Archive for February, 2013

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

February 19, 2013  |  Family, Uncategorized  |  4 Comments

Seven years ago, Cornelius and I used to ride the train together every morning on our way to work, bring each other hot tea during lunch time, and pop into one another’s classroom at the end of the day to see what our kiddos had been up to.  People used to ask us if we ever got sick of each other, and the answer was always no.  We never did.  Minor, as Cornelius was known then, was as friendly as ever, full of jokes, and it was the ultimate strength to our relationship that we got to share students.  He was the Minor to my Ms. Kass, and we loved it.

If you asked us back then, I’m not sure we would have described our future lives as they are now-Me, still teaching-but this time a Working Mom.  Him, still educating, but this time as a Staff Developer.  Me, fufilling two parent duty and curating the house while Him, enduring grueling 16 hour work days walking around as a famous Black person in China.  This life is one of sustenance, but this shiznit is HARD. For the both of us.

Although this being married on dual sides of the world thing is difficult, we both know the dual sides of the world part is temporary.  And as much tenacity as all this involves, we both know it’s good for us.  We enjoy the challenge.

 

Just yesterday, Cornelius was describing the ride-your-moped to work schtick that was a completely pleasant surprise.  Upon arriving to his hotel, they handed him the keys to as he described it “One of those Chinatown Delivery Bikes”.  And that Shanghai is 8th Ave Brooklyn times 100.  Or, more accurately speaking, times 1,000,000.  The work in itself is no easy task.  There’s all that immense pressure, educational rigor blah blah blah that he has endure.  But it always makes him stronger, brighter.


Cornelius, in his “Rental Vehicle”. Shanghai, China Feb 18, 2013

As for me, Soleil and I completed our first solo jet journey! We went on a three day, two night, Mom and Child adventure to Springboro, Ohio to see my best friend, Kristen, that I’ve been pleased to know since age 11. Soleil is the sweetest, most perfect side kick any mama could ask for.  She basically could coach other babies on the Principles of Good Flying Behavior.  When we arrived to Ohio, we learned the tenants of carseat riding, toddler wisdom (Kristen has a tiny cohort of 3 kids ages 18 months, 3, and 6), and billygoat petting.  Soleil was down with the toddler wisdom, not so much with the carseat and billygoats.  She is definitely our Brooklyn Baby.

Soleil and I, somewhere in the atmosphere between Ohio and New York City, Feb 18, 2013

Soleil and I, somewhere in the atmosphere between Ohio and New York City, Feb 18, 2013

 

While Cornelius is gone, I learn to be dynamic in Mother Wisdom ways that I never thought I would be, or could be.  I know how to clean the catbox ever so gingerly, scooping up disgusting nuggets like a whisper while Soleil naps,waiting 2o minutes in so she doesn’t wake up.  Doing laundry is one of Soleil’s favorite events-the laundry basket turns into a car, with warm, ventilated clothes heaping in beside her.  Taking out the trash is the first leg of the walk to the playground, and doing dishes is part of our breakfast routine.

Although Cornelius and I are challenged and strengthened by the absence of each other, I can’t say that I miss him any less with each trip that approaches.  But I will say with each trip that comes, every day he that is here and that our family is together is approached with complete humility and love.

 

 

 

 

The Ladies In My Life

Kass and I at a fundraiser to end childhood hunger. The ladies in my life keep me on my hustle.

The Ladies In My Life

February 15, 2013  |  Culture, Family  |  No Comments

If you let hip hop in the late 90s tell it, you weren’t much of a guy unless you had 4 gold chains, 8 cars and, like, 9,000 girlfriends. That was the tragedy of the 90s: genius minds that sometimes peddled such ridiculous and ill-informed notions of masculinity. Most of us could see through all that ridiculousness.

My amazing sister-in-law (who knows, like, everything) with Soleil.

My amazing sister-in-law (who knows, like, everything) with Soleil.

While there were a few knuckleheads who were out chasing the flavor-of-the week hottie, me and my crew were more than happy to chill out at the library with our ladies — Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, bell hooks and Angela Davis.

All through middle and high school, I was the hottest dude in the nonfiction section. I knew everybody’s phone dewey decimal number.

Then Love Jones came along and put bougie black nerds on the map. I no longer had exclusive rights to that steez. Brothers bought dictionaries and flooded the libraries. It seemed like all the ladies wanted a literary dude. My personal card catalog aisle became the pre-hookup spot for the emergently articulate dudes who became the first generation of slam poets. Slow talking guys who would burn Nag Champa and accent the last syllable of every word while pretending to be well-read replaced those of us who actually were.

It was a dark time in the empire…

My niece is the only person in the world who likes ALL my jokes.

My niece is the only person in the world who likes ALL my jokes. Her mama — my sister is the one person in the world who knows me best.

Eventually we took our nerd culture back, and as we grew we, as a cohort, began to shed some of our sideways views on masculinity and sexuality. I would like to think that we, as a society, are more inclusive, understanding, and loving than we were. Though I know that that’s a bit of a dream still, I know that I certainly am — in large part because I’ve got a family of strong women (and men) who are constantly challenging me to be the best that I can be.

I’m a real lucky cat, because I got to spend all day yesterday appreciating them. All the love in the world to my partner, Kass and our brilliant daughter, Soleil… My mama and my mom-in-law, and all my sisters. I’ve got a lot to love in this life, and I’m glad that it started with them. Peace.

-Corn

How I Ended Up at Burger King on 4th Ave. (or the random trials and tribulations of MisterMinor)

This was almost my breakfast.

How I Ended Up at Burger King on 4th Ave. (or the random trials and tribulations of MisterMinor)

February 13, 2013  |  Family  |  6 Comments

One thing that I love about Brooklyn kids is that they are not afraid to call you out. As an adult who works with young people, you have to be on your game.

At all times.

This being the case, I should not have been surprised that the first words in homeroom this morning were, “Son, Minor talks all that talk about healthy eating, and I saw him ordering off the dollar menu at Burger King this morning!”

Busted.

I was at Burger King this morning, but y’all making it sound worse than it really was. What had happened was:

  1. …so I might have forgotten to order the groceries this week.
  2. The only breakfast in at the house might have belonged to the baby.
  3. I might even have examined said baby breakfast and thought, “this is edible… and healthy!”
  4. I might have chastised myself for thinking about eating the baby’s food.
  5. Then I might have reminded myself, “I pay the bills here, this is technically MY FOOD!”
  6. Then I might have felt a deep sense of shame – thinking, “Fatherhood is supposed to be about honor, and there is no honor in eating organic baby food for breakfast.”
  7. Shame might have driven me to the dollar menu.

This same sense of shame had me explaining to an incredulous crew of Brooklyn kids that, “sometimes you just need to order a ‘CrossainWich’.”

Today’s Lesson: Integrity means staying out of Burger King — even if there is no food at the house. Peace.

-Corn