You know that feeling you get when you know what you’re doing and you’ve got it all figured out? RUN! Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. It’s a trap!
That’s where I was once I got through my first semester of graduate school! You couldn’t tell me NOTHING! Home girl just KNEW my life was on fleek! #LifeonFleek #GetLikeMe #NotSoHumbleBrag (Just to give you an idea of where my heart and mind were. I promise I have what old people refer to as “coof” or however you spell it.) But I digress…
First of all, I was IN graduate school! That was a feat in and of itself! In all honesty, I wasn’t supposed to be there but I will tell you a story about that later. Even though I was struggling to keep up with the demands of graduate level coursework, I was finally in “my lane” and that made all the difference in the world.
In addition to that I finally had a work schedule I could live with. Since my classes were in the evenings, there was plenty of time to work and take care of any personal business. I was able to manage two on-campus jobs (without killing myself); teaching a class/advising a minor for the Office of Service Learning and being a part time cook at Jai’s daycare.
My advocacy work for pregnant and parenting students was taking off! I was invited to go to Washingon, D.C. to talk about parents’ need for affordable childcare options. And after I got back I was invited to sit on the board for a non profit organization that advocates for early childhood practices and programs.
My sorority was great! My bosses were great! My friends were great! Everything was great! Great! GREAT!
Even my social life was great! Canaan was driving from Kansas City to Columbia to pick up Jai every other weekend, which not only kept him involved in Jai’s life but also provided me some time to hang out with my friends and recharge. SURE! We could not stand each other and Canaan was dissatisfied with the limited amount of time he was spending with Jai but that was his problem, right?
WRONG! DEAD. WRONG.
That’s how he ended up at my job unannounced, holding our son, at a time when I fully expected Jai to be at school. (If you don’t know the story read this.) That little incident set off chain a of events that landed us in a very scary place—Missouri Family Courts.
I can’t explain the debilitating fear that I experienced sitting in that little room waiting for my attorney to arrive before our court appointment. I had passed Canaan in the hallway. He looked dead and alive at the same time. I’m not sure what I looked like but I only felt dead. Sitting in that little room by myself wasn’t helping me either. The attorney walked in, dressed rather casually and smiling like we were preparing for a wedding instead of a custody case. Something about her demeanor was disrespectfully light hearted. Almost flip. Only I wasn’t in a position to question her about it since the only legal representation I could afford was the “free” kind.
I was in such a deep trance when we came before the judge that I can’t even tell you what happened. My attorney said some things. Canaan said some things. (He was representing himself.) The judge dismissed each party into separate rooms to negotiate.
And then this happened…in REAL freakin life:
The room was an uncomfortable place by design: small, with steal chairs and painfully tall tables. I didn’t know where to place my trembling hands. On the table? In my lap? Everything felt awkward.
“Where in the world is my attorney?” I said to myself. I eyed the door and silently begged it to open. I had just survived one of the most frieghtening situations of my entire life–the last thing I needed was to be left alone again.
The door finally opened. She stepped in and sighed at the pitiful pile that I had become. “I talked to Canaan. He seems to be a respectable young man.”
“What?!” I said. I was so confused. How did she know what kind of ‘young man’ he was?!
Once again, in hindsight, I can tell you that I was over reacting but it was NOT without prevocation. Canaan had put me through several levels of hell and made some very compromising decisions that would have given any decent mother a legitimate reason to be concerned.
“What do you mean, ‘He’s a respectable young man?!” I asked sarcastically.
She paused for a second to think and then followed up with “He had on a suit..”
I stared blankly, unsure of what to do with the tidal wave of emotions that had just over come me.I thought to myself, “Some black men wear suits sometimes…what the —- is her point?” <—Still wasn’t Saved.
She continued, “He has a job…”
“He’s not a monkey!” I countered.
She was smart enough to realize I had just questioned her professional judgment and (rightfully) called her a bigot all at the same time.
In her offense she took a shot below the belt, “Next time you should be more careful about who you lay down with!” (BAM! There it is!)
That one little phrase took me all THE entire way out of the game!
I can’t repeat most of the words I shared with her….in my mind….when I got home. I was so broke down by the situation that I didn’t even wait until I got back to my car to fall apart.
Man, oh man! The only thing that made me more upset than her one-line-one-hitter-quitter was the fact that beneath her bigotry was the painful truth. I really, truly, honestly believed I was going to court to protect Jai from Canaan’s compromising choices. I couldn’t have been more sincere about it! It took me 4 years to realize that I was really there to regain the control which I forfeited when I layed down with Canaan. (Oooooo-WE! That last sentence cost me a WHOLE lot!)
Wonder People, I certainly have not made all the right choices. In fact I have do not always live by the following lessons but I hope you learn SOMETHING from my mistakes: (1) Protect you and your child(ren)s futures. Every decision leads you somewhere. (2) Failure to weigh the costs will likely leave you (and your children) in a deficit. (3) Sex isn’t over when you get out of the bed. You will always get up with more than you layed down with.
Stay Wonderful! 🙂
*P.S. I am fully aware that some of you are dealing with very legitmate fear for the safety and well-being of your children. I want to honor that experience. One Parent Wonder offers you our heart and most sincere prayers as you labor to protect the little people under your care! I want you to know that you are not alone and that there really is hope in Jesus Christ!