vacation was the most time we spent together. Now, Dad was home.

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It didn’t take long for him to find a job. He started working overnights at a very big hardware store close enough to the house that he could walk when the weather was nice. It was an entry-level position 40 hours a week. I am sure there was a period of financial adjustment in our family but, as kids didn’t feel the weight of it. Everything stayed the same, despite all my anxiety. He worked hard and took the job seriously. He made friends and moved up in the company, but most of all he was happier than I had ever seen him. Now that my mother was working full time and focusing on her career, he was left with a lot more responsibility at home. Never the disciplinarian, we got away with so much when dad was on watch.

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It was amazing to watch, he went from stocking shelves in the middle of the night to team leader, then management. Eventually, he became Upper Management, worked bank hours, had amazing perks and more vacation time than he could even imagine using. Before I knew it, his 10 years became 20. Then his 20 became 25 years. Throughout, he mentored generations of new employees, became a leader in his position and won countless awards, trips and more than anything he did it with so much joy and pride. This job change taught us all a valuable lesson about knowing your worth.

Now, 25+ years later he is retiring from that “entry-level” job, right on his schedule. More importantly, he is happy – which makes me happy.

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The timing of this blog may seem off but, but I decided with all the free time he will have, maybe he can read this at his leisure and I can get some things off my chest. I know I am a better “writer” than I am a “speaker” so why not let the world know exactly how I feel about the 40 years of life with him as a father.

A few months ago, I was waking up from a very serious spinal surgery. When I opened my eyes, my mother was at my side. I have always been a “Momma’s Girl” and seeing her there with a smile assured me everything went well. She stood there for a few minutes, holding my hand. Suddenly, she said she was going to step out for a minute because someone else wanted to come in and see me.  I assumed it was my sister or husband, I was wrong. It was my father. I began to cry. I grabbed my mom’s hand even tighter but she successfully wiggled it loose and walked away. My Dad comes in and I force a very nervous smile. Nobody likes hospitals, but my father is one of those people who would rather peel the wallpaper off every wall in an entire house than actually walk through the doors of a hospital. He talks for a minute or two about what the doctor told him and I repeatedly cut him off to say he can leave. In my heart, I feel like I am burdening him. Let me point out that my mother, who picked me up at 5 am has now been in the hospital for almost 12 hours straight and I haven’t given her the same courtesy of letting her leave. In my head, we are moms, this is what we do. However, Dad has better places to be, right? Finally, he relents and leaves. As soon as he walks away, I begin to cry – again.

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Do I want him there or not?

Like so many of us, I like to imagine what my Dad sees when he looks at me. I have only one child, so I don’t know if there is such a thing as a “favorite” child or not. I assume there is and I have determined that – I am not his favorite. I always imagine that when I am standing next to my sister, she wins. Tracey is a well dressed, successful woman, world traveler, well-spoken, academically accomplished and an overall easygoing person. I am a bit of the opposite. Although I am successful in my own career, it’s not a fancy job with perks and travel, I sit behind a computer and crunch numbers all day. My ill-fitting men’s sweats and hoodies look slummy next to her neatly tailored all-black work clothes. I have a thick “Hudson County” accent and I am ashamed of how many “fucks” I manage to drop in every sentence. I never took school seriously and when I decided I wanted to further my education, it was just a few online courses, a far cry from her Dean’s List award ceremonies in college. I can also be difficult in just about any situation. From my partying days, getting pregnant at a young age, being a social justice warrior, dietary restrictions and opposing political beliefs, I just feel like I am his problem child.

“You like Tracey more than me” is the bain of his existence I’m sure.

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I once told my friends that I felt like I wasn’t enough in my father’s eyes. They politely sat there as I went on and on about the subject. When I finally stopped to take a breath, one of the girls looked at me and laughed, “I have never met my father nor will I since he passed away before I found out who he was” and then she pointed to Nina and said “and her…”, I was already embarrassed, “she met her father (who was a bouncer) at the door of a nightclub when he recognized her name on her ID”.  With the look of pure annoyance she grunted,  “honestly, you’re not gonna get sympathy here”.

These are girls who know my father. Not only could they never imagine a world where I could find a flaw in Mr. Phil but they couldn’t imagine me complaining to them, of all people about my father who was always there for me.

Maybe I am disillusioned from watching my husband and daughter so closely over the years. Their relationship was a reference point for me. Every time they embraced, I felt like I missed out on that. My husband dotes on our kid, he has her first soccer jersey on display from when she was 4, they still hold hands when we go out as I follow from behind. It is sweet. Over the years they have traveled together for weeks at a time. They had a standing dinner date for years, just the two of them. As she got older, they’d have deep conversations and share funny and embarrassing stories with one another. To this day she will still curl up in his arms when she needs some love.

So, my dad is not big on hugs or kisses and I guess that was what I used to measure his love a lot of times. We once took a vacation together, just the two of us, out West. The only part of the trip we ever talk about was how I brought him to the top of a ski slope in Lake Tahoe, a DIAMOND LEVEL SLOPE. I knew he had never skied before that day. He wasn’t happy with me, to say the least. BUT DID HE DIE? I think I can say this with 100% certainty, I have never held his hand and the most embarrassing thing wasn’t shared with him willingly.

I am sure he is reading this right now cringing and thinking “No, Dee-Dee, DO NOT put it in writing”. Fuck it, he’s retired now and can have flashbacks of this trauma while he sunbathes in Florida. I was just about 20 years old at the time, and he came into my room to ask me something. He caught me just as I was making my bed. Without thinking, I throw the comforter off the bed. There, from the night before, laid a gently used “toy” that I picked up at a “Pleasure Party” just a few weeks earlier. I. Literally. Die. As. I. Type.

I thought the look of horror on his face coming down that ski slope was bad, like if I don’t die on this slope – I will kill you when I get to the bottom. Well, you should have seen his face at that moment. So, it is safe to say there weren’t any “standing dinner dates” and dinner that particular night was uncomfortable. Nobody knew why, but we knew. We knew.

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My father is so awesome though, he is my friend and I truly do take for granted the ways he DOES show his love. First and foremost, the way he treats Chloe, his first grandchild. That girl will always be his “Cooper”, she can do no wrong. I can call him anytime and talk to him for hours about nothing at all, and he will listen. He is generous and constantly over gifting money. Sure, it is nice, but it is so unnecessary. My father can make me laugh harder than anyone. He has these little quirks and sayings that irritate you just enough to make them funny. He loves to have a good time. Takes NOTHING seriously and reminds me EACH AND EVERY DAY that “I am in my PRIME”. I know that he trusts me and I trust him. He is a man’s man, just him and his beloved Dog Champy living their best life which is great, because when my parents are smiling – it makes life a whole lot easier to enjoy. More than anything, he has never let me down if I ever asked him for anything urgent.

So all this baggage, it’s not him, it’s me.

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I am constantly trying to analyze “us” and that is what makes things awkward. I am learning to let things happen organically, live in the moment with him like I do with most people. Accept that despite our differences, I am his baby, his Dee-Dee Bird. There is nobody that can take my place.

Over the summer, he joined me on the hammock as the sun was setting on Lindy’s Lake. I didn’t ask him to come to lay with me, he just did and that was the closest I have been to him in decades. I was 40, but I could’ve been 4 right at this moment. I felt so safe and loved.

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As time goes by, that little girl inside of me realizes I have always been enough. I can see that through all of my ups and downs, mistakes and accomplishments – he has been there and I may not have even realized it because I was too worried to even acknowledge it.

I am so thrilled for him and his retirement. Knowing my father is about to embark on a journey in life that is uncharted territory for him, doing something he has always wanted to do, has me nervously excited. He has a home, on wheels, so he can go wherever his heart leads, with his trusty old sidekick Champion to watch over him. Hundreds of miles from his friends and family, but just like the day he picked up and left his job, this too will all work out. If I know one thing about my father it is that he is resilient, positive and follows his heart.

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So, Congratulations Dad may today be the first day of the rest of your life and the BEST of your life. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for the world!

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And just as a reminder to everyone who is reading this…

HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE.

Are “In-Laws” Family?

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to take a few days off work to travel back to Atlanta to meet the newest member of my family, Ayah. Ayah is not only my niece but my godchild. From the minute I held her in my arms we were connected. I also must admit, it has been years since I’ve held a newborn baby so I was all in my feelings. It was getting to the point where I would see strangers out with babies and debate asking if I could just hold the baby for a few minutes. I know this is frowned upon, so I didn’t do it, but it literally takes everything for me to hold back.

 

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Ayah, my Goddaughter

 

I love that new baby smell. The little noises they make. Don’t even get me started on the cry. As soon as I would hear Ayah cry I would JUMP UP and run to her, just so I could see that little lip quiver and then, I’d grab her and comfort her so she knows Auntie Dee-Dee will always be there for her… Because she will remember meeting me at 3 weeks old, right? Anyway, in my humble opinion, babies are the most amazing little creatures.

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I was with my family for a few days and as always, it was filled with laughter, storytelling, deep conversation, some tears but LOVE. Now “technically” it is my husband’s family, but when you marry someone – you take on their family and I don’t believe in that “In-Law” terminology. They are my family, period.

 

I love that I married into such a BIG family, especially because I come from a pretty small family myself. I remember going to Canada for the very first time, it was also my first time leaving the country as well. We drove up to meet everyone, I was pregnant with our daughter Chloe and I knew that I had a lot of people to meet and impress. I was warned that he was the “cool cousin” who spoiled all the kids. He was the “fun one” who everyone loved to party with. Rome was the “favorite nephew” that thought nothing of driving his family anywhere they needed to go without hesitation or back-talk. They were definitely going to suss me out, make sure I was with him for the right reasons and because he was so far from them – I knew their main concern was that he was loved.

 

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The Patriarch of the Family, rest easy Grandad… Meeting Chloe on Christmas Day 2001

That week was chaos, we drove from house to house. I met Parents, Siblings, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins (SO MANY COUSINS), Grandparents, neighbors, childhood friends… You name it, I met them. On the ride home, I tried to take everything in. The fact that I was now a part of something so big, it was intimidating and overwhelming. I believed in my heart that they knew Rome was a very cautious person and selective about who he let into his personal space. This made it a whole lot easier, they all welcomed me as family immediately and because I was carrying his child, we would be family for life no matter what – I loved that.

 

Where do we stand 20 years later? Well, I am in Atlanta with his family celebrating a new life and loving every second of it. If I could have handpicked a family to marry into, it would have been this one. They love hard, just like me. They treat me no different than if I was blood. I don’t get special “guest in our home” treatment, there is no “we can’t say that because there is an outsider here” type of vibe. I will say it one more time for the people in the back, WE ARE FAMILY.

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Auntie Jillian’s Vlog.

Jillian and I are VERY close. We have a great relationship and when this was happening, I never even thought twice about it… This wasn’t the first time we had an intense conversation and I am sure it will not be the last. Jillian didn’t “make me cry”, I cried because I am a very emotional person and when it comes to Chloe those emotions are amplified. I wonder constantly what I could’ve done differently or better. It really is that simple. . .

 

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Jillian and I in 2000 and again in 2019

 

After I watched the video, I understood why it got the reaction it did, because it is REALITY and from the outside looking in, it seemed to get very heated. I can assure everyone, a minute after we were laughing or arguing about something totally different.

I might not physically LOOK like them, but for 20 years I have been one of “them”, the family. If I wasn’t treated exactly that way, it would feel like I wasn’t part of the beauty that is THEM!

I hope that everyone who watched the Vlog understands, there is no love lost. You will never catch me out here talking bad about my family. (Not the blood family or the “in-law” family.) This all started because I teased Myles, Jillian’s son who is now 26. You know how long I have known him? Long enough to tease him and he gives it right back…

 

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Myles and A very LITTLE Chloe 2001 Holiday’s

 

I am so glad I made it to Atlanta to enjoy some time with the new baby, my little ones Samia and Zayn and of course the rest of the crew.

I encourage everyone to take into consideration the word “family” and what it means to them. I have people who are my family, that Ancestry.com keeps telling me about. We share the same bloodline and I know nothing about these people. Then there is my husband, Rome, my best friend Ana, my niece Latoya and the family I have chosen who I know inside and out and there is NO DNA TEST in the world that could tell me that I am not related to them.

I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead and if you read this far, please be sure to SUBSCRIBE to get notifications of my new posts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The State of OUR Union

#KeepingUpWithTheKanhais is hard to do, especially with the recent transitions that have gone on in our lives. So, consider this The State of The Union of Jay Rome (my husband) and me, #MrsJayRome.

If you are following me on Social Media, @LaDolceDeeDee, then it comes to you as no surprise that I am keeping myself busy. From Writers Workshops to NYFW, Shopping Dates, Parties, Football Games, Traveling and even some relaxing nights at home with my new Hookah. If you aren’t following me, what are you waiting for…

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A little background on “us” aka The Union. We met in May of 2000, 19 years ago. We have lived together since the weekend we met, officially only married on paper for 14 years but we never look at it that way. The paper marriage was a formality so we could make sure we all shared the same last name when our daughter, Chloe, went off to kindergarten. In our eyes, we were married at the moment we met. That’s what it feels like when souls connect.

We have never had a “conventional” relationship, at least in other peoples eyes. I have heard time and time again from friends and family alike that we are “weird” for taking separate vacations. That it is “sketchy” that we don’t ask the standard questions of one another, like  “Where are you going? Who are you with? When are you coming home? What are you doing? How do you know so-and-so?”. I know it confuses people when they invite me to weddings or parties and I show up solo or with my sister as my PLUS 1. We always go places in separate cars, because we never want to be forced to stay longer or leave earlier than each of us wants. We’ve spent Holiday’s in different countries and rarely exchange gifts for birthdays and anniversaries, instead, we tell each other “if you see something, buy it, from me”.

There is no “perfect relationship”, but for me – this works perfectly.

Sure, we had some pretty basic guidelines:

1. Keep our child healthy, happy and thriving. We both agreed that the decisions we made in our lives directly affected her, so we did our best to make choices that would benefit her or at least – never hurt her. We agreed to be the best co-parents we could by always discussing things and never overriding the decisions of the other. We stood together as a united front when we needed to and it wasn’t always easy.

2. We agreed to never discuss MONEY in front of Chloe.  This was a RULE my husband was adamant about! He thinks that money issues are “adult issues” and even discussing how much I spent on groceries in front of our child was in poor taste. Any argument we have ever had about money has been behind closed doors and without her knowing. This had some repercussions because she never thought twice about asking for things that weren’t within our means. Even when it came to college, I was told to not put limits on her, which seemed extremely unreasonable – but thankfully she ended up picking a school that was practical.

3. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Don’t talk poorly about each other to our child or in front of her, no matter how bad things got. When there were tensions and conflicts at home, we always cohabitated, ate meals together and no matter what, we were ALWAYS a FAMILY UNIT. “The Trinity” as we call it. We are both very affectionate to each other, not just through words – but actions. I am sure he doesn’t want the world to know but, I am the recipient of all the hugs, kisses, “I love you’s” that Chloe could possibly stand to witness.

Those three guidelines were the big ones.

So, here we are a month in, living as “Husband and Wife” and not so much “Mom and Dad” and it has certainly been an adjustment period. Chloe was home for a few hours, once, but the rest of the time it has been just the two of us and Prince (our dog).

The fact that Chloe is adjusting so well makes life a whole lot easier on our end. However, I have to say that the concern I have gotten from the outside world is a lot more intense than I ever expected. I have been on the receiving end of messages and calls asking me questions like “how does Rome feel about you going out?” and “what does your husband say about the clothes you’re wearing?” so I figured, why not today, why not here and WHY NOT NOW to put everyone’s concerns to rest.

WE. ARE. GOOD. Actually, GREAT.

I get it, watching this play out on Social Media seems like I have lost my GD MIND! I am posting stories, snaps, photos, and boomerangs and it seems he is missing in action from all of them but really if you know “know” me, I have never been one to post photos of us. I look at my marriage as the most sacred and intimate part of my life. Once you open the window into the inner-workings of your marriage, you are inviting all kinds of energy.

I always use this example, have you ever bought a lottery ticket and the jackpot is huge? I am talking the big ones, over $500 Million Dollar Jackpot and you are standing there with this little paper in your hand that potentially is worth HALF A BILLION DOLLARS? It’s like, this one little ticket has the potential to change the trajectory of your life. Let’s not stop there, it can change your life, your families lives and the people you know and love. Generational life change, right? But, it is so fragile that a gust of wind can blow it right out of your hand. A spark of a lighter can destroy it, the sun can fade it the rain can deteriorate it. Then, that night, Yolanda Vega comes on and starts reading out the numbers… One – by – one, your numbers are called. In your hand is the lone winning ticket. What do you do?

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Are you going to go on Instagram Live and tell everyone you know that you’re in your home, sitting there, with a $500 Million Dollar winning lottery ticket? Will you snap it? Make a boomerang of you jumping up and down?

I know what I always say… I’m not telling a single soul until this check is signed, cashed and the money is deposited into my account. Even THEN, I will be very selective about who I share what with because I don’t want to invite chaos into my life.

Now, we aren’t talking about a lottery ticket or money, we are talking about someone you share a deep human bond with. Someone who isn’t blood-related, but made a conscious decision to come into your life and stay there. For all the wonderful, special and intimate moments we share, they are ours and just like that piece of paper – it could be gone in a second. WE are the most valuable thing I have. The time and energy I have put into my marriage cannot compare to anything else I have ever worked for in my life. No, I will not be putting that on display for anyone to judge, monitor, pick apart, fantasize about or wish ill towards. Never really have, can’t see that changing anytime soon.

I will let you know that my husband is and has always been my biggest supporter. He has cheered me on from the sidelines for 20 years. When I told him that people were worried that I was showing too much skin, he told me “GO HARDER NEXT TIME”. It is true, “There is nothing SEXIER than a CONFIDENT woman”, and he has reminded me of this time and time again. 

We didn’t last 19 really good years by chance, it was and still IS work. It is compromising on things I would rather not, it’s being flexible about stuff that I would typically stand firm on, and it is always being supportive of things that I may not even understand but I trust that he is making choices in OUR best interest.

Rome said something to me a few weeks ago and it really made me feel like every single sacrifice I made was worth it… “I couldn’t have picked a better mother for Chloe, wife for me, or role-model for our family. You gave up everything until you literally had nothing left to give, it didn’t go unnoticed. So, if that means you want to go out and catch up on missed time, go. This freedom was earned and if anyone deserves it – it’s you.”

I took it to heart and I am doing exactly that. So, this blog is dedicated to him, for knowing me better than anyone and accepting me as I am, even as it evolves.

I love you.

D & J FOREVER!

(Chloe close your eyes, mom and dad are gonna kiss now!)

 

 

#AnasTourDay919

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This Blog is in Memory of ALL the F*CKS We USED to GIVE, may they REST IN PEACE!

I know, it sounds harsh, but it had to be said. Ana, my best friend, is a real one. So, it is only fitting to announce that A. It is her Birthday 9-19-19, at 9:19:19 and B. When it is her BIRTHDAY it feels like it is MY BIRTHDAY. Let me explain this about Ana, her energy matches my energy and we function on the same frequency.

We don’t have much in common, never really did. We have totally different upbringings, she’s a spicy Latina and I am, well Spicy but not a Latina. By the time we met, we were already on different paths with our personal lives. She was independent and had a son and was pregnant with her first daughter, Nhea. I was living with my parents and childless. Eventually, her crew grew to her plus 4 Azhel, Nhea, Nhaya and Julian and my crew was 1 Chloe, and done. We parent differently, watch totally different tv shows, live over an hour away from each other and even dress in a totally different fashion, her weaknesses are my strengths and vice versa. She is the yin to my yang.

Despite all those things we don’t have in common, we can have a total blow-up and then talk the next day as if it never happened. Ana has brought me and left me right out on Front Street without a map to find my way home, just to make me see something about myself that I needed to see. There is a zero-tolerance policy on lying or secrets between us. I love that most. Ana-Banana can tell me things that NOBODY else has permission to tell me. Above all, I know she is the one that I can call at any time of day or night with the tears, my secrets, my celebrations and she never sends me to voicemail, hits decline or “forgets” to text back. That is how WE operate. We have both had hard fucking times, but we never let each other stay down. So today, we celebrate.

Ana must have at least 10 of us out here talking about “she’s my best friend” and I can promise you that she is a best friend to each and every one of us. Do I get jealous, not anymore. (If we are being honest, I used to!) Everyone I have ever introduced her to has loved her, so I understand why this happens. She has a magnetic personality, she is gorgeous and if you know her – you already know – she  is   hysterical!

Her birthday is a Palindrome, which is a fancy way of saying that the number is the same when you write it forward or backward. (They say to learn something new every day, I might have just saved you from trying to do that, you can thank me NOW.) She is a VIRGO which, to me, is the Zodiac sign that I find myself most connected with.

So, why did I decide that this was the birthday to say RIP to the F*CKS WE USED TO GIVE? I will tell you why. There is one huge flaw we have in common… WE CARE TOO MUCH! We are over givers, overdoers, overthinkers, over workers and now we are OVER IT. We are going to enjoy this blessing, another year of life and health. It is so important that we pause and take the time out to enjoy life.

THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL, this is the show! So, if this BLOG is about anything, it is me telling you to “Find You A Friend… Like ANA!” and savor each and every second you get to share on this EARTH!

Here is a link to a video I made her years ago on her birthday and other videos of us when we just randomly picked up and drove to Atlantic City for the night or that time she fell at work and hurt herself but all I could do was laugh (after I made sure she was OK, OK!).

That’s what you call BEST FRIEND shenanigans. I love you BESTIE.

HAPPY TOUR DAY!

Ana’s Birthday Video!

Atlantic City Ana

Slippin Fallin Can’t Get UP – Ana FALLS

 

Dee-Dee-Dehydrated

A Story of Romance, Tequila, and Sunrises

It’s NYFW and if you aren’t aware of what that acronym is, I will let it slide and tell you that stands for “New York Fashion Week”. It isn’t for the faint of heart, or people like me who think “Fashion” should be affordable but most importantly, comfortable. I know that I am not everybody’s cup of tea, for instance, “sneakerheads” cringe when they see me in my Classic all white K-Swiss. That is just one of my collection of 2 pair of sneakers. The other pair is my “fancy” going out sneakers, Adidas Cloudfoams. Combined I might have paid $120 for them.

I get there is an entire community of people who wait in lines, buy to resell and even pay the plug a retainer to make sure they have the next hottest sneaker the day it drops. Trust me, I live with someone who has taken an entire spare bedroom and lined it from the “WINDOW TO THE WALL” (Lil’ Jon Voice), floor to ceiling with nothing but sneaker boxes, some unworn and others that are “specifically for that one outfit, you know, with the shirt that has the neon green reflector patches”, and this is my life.

I am in New York City on my way to a writers workshop, one that I have wanted to go to for a very long time and it is during fashion week, I park and proceed with my plans. Nothing out of the ordinary here, just a day to myself. I decided that I was most comfortable in my sweats, cropped hoodie (which I was told is unbecoming of a 40-year-old woman to wear) and slides – I am talking FURRY SLIDES. Yes, this is my idea of a day in the city apparel.

slides

*Note the cream pants and the white slides. I didn’t even try y’all…

I digress.

So, I absorb what I can and when the workshop ends I call a friend who is in the city working and ask her if she wants to link up for a quick bite. Here is what you need to know about me, I am Vegan, so eating is a whole to-do with others – so I avoid it at all costs. Plus, I stopped drinking years and years ago. I mean, I don’t even have a glass of wine with dinner. So, I am not much fun when it is “let’s go grab a drink time” and I am on my Seltzer shit. Listen, when I was sick, I figured it would be best to stay away from anything toxic and to me, that meant meat, alcohol, hookah (plus smoking of any sort), staying out late, avoiding crowds and the like.

I find a place that will satisfy both of our dietary needs, Mexican, my favorite! Now, let’s not forget, I am in my sweatsuit and furry slides. I have NO business being in public like this, but it is what it is – I say fuck it. I have lived 40 years on this earth and I am not really sure I care much about what people think of my fashion choices. Actually, IDGAF. And that, my friends, is an acronym for “I DON’T GIVE A F*CK”.

We meet up and walk through the doors of the restaurant. I am so excited to see this person, that I am completely smitten. This is the “romance”. This is when I think about how much I miss seeing the people I love. I want to bite their faces off when I see them. I know, it’s bad. I literally want to crawl into their skin and live there for a bit, so I can feel fully and truly connected to them and make up for the lost time. I don’t know how it happened but I have some of the most amazing people in my life. After I practically squeeze the life out of her, we proceed into this hole in the wall restaurant.

Well, forget what I said above, I am now in a full-blown panic. I tell my friend “I think I should go home, I look CRAZY!” I am not kidding either. I got my loving and now I can leave. Guess what, I actually care about how I look. Apparently, I care so much that I am getting physically ill at the thought of being seen in public. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. Suddenly, I have no escape, the hostess turns around and says “how many?”, we make eye contact and she looks at me, I am talking from HEAD to TOE. I die a little inside.

The hostess is a beautiful young 20-something, wearing an all-black outfit, a ponytail, and modest makeup. She smiles, “Oh. Wow!” she says. I have NO idea where she is going with this and I am in front of someone who will forever remind me of the day I got made fun of at the Mexican restaurant by the hostess. This “Oh. Wow!” is followed by “I love your look, it is SUPER stylish,” she says. I swallow hard, looking for the cameras – this must be a joke. She squeals “YOU ARE SO CUTE” as she turns her back and takes us to our seat. At this point, I am looking at my friend like, is this real life? The hostess, who is now my IDOL, leads the way as my friend tells the story of me trying to skip out on dinner because I thought I looked ridiculous. At this point, we are all laughing, not sure why.

We get seated and I can feel it… Am I alone here? Have you ever been super uncomfortable and dreading something and then one little thing happens and your entire vibe changes? This girl, in all her splendor, MADE MY NIGHT. A night that almost didn’t happen – went until 5 am.

I went from (lower case) level 2 Dee-Dee to (ALL CAPS) LEVEL 10 DAY-DAY. That was all I needed to hear, I looked CUTE. Girl, stop. NO, tell me more!

The waiter comes, I am like “HAYYYYYYYYYYY, FUN Dee-Dee in the HOUSE!!!” he looks at me like he has no time for my shenanigans. I get serious, “I will take a margarita”, and do I ever. I suck that baby down before the food comes. I proceed to drink my friend’s margarita because they aren’t coming in fast enough and just like that, I am on my worst behavior. Loud, obnoxious, laughing out loud at everything, whispering in my loud voice.

It was fun, I can’t lie to you. I was really trying to tone it down but, the way my brain is set up… I couldn’t!

This is my life.

When it comes to fashion, I will be the first to admit, I am not going to become the “OOTD” Instagram ICON. (ootd = outfit of the day). There are a few very important things that I believe deeply in, I have listed them below and I stand firm in my belief system.

  1. Accessories – I think nothing of spending money on bags, scarves, sunglasses, eyeglasses, and jewelry. ALL of these are considered INVESTMENTS to me. I have purses from 1998 that hold up today.
  2. A collection of denim in every shade and fit. I will wear overalls, distressed boyfriend jeans or jeggings. As long as I have jeans in my closet, I am happy. Me, personally, I wear American Eagle jeans, they fit my mom-bod best.
  3. Sweat – ANYTHING. I am talking about, sweatpants, joggers, sweatshirts, sweaters. I am a summer person so it is hard to admit that I miss only one thing during the summer that I get the other 9 months of the year… HOODIE SEASON! If you are reading this, mark my words, I will be sent off into my next life in a hoodie. If I am not, then SOMEONE (Tracey, my sister) didn’t follow my End of Life ARRANGEMENTS… I just need to know that if there is life after this, I am comfortable and CUTE!

HENCE, this is why I need to stay home my people. You need to understand, I have only 2 modes.

  1. Netflix on my sofa
  2. TURNT TF UP – (TF = The F*ck)

That’s it and it’s like a lightswitch, I go from one extreme to the other. That was Tuesday night, I am still paying for it. Moderation, that is the word of the day. I need to learn to do things in moderation. I want to go out, do things and enjoy my life without the consequences of the monster I refer to as “Dee-Dee Dehydrated”.

Dee-Dee Dehydrated is all the things I dislike being. A grumpy baby with dry skin. Short and mean. Snippy, nauseated, emotional (this includes crying for no reason), headachy and stuck in the fetal position in a YouTube rabbit-hole that started so innocently with “kittens playing with strings” and ended up being “flesh-eating bacteria found on high-end hotel room tv remote turns mans limbs to tree trunks”.

I am happy to say that my daughter, Chloe, is loving college and I think that is why I am able to enjoy myself without any guilt or worries. She is adjusting and so am I…

Well, that is all folks. Until next time of course! Dee-Dee Dehydrated SIGNING OFF!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I lost 65 Pounds…

So, if you follow me on Social Media, @LaDolceDeeDee on IG, you might notice something drastically different about the way I look. No, I didn’t get rid of my RAVEN HAIR VIXEN look, I think I will always have BLACK HAIR! No, I still haven’t decided to chop off my hair or get that “Wavy Beach Perm” they had in the August issue of Cosmo WAVY PERM in 2019??? 

So, what is the big difference? Well, I lost weight. Now, before you all ask me “how’d you do it” I am going to let you in on the BIG SECRET… I have NO secret. Sorry. I know that is a HUGE disappointment. I know when I was 70 pounds heavier, I was asking everyone for their “secrets” and I heard it all…

Counting calories, working out 5 days a week, intermittent fasting, yadda yadda yadda. I heard it all and did none of it.

First off, I have been a vegetarian for quite a few years. That was a decision I made for 3 reasons.

1. the environment

2. because I got a puppy and realized that there was NO WAY I could ever eat another living creature again

3. Vanessa Morales posted a video of cows feeling the grass and it truly fucked my head up. Cows Feeling Grass

That is the actual 3 reasons why I stopped eating animal. I am a FRIENDS not FOOD Advocate.

Losing weight was a fluke. I have been sick for years, battling a BAD flare-up of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and taking handfuls of medication every day that was ravaging my body. At first, the medicine made me blow up, then it started to do all the other things like hurt my stomach, make my blood pressure spike up, cause ringing in my ears, blur my vision and so on… Besides all that, I wasn’t feeling better AT ALL. Eventually, they realized there was a rapid degeneration of my bones and my body was getting deformed – literally. So, my team of doctors decided we needed to take a more aggressive approach, we were talking surgery now to correct some major damage done.

The thought of surgery scared me, I was not healthy enough to have surgery so there was a BIG worry if I didn’t lose weight I could be risking even more. My blood pressure was so high at one point that I was unable to get out of bed for days. I decided that I was going to try to become a Vegan, it was the natural progression after vegetarianism. I was in so much pain I lost any appetite I had and having been pulled off the majority of the medications, especially the steroids, the weight just started to drop off me.

If you read to the end, I might put a few “before and after pics” for you to see what 65 pounds off a body can look like.

It was a combination of my sickness, becoming a vegan and nerves that made it happen. I was losing more and more mobility every day and that scared me. I needed to get this surgery and when it was to the point that I couldn’t walk at all, it happened.

I am now 4 months post spinal surgery and officially 65 pounds down as of my last doctor visit. I don’t do scales so I had NO idea how much I lost, nor did I care.

So, what happens when you lose that much weight in such a short period of time? I can say a few things about that. Everyone accuses me of getting weight loss surgery, which I don’t think there is ANY shame in, but I didn’t do it – and I am an open book… If I did it, you’d know. I get a lot of “you look sick” comments, which I find hysterical. Nobody EVER said I looked sick when I was hitting 200 lbs WHEN I WAS ACTUALLY SICK! So, if you are one of those people, think before you speak, that is just silly. I am nowhere near my doctors “goal weight” of 110 lbs (for my height).

Here is the deal, getting sick and losing the weight was what triggered my weight loss and if I had the choice of being HEALTHY AND HEAVY, I would probably never have thought twice about it. I have been more active in the 4 months since surgery than I had in the 4 years leading up to it, so I know that this was a blessing in disguise.

My advice for anyone who is stuck in a weight rut, don’t beat yourself up. Health is the most important thing you can have. If you are at a point where you know you have done everything possible and need medical intervention, do not be shamed out of it. Nobody else has to live inside your body. You do what YOU need to do. If you have not tried it all, then start giving new things a go! I see people having success on “fad” diets and the reason it may work for them is because EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT! Whatever you do, do not take your body for granted. Don’t be content with just getting up in the morning, turning 40 and having this new lease on life has me realizing that I wasted many years in that unhappy and unhealthy body – despite my illness I should have taken steps to prevent my weight gain or get it under control.

This isn’t a dress rehearsal, this is the SHOW! There are no do-overs, at least that I know of… So, BREAK A LEG… (not literally – OK!)

Below are photos of the same month last year versus this year.

 

 

 

Rebirth of Slick…

August 20, 2019

Today, today is exactly 7 days away from “Move-In” Day. A bittersweet thought. Am I proud of my daughter for continuing her education? OF COURSE! We are still getting Acceptance Letters, months after we made our deposit to NJCU in Jersey City, New Jersey. She was just accepted into Barry U located in Miami Shores, which sounded like a DREAM to me but she’s set on being near New York City for internship and career opportunities, so Jersey City it is!

What will change in the next seven days? What will my house look like when we go from three humans to 2 humans? Will it feel empty? I usually come home to some really loud music playing on a speaker in her room, that’s how I keep my youthful edge and know all the words to Chief Keef and Lil Uzi Vert songs. When “NO CAP” became a phrase in my regular vocabulary, I needed her there to laugh at me and remind me that this wasn’t MY time. There is so much to think about, so little time to figure it all out.

I love watching the news with her. Asking her about current events and letting her explain her thoughts on politics, modern-day feminism and the water crisis plaguing communities across the nation. We didn’t always waste time laying around and laughing, she was my best friend for almost 19 years. She lived inside of me and then when she was outside of me, she would’ve crawled under my flesh to get back inside – that is how close we are… There is a very specific relationship when it comes to “only children” and siblings who have large age gaps, the primary caregiver usually is relied on for more than the basics – she relied on me to play with her, to watch Spongebob marathons until we both knew the words to every episode. I can still sing along to “It’s the BEST DAT EVERRRRR” and even worse the entire High School Musical soundtrack. I was a ballerina with her when she got Bella Dancerella, I did it all.

We can joke that “she’s only going an hour away” but if you drive in New Jersey, you know damn well that I could spend 15 minutes getting to the area and then at least an hour getting through Jersey City and forget looking for parking. So, don’t act like I am exaggerating. I am used to having her close enough that I trip over her. I know, I am carrying on, but I am pretty sure that is what we do during these times. Right?

I cry – a lot. Ask my sister who is usually the one who has to listen to said crying. What good does crying do? I end up with swollen eyes, a headache and it seems irrational. I don’t cry in front of Chloe (usually) but there are days when she catches me off guard, like yesterday. What was it? OH! I was walking around the house slouched over, a lot on my mind. She asks “Are you ok?” and I say “Yes! Why?” so she laughs, points at me and says “Look at you”. I look down, my loose bun falls out, hair tie hits the floor. I realize I am in big underwear that no longer fit me, a tee-shirt that is falling off my shoulders that I so cleverly knotted with a scrunchy and I am wearing two different flip flops, one black one white. “It looks like you are depressed” she giggles. As if that is a laughing matter.

INSERT AWKWARD SILENCE.

“No Chloe, I am not depressed” I snap back, “Can EVERYONE just give me some time to process things, this is a lot for Mom.” INSERT TEARS (both as I type right now and as I spoke those words to her) Referring to myself in the third person is a good indicator that I’ve lost my shit. Everyone, who is everyone? EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU that is who. I am blaming everyone for me feeling the total opposite of what I am supposed to be feeling right now.

I know what you’re thinking too… If you follow me on social media, @LaDolceDeeDee, you are probably reading this like… Hmmmmm, I thought it was “HOT GIRL SUMMER” for Dee-Dee and what happened to “LIVING MY BEST LIFE”. Smoke and mirrors people. ROSE. COLORED. GLASSES. I hide a lot.

For the next 7 days, I will be posting here – the highs and lows of this all. What to expect when you are NOT expecting. Something for me to look back at as a sort of time capsule if you will. A diary of sorts.

“I got seven reasons, I don’t got four, five, six.” (070 Shake)

Today the reason I write is… I am heartbroken.

 

August 21, 2019

6 days to go… I cried myself to sleep last night. My husband, Jerome, had to do some work in the city so he left at about 5 pm and I never heard him come back in and Chloe left for the movies by 6 pm.

To keep myself occupied, I grabbed my recyclable grocery bags and shot over to the farm. Then hit up Stop & Shop. As I stood in the “Toiletry Aisle” just staring at the 100’s of brands and scents of deodorant I began to weep. I think to myself, “if someone else uses her deodorant, she will be so upset, I better buy a few” but I cannot remember which one was HER one.

I am overwhelmed and unsure about everything I know about my life when a man walks past me and we make eye contact. “Freddie” I whisper, embarrassed because I wonder if he will recognize me with a scarf tied into a knot on my head, denim overalls and glasses on.

He stops, “Dee-Dee, oh my God” and we hug.

When I left North Bergen, I lost contact with so many people. He was one of them. Through social media, we were able to reconnect and I eventually became friendly with his wife as well. A few years back, both he and his wife disappeared from my social media feeds and I never did see or hear from them again. I have done that at times, taken breaks from interaction with people through “devices” so I thought nothing of it until I saw his face that moment.

From what I could last recall, they lived 2 hours away from this little town where I reside. In my head, there was absolutely no reason he would be standing in my local grocery store.

The universe aligned.

We spent the next 30 minutes catching up on life. So much has happened for us both and it was a great conversation with someone who, I admit, I didn’t agree with on many things – especially politics. We laughed and yes, we both cried – a lot has happened in a few years. Finally, we exchanged numbers so we can try to get our families together at some point and then went our own ways.

He told me he is not embarrassed to admit he has crystals at home, because of me. He too believes in their powers. He meditates every night and is manifesting all good things. My friend Anayra, who I refer to as my “Goo” aka Guru, always says to be your true self because you never know who is watching or taking notes, you never know who you might be impacting or guiding down a path of enlightenment. She is right, as usual.

He was watching and emulating some of the things I do for my wellbeing so that he can create a more peaceful existence for himself and his family.

When I was standing in that aisle, eyes welled up with tears because I couldn’t remember my daughters specific deodorant, I felt so useless. I could hear Kanye, “YOU DON’T HAVE THE ANSWERS SWAY” in my head. Then, the universe intervened.

I walked out of the store with a smile and no deodorant. I think I will just let her handle that. I have to keep reminding myself, I am so much more than a mom. I have a whole identity outside of that title. I needed him standing right there in front of me to remind me of this, the universe aligns and things work out. This is just the beginning.

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August 22, 2019

5 Days Until College…

Today I woke up in a glorious mood. I got a great night of sleep, despite the 2:30 am a phone call from my baby to tell me she made it to her destination safely! I never mind a call from her. Nobody else better try it though. Once she was in, I was able to get another six hours straight sleep.

I have been back on my seven-step skincare regiment and it is time-consuming, but I have the time, and it is paying off. I know this is going to sound crazy, so bear with me, but… I have a friend on Instagram who I only actually know through Instagram. She isn’t a total stranger, I know she knows my daughter but we message all the time. She is constantly asking about my skin which makes me feel amazing. It’s the little things people. So, today I took a selfie in the bright sunlight and slid into her DM’s. She just gets me and now has me convinced that I do not look my age which could be dangerous. If I don’t look my age, why act it? AM I RIGHT? (What do 40-year-olds act like anyway?)

 

August 23, 2019

4 Days Until College…

August 23rd, a very special day in my life, the day my little girl was brought into this world. She is 18 years old today. Officially “an adult” but, I am not quite sure that is the way I see it. She will always be my baby. With all the madness surrounding college, the money we’ve spent the last few weeks and the exhaustion of getting things settled – I decided that I would getaway for the weekend. My niece, Latoya is 36 weeks pregnant and tonight is her baby “sprinkle” in Atlanta, GA. I am so honored to be the Godmother of her third child, Baby Ayah who is due to arrive in a few weeks. I just ran into, not 1 or 2 but 3 friends in Newark Airport. I love random encounters and it seems I am having more and more of them lately. I usually make a big deal about my daughter’s birthday, but this time around it seems like COLLEGE is the BIG DEAL. I asked Chloe if she minded me missing her 18th Birthday and she gave me her blessing. So, as much as it sucks being away, I am going!

My sister is with me, Tracey is so great party prepping and planning. I swear, she missed her calling as an event planner. Everything looks pristine.

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My niece has a beautiful home, custom-built to her liking. I am so proud to see all she has accomplished as a young entrepreneur. She is in the Entertainment business and if you aren’t following her yet, what are you waiting for? (@LatoyaForever on IG and link to Youtube in her BIO)

https://youtu.be/wZ4mxKtJxIQ Latoya Forever Vlog

We celebrate until about 2 am, which at 40 feels like I am “breaking night”. The party *which is also on YouTube (links below) was amazing!

I found out, Chloe ate her first Philly Cheesesteak today in Philadelphia. Thank you Ish!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!

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August 24, 2019

3 Days Until College

Oh, my sister. She loves me the most. I swear, all she wants to do it relax but I am up and already writing. I am excited to explore Atlanta. There is so much to do and only 24 hours left to do it all! Tracey was very excited about the “European Breakfast Buffet” in the hotel, I wasn’t sure what that meant so I did a little poking around on the World Wide Web, apparently it’s cured meats and cheeses, so this Vegan walked her ass to the CIRCLE K and bought a SABRA Hummus pack and called it a day.

One of my nearest and dearest friends, Tara, moved to Atlanta years ago and she just dropped her son off at college in Florida. She is a whole 4 hours away from him, meanwhile, I am crying for about 1 hour – so I am going to act solid today! She said she hadn’t cried once. It took about 15 minutes of us chatting poolside for us both to be sobbing and my sister laughing at us while gripping her heart because as a mother, she just gets it.

I sneak in a little “siesta” and then my sister and I hit the town. Atlanta has great energy, lots of things to see! Being from the city, having even lived in New York for a short time, it takes a lot for another city to impress me but it sure did the job. More than anything, I was grateful today. I am in great health, I can not only walk but run through a park for fun. I am with my sister who I have an amazing relationship with and my family is all healthy and happy. What more on EARTH can I ask for? It is a blessing. What a time to be alive!

August 25, 2019

2 Days Until College

It’s Sunday. I fly home. I cook and clean. I go to bed!

August 26, 2019

1 day Until College

Shit is so real. It is a Monday, which is my busy day in the office. We do some last-minute things like laundry and shopping. I watch her as she is packing. I have watched her pack for trips across the world, summers in Canada but this packing is much more thought out. She is packing with a purpose. She keeps handing me stuff to fold “good” and I love that she thinks I am such an impressive folder. I remember how much I loved folding her baby clothes, delicate and tiny. I ask her “will you sleep with mommy tonight?” and she looks over with a laugh, “yes mom, I will sleep in your bed”. I make her promise.

As we load up the car, nobody is saying anything. It is an awkward silence and I don’t like it at all. My husband typically takes on the role of the clown, but he is just quietly organizing the bins in our two trucks. I have never seen him like this, I never really considered his emotions much during this process. I start to feel guilty about that, so I stop to hug him on the lawn. Tears begin to stream down my cheeks and settle into his sweatshirt. “Come on, don’t cry in front of her… You have to be strong for her” he reminds me. I wipe away my tears and hide behind the truck until I pull it all the way together. I got this.

That night, Chloe and I cuddle while her father is out. Even though she ended up sleeping in her bed, I was able to hold onto her real tight for a few minutes and it was just fine. She is going to be just fine. I will be JUST FINE.

MOVE-IN DAY!

August 27, 2019

This is the moment we waited for, the moment she worked so hard for and I’d be lying if I said I was just sad. The truth is, as much as I am sad that she is going to sleep somewhere else tonight, I am so insanely proud. Let’s rewind 19 years, shall we? I can remember telling people I was pregnant and their reactions were so negative. Everyone counted me out. They counted her father out, and we are going on 20 years together. We would just end up another statistic, right? WRONG.

This isn’t some premature VICTORY LAP, I know this is just the start of this journey but she is taking a journey I never even CONSIDERED. College was “not for me” and nobody ever argued that with me except Mr. Steinberg, my High School English Teacher. That man insisted I had a talent and I would waste it if I didn’t go to college. My talent, writing.

The move-in was so organized and she had everything she needed. The dorm is more like a luxury apartment. She is in her element, I can see it immediately. This puts me at ease. My racing heart calms a little and it becomes fun. Meeting her suitemates and seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces. The DJ playing great music so everyone is moving with intention, I loved how the place was buzzing. Before I could even take it all in, she was set up and settled in. There was nothing left for mom and dad to do except say our good-byes.

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She walks us to the parking lot, she knows that we cannot do this in front of a crowd or it’ll go viral. Outside of the NJCU West Village Campus, I tell her, once again, how proud I am to be HER mother. I recite a line from “our song” to her in my best Nikki Minaj voice “GREATNESS IS WHAT WE ON DA BRINK OF” and we hug it out. I assure her that my tears are ALL tears of elation. Jerome shares a moment with her and then, the three of us hug. This hug lasts a little longer than most and it is a little tighter. As she begins her walk back to her building, she doesn’t look back. As soon as she is out of sight I make eye contact with my husband. I slowly begin to slide down the car door. My butt is on the hot black pavement and my back is against the truck. My head slumped between my knees. I am crying so hard it is inaudible. My husband successfully pulls me up and into his arms. We embrace and he assures me that this is the first day of the best of our lives. We laugh at my scene, it was dramatic and I am so glad she missed it. Once I can see again through these swollen eyes, we get into our cars and begin our solo journeys. Me, I go to work, why miss a day. Him, he goes sleep for the first time in 30 hours.

I have been inundated with messages of love. Thank you. Today was one of the best days in my life, despite the ache in my heart I am beaming with pride.