i went back and forth about writing this,
and then, after my fingers screamed it onto the keys
i went back and forth about posting it - perhaps more than any other post i've written.
it's snowing now, and i sit in my parents house with babies sleeping in the guest rooms.
we celebrated thanksgiving, together as a family, with warmth and friendship.
my boys laughed and ate, watched the snow. kissed the puppies.
in the pit of my stomach sat the poisoned reality of life outside of these safe walls.
each day now, for days, my eyes have brimmed with burning tears -
can i tell you what they mean to me? i whisper, as the world ebbs and flows with hatred.
maybe you are sick and tired of it - but maybe not,
as so many of the ones who are unfriended me this week.
do you understand this - what this means? chose not to be friends with me anymore.
it made some angry - a picture i posted of my little boys,
with a caption underneath of a truth i've been reminded of so often now -
of how i pray each day that my babies will be safe as they grow up.
don't make this about them some said.
didn't you see the rioting thugs? said others.
you can't deny the cop's innocence more told me.
i watched as people simultaneously "liked" pictures of my black boys on facebook,
seconds after they "liked" a story with comments so viciously racist that my stomach churned.
i will remember these days, as my boys grow up - i will remember not to bring them to those homes.
the clock ticks loudly, i can hear it now that everything is so quiet -
and i beg for it to slow, not simply because they grow up so fast,
but no... because they grow up still black.
i am madly in love with my sons - their dark skin, their spunky personalities,
but God, how i've lain in bed these last nights with a fear so deep it pulls me,
and finally i let the tears spill from the corners of my eyes and soak into my hair.
it is a world gone mad when the thought crosses your mind:
maybe their growth was stunted enough during their hard beginning,
maybe they won't be tall... maybe they will be small and look less threatening to you.
how can i do it, i wonder. how can i nurture them as children,
wide-eyed with imagination and joyous over adventure,
how can i nurture them and tell them the truth, both here and now?
my oldest one - he is stubborn, and oh how i've laughed at his maddening strong will before.
but now? at just two years old... i can feel the terror rise when he disobeys me with his silly grin.
be good i tell him, though in my heart i'm begging, always listen. don't be naughty.
i want to choke it out all at once - throw it up and be rid of it forever,
so i never have to think about it again, so i can know for sure i've done my job.
these are the rules you must follow, sweet boys, for one day you will be more handsome than cute, and how i weep over, even now amidst my excitement in seeing who you are becoming.
take your hood off.
leave your hat home.
if your friends are playing cops and robbers, call me and come home.
if your friends are playing paint ball, call me and come home.
if your friends are feeling adventurous, call me and come home.
if a policeman is talking to you, keep your voice down.
if he is wrongly accusing you, keep your voice down.
if he is embarrassing you in front of your friends, keep your mouth shut,
please sweet boy, listen to me.
please sweet boy, listen to me.
put your hands up - right away. don't reach in your pocket for the candy bar receipt.
go with him nicely, i will come for you - i will always come for you -
your small, pale white mother.
i want to protect them. i want to scream it out - DON'T YOU SEE THEM?
DON'T YOU SEE MY BABIES?
and then slowly they grow up, and people don't see them anymore.
i want to be with them every moment, forever,
so when the man at the park starts questioning them,
or i can see the woman clutching her purse, i can just jump out and save them -
don't worry!! i shout it and my voice cracks, don't worry! I'M THEIR MOTHER.
the man would nod and let them be.
the woman breathes a sigh of relief and loosens her grip.
i want to be right there, so when they are pulled over for no reason -
or maybe even FOR A REASON. maybe they were speeding? maybe they DID steal a candy bar?
let me be with you, i want to wish it in to truth, so if you get pulled over
i can fly out of that car - please, i would say, please. we're so sorry. he's with me.
and i hang my head in shame - because this? these thoughts?
they prove the reason for the madness.
they prove the undeniable inequality.
please believe me. i am a mother to black boys.
i want to stand in solidarity - with someone, anyone.
i want to hug those dead boy's mamas and tell them i'm so sorry -
that i understand.
but i don't.
because i'm white, i will never fully understand.
but i want to.
if you're trying, too, I'm with you.
we can be better. we can help this world be better.
for the sake of my boys - my sweet black boys who will be young black men soon,
i want to try to understand.
and i want you to try, too.
I want to scream it.
Curl up in a ball and bleed it.