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Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Reflection on 2015 Intentionality

I love to write, but I just have not practiced it for a few reasons. I honestly have felt that I don't have anything unique to offer to the world through my writing right now. There are so many blogs that represent the many subgroups and issues that I identify with, and while I think each person's experience is special and of course, unique, why put in Cyberspace if not for the benefit of others? Another reason is that my time as a mommy is taxed. There is no "time off" from mommy-ing, coupled with teaching full time, investing in my marriage, community, and friends, there's not much time left over. I've had the itch though, and if for nothing more than reflection on my own thoughts and growth, I decided to break the dry spell.

The last two weeks have been interesting. Eventful. Extremely eventful. Although it's been filled with more drama than a telenovela, I've really enjoyed it. Unbelievably, the very first night of my Christmas break, I received a phone call from a desperate sounding mom who informed me that my son's birth certificate--which had disappeared exactly a year ago to the date--had been used to apply for a passport. Her son's application was placed with my son's birth certificate. So many questions. How did my son's birth certificate even wind up in a US postal office when we had never applied for a passport? Who's had it for a year? Who took it once the order was placed with the city office that provides birth certificates? I felt scared, vulnerable, and confused. I won't go into the details here (other than that stealing a birth certificate is a class 4 felony), but we did contact several offices, wrote emails, and completed a police report.  What a way to start a break.

The highlight of the trip was a train ride on a sleeper car with Bobby and the boys. They had so much fun, and though they are probably too young to retain the memory, I found tremendous joy in watching their fascination with the train's movement through the landscape, looking for the moon out the window, and pushing buttons and eating in the dining car. We also had a beautifully refreshing and inspiring time with my siblings. I adore my siblings. I'm so proud of the people they have become, and I'm very grateful to my parents for their consistency, structure, intense love in raising us. Time with Mom and Dad was mixed. As always, they went out of their way to give the prepare the best--the best of food in a beautifully clean and organized and bright house, thoughtful gifts for the boys, etc. We had some relational challenges, however, that are still very difficult for my siblings and I to process. I've been reflecting a lot on what it means to age well and to pass through the seasons of life well. It's definitely one of my goals.

I feel good with the intentionality of my choices this year. Although, my choices seemed more like reflex or instinct as opposed to thoughtfully driven by intention. I lost my father and grandmother within weeks. I lost my uncle. It was a very hard year emotionally, but I feel settled and confident in how we invested our time and money to be with family in Detroit to show respect and love. The Christmas trip to Cincinnati on Amtrak was expensive, but I feel confident in the investment that yielded beautiful family memories with Bobby and the boys, deep conversations with Bobby, and sweet, sweet memories with my siblings. I am reaffirmed in my value and commitment to invest my greatest treasures in building with people and the relationships that are most important to me. I am encouraged by the boys' growth. The Lord has really blessed them. They both have such developed language, show such tenderness to each other, and they continue to learn worship songs.

We have many paused conversations and thoughts about Chicago and what it means to live here. How will justice come? What is the future for black men here? Will there ever be victory over the violence? Where are we supposed to be connected and living? Are we living in purpose? How will my career evolve? These are the things we will carry into 2016.