Monthly Archives: November 2013

I’m With You, Charles…

 I’m taking a few detours before posting about my experience at an arts colony in Vermont. ( I know.  I’m kind of roundabout when it comes to telling stories.  Walk with me a while longer, won’t you…) But today, someone sent me this op-ed piece, “The Passion of Parenting” by New York Times columnist, Charles M. Blow via e-mail.  I completely relate to his reflections.  The piece made me remember a post I put up on the blog  I began when Big Man was not quite three months old.  Happy to say that my worries about being a “pathetic, clingy type of mama” are greatly diminished.   My two weeks alone on creative retreat was a measure that  I took to help this along.  In many ways it was painful for me as a mother that came with a measure of guilt and tears, but was a “for our own good” kind of investment that will, I’m sure, pay off in the long run.  Anyhow. Here’s the old post accompanied by two throw-back photos.

Browngirl and Big Man at home, Summer 2006
Uncle Wayne's Wedding, Pasadena CA, April 2009 (4)
Big Man at my brother’s wedding, Spring 2009

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I’ve heard people say that having a baby is akin to seeing your heart walk around outside your body. This implies that our children are one of the few things intimately and profoundly ours. Then there’s the Zen-like thing that Sweet Honey in the Rock has sung about: Our children are not our children. Hard pill to swallow, but true that.

I do see my son as the baby that I’m presently responsible for caring for. I am also looking down the road and sending a “prayer covering” to ensure that he becomes a make-it-happen kind of man of vision, confidence, love and humility. I want him to explore both the outer world and the interior of his own mind and soul. Already, my baby boy is well on his way.

As so many made sure to remind me during pregnancy and just after his birth, he’s growing so fast! I love to see how strong, determined and alert he is. Always has been. Just that now he’s getting coordinated enough to show it. As amazed and proud as I am to see him blossom– can I be real?– I hope that the man that he becomes has the same care and concern for his mama as his mama does for him. So, looks like I have the potential to be one of those clingy, pathetic types of mamas. God help us both!

I was watching a program on The Learning Channel last night where a 30-something woman and her silver-haired husband were playing with their infant and marveling at how big he’d gotten in such a short time. This made the woman want to have another baby. I know that feeling. Most women know that tugging kind of urge that starts in some nether-region of the brain and tugs on the heart strings and the fallopian tubes and comes when they see a pregnant woman or a young woman with a trail of young’uns traipsing behind. But even if one has twenty children, at some point all of them are going to grow. And go. What this speaks to is the need for us as parents, as humans, as developing souls to work on lessening our urge to cling, dealing with our fears of being alone. But when we get caught up on our spiritual work we’re supposed to discover that we’re never really alone, right?

So, now: How can we both nurture and resist our urge to be overprotective, encourage our children to honor their roots, origins and family and yet encourage step confidently out into the world? How do we help them to find their way to the wellspring of power within and gain a sense of community responsibility and inter-dependence?

Here’s what one woman has to say:
So The Torah Is a Parenting Guide?



                 Cookbook cover                                 Cookbook Title Page

This marks the tenth year (wow…) since I self published the little cookbook whose picture you see above.   It was low-budget and fun– a major accomplishment for me in terms of really going the distance with a creative writing project.  I would really like to update it.  We’ll see.   In any case, posting about Big Man and I at Red Rooster reminded me of one one of my favorite recipes from my Afro-Bohemian cookbook.  couve, or Brazilian style collard greens.   Collards and kale are my favorite greens and I find ways to regularly work them into my home menu in a variety of ways.  Like one of my favorite foodies, the legendary Vertamae Grosvenor says in her book Vibration Cooking or the Travel Notes of a Geechee, “A bowl of collard greens does for me what chicken soup does for others.”    Try the recipe and see if you say the same.

Jene making collard greens (Fall 2011)
Browngirl and a cast iron pan of green goodness

           Collard Greens Excerpt for Blog