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Time is Precious, Life is Short

What a year it has been already.  Spring is officially here! (Can’t wait for the temperatures to catch up!)  My day job has kept me from my writing.  I feel like this is the first time I have had a quiet moment this year! (And it’s five o’clock in the morning!)  But I’ve missed it.  My life is full.  Full of love and friendship and work.  These are all good things.  And I am very grateful.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about time and the preciousness of it.  Time is precious.  Time is priceless.  Time is money.  The Universe holds over our heads that our time could be up within any moment.  This threat, or fact, should be motivation to use our time with an indefatigable sense of purpose.  Purpose is a loaded term.  Yet it changes.  Purpose to me is fluid.  My purpose at one moment can be to cook an amazing meal for my family.  In another, it can be to run for five minutes longer than I did yesterday.  No matter what my current, in the moment purpose is though, I strive to always have a common, more macro-purpose, which is to constantly be grateful and to be better.  To be sure, I am repeatedly failing at achieving this macro-purpose.  But I try.

I remember a morning at work about one year ago, I was complaining to a co-worker about how tired I was because my daughter had woken me up at 3:30 a.m. the previous night.  He looked at me, rightfully with no sympathy in his eyes, and told me how lucky I was to have that.  It was an awakening moment.  This co-worker was not married and wanted a family of his own.  Although I am fully conscious of how fortunate I am to have my family, this co-worker, in an instant, was able to remind me of the preciousness of time.  In the grand scheme of my life, it will not be much longer that on the occasional night my daughter (or son) will come to wake me up.  There will come a time shortly where I will long for the sleepy, sweet moments of carrying my child back to his her bed.  Ever since this reminder I have (for the most part) not minded being woken up at night by my children.

Time is precious.
Life is short.

All we can do is to do our best.  But what of our best?  The other day I got off the subway, happy to be going home after work.  On the platform I was disturbed to see two bigger and older white men harassing a much younger and smaller black teenager.  I stopped in my tracks to bear witness.  I immediately saw the police badge hanging around the neck of the bigger of the two men.  The teenager, or child, had his backpack on and was not resisting.  My immediate reaction to such scenes is to want to yell at the cops and tell them to stop being so unnecessarily aggressive.  And in my younger more rebellious days, long before having a family of my own, I probably would have done just that.  Mindful of the fact that I would be risking my own freedom by “obstructing justice” or whatever my so called offense would render.  Now, as a mother, I am not as brave, or as rebellious, as I once was.  Not as fight-the-power-ish as I once was.  So, I uncomfortably looked on briefly at the two cops handling the smaller boy and then proceeded to my happy home.

As I walked up the subway stairs, I tried to make myself feel better by reminding myself that, perhaps, the boy had truly committed an offense.  Perhaps.  But this thought did not make me feel better.  Because I know the reality is that, many times, the Young, Black, Male committed no offense whatsoever.  That the system is stacked against him once those handcuffs go on.  This is a fear that Black mother’s have been dealing with since the beginning of Black history in our country.  Now, as a mother of Black children, I join these mothers in this stark reality.  You may have noticed that I purposefully leave out white mothers of Black children here.  To be fair, I know that their are white mothers (and fathers) of Black children who are aware of the institutionalized racism that exists within our society.  And, whether subtle or blatant, the great likelihood that such racism will be acted out upon their child.  But every time I read something like “A Brown Kid Like Them” a recent guest blog post in the NYTimes by Amanda Freeman, a white step-mother to Black children, who is surprised when racism is shown towards her children, I cringe.  The shock that comes from such mothers is an obvious consequence of a life steered by white privilege.

Black mothers know that there are certain lessons that must be taught to, especially, their Black sons.  Namely, how to interact with a police officer if they are ever subject to an encounter such as the one I witnessed in the subway station.  This is the sad reality of our country.  It is a reality that adds an extra thick layer of parental concern for Black parents.  It is a reality that tries to bring me great angst and every once in a while succeeds.

It’s funny, not really, how in the comments section to the Times for the previously mentioned blog, some people are annoyed that the Times is “paying so much attention to race.”  They say we are a post-race society.  My goodness we have a Black president!  As if there was some magical mathematical formula that came to fruition once Obama was elected: Black president + United States = Post-Race Society.  As if.  Then just as quickly as one can say “post-race” we read about the teacher who made a young Black student role play a slave in class.  Really people?

Time is precious.
Life is short.

I am no longer a front runner in the fight-the-power brigade.  (More of a staunch supporter, I’d say.)  I find that my purpose now, is to focus on the preciousness of time.  To truly take in every moment, every emotion, every discovery that goes on within my children, within my family, within myself.  To focus on being a better person so that I may be a better role model for my children.  I want them to grow up with pride and a strong sense-of-self.  I want them to love properly, so that they may be loved properly.  I don’t have much time to do all of this.  Every moment counts.

Time is precious.
Life is short.

 

 

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