All Articles Tagged "family"
Some stories you just can’t make up.
My husband always warned me about “looking for trouble,” and this time, I should’ve listened to him. During the height of the whole Ashley Madison craziness, I read an article late one night about how to tell if someone you know had a subscription on the site that promoted cheating. Many women I knew were going to this Trustify website and entering in their husband’s email addresses to see if a “you’ve been compromised” alert popped up. As with any data breach, companies sometimes provide a site that informs you whether or not you could be a victim. In this case, those found compromised would more than likely become the victim of an angry spouse.
Early one morning while nursing my two-month-old son, I figured why not check out this site. It’s not that I thought my husband would participate in such foolishness (aside from being super cheap, he knows da– well I’ll jump straight to the “until death do us part” portion of our vows. Don’t play with me), I did have fun rummaging through my phone and inserting emails. I just knew someone I know would pop up and provide tea to sip on for time to come.
Well, someone in fact did have a subscription and to this day, my mouth is still on the floor. In order to protect the guilty, I’m choosing not to give away their name — or family title for that matter.
“Babe, wake up,” I said to my husband, who was not happy with my detective work. “Do you believe this bulls—?”
Once he was able to wake up a little and get a better understanding of my actions, he only had two questions to ask: Why did I go looking for something I didn’t want to find, and was I really shocked to find this family member had a subscription?
“I mean, I think it’s nasty but that’s me,” my husband told me. “People will always do what they want.”
Obviously, he was right, there will be people in this world who may or may not directly match with your moral compass. While I can’t change a person’s viewpoints (everyone is entitled to their own), does that mean that I allow my children around influences that conflict with our values?
Yes and no.
When you think about it, you can’t shield your child from craziness anymore than people with questionable behavior from time to time. Even though the subscription did bother me on a moral viewpoint, that didn’t mean I was going to hold this family member at bay with a 10 foot pole. They love my children and my children love them.
On the flip side, that doesn’t mean my husband and I will be OK with them taking our kids for the summer (just using that as an example).
You see, aside from this recent “discovery,” this family member has always been…extremely free shall we say in the relationship department. Now if you want to swerve and curve in the sheets with whomever, that’s your personal choice — but do realize that while you might not have a problem with every piece of tail coming and going through your home, I do if you plan to have my children at your pad for a period of time (don’t act like people wouldn’t try to sneak a freak in the middle of the night). One can only hope they wouldn’t allow that part of their life to interfere with family time, but hey, you never know. Plus, I don’t know who the heck they may or may not have around my kids that they met off the site (potential safety issue).
To make matters worse, I later found out this said family member not only had an Ashley Madison account, but also one on a site called Adult Friend Finder. Now if you’re a bit clueless like me, you might think that was some social media sort of thing to reconnect with people. Wrong. It’s a site to find local butt, aka one night stands.
I feel a little better after speaking with this family member but know in the back of my mind I don’t want them trying to give my kids advice on certain things. No my little ones won’t be in a bubble, but I also don’t want to have to have them around potentially crazy situations.
Have sites like Ashley Madison ever made you change how you look at someone?
When you get to a certain age and a certain stature, you begin to look forward AND backward at the same time. And clearly, you stay entrenched in the present. Forward vision is a result of the possibilities that have yet to manifest themselves. The past, for me, involves dealing with what could have been or what has already manifested itself.
Mostly, I have current-day appreciation to those that unwittingly support me as I transverse through life.
I have long wanted to write something dedicated to the women who got me through life.
Vernese Edgehill, The Center For Black Culture
So, it took me sometime to realize this, but Vernese Edgehill may have saved me from the the gaping, jagged jaws of mediocrity. I’m sure you don’t know who Vernese is, so let me explain. When I was a student in my my early 20s, Vernese acted as the head of the Center for Black Culture at the University of Delaware. Now, the CBC (also proudly my initials) was the place where all the Black students got together in solitary. Verse and Sheila (RIP), the secretary, looked out for us, taught us how to conduct ourselves in business, and acted as guidance counselors (who we actually loved and respected) as students at a majority white school.
Vernese was also a surrogate mother to a lot of us, as I was away from home and didn’t go back very much. She never chastised me for my wonderfully messy college dorm room. Now, I am certain Vernese knows that the line between genius and megalomaniac is a fine one.
Hanifa Shabazz, Owner Of The Drumbeat
A Muslim sister took me under her wing as I was being cultivated into a collegiate revolutionary. Honestly, I never loved college as an institution. I just loved the vast resources at my disposal like the Mac Room, where all the Apple computers were. I also loved the radio station, where I posted up every Friday afternoon.
I managed to link up with Hanifa, who ran a bookstore with her then-spouse Hanif. She also ran a paper called The Drumbeat. Honestly, I cannot recall how, but we connected. I loved the fact that Hanifa meant I was able to plug into a “higher power.” I was a student activist that ran the Black Student paper called The Pamoja. The Pamoja became an insert in The Drumbeat, increasing our circulation to one of the biggest in the state. More importantly, Hanifa offered many, many lessons. We were fighting on-campus racism and needed guidance on all fronts. Hanif got us ready for the bigger war…a lifetime war against injustice.
My Strong Women Friends
I want to name them all of the women who helped me through one of the toughest times in my life, my divorce, but I can’t. So here are a few: Seandra, Gina, Elon, and Holly. All of the relationships are completely platonic. However, during that period, I needed to talk my way through life. A journal wasn’t getting it and, a therapist would have broke the banks with all the time I needed to talk my way through my circumstances. So, to those ladies – I salute you. I haven’t dated too crazily, but a couple of times, I was linked to very doting women that understood my frail condition and treated me accordingly, even when it was tough love. My homeboy told me these were my “angels of mercy.” They were there for a specific time, knowing it was limited. However, they may have saved my life had they not been there.
My Daughter, The Little Teacher
People probably know this, but even before my divorce, I had issues. My daughter gave me the strength and resolve to push through everything. She’s a real life inspiration that has taught me – the father and man – how to be more loving, caring, empathetic and patient. She teaches me the value of unconditional love in adulthood.
Mom, The Master Teacher
My mother is the adult version of my daughter – a master teacher through action. For example, my mom survived my father’s death and managed to flourish like no widow I’d ever seen. She’s managed to do better for herself than even when my dad was alive, fiscally speaking. Every so often, I want to have deeper conversations, but I really play observer. Every now and then, she will speak something that I will use, but more often, I watch her moves. She was a teacher (now retired) and he continues to do so in her everyday life. There are times when I encourage my mother to write a book to share with the world, but she is happy right now just to give to her sons and grand kid, I think. Maybe one day, the whole world will learn what I have from the woman who gave me life.
These women and young ladies are the gifts that keep giving. They continue to give me life and strengthen me with their spirit on a daily basis.
Child support cases and custody battles in the United States, at one point, were very straightforward. Mothers were given custody of the child or children because they were deemed better suited to provide stability. The fathers were ordered to pay child support and provided with visitation. But more recently, the topic of child support, custody and family has become more and more complex. While many Black men continue to combat and disprove the myth that they are all abandoning their children, the narrative remains the same. On top of that, many have stepped up to reclaim and reimagine what it means to be a Black father in this country. But for some, despite such efforts, the courts are unyielding when it comes to primary custody and what’s in the best interest of the child.
A friend of mine is in the midst of a court battle to be the custodial parent of his child. He doesn’t have a good relationship with his child’s mother, which has made co-parenting arrangements extremely difficult for him. But in terms of being a great caregiver, he’s stepped up and assumed that responsibility. As a single working father, he’s provided for his child. He’s covered medical expenses, childcare services, food, and clothing. He has a beautiful relationship with his daughter, and he wants to have her with him as primary guardian. But my friend is struggling with a biased court system that believes his child should be with the mother because she has been her from the very beginning. He feels this is unfair and has pleaded his case, stating that the child’s mother has proven herself to be unfit on more than one occasion. However, his pleas have gone unheard. This story and fight are more common than you think.
In 2014, a Texas man was sentenced to six months in prison for overpaying in child support after trying to cover payments he missed due to a clerical error in the automated withdrawals for support through his job. Come to find out, the automatic withdrawals were only happening sporadically, which Clifford Hall wasn’t aware of. When he received a notice of past-due support, he paid what he owed, and provided an additional $1,000 to ensure that he would stay in the clear. But it wasn’t enough. This story sparked outrage when Hall was sentenced, despite catching up on all his payments before his court date. Hall was eventually released in July of last year on a suspended sentence and placed on probation. This very bizarre situation brings to light that even when a single Black father is doing right by his child, there are still stereotypes in place that tell a narrative of his shortcomings, and laws in place that make him out to be the villain.
According to a report done by the CDC, Black fathers are 82 percent more likely to play with their children on a daily basis. They are 67 percent more likely to talk to their children about their day on a daily basis, and they are also 40 percent more likely to provide homework help to their children on a daily basis. So with these statistics that should be celebrated, and men like Hall and my friend, why then is the prevailing belief and only stories being shared that Black men are absent in their child’s life? Who is writing their narratives and shedding light on their presence in the Black community as fathers and role models?
Over the weekend, I went to a celebration that was partially a reality check that has just set in.
Al and Margo Seabrook simultaneously celebrated 50 years of marriage, a 75th birthday and a 70th birthday all in one fell swoop. It was a glorious affair that took place in Christiana, DE. While it was glorious, there was a somber undercurrent for me.
I grew up knowing Mr. Seabrook and his family, because he was one of my father’s best friends. We all had a lot of great, funny memories until my father died suddenly in the early 1990’s. At our table was Mrs. Privot, who was the widow of their other best friend, Mr. Privot. He died suddenly a month before my father died. It was a terrible time for the family. They didn’t make it to 50.
Now, we are starting to see it again.
Sean Price, a legendary rapper, father and husband, was laid to rest this week after dying in his sleep from an undiagnosed illness. A friend of mine, Brook Stephenson, died from a heart complications over the weekend like Sean Price. Another rapper, PH, also passed suddenly. He too was a great dude that was a beloved family man. All of them were under 50, easily. All of them were supermen in their own way.
I happen to think that women are the key to men living longer and more fulfilling lives.
We simply don’t innately go to the doctor. We are invincible by nature and then our humanity creeps up on us unannounced. We deal with symptoms and pain. We try diagnosing ourselves. That’s what happened to my Dad. He began having healthy ailments stemming from his job as an industrial arts teacher. And when he was in the hospital, he realized he should have listened to my mother all along.
When I was married, my then-wife saw a weird red mark on me and forced me to go to the doctor. It was nothing. Another instance, I had continued migraines and I was forced to go get some kind of MRI-type treatment to make sure I wasn’t about to have an aneurysm. Eventually, as my will to live increased, I began to go to the doctor regularly. My key to life is my daughter, to be perfectly honest.
In death, my dad gave me the heads up, though.
Even though I loved him dearly, I knew I was taught a valuable lesson about health and mortality. According to the CDC, the leading cause of death (as of 2013) for all Black men is heart disease with cancer coming in at a close second. Now, to keep it real, ages 15-34 die more readily to homicide, but as soon as we examine beyond that (ages 35 and up), it goes back to health. Now, we know all isn’t right and environmental racism is real, but things are changing. Men are aware. Keenly aware.
My friends and I are training for a marathon. I’ve gotten deeper into veganism, vegetarianism and just eating right. I see many of my comrades living a decidedly “clean” life in general. I am not a fool. I know everybody is not living this way, but I feel the tide is changing quickly in grown men. I still see young dudes playing around with high-powered drugs and reckless lifestyles. Women are going to need to change the standard since they are the rulers of the world. Men do what their wives/partners/lovers say do, being fully transparent.
Mrs. Margo Seabrook doted over her husband Al – we happens to be a chief in Ghana. It was clear that she was his watchtower, warding off danger at every turn. Similarly, he looked out for her, but in different ways, based on what I observed. As business owners in Wilmington, Delaware, they have had a partnership of epic proportions. I was proud to be there, watching their kids and grands lovingly commemorate their milestone. Truth be told, they are clearly the standard. I am praying that they are not the exceptions for long.
Long live The Seabrooks!
Paternity Fraud: If A Man Grows Close To A Child He Finds Out Is Not His, Should He Still Provide For Them?
A statistic shared by the American Association of Blood Banks in 2012 revealed that there were reportedly 100,000 out of 300,000 men who fall victim to paternity fraud per year in this country. According to an article published on a national Nigerian news site, a significant number of men in that country are unknowingly bringing up children who are not theirs biologically. More recently, DNA experts have found that these figures have increased in Nigeria within the past year. What’s going on here?
In the United States, paternity fraud is recognized and handled as a criminal offense. It happens more often than we think and is often done in an attempt to obtain higher child support benefits than can be provided by the biological father. Or better yet, to hide infidelity. It’s a messed up situation, however, in Nigeria, cases like these are often swept under the rug and rarely result in legal action. Culturally, West African fathers often care for their children as well as children born out of wedlock, children from extramarital affairs, and children from a different father if they are in a relationship with the mother. A majority of the cases have more to do with creating a stable family for the children regardless of if he’s the real father or not. In Nigeria and other African countries, it’s also not uncommon for some women to marry for status even if they already have children, and it is also not uncommon for men to have several women with whom they have children with. As for the way things play out Stateside, it’s much different. Men and women are less likely to care financially for a child who isn’t theirs biologically. Being a key figure or positive role model in a child’s life is one thing, but being mandated by courts into child support is another, and questions fairness. But it happens all the time. Just ask the singer Ne-Yo, who was forced to pay child support for a boy his ex-girlfriend made him believe was his own–until a DNA test cleared things up:
“In the state of California, if you put yourself out there as the father, the mother can then come after you in court like you’re the biological father,” Ne-Yo told VH1. “So we settled out of court for what I thought was an ungodly amount of money. Shortly after that, Jesseca and Chimere vanished.”
Across the globe, men are falling victim to paternity fraud and are being ordered by family courts to pay child support for kids who aren’t theirs. For cases in Nigeria, many of the men accept the responsibility of being the caretaker because it is much more affordable than getting tangled in a court battle. Some men have voiced that even when a DNA test proves the impossibility of fatherhood, it is still really difficult to get out of child support once it has been established. It’s sad because they shouldn’t have to be mandated to pay it if the child isn’t their own, especially since they were initially misled. However, paternity fraud is a complicated thing.
But if by choice they want to remain a father figure in the child’s life, that doesn’t involve the legal system. And while many people don’t stick around after being misled in such a way, some do because they are the only father figure the child knows. It’s a commendable thing to do for the sake of the kid, who is innocent in all of this.
So I ask, if the tables were turned and you were a man who found out that a child you cared for wasn’t your own, would you continue to be in their life? What if the child has grown considerably close to you? Would you continue to provide for them?
Most would agree that breakups are hard, especially if it’s a long-term relationship that has come to an end. Even in the most amicable of breakups, having to pick up the pieces and start all over again can take some serious adjustment. But imagine if it’s not just the man you have to get over. If you have gotten cozy with your ex’s family, now you may have to mourn the end of your relationship with them as well.
I remember that awkward moment when I received a friend request on Facebook from my ex’s mother. We talked on the phone here and there when her son and I dated but it wasn’t the type of relationship where we’d have lunch or go shopping. So when I broke up with him I didn’t really give my relationship with her a second thought. I didn’t give his siblings a second thought either. It was a clean break. Or so I thought.
I had moved on and started dating someone else when I began getting calls and emails from her. She wanted to continue our “friendship” and it made me feel weird. My new boyfriend didn’t dig it either. I ended up accepting her friend request and made sure to set my privacy settings for her accordingly so she wouldn’t be privy to photos that showed my new budding romance unfold. She eventually unfriended me. Now, the breakup was finally complete.
That budding romance has since led to marriage, and I not only adore my mother-in-law but his entire family. When I say entire family, I mean stepchildren, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews–I love them all. And they love me. I can go visit them and stay for holidays without my husband being present and it’s all love. They truly feel like an extension of my own family and I proudly claim them as such. It’s hard to imagine them not being in my life and since my husband and I share a son, they will always be attached to me whether I’d want them to be or not.
But what if you have no children bonding you to your ex’s family? Are you entitled to continuing your relationship with them after you and your ex break up? Even if you do share children, how much access should you expect to his family after a split or divorce? I am my husband’s second wife, and I know his ex-wife calls his mother from time to time to chat. That doesn’t bother me since she was once her son’s wife and is the mother of his other children. I understand. But if a random ex still wanted to be cool with the family, I think I’d feel some type of way about it.
Marriage can make things tricky in this area, and it depends on the maturity level and the reason for the breakup to determine how friendly in-laws should remain. I know that if my husband did something to hurt me my family would rally behind me and they’d never deal with him again–I’m sure his family feels the same way. In breakups, unless your ex does something especially heinous, his family will be loyal to him and not you, so you should expect to lose them in the breakup as well. And in some cases, even if your ex cheated on you with your best friend, his family still might have no choice but to stand in his corner, even if they secretly cry a river over him losing the best thing to ever happened to him.
If you’re more upset over the prospect of losing his family than losing him, you might simply have to get over it or simply give it time. It’s his family, not yours, and you’d want your family to be there for you the same way his family is going to be there for him. Besides, even if his family has no problem with remaining friends, you also have to consider the position you’d put them in if he started dating someone else. I know that caring about any of your ex’s future girlfriends may not seem like your problem–you may secretly want his family to hate her–but it’s not the mature way to handle the situation. He is no longer your concern and beyond Facebook or any other social media sites, I’d say the same holds true for his family.
If you must remain in contact with his family outside of children, be sure it’s really his family that you miss and not an attempt to keep your ex in your life. Also, make sure enough time and space has happened before you go hanging out with his little sister or inviting his mother for brunch. If he and his family are okay with you all remaining in each others lives then have at it. However, if you start dating again, make sure your new man is okay that you’re staying in touch with your ex’s family as well. If it’s supposed to be over, then let it be over–that goes for his granny too!
Our favorite little star, Riley Curry, is now a big sister!
The Golden State Warriors star’s wife, Ayesha Curry, announced on Sunday that the couple had recently welcomed a new daughter, Ryan Carson, on her blog, Little Lights Of Mine.
The gift of life is truly an indescribable thing. We were fortunate enough to experience it all over again friday night! Our beautiful little Ryan Carson Curry arrived perfectly healthy and happy!
She arrived a little early through a quick 3 hour labor and was a small 6lbs 1 oz. I was able to birth her naturally without an epidural. This is something I’ve always wanted to do and was so happy to get through it with the help of my darling husband and amazing doctor. This time around I felt more prepared and was able to take in the entire process. It was a miracle!
Stephen, Riley and I are enjoying this gorgeous gift from God and basking in the present! We are now officially a family of 4! Riley is completely enamored with her little sister and has taken on her role as big sister beautifully. I am already so proud of her!
I just wanted to give you all an update and ask you to keep us in your prayers as we adjust to our new little family.
Congrats and blessings to the growing family!
For most moms, being short on time is quite common. Are you working more than one job? Is your child scheduled for multiple after-school activities and by the time you all reach home, you’re ready for bed? Click continue to find out little ways that you can squeeze in time with your littles ones.
Busy Day Solutions: Tips on Spending More Time With the Kids
Main image, Shutterstock
Summer is just about here which means parents will work on the double to entertain their children. Here’s a look at some fun seasonal DIY ideas to make their summer more enjoyable.
13 Family Summer Hacks to Entertain Your Kids
Throughout my life I can remember family members coming to live with my mother, sister and I. In fact, there were quite a few who all had their own reasons for doing so. Relocation was the biggest reason as an uncle of mine moved to the U.S. from Singapore and an older cousin came up to Baltimore from Atlanta. I was too young to remember why they came to our home, but always seemed to find myself without a room for a period of time — typically six months to a year.
This has also been a common practice for my husband and his family. Whether his parents took in family members’ children during their years in Panama, or allowed family to stay with them once they became established in the United States, their door was always open to those who needed help.
As wonderful as it is for people to help those in their lives who need a place to stay, it really does require some thought before saying yes. Making the decision to have a long-term houseguest shouldn’t be entered into lightly. It can oftentimes take a turn for the worst, or head in an unexpected direction. I’ve heard horror stories about folks with great intentions who no longer talk to the very people who stayed in their home.
If you’re entertaining the idea, here are a few things you might want to consider first.
Think about your space. Let’s get real here, if you live in a single-bedroom apartment, it’s probably not the best idea to take in someone with multiple children. Kudos to you if you can make it work, but you have to think about your space and whether or not you even have any to house additional people. Remember, this is going to be long term.
Think about your finances. Another important consideration before you say yes is to think about your own finances. No matter how you slice it, your household expenses are going to increase with extra people under your roof. Can you afford taking on additional financial obligations? Have you paid down your own debts to free up the necessary income? Do you have an emergency savings established in the event you lose your job or find yourself on hard times?
Consider your current household dynamic. As much as you want to jump to say yes, you also need to consider how a long-term houseguest will affect your household dynamic. For example, those with little children or someone with special needs should think about their current demands — and whether or not they can introduce extra into the mix. It’s probably not the best idea to have someone under your roof if your spouse doesn’t get along with them.
Be real about the person asking. Just because someone needs help doesn’t mean you’re the right person to assist them. Truly give some thought to the person asking for your hospitality. If you know they’re bad with money or continue making the same bad financial mistakes without care, you could be in for a rude awakening.
Prepare for longer than expected. A month can quickly turn into three. Sometimes it takes longer than expected for people to land back on their feet. It doesn’t mean they aren’t trying but you should prepare yourself to have a houseguest longer than expected.
No matter what you do, make sure you set some ground rules before anyone moves in. The last thing you need is to be on different pages when it comes to expectations and household contributions.