We Had A Baby Last Night

“If I can’t eat, neither can you.” Those were the last slurry words she spoke to me before she fell asleep from the epidural she swore she would never get. That’s an entirely other story I’ll tell at a later date. We’d been at the hospital since 9:00am and the doctor told her not to eat anything. What should have been a routine check up turned into the doctor telling us to come straight to the maternity ward.

“You’re about to have a baby.” He said with excitement.

No bags were backed, we were in separate cars, both planning on heading to work. Now we were being told we were about to have a baby one week early when she wasn’t even dilated past three centimeters. After a couple hours of running around and making arrangements we were in the birthing room arguing about the pain medicine she swore she would never take.

“If I can’t eat, neither can you.”

I waited until she was good and knocked out before telling my mom I was going to get something to eat. The least I could do was wait until she couldn’t see me eating. Memorial Hermann in the Heights is a weird location. It’s close to a million restaurants but almost none of them are in walking distance.

Walking distance for New York maybe but not for Houston.

But right next door to this massive Hospital is a small Mexican restaurant. No flat screens or fancy tables. No granite counter tops or 12 dollar margaritas. Just cold Coronas in a big ice chest and tequilas I can’t name. Starving and needing to get back to the birth of my first son I ordered something quick and then something happened.

You know that thing that happens in the movies where the music gets dramatic and you know the story is about to take a dark turn. My mother’s name popped up on my caller ID. If you knew my mom you’d know one thing about her, she never asks me for anything. That means seeing her name meant I knew she wasn’t calling to ask me to bring her some food.

“Dr. Ahmed is here. There’s something the matter with the baby’s heartbeat, it’s dipping too low and they can’t wait for it to stabilize. They need to perform a C-section now! You need to get back here Demez.” Ten minutes ago we were laughing and anticipating my son coming at six in the morning. Now at 8:30pm they were telling me if they didn’t perform this emergency C-section he might not make it here. Throwing a twenty on the counter and running back to the hospital I stepped off the elevator and as soon as I walked into the room there were nurses and doctors everywhere prepping her.

The epidural was causing her to shake uncontrollably and the anesthesia was making her nauseas and sleepy. With her eyes barely open and squeezing my hand she asked me, “Do you remember your promise? If it’s between me and Lennox, choose him.” For months she’d been telling me this and for months I’d been telling her that nothing was going to happen. Now here we were with her having a bad reaction to the epidural she didn’t want to get and my son’s heartbeat dropping with every second.

“I remember what I promised you. I got you. I love you. Nothing is going to happen.”

My mom and sisters helped me put on my sterilization gear. I followed the doctors and nurses to the operating room. This is the part that literally shook me to my core. Up until this point I was sure everything was going to be alright but they put me in a waiting room that felt like purgatory.

I’m alone in this waiting room and there’s one bench and no one else can be in this room. The nurses tell me to wait and they’ll come back for me. I can see my family and her family on the other side of the door every time it opens begging me with their eyes for answers I don’t have. At this point I don’t have to be brave for anyone. Not for B, not for my family, not for her family. I’m alone and now I have nothing but my own fears. What if my son doesn’t make it onto this earth? What if his mother doesn’t? What if neither of them do? Closing my eyes and praying to God for what seemed like the first time in months all I asked is that they both make it out okay.

The operating room is cold and sterile and quiet. They walk me over to her and ask me to keep her calm, to make her laugh. I’m supposed to make her laugh when she’s terrified and shaking. Cool, let me do my Kevin Hart impression while his wife is delivering a baby. I tell her to remember our trips, to think about the first place we’ll take Lennox. I tell her to focus on me and to focus on what it will be like to hold him.

In the midst of me talking I hear the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard in my life.

I hear Lennox Noire White crying. At 9:13pm on 6 August 2018 I hear my son crying for the first time. Cleaning him up, they place him in my arms since B is still being operated on. He’s 6 pounds 11 ounces and the most beautiful boy I’ve ever seen. A thick head of curly black hair, incredibly quiet for all he’s just put us thru and my world.

An hour later his mom is wheeled into the room on her bed and holds him for the first time.

That was my Monday.

That was the story of how I almost had a heart attack trying to say hello to my son.

I Can’t Wait To Teach You How To Be A Proud Black Man

Dear Lennox,

I Can’t Wait To Teach You How To Be A Proud Black Man

Since your mother walked into the kitchen on that January evening and told me about you I’ve been thinking of what I wanted for you, of how long I’ve been waiting on you to get here. This world, this world you’re about to be born into isn’t the kindest of places to little black boys that will grow up to be black men. We will do our best to protect you and shield you from that ugliness but that will be a time when we aren’t there. When you become aware of your skin tone, of the way you’re perceived.

It will be in that moment that you still hold your head up high, that you don’t respond with anger or violence or fear but respond with the confidence of knowing where you come from, who you come from and who you are.

Text books will tell you that slavery never existed.

Schools will tell you that the Civil War was over States Rights.

Teachers will want to silence you if you ask too many questions.

Slavery did exist.

The Civil War happened because they wanted to keep us in chains.

Ask all the questions you want and I will have your back.

I want you to grow up watching your mother laugh, watching us be affectionate. I want you to know that it’s cool to love a woman, to need a woman, that they are not easily replaced. I don’t want you to sexualize them before you even know what sex should be. I won’t tell you it’s cute when you grab a woman on her ass. I won’t smile when you sing words to songs you shouldn’t be listening to. I want you to understand that love is an amazing feeling and has nothing to do with your hormones.

I’ll never be your friend but I’ll always be someone that you can come to and talk to about any and everything. I won’t judge you or curse you out but I will tell you when you’re wrong. I will tell you when you have to live with the consequences of your actions. And then I’ll hug you, I’ll hug you because my father never hugged me and I grew up thinking that made me tough.

There’s nothing tough about hiding your emotions. Nothing tough about needing to cry, about wanting to cry but holding it in because you don’t want to be seen as weak. There’s nothing soft about hugging your mother or calling her when you’ve had a bad day. You won’t know what it feels like to have to do it on your own blindly. To have to search for answers. We will be here to give you the blueprint so that when you go into this world you won’t be blindsided the cruelty of it.

I’ve been a lot of places. Traveled and enjoyed their cultures, their food, their music but I’ve also collected books in each of these places. Books to teach you, books to make you want to explore the world one day. I read to you while you’re in there baking, I rub her stomach and tell you about the beaches of Belize. I kiss her belly and tell you about where Langston Hughes studied in Paris and where Eddie Murphy ate steak off a models back. I talk to you because I want you to know the sound of peace when you hear your father’s voice.

Your biggest responsibility as my son will be being yourself. I’d love for you to love reading and writing and boxing. But if you end up loving dance and painting, I’m going to support you.

The first time your mother heard your heartbeat on a monitor she cried. Not like one of those sweet teary eyed cries but an actual ugly cry. I didn’t cry, I didn’t shed a tear. I just closed my eyes and said a prayer that you make it into this world okay.

10 Reasons Why I Believe I’m Falling In Love With You

Common-Romantic-Regrets One- I check your Facebook every day. Not really to see who you’re talking to or what guys are saying but just to look at pictures, to see your face. I like seeing your face, seeing your smile.

Two- When you call my entire personality changes. I smile more, I don’t get out the truck, I blow off work for twenty minutes, your voice makes me realize just how much nothing matters more than talking to your pretty ass.

Three- I love your ambition, I find myself talking about you to strangers just because you’re you.

Four- I could care less about having sex with you, our conversations are enough. The way you stimulate my mind means more than any woman has ever done to me physically.

Five- When I write it’s you I see.

Six- The things that make me ignore most women, complaining, whining, crying, all those things bring me closer to you. They make me want to spend more time with you.

Seven- I watch you sleep, not in a creepy way or Silence of the Lambs way but just in a way that brings me comfort. I wonder what you’re dreaming about. I like pulling you close and having you sink your body into mines.

Eight- I have a feeling that when you’re completely into me the amount of freaky and sexy in you will turn me out. It will change my life.

Nine- I love your simplistic beauty.

Ten- Loyalty. To your friends, to your family, to me. Even though we haven’t known each other for long I love how you’re willing to have my back. I love how you talk to me and see me in a way that makes me feel like you care. I know you care. I’m falling in love with you and I don’t care who knows it.

Losing You Made Me Better For Her

There are mornings I wake up and I see you in front of me wrapped in a towel fresh out the shower.

There are mornings I’m cooking breakfast when I get off work and I want to come in the bedroom, kiss you on your cheek and tell you to come eat before it gets cold.

I miss you or maybe I miss the things we did or maybe I miss the way you made me feel or maybe I just miss having someone.

Writing in the morning I have visions of you sneaking up behind me, pushing my chair back, moving my laptop and sitting on the edge of my desk. Your robe parted, my hands cold so your thighs shivering at my touch.

Your scent natural and unique, your skin soft and inviting. Most mornings I don’t even miss sex, I just miss kissing your stomach and lying there, feeling your warmth. Being consumed by the storm your presence brought to my life. I needed to lose that storm, I needed to fall into abyss to realize what I had. I won’t mess up next time, I know this in my heart, in the depths of my soul.

Maybe it’s not fair but the next woman won’t have to deal with the mood swings, the insecurities, the fear of failure and regret I wore like a backpack full of bricks. Your smile was so perfect, your laugh, your lips. I don’t miss kissing you, I miss that moment right before a kiss when you know it’s coming and your heart beats just a little bit faster. The next her will feel my presence in everything she does because I’ll make myself so memorable and honorable that her heart will beat for me like it has never beaten for another man. I owe that to my failure with you.

I won’t take her for granted when she tells me she just needs to feel like we’re progressing. I won’t turn to readers and alcohol and groupies when she’s too tired or working or needs her space. I’ll be everything to her that I wasn’t to you because I don’t ever want to see hate in another woman’s eyes that’s because of me. I want her tears to come from orgasms she can’t control and joy she can’t hide. Not heartbreak and fear and rage. We will fight over the remote, not because I didn’t come home.

Do I have regrets? Everyday and everyday I’m learning to move on from those regrets. There’s a part of me that’s still closed off and that scares me because I want to give my all. The all I didn’t give to you. You made me better and I just want to thank you for that. I still check up on you from time to time. I may not call or text but know I’m watching, I’m here, if you ever need anything.

~ 20140822-233539.jpgDemez

Pray For Me and We Go Together

20140629-172456.jpg Praying women change lives.

A praying woman is necessary in this life. Knowing you have that guardian Angel that only wants the best for you. That cries when you can’t, that begs God to make sure you make it home okay when you’re drunk. Not our mothers, our grandmothers or our daughters will ever pray for us like the woman that loves us intimately and passionately. More than your lips, breast or thighs I need that from you the most.

A woman calls you and asks you to dinner, that’s great. She calls you for drinks after work, then maybe she likes you. But when a woman asks you to church, worries about your spiritual well being, that’s when you know it’s real.

The way my faith is set up I couldn’t be with a woman that didn’t pray. That can’t understand the joy I feel when I go from feeling hopeless to feeling like everything will be okay. Every man needs that. So if you pray for me, we go together. Unless you’re family and then we’re just cool.

Amen

Coretta Scott King: More than the Wife of a King

Coretta Scott King in college.

Coretta Scott King in college.

“If a man had nothing that was worth dying for, then he was not fit to live.”
~ Coretta Scott King

There are some women that just make a lasting impression. It doesn’t matter when you meet them or for how long, once you do, you’re just impressed. I’m sitting at my computer researching an article I’m writing about the early years of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King’s relationship and something strange happened. I realized that I was falling in love with Coretta Scott King, Dr. King has been gone for a while and so has she but I almost felt as though I was doing something wrong.

I just couldn’t help it though, the more I read about her, the more I became fascinated by not just her strength after he was assassinated but with the woman she was before she became his wife. I could go into full writer mode and break it down but we live in a 15 minutes of less society so I’ll make it simple.

I’ll tell you all why she may be my favorite woman of all time!

One- When she was ten she picked cotton with her siblings so that her family could have extra money. Her father was the first black man in their town to own his own pickup truck and he built a lumber mill. When he refused to sell it they white men in the town burned it down. She knew struggle, sacrifice and hard work from an early age.

Two- Her sister was the first African American girl to go to an all white college. She took it one step further and tried to be the first woman to become a teacher in that district but they wouldn’t let her. So she left and took a scholarship at a college in Boston. She was willing to fight but knew that some battles just couldn’t be won.

Three- She’s a sorority girl. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha to be exact. Who doesn’t love a sorority girl?

Four- She gave up her singing career to be the wife of a Baptist Preacher in Alabama. She wasn’t singing in lounges and clubs she was a degreed, talented opera singer. For her love and being with a man that could make a difference mattered more than her career.

Five- She’s gorgeous and all we have is black and white pictures. Could you imagine what she would look like in color and if she had Instagram filters? Beautiful, brave, hard working, smart and can sing? She’d be huge!

Six- The first time she met Dr. King’s father he told her that he didn’t think a singing career was cool for a minister’s wife. She told him, “Who told you I was taking your son seriously?” She then told Martin that she couldn’t talk to a man that couldn’t stand up to his father. She also asked that the word “obey” be removed from her vows. This was in the 1950’s where women rarely spoke up like that. That’s confidence and heart.

Seven- After his death she hesitated in taking a leadership role in the Civil Rights Movement but eventually she did and she kept his legacy and the legacy they created together going.

Eight- She was cool with JFK, everyone wants to be cool with JFK.

Nine- MLK Day, the King Center in Atlanta, all of these are monuments to her husband that she built. She was the one that pushed through legislation to get her husband a Holiday because of all he’d done. She was the one that fought Boston University to get his papers even though she lost.

Ten- She never remarried after Dr. King, never dated or gave her time to any other men. For as long as she lived she kept her vows even though he was gone. That’s loyalty, that’s incredibly cool.

You Can’t Replace What You Can’t Let Go

I haven’t been able to write in a long time and it scares me. The words used to come with such ease, the sentences like rain drops on a stormy day.

Now I’m struggling to write a sentence on a sheet of blank white paper. I literally sit at my desk for hours trying to find the words to be great.

Drinking more, thinking more, stressing more. I can’t sleep when I get off work, I can’t sleep when I’m not at work. I miss having a muse.

I’ve tried with all my heart to replace her. I’m not talking days or months, I’m talking years. To find someone that can inspire the words like she did.

You know how much I miss talking to someone every morning before work, what those 40 minute conversations did for my sanity. You know how much I miss sexy text and jealousy.

I just want to be great and the truth is I don’t know how to be great alone.

Demez