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We've Been Parents for a Year

Brooklyn Friday Night: Our crew is waaaaay more fun than your crew.

We’ve Been Parents for a Year

April 12, 2013  |  Culture, Family  |  2 Comments

I’m from the old school. The reactive, post Magic Johnson old school. Where parents, teachers, and media all told me that if I ever had sex, I was going to die. Immediately. Somehow my parents instilled in me a healthy fear of everything.

All of it was out to kill me: the drugs, the MTV, and yes, the sex…

In that world of teenage fire and parental brimstone, the only thing worse than dying immediately from sex was “getting somebody’s daughter pregnant”. (I still hear those words in my father’s judgmental baritone.)

This is how I was conditioned.

One of those "home pregnancy test dad-to-be photos"... 'Cause everybody takes their partner to a meadow to read the pregnancy test.

One of those “home pregnancy test dad-to-be photos”… ‘Cause everybody takes their partner to a meadow to read the pregnancy test. Foolishness.

Though Kass and I were planning to procreate, when the doctor finally delivered the news that we were expecting, I was not one of those “home pregnancy test commercial dads-to-be”… all like, “Oh, honey, we did it!” My conditioning would not allow it. My first reaction was, “My father is going to be PISSED!”

Kass had to remind me that I am in my mid-thirties. Not my mid-teens. (I still told my mama first. Sorry, Pop.)

Our world has been shifting since that moment. When Soleil joined our unit, she brought a universe of experiences and emotions with her. It is hard for me to believe that we have been living this reverie for a full year. Soleil is one-year-old. Kass is amazing, and I am so blessed.

Since blessings have been shining my way, I figure that I’ll use this opportunity to spread love by sharing some insight that I’ve gained on the way.

  1. Everyone has something to teach you. Learn. Since having Soleil, all my friends have had tons of advice. I might (not) have listened. I’ve been most impressed, however, by Soleil’s ability to consistently teach me new things. Listen to the kids.
  2. Read to the people you love. My favorite time of the day is story time. Reading to Soleil and Kass is blissful. I might find some more people and read to them just ’cause. You should too. Seriously. Volunteer at a school, nursing home, mosque, whatever, and read to the people you meet there. Noting builds community like words.
  3. Talk lots. Every time Soleil does something might be the first time she’s ever done it, so we have to explain everything. Explaining everything has made my other relationships positive too. Communication works. Do it.
  4. Don’t get nobody’s daughter pregnant. ūüôā


Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

February 19, 2013  |  Family, Uncategorized  |  5 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.