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Mom Uses “Cookie Party” to Create Christmas Memories For Girls

Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away?  With the weather in Atlanta, we've felt anything but in the "holiday" spirit!  And it's been felt really across the country, with most of the east coast experiencing a super mild winter, it just takes a bit more to get you in the mood. "Black families bake. We have holiday traditions,"- Elicia Fletcher Well, my favorite Christmas music is Alexander Oneal's "My Gift To You", and even after hearing it, I still wasn't quite there.  One of my good friends, Licia, a single mom of two gorgeous girls, invited me to a Cookie Party that she hosts annually for her girls and their friends. I'm not a big "kid event" person, BUT, her girls are so well behaved and I wanted to experience the fabled Cookie Party.  When I arrived, the house smelled of warm sugar cookies and vanilla.  Instantly putting me in the holiday spirit!  I entered the kitchen and there were nine young girls and her nephew ranging 3-11 years in age all busy working on batter and chit chat. The "Cookie Party" has been a tradition for Elicia and her family for 18 years.  Her mom, auntie, and sister  all participated in the gathering to further promote positive family traditions.  "Black families bake.  We have holiday traditions," Elicia stated about why she wants to keep it going. The conversations were amazing!  It was great for me to hear young girls discuss the various school house gossip and in the same breath, celebrate the fact that they're a straight A student with sass and snap back.  One of the little girls mispronounced a word, but quickly quipped back, "Don't laugh at me because of the way I talk, because I make straight A's in school and some of y'all don't."  The laughter quickly stopped.  I couldn't help but give her an "I Hear That Girl!" because lil mama was right!  That made my soul beam.  I thought to myself in that instant, 'I hope she holds on to that understanding.  I hope she remembers that her mind is her asset over any other trends or societal pressures'.  Elicia's aunt, a fashion designer, nodded at the young girls retort as well in agreement.  The girls went back to playing with one another, laughing, frosting cookies, and singing Christmas carols.  It was really a refreshing thing to see.  These are the images that mainstream media will not show our girls.  I'm glad my friend was able to show it to these nine girls.   As a single mother, images like this are super important.  It warmed my heart to see my friend put a smile on the faces of all the young girls there.  Knowing the emotional stress of raising kids on your own, Elicia still finds the time to create memories for her girls and girls that they're connected to that will remind them of a joyous holiday season.  This is the strength of mothers.  This is why I respect mothers.  Single, co-parenting, married, it doesn't

Made Up In Your Makeup

 Make-Up should only be an Enhancement to caress The smooth glide of your 50 Shades of Melanin, but you Coverin’ The Goddess…..Queenism For the Bad Bish and OOOOH She a Ten-isms! Don’t allow it to be the deception Of your reflection Unrecognizable Recognizing The many cat calls Serial Advances Attention to detail Of Your Insecurities Unbeknown in your confident stare Behind that make-up You Made Up… T. Cook  I remember asking my mom if I could wear makeup at the ripe age of 13!  I tried everything to rationalize and give reasons to support my stance to have a really good debate with her that would ultimately go in me and my twin sister's favor!  Actually… that was in my mind because anyone who knows Tricia Ann (one of my mother’s many names) knows that this was not even a conversation!  It was more like, I got caught with some make up on and my mom shut it down before it really got started!  I was upset because I didn’t understand why I couldn’t wear it.  I mean, the girls at school were wearing it, why couldn’t we? Now, I am a mother.  Ironically, raising three beautiful girls:  Keyana (14 soon to be 15), Imari (12), and Jayden (8).  Not unlike in my mother’s household (no shade momma), the conversation of make-up has come up with my oldest child.  I actually listened to her whys and I think I did (in my way), but as positively as this conversation started there was a quick shift in the atmosphere, but let’s come back to that! Reminiscing back to a time… My mother never wore makeup except for very special occasions and I mean VERY SPECIAL.  Truthfully, the most she had ever worn was lipstick..  Garnet…. a wine color.  The same one for any and every special occasion.  My mother is a very pretty woman and her use of lipstick was only an enhancement to her beauty.  This didn’t mean much then, but this will be very important to me later……and later in this post! With my parents being divorced, my twin and I took advantage of the fact that some rules were different at my dad’s house as opposed to my mother’s house, so needless to say, I was able to wear makeup at my dad’s.  I mean, it was just a little lipstick and eyeliner.  What really could be the harm?  OOHHH, LET ME TELL YOU!!! The conversation became really uncomfortable and my eyes became big with fear. My twin sister, cousin and I were at my dad’s house for the weekend and decided to go to the mall (that was the big hang out on the weekend), and you can rest assured that we were all dolled up!  As we are walking around a group of guys walk up to us and as one would assume…they were diggin’ us (Lord, I’m showing my age)!  One of the guys took a special interest in me, grabbed my hand and led me to a little corner close by so we could talk alone.  I was blushing and smiling, smiling and blushing….cute from ear to ear.  The conversation

“I Never Thought This Would Be Me”: My Jaded Sense of Parenting

“What am I supposed to do?  What do you mean?  This can’t be... I just thought... I really thought... I never thought this would be me!" The very words I said when I received the phone call that would change my life forever!!!  I was numb but in denial because the events leading to this phone call should have prepared me for devastating news…I mean, I had trained for this... but oddly enough, I wasn’t.  I wasn’t prepared for this call or what I was about to hear.  See, I had not heard from my husband for a week prior to this phone call!  I was worried…actually, I was petrified!  As a 1st Lt in the United States Army fighting over in Iraq, he made it a practice to contact me in some way every week via email or phone to let me know he was ok, but I didn’t get that call and it was going into week two.  I was preparing for the worst and then it happened… I GOT THE CALL!!!  It was him!  I got the call!  I could hear his voice!  It was him and I was so happy… ELATED!!! He spoke, “I can’t do this anymore!”  He had been talking about a plan of getting out the Army to be with us so I said, “I know, but just hold on babe because it won’t be long!”  “No Tiff, I don’t want to be married anymore, I don’t want to be your husband.”  My heart dropped in my stomach…..I was confused, perplexed…..I was absolutely dumbfounded!   Ironically, this picture is the day I received that call!   I was preparing to get the worst news an army wife could get, but believe it or not, this call was just as devastating…..You don’t understand, let me help you. “No Tiff, I don’t want to be married anymore, I don’t want to be your husband.”  See, I am a product of divorce!  I had a jaded sense of what parenting should look like and I was determined to change it for my children.  Now, looking at me with the naked eye, one would think that I didn’t turn out too bad and in hindsight, I didn’t….but there were some deep rooted issues as a result of my parents’ divorce and there was something that stuck with me as a result….I only want to be married once and I would not be a single parent…I refused to be!  Now, my husband and I had deemed me the “MARRIED SINGLE PARENT” as a little joke between us because with his many deployments and assignments, I was responsible for the physical and emotional nurturing of our children and that was ok because we were still a family unit and I was my nor societies definition of a “single parent” …. And this picture shows me being just that!! This was like losing a loved one….. A death had happened….my marriage died that day!!!!! Now, go back to the day of the phone call.  Again, I was numb…..I