The Scoop and the Skinny…A Day of Nyxcitement.

I had thee best time Wednesday! Sit down a spell and I’ll tell you all about my pretty darned awesome experience riding with the Mystic Krewe of Nyx.

me in all my nyx splendor!!

me in all my nyx splendor!!

My riding experience actually began Tuesday with float loading. All of the floats are pulled out of the barn and brought to a place undisclosed to the public. We’re given a 3 hour window to load and/or check our throws. You could feel the excitement around the floats as the sisters were busy getting their throws ready for the big night.  The men were just as awesome as ever….checking to see if anyone needed help carrying throws or putting bike hooks up (we use them to hold throws). We just needed the rain to hold up.

float loading

float loading

float loading time!

float loading time!

some of my nyx sisters getting ready to ride.

some of my nyx sisters getting their float together.

Navy Seal getting my area  hooked up for me!

Navy Seal getting my area hooked up for me!

My nyx sister on the float we'll be riding.

nyx sister on our float.

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Moi

The weather wasn’t looking all that great for us. It rained Tuesday and light showers were expected around our time to roll.

But remember, I said it wouldn’t rain on Nyx the year I rode with them.

And the rain held up!

Wednesday morning  began with a light breakfast at home. I had some last-minute float things to do which took some time so I stayed pretty close to  home until it was time to leave.  Around 10:30 a.m. I dressed in full gear and headed out to the float loading area once again to drop off my decorated purses.

The pre-party began at noon. I arrived around that time and checked  in to enter the hall. Security is very tight at the pre-party and you have to show identification to enter. Once checked in, I received my wristband and I was good to go! The pre-party was off the chain! It was held at Generations Hall … they did a wonderful job. The staff was excellent and there was more than enough food and spirits to keep over 1200 women happy!

Mardi Gras  music filled the hall as the ladies  talked, laughed and enjoyed  being around other nyx sisters.

Our totally amazing Captain and Nyx Sisters.

Our totally amazing Captain and Nyx Sisters.

pre-party fun!

pre-party fun!

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me and my nyx sisters

me and my nyx sisters

A Seas of Sisters

A  Sea of Sisters!

After a while, we could hear the sound of brass in the building. Well, with a brass band in the house, only one thing was  going to happen…

time to second line!

Did you notice all the different color wigs and headdresses? That’s because every year, there is a headdress competition. Each float comes up with an idea that’s related to the theme of their float and create headdresses to wear. There were some pretty spectacular  headdresses…there’s a lot of creativity in the krewe.

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representing my float, CHICKEN CORDON BLEU!  YEAH BABY!!!

representing my float,
CHICKEN CORDON BLEU!
YEAH BABY!!!

The pre-party was about 4 hours long. I enjoyed every last-minute of it. It was wonderful being around so many happy women who were eager to spread that happiness on to the City of New Orleans.  Shortly after the headdress competition, we were called to board the floats. Each float had a designated sister  holding a sign and we followed that person to the float.

That’s when it really hit me!

The waiting patiently to  receive  an invitation to join,  all the hard work and  dedication it takes to create purses..its all been for this moment,

TIME TO RIDE!

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making our way to the floats!

making our way to the floats!

My float mate showing us the way!

My float mate showing us the way!

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Float 16 rocked the night!

A few of float 16 riders with our driver.

Once boarded up  and ready to go, we were escorted by the New Orleans Police Department to the staging area. During this time riders began organizing more of their throws or  just took a minute to take it all in.

I took it all in.

Here’s a short clip I created of the ride and how the floats move to the staging area.

floats at staging area

floats at staging area

This is where the bands and dancing troupes  are waiting to “fall in line” with the floats.

Once we reached the staging area and the band  scheduled to march in front of us fell in line,

IT WAS ON!

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nyx coming down the street.

nyx coming down the street.

Here’s  a clip of the parade coming down the street

We began to throw like crazy to the crowd!  You go through sensory overload with so many people screaming for throws for 5 miles, but I enjoyed every single second of it.

The joy that you see when you give someone a throw is priceless. I particularly loved giving decorated purses to those who did not think they would get one from me.

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The crowd was very gracious!

Posters for purses were everywhere! It was spectacular!

A sinus attack kicked in on me around Lee Circle and by the time I made it to the end of the route, I was toast.

I’d do it all in a heartbeat though…sinus attack and all.

It was just that fabulous!

Thanks to all my wonderful friends,family and readers who came out in the cold to support me and the krewe.  It means so much to me that you were there for my inaugural ride.

The city showed the Krewe of Nyx so much love that night.

I’m  looking forward to many years of riding

with this wonderful krewe,

in this fabulous city.

photo courtsey of Streetcar PR.

photo courtsey of Streetcar PR.

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Nyx Myx Masquerade Ball and King Cake Giveaway

The Mystic Krewe of Nyx’s Nyx Myx Masquerade Ball was held Saturday at the Riverside Hilton.

How do you put such a wonderful event into words?

Words would never capture how awesome the event was so, I’m gonna let some pictures tell most of the story.

The ball was from 7:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.

I know y’all used to seeing the ole’ BayouCreole in jeans and sneakers hanging at the festivals, parades and stuff.

This was a formal affair with mask required. We had to glam it up.

nyx myx ball

nyx myx ball

The ballroom was beautifully decorated. Everyone was given a Krewe of Nyx light up martini glass.

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It wasn’t until I started looking at the pictures the day after the ball did I realize that, the ballroom was decorated to match the Captain’s gown.

Captain Julie Lea, Nyx Goddess II Lauren "fleuty girl" Thom,Board of Directors and Grand Marshall Laura Buchtel

Captain Julie Lea, Nyx Goddess II Lauren “fleuty girl” Thom,Board of Directors and Grand Marshall Laura Buchtel

The evening began with Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres.  It was a great way to mingle and meet so many fabulous Nyx sisters. Everyone looked beautiful.

The presentation of the Float Lieutenants,Grand Marshall,Nyx Goddess,Board of Directors and Captain followed.

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The ladies threw beads as they were presented. I was hit on the head with a bead and became a little misty as I said to myself,

“I was just hit on the head with a bead… it’s REALLY carnival time!”

John Mac’s Marching Trojans ushered the Mardi Gras mood into the room as they played throughout the ballroom.
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The float lieutenants second lined afterwards.  Everyone was so happy…the energy was palpable.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The ball consisted of a seated dinner. I was a little leery of that at first because I’m such a picky eater.

Y’all the food was off the chain!

The main course was Grilled Tenderloin of Beef and Grilled Chicken Medallion,Wine Laced Mushrooms, Wild Rice Risotto and Vegetable Medleynyx1

Dessert followed with a Trio of Flourless Chocolate Cake, Praline Cheesecake and Carrot Cake

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After dinner, it was on and popping!

The Captain and Nyx Goddess changed their outfits. The gowns they wore were so pretty!

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photo compliments of  Lauren Thom

photo compliments of Lauren Thom

Everyone packed the dance floor and partied like crazy!! Music was provided by The Mojeaux’s and they really brought the house down!

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The dance floor STAYED packed!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Even our Nyx Goddess was out there shaking a tail feather!

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We broke out into a huge electric slide! That was a lot of fun considering by that time, a lot of us were pretty liquored up.

 

The guy that has his head turned is actually following me. He couldn’t keep up so I became his wing person…lol

He was so sweet…gave me a big hug after the dance!

Around 1 a.m there was a breakfast buffet. Missed pics of that somehow but it was delicious! Grits, eggs,bacon, sausage, hash browns and muffins.

NavySeal and I left the ball somewhere around 2  o’clock. I would have stayed longer  but, I had to go work in a few hours.

To say that I had a wonderful time would be such an understatement.  The Nyx Myx Ball was everything and MORE!  They paid attention to every detail and the Hilton’s staff was excellent!

Kudos to the ladies for putting on such a magnificent ball! I will remember that night forever!

Nyx Sisters rock big time.  I’m glad to be a sister-in-waiting.  I can’t wait to be up there on the floats with them. They’ll hit the streets February 6th and I’m sure they will light the city up so, be sure to go out and catch’em!

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And if you made it this far, the KING CAKE GIVEAWAY OFFICIALLY BEGINS TODAY!  I’ll post every day this week and every time you comment, I’ll put your name  in the hat(lawd, what am I gonna write about for an entire week?). At the end of the week, I’ll draw and announce the winner next Monday.   Once I announce the winner, you have one week to send me your addy info so I can get the king cake to you.  Randazzo’s…of course.

Y’all better comment because, Reggie is a FREQUENT commenter and he’s gonna battle y’all for that king cake for sure!  The Oracle is about to come out of lurker status for it too…lol

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Happy Mardi Gras Y’all.

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I Love Treme but…

I’ve just finished watching the third episode of the series, Treme.  I don’t have HBO but, thanks to my brother, The Oracle, I receive a link to watch it…and I look for my link faithfully every Monday.

As much as I love the series, it is proving itself to be a little difficult for me to watch at times.  I’m sure a lot of New Orleanians feel the same way.   A lot of the scenes being played out in front of us, I had only just begun to put away…like walking into my flood damaged home for the very first time.  That was a hard scene to watch for a lot of people I know.

I’m grateful to David Simon and David Mills because, they are telling our story…the one CNN didn’t bring to you.

How those of us who decided to stay or come back right after the storm, survived those days.

They were not easy days but, it was our choice and one that I would do again.

I love my city… I’m IN love with her…faults in all.

So, I’m in this for the long haul even if I have to carry a shrink with me every step of the way.

The last episode brought me to tears.  When Big Chief went to the lower 9 and found his friend under the boat.  It just hit too close to my heart.

When we first arrived home in Oct ’05, the word was already out among the few of us who had returned…brace yourself before you go into the lower 9.  It was a warning done out of love between natives…those of us who REALLY knew the lower 9.

Like Treme, that area of the city is a deep part of black culture and we all knew to expect the worst because of what we had seen on tv.

TV didn’t even hit the tip of the iceberg about what had happened there.

I had gone all through this city, witnessed miles of devastation from Mississippi all the way in to it.  Had walked the halls of my own destroyed home and while my heart was aching beyond belief…had not shed a tear.

The day I rode into the lower nine…I cried.

I have yet to find the word for what I saw so, I don’t even try to anymore because what happened to that area is beyond words.  I’ll just say that,

Treme is giving folks all over the world a small glimpse of a very large picture and for that…we are grateful.

Our culture is ringing true…for the very first time…on this series.

What I really love is that, it takes people deep into the culture.   Beyond  the Mardi Gras madness in the French Quarters, beyond the local cuisine and the wonderful music.

Treme takes you to the streets…where the second lines and the Mardi Gras Indians roam.

Big Chief Lambreaux, played brilliantly by Clarke Peters is the heart beat of the series to me.  It’s the heartbeat because, the Mardi Gras Indians are at  the very core of New Orleans culture.  When you are at the level of even knowing about our beloved Indians, one of two things are going on.  You are a native (or transplant), or… you have a love for this city so deep that, it has taken you off of the tourist road…beyond the food, the parades, the French Quarters and stuff and has put you in the trenches.

Where the Indians reside.

Some cities have a certain “je ne sais quoi”…that IT factor that makes it stand out just a little bit more than other cities.  New York, Chicago, Philly and some others that I didn’t name have IT.

We have IT.

Our culture is rich and it’s deep and it’s unique…we don’t apologize for it.

We won’t apologize for it.

And we won’t change it.

Because, there are a lot of folks like me…who are in love with her…faults and all.

Mardi Gras Etiquette

Well, it’s officially Mardi Gras time…the big parades roll in the city starting this weekend.  I think they actually start Friday evening…not quite sure.

I’ve decided that, since people keep asking me mardi gras questions and I have a lot of  transplants(non-born and raised Nawlins folks) who pass through here and read this blog; to give a few pointers to those who plan on visiting for Mardi Grass…yep, I said grass.

I know it looks all discombobulated and all but, believe it or not, there are some real rules to Mardi Gras that most visitors just don’t get so here they are.

Here’s the most important one…the one that will stop you from getting into a fight.

1.  If a rider on a float makes eye contact with you, points at you and says, “here catch”….that don’t make it, YOUR THOW.  If I get it before you…it’s mine.

In fact, that’s my job…to get it before you do.  Most visitors miss this point and think we are going to just stand there so they can catch the bead or whatever…..NOT!  We will straight jack it right outta ya hand if you ain’t holding on to it tight enough.

Don’t get offended…it’s Mardi Gras.  If you can’t stand the heat…you know the rest.

2.Please, please, please.!  Don’t cross the street while the bands are moving.  Wait until the band has passed and then cross.  That’s our babies playing those instruments, they can get hurt if you bump them while they are playing.  But more importantly for you….YOU don’t want to get hurt.

The chaperones here mean business and will lasso your ass if you even attempt to cross  through the band lines…I know…I was a chaperone for many years….I could hook you and throw you back into the crowds faster than you can say…WHO DAT!

3.  When you see the bands coming, push back…people here get that and don’t need to be told.  Ya can’t stand in the street when the bands are coming..only for the floats.  The chaperones will push you back if you don’t move on your own.

St. Aug don’t need no chaperones…everyone here already knows that, Aug don’t break their lines for no one so, if you don’t want to get hit….move back.  You’ll get a warning from the color guards after that…be prepared for those mallets to hit you upside the head.

4.Natives are real accommodating to children who can’t see because they are too far back.  So if you see me telling a bunch of kids they can stand in front of me…that’s what we do…  and race don’t matter much. I’ve had a bunch of white people take my kids to the front of the crowd so they could see and vice versa.

5. Natives are NOT accommodating to grown folks who cross the street and then stand in front of them so they can all of a sudden be in the front of the crowd.  Do not do this…cross the street and keep moving. That is, if you don’t want beer poured over your head from the dad who is standing on a ladder looking down watching everything.

Besides, natives and other folks have been out there all day(for Endymion…three days) babysitting “their spot” and now here you come all willy-nilly trying to move in it….it ain’t gonna happen.  They gon make you move bruh.

6.  If you are trying to catch d0ubloons(that’s the coins they throw)….don’t reach down with your hand!!

We will step on it!!!!!!

No offense but, everyone here was raised that way.  When they throw doubloons from the floats…YOU STOMP the doubloon  first, wait until the crowd eases up a bit and then bend down and pick it up.

7. No one owns the neutral ground…that’s the median to other folks.  That’s why it’s called “neutral ground” here.  People always ask how can they buy a spot on the median…ya can’t.  First come, first serve basis…find a spot…stake your claim…and there ya go.

8. Happy Mardi Gras is an actual greeting here…it’s like saying Merry Christmas to everyone…use it and you’ll begin to blend in.

9. Yeah, we eat heavy meals like ribs, jambalaya, beans, chicken, burgers,crawfish,etc. at 7am…it’s mardi gras.

Popeyes start selling chicken at like 4am on Mardi Gras Day…go get some!

10.We don’t do that “show your tits” thing on the parade route…that’s where the families are.  Go to the Quarters with the rest of the perv’s if that’s your intent.  We have kids out here on the route…out here, we’re grilling, boiling, eating and having fun.  No one cares about your girls….

I am sure I forgot some…natives, let me know which and I’ll be sure to post.

Other than that, chill out and enjoy Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras 2010 will be extra special that’s for sure!

 

 

New Orleanians Mourn The Loss of A Legend

On Monday, July 22, 2009, our beloved Edwin Hampton “Hamp” founder of the renowned St. Augustine Marching 100 passed away at age 81.  Mr. Hamp is so revered in this city that, all three major television stations did a tribute to him once the news of his passing was announced.  The Times-Picayune did an article regarding his legacy yesterday.

A humble man, he once stated that, he just” wanted to do something different.”  In reality, he was a man with a vision, a pioneer who broke through racial barriers as St. Aug became the first black band to march in a Carnival parade in 1967.  He instilled in those young men to have pride and integrity in everything and through his leadership, this high school band achieved national recognition.  They have performed for  various presidents, The Pope, The Rose Bowl Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Super Bowl, have won countless competitions and just recently performed at The Essence Fest ’09 with a tribute to Maze (I’m sure YouTube has it out there somewhere.)

Mr. Hamp received  offers from hundreds of universities(Southern Jaguars and GSU included) to join their staff as band director, but, he refused them all…he loved those young men at St. Aug. He was a father figure to those who were in single parent homes and a second father to those whose fathers were there.

When you have a man that can make kids strive for excellence and maintain that standard for 57 years, there is something extraordinary there.  

Some people seek greatness, they want to be famous and receive all the recognition and accolades that go with it.  Hamp was nothing like that.  He just “wanted to do something different.”

 Because of his true love for music and the young men that attended St. Augustine High School he achieved greatness and the respect of an entire city.  His legacy will continue to live on through the young men who continue to grace the halls of St. Aug.  He will be missed, never forgotten and always loved by those of us who knew him.

 
http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2009/07/edwin_hampton_band_director_at.html

Oh Lawd, She Beat Her Ass With The Mop!

I don’t know why but, I always seem to be a witness to some “goings-on.”  A woman  I know who is the Administrator at an extended-care facility, asked me to come by her to be the weekend supervisor and make some “easy money.”   All I had to do was make sure that, everyone does their job and if there is a medical crisis, that’s when I kick in.  There rarely is a crisis.  The thing about nurses is, no matter how much money they are making, they are always looking to make more so, naturally, I said yes.

Well, I am tee-tottering around, watchingthe nurses give their assignments out to the certified nursing assistants (cna’s) and this one LPN is sticking out to me.

I feel the storm beginning to stir….just like Katrina.

She’s talking to her CNA’s like this;

HEY JAMILLA, YOU NEED TO GET MR. FOSTER UP NOW!

WHERE IS MS STERN?!!!

I AM NOT FOR THIS THIS MORNING!!!!!!

She apparently got her LPN from the Louisiana College of Ghetto Nurses because she was riding the hell out of the workers and talking straight crazy to them.

Now, if there is one thing I do have it’s, exceptional assessment skills and I am just checking this out and I am thinking to myself….

Ok, let’s go to DEFCON 3 because, most of these CNA’s come from the Calliope project and I have a feeling a storm is brewing.

Well, Jamilla went along doing her work and to be honest, she was really quite quiet while ghetto nurse was tripping on her help.

The calm before the storm.

Ghetto nurse told Jamilla, “LOOK, YOU NEED TO GET THOSE PEOPLE UP..IF YOU DON’T WANT TO WORK, CLOCK OUT!!

 Now mind you, the workers were doing their job, they just weren’t  doing it as fast as SHE wanted it done.

I look at Jamilla who is still pretty quiet but, her eyes are welling up with tears.

Now, my spidey-senses have kicked in full blast now…RED ALERT!…RED ALERT!….RED ALERT!….CAT 5 STORM GETTING READY TO HIT!

And before I could even move to take Jamilla out of the area, she walks over to a bucket that has this industrial size mop in it (the kind with the thick, long handle),and while brisk walking to the bucket I hear her say rather softly…

I am sick of you with your shit today.

Proceeded to take the mop out of the bucket, turn it upside down and…

BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF GHETTO NURSE!!!

I mean she was crying, talking and wailing on her all at the same time…with every word you heard a bop with the mop handle..

I *bop* AM *bop* SICK *bop* OF *bop* YOUR *bop* F*ing *bop* SHIT *bop**bop**bop*

Now, ghetto nurse who is getting tagged in the worst way, starts screaming for help…which would have been cool if, she got along with the nurse she was calling on to help her…

ghetto nurse:  Shelita!! Help me!! Help! Help!

Shelita: *looking all around herself*  I don’t know what she’s calling me for,  humph.

But wait…it only gets better..

I tell the cna’s to go call the security guard.

The security guard who is a female, looks the situation over and says, “I’m not getting into that.”….and walks off to call 911.

I call some of my male cna’s from the other unit and they broke the beat down up.

Now, we are waiting for the po-pos to arrive.  I have taken Jamilla into the office and she is balling like crazy….come to find out that, her mother is deathly ill and her mom is the only support she has to help her with her kids.

She came to work with all of this on her back and ghetto nurse was riding it.

New Orleans finest finally arrive and Jamilla goes to jail.

Ghetto nurse goes to the emergency room.

I have been a firm believer that, you never know what frame of mind someone shows up to work in.   There usually is a reason why people go “postal” and all it takes is the one fool who keeps riding a person for a person to just snap and lose it.  Everyone can’t be in an authoritative position and ghetto nurse is one of those people.  She kept riding someone who mentally, had just had enough.

This economy is stressing everyone out… now add that to the fact that, here in New Orleans, we are still dealing with rebuilding from Katrina and you have a bunch of people in a city who are about as “shell-shocked” as you can get. 

 People have lost everything they ever owned, family members, friends, neighborhoods and some have rebuilt only to lose their jobs and homes because of the economy.  

Everyone should protect their mental health just as they would their physical.  Don’t let the stress pile up on you until it releases itself in a way that it lands you in jail because,

the mind really is a terrible thing to waste.

*update-  Jamilla is out of jail, ghetto nurse has a broken arm and ironically enough, did not press charges.  I had a shitload of paperwork to do.

The Men In My Life

 

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There’s a blog that I visited that spoke of single mothers and the need for a man in a boys’ life.  I didn’t comment only because, I was really tired yesterday but, it did get me thinking about my own life and how that relates to me.  When my son was born, I was a single mother.  I was married but, we were separated and he lived almost three thousand miles away so, he wasn’t around.  It was hard as hell for me because, my son had colic really bad(what is it with boys and colic?) he also had asthma and woke up every two hours to eat(he’s still greedy.)  I used to wonder what life would be like for my son, not having his father around.  Would he have this void that couldn’t be filled?  Would he have issues because of it?   I never had to worry about him seeing males because, the world I grew up in was full of males.brother-and-baby-purple-knight

From the moment he arrived, he was surrounded by loving uncles.  They would toss him around, let him use them as a chair(like in the pic) or just love him to death.  My oldest brother was right there in the hospital with me the day he was born. 

My youngest brother, who was 18 years old, would change his diapers for me, baby sit when needed and when I was dog tired in the middle of the night, would take his nephew and keep him until he fell asleep. 

Many mornings I woke up to find my son still in his uncle’s room.  Both of them knocked out.

Children don’t know that, the situation they are living in is different from someone else until they are told.  Even though I was married when I had my son,  I never understood the concept of calling a child a “bastard.”   That’s a bad seed to sow into the mind of a child…IMO.   If I wasn’t married when I had my son, would my brothers love him any less?  Would my father dote on him any less?  Would he be a different person than he is today?  I say no to all three.

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Many single mothers are doing one helluva job with their children.  My brothers’ best friend was raised by a single mother.  He is in his 30’s now and he is a wonderful husband and father because, he is a wonderful human being.  And really, isn’t that what it all boils down to anyway?  Raising a good person?

Many single mothers have positive role models for their sons.  Whether it’s their uncle, their paw-paw, special someone their mother used to be romatically involved with, or a married friend whose husband is involved in his life. It’s wonderful when the father is there and he’s a great role model but, the reality is, life is not black and white….it’s deep shades of gray(another post.)

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I look at my son now and he has got to be one of thee most well-adjusted young men on the planet.  Kids just want to be loved.  I know there are kids out there acting crazy but, I think that’s because they didn’t have positive male role models more than the issue of  daddy not being in the home.  Also, mom didn’t check that behavior when they were young but, that’s another post.

My son has never seen his biological father, and he is almost 17 years old.  He has a wonderful relationship with his paternal grandmother though and she loves him to death.  My son and I talked about it once and he told me that, it used to bother him a bit when he was young, but that was because he would say he would come to see him and didn’t.  I asked him if he ever felt like he missed out on anything because of it and, he answered no.  I don’t think he did either.  Just look at the pictures. All of them are of him and one of his uncles.                  

                                                            

husband-and-son1Except this one.  I met my husband when my son was 7 years old.  In those 10 years, their relationship has grown to one of father and son. I feel really blessed to be with a man who loves my children so much but, I also know that, I would never marry a man who didn’t.  The beautiful thing about kids is the fact that , they can’t feign happiness. You can tell when something is wrong with a child.

I have been on the blogs of many single mothers and their children are simply beaming.  

I love my husband dearly but, I think that, if I had never met him, my son would have turned out just fine.  My son has a multitude of uncles who went above and beyond the role of  uncle.  They have always been there for my son and always will be.   Being married when you have a child doesn’t give you that kind of support…..being loved does.