Strength

A Mother's Nightmare

Although the holidays were filled with lots of love and laughter. My Thanksgiving night ended in me giving more thanks then I could ever imagine. To me this was my worst nightmare as a parent, and a reminder of my constant strength and vulnerability.

Thanksgiving evening my youngest daughter Karter, 2, was attacked by a dog. Not the average she runs and is chased, or nearly bitten. She was mulled and attacked. Here I am helping my oldest daughter fold laundry, Karter who is behind me playing like her usual self, suddenly screams. My reaction time was immediate, I looked over my shoulder and witnessed my brother's pit bull mix tightening his jaws around her scalp.

In those quick seconds, I didn't scream, I didn't shout. My body went into full attack mode, and all I could think of was "I have to save by baby". Thank God my mother was by my side, she begin to tighten the collar around the dogs neck, as I kicked and pulled my daughter away from his mouth. Here I am a mother, whose mother was protecting me, and still to my rescue. Look at God! My husband rushed as he heard my oldest daughter screaming for help, but because it happen so fast she was already loose. His reaction was to kill the dog, my reaction was just to hold Karter who was screaming with blood dripping from her body as well as my older daughter who was also traumatized from what she had just witnessed. 

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed

I don't know if there was a thought or light bulb that cut on. But my demeanor was calm and collective because my need was driven to soothe her wailing body. I kept reminding her that she was safe, and that I was sorry. I felt a huge sense of guilt, thoughts going in my head such as I could have watched over her more, or why did I allow her to be by a dog. Once everyone was calm we rushed to the hospital. Karter stayed in my arms. She had suffered through multiple abrasions to her skin, bruising, received stitches in her scalp, and was clearly traumatized and in pain. I was close to losing my shit (excuse me). But I felt so hopeless and so powerless in those moments of witnessing her pain.

But when I say God has a plan....Dr. said she would be okay, and that these things happen to children. My husband praised me for my strength and power of composure and security. He even asked me "how did you remain so determined". I didn't know how to answer. It was this innate ability that came out of me,  the same ability that helped me push her out of my belly. 

"No one knows what you have been through or what your pretty little eyes have seen, but I can reassure you--whatever you have conquered, it shines through your mind"

Life is precious. There are days I take motherhood for granted. Days that in my head I ask myself what was I thinking, or I just need a break from this commitment. This motherhood ship is not easy sailing. When I thought I was on top of my game, God reminded me there is always room for growth. My baby girl was attacked not because I don't love her but because as parents we don't always get it 100% right. 

Every mistake, every wrong turn, every experience is a lesson. A lesson for me to be kinder, stay stronger, try harder, and keep hoping. I had blood all over my shirt because Karter stayed in my arms through the entire experience. It was like she knew that in my arms she would be safe. I pray that feeling never goes away.....

I will always be here to save you baby girls.

Thank you to my online and offline village who have kept me encouraged through this entire process by sending text, calling, visiting, and most importantly praying for Karter and my family. I absolutely love each and every person who held us in your heart.  

Reasons I quit my job, but didn't quit Corporate America

Let's start here....

God makes no mistakes. I remember stories from family members and my mother in particular who would share how much of a caregiver I was growing up. My mother told detailed stories of me never wanting to play with baby dolls, but wanting to watch and carry the "real babies" via my little cousins or babies around me. I've always been a rescuer. Wanting to help those in need, not truly understanding how to help, but had a gift for gab, so I begin to just talk to people for comfort, or listen to provide a ear. 

It was natural for me to become a social worker. In highschool I remember my dream of wanting to be a dancer and brain surgeon. Both having nothing in common, and both not fulfilling any direct need that I had. Of course I started that journey and realized early on in my college career that I wanted to be a do-er. I wanted to help heal, I wanted to use my craft of talking and listening just like "God" did to make the world right again. Boy did I have some things to learn.

I grew up in a area that some would consider the "ghetto".  Surrounded by community violence, liquor stores, and failing school districts. But the way my mother raised me I never felt the madness of the world. She kept me safe, and provided my brothers and I with stability. I am forever grateful for her shield that protected me, but more importantly her very innocent way of modeling for me a self made queen. She knew I would do great things, and encouraged me to reach my highest potential despite the circumstances around me.

And that's exactly what I did or planned to do! I excelled in school, earned myself a scholarship to The Ohio State University, where I journeyed into a social service degree or what college calls it, Sociology. I birthed my oldest daughter Kennedy my last year in school, and it was at her birth my passion for wanting to be the best mother I could me drove me to wanting to learn more about parenting and ways to continue to help children. Fast forward...after working with underprivileged children, teenagers addicted to drugs and alcohol for 7 years. I had suddenly felt stuck. Was I reaching my full potential, was I doing all that I knew I was capable of? I continued to hear my mother, who would always ask, is there anything more you can do?

It sure didn't feel like it, so I decided to take advantage of my employers tuition reimbursement program and enrolled in a Social Work Masters program at the same university I received my undergraduate degree. Social work continued to feel right, yes I knew I would be underpaid, and yes I knew I would be looked down upon in the professional world. But it fueled a fire in me, and the rewards of seeing people healed through my assistance continue to guide my heart. My heart was also driven to wanting more children of my own. So what did I do? My last year in the same fashion as my first daughter, I birthed and graduated with my second daughter Karter. 

Blessed enough to have an opportunity in school to intern in one of the most prestigious hospitals in the nation. And what was more fascinating was the discovery of prevention work. I found practices to prevent cycles of generational trauma, early childhood mental health. It was captivating seeing the connections of mental wellness being made from prenatal to adulthood. It was also knowledge that was beneficial for all children, which provided me with parenting skills I could use on my own children. God continued to shine light on my passion and I was offered a job at that same hospital right after having my daughter as an early childhood mental health professional. But oh how I wasn't prepared for this....

My amazing team and friends. My work village. Each barring their special gifts, each touching my life in different ways. The absolute hardest part about leaving. Thank you!

These weren't the same babies I was holding when I was a child. These stories I have never heard before. These stories were filled with horror, trauma, generations of abuse, lack of resources, systems that continued to keep those same children and families underprivileged. Stories that kept me up at night, and mistrustful of the world. Stories that made me over protective as a mother, and emotional unavailable to my spouse. Stories that had me question my own existence and if that same God who was holding me together was real. Well shit got real, and I was experiencing burn out. Finding ways that I could quit. Not because I didn't want to help but because I couldn't help enough. I wasn't strong enough, I wasn't powerful enough, my voice was not loud enough. I just wanted to give up.

Funny how co-workers turned friends hold you up, when you can't hold yourself.

I told myself I wanted to stay home. That the best thing for me to do was find a way to quit and be with my very own babies at all times. Because that was when I felt good, it was the only piece of me I was able to control. And let me tell you, God is an amazing healer, because he was not done with me in the manner that I wanted to shove away. I commend women who stay at home, and I believe it is a beautiful thing to be present in raising your children. I also believe different things drive women differently. Don't get me wrong there is nothing more that I want in life but to be emotional, and physically present for my children. And yes I want a gang of them. But I knew my impact had to be greater. And that my gift of healing with words and lending my ears and hands couldn't be fulfilled by being home. 

So I begin writing, I begin branding, and I begin to preach a message of mental health and wellness. I begin outreaching, connecting, and re-focusing. It was like I was recharging the battery that for a long time was draining out on all the layers of who I was. I begin to plan to do entrepreneur work, and again although this is great for some, it's not for everyone. It doesn't make you weak, and there are some who may devalue those who work in corporate because of there own perceptions. But for me the systems that were failing the people I was trying to help, I knew I needed to be apart of (political move) to begin to make true change. But I stayed patient. I continued to work hard at my job, I also continued to work harder at advocating and educating any and every person I could come in contact with. I stayed diligent. And see this is the power of my village. My husband was my encourager, my daughters were my inspiration, and my family and friends were my strength.

And let me tell you. WON'T HE DO IT!!!! After 6 months of starting my blog, I was met with an opportunity to serve as one of the best school districts mental health specialist. Serving families and children pk-12. I'm not one to brag, but I will absolutely gloat in my glory. Sacrifice, hard work, patience, family and faithfulness to my mission served me well. I am so excited to begin a new journey to be part of a system to make monumental change. I wasn't able to see the light, especially in my darkest days but GOD was. I always say I am doing God's work. I am an true front line solider to the core of me. But now I am in the position to be the lieutenant and I am forever grateful. Each milestone is leading me to a destination. As long as I am moving in a forward direction, I know I am doing something right. The impact I plan to make will be able to carry those stories I heard that gave me nightmares, to places that will give those same children and families their dreams back....

And just to put the icing on the cake. Both my daughters will come to the district with me, receiving the same breaks, and all our summers will be off together. So guess what I will be at home! Win, freaking win!!! I am so happy. Never doubt your ability, and follow your heart despite what those around you try to prescribe. Stay humble and hungry.....and to think he still ain't done (praise hands)

Look to your right...it is the path back home. If you choose, you can take it. It is safe, easy, and comfortable. You do not have to work out or fight or do anything else you do not want to....

Or you can keep moving forward. I will not lie to you. I cannot predict what may become of you. It will require a lot of training, hard work, study, and danger. But in the very end, you will know strength. I swear it. You might just become someone who will make a difference in the world.
— Unknown