Category Archives: Relationships

Being a mother…

After 17 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, ‘I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.’

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The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been alone for 20 years, but the demands of my work and my two boys had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.

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That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

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‘What’s wrong, aren’t you well,’ she asked?

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My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

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‘I thought it would be pleasant to spend some time with you, ‘ I responded. ‘Just the two of us.’ She thought about it for a moment, and then said, ‘I would like that very much.’

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That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last birthday on November 19th.

* * *

She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s. ‘I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,’ she said, as she got into that new white van. ‘They can’t wait to hear about our date’.

* * *

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. ‘It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,’ she said. ‘Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favor,’ I responded.

* * *

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation- -nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life. We talked so much that we missed the movie.

* * *

As we arrived at her house later, she said, ‘I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.’ I agreed.

* * *

‘How was your dinner date ?’ asked my wife when I got home. ‘Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,’ I answered.

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A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her.

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Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: ‘I paid this bill in advance. I wasn’t sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates – one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son.’

* * *

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: ‘I LOVE YOU’ and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till ‘some other time.’

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Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you’ve had a baby…. somebody doesn’t know that once you’re a mother, ‘normal’ is history.

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Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct . somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.

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Somebody said being a mother is boring ….. somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver’s permit.

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Somebody said if you’re a ‘good’ mother, your child will ‘turn out good’…. somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.

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Somebody said you don’t need an education to be a mother…. somebody never helped a fourth grader with his math.

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Somebody said you can’t love the second child as much as you love the first …. somebody doesn’t have two children.

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Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery… somebody never watched her ‘baby’ get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten or on a plane headed for military ‘boot camp.’

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Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married… somebody doesn’t know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother’s heartstrings.

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Somebody said a mother’s job is done when her last child leaves home… somebody never had grandchildren.

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Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don’t need to tell her…. somebody isn’t a mother.

Pass this along to all the ‘mothers’ in your life and to everyone who ever had a mother. This isn’t just about being a mother; it’s about appreciating the people in your life while you have them….no matter who that person is.

Blackstar Project: taking back the community

On Saturday, June 7, 2008, at 11:00 am C.S.T, seventy-five courageous, principled and hardworking men–ministers, former gang members, law officers, fire fighters, teachers, construction workers, business owners, social workers, retired elders, community members, and students–will bring this movement of Black men to the community where the mass arrest occurred. Men will come together to walk the streets, talk to the people and bring hope to a community that has not seen much hope.

They will knock on doors, visit youth in schools during the week, take youth to churches on Sundays, play basketball and baseball with young males, teach teenagers how to “hustle legit,” encourage young fathers to take care of their children and encourage young men who have had a brush with the law to finish school, secure gainful employment and remain law-abiding. These Black men will be role models for other Black men around the country to launch a similar Movement of Black Men, while standing up for their communities, their families and their children. Chicago’s Roseland, Woodlawn, Englewood and Uptown communities are also scheduled for this effort

Organizations collaborating to do the work that needs to be done to stop the violence among our youth in Chicago are ABBA Church of Renewed Faith, Afrikan American Council of Islamic Brotherhood, Black Souls Organization, Block Club University, Blyden Delany Academy (Milwaukee, WI), Center for Community Development Initiatives, Citizens for a Safer Community, Hip Hop Detox/L.E.A.R.N Charter School, Kidz Off The Block, P.E.A.C.E., Peoples Army, Ministry Network Coalition, No Limit Ministries, TEECH Foundation, Williams Youth Services, 100 Black Men of Chicago and The Black Star Project.

This effort has no funding. Although funding would help the Movement of Black Men with its overall mission, these organizations are not waiting for foundation or government money before they start their work. We are simply the laborers doing the work that is necessary in the vineyard of Chicago’s mean streets. We are not the police. We will not arrest anyone. Our communities don’t need more policing; they need more strong, positive Black men. And we will not try to be tougher or more macho than the men with whom we will speak in these communities. We want to work with them as we replace the violence and fear in Chicago communities with hope and promise.

Please join us. If men want to participate in this effort or if you want to bring the Movement of Black Men to your city, please email blackstar1000@ameritech.net, call People Acting Responsibly Empowering Neighborhoods Together (PARENT) – 773.285.9600 or visit