Protect your children at all costs, right? How many people are willing to truly make that sacrifice for their children? Mothers? Everyday. Fathers? Depends on who you ask. I’ll just leave that thought there. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for my kids. Three years ago, my husband and I made were faced with some challenges when it came to our kids that needed to be addressed head on. Our oldest was just about to turn ten and we were not financially, emotionally, spiritually and whatever else you can think of, in a good place. The older he became the more we realized that where we were living was not the best place for him. As he was growing up, the world was changing and becoming more and more less kind to little Black boys like him.
Where I’m from, gunshots and noise were just, constant. When my husband and I married we decided to stay close to his family and the area he was familiar. I grew up an only child and in the suburbs. There was always something going on around his way. As time passed and we began to grow our little family, it became less safe for the kids to be outside. On any given afternoon in the summer, shots were ringing out all day long. Truly, we have been blessed to be able to dodge bullets directly outside our front doors. Kids riding bikes up and down the street are now hiding behind and underneath parked cars. Parents are screaming for the children through open doors and windows. Bullets have no name. Often times, the person who has been struck wasn’t even the intended target. So with all this going on, how was I supposed to allow my son to remain a child and keep him safe? Move, right? Well that’s not always an easy task.
It took a long time to get to a place where we were comfortable with moving. It wasn’t because we enjoyed the chaos. I swear, if one more person sent me a link to another shooting near my house or complained about the violence in the city I was going to scream. That part was super annoying. I always wanted to have people over and play that good host, but what does that conversation sound like? “Hey, I know that you saw on the news that someone died over here earlier in the week, BUT, want to come over?” Yeah, that’s it. My mother’s health began to decline and we took that opportunity to get out. And like a ‘thief in the night,’ we were gone.
What a tough transition this has been though. Imagine leaving everything and everyone behind to go to a place that you know NO ONE. Oh, and did I mention that where we were going didn’t have Wifi…or the capability of Wifi? Both of the older kids looked at us like we were crazy when we told them we moving with my grandmother, to the land where technology goes to die. Even with my husband not having a job and a 2 hour commute each way, everyday, it was absolutely worth it. So to give you a little perspective, where my grandmother lives, the older kids, who went to two different schools, rode the same bus. It was surreal, my 1st grader and my fourth grader went to different schools but rode the same bus. They had to be up and out the door by 610 to await for the ONE bus to pick them up. The bus driver drove my uncle to high school. He’s 47-ish. Uh huh. Talk about that small town feel.
The hardest part for me was watching my kids cry because of the people they missed. Because of how quickly things escalated, we had to move them in the middle of the school year (definitely don’t recommend that nor will I do that again for sanity’s sake) and they had a very short time to say goodbye to friends and family. Aside from the nuances that came with moving, it was relatively seamless. I was scared out of my mind. How would I know that I was making the right decision? Especially after the older kids were bullied so bad when we first arrived. These were such impressionable years and I never wanted the kids to resent us for uprooting them, but there was a bigger goal in mind, their safety. Kids should be able to ride bikes and scooters outside carefree. Imagine the weight of the world a kid has to bear on their shoulders when they become accustomed to sound of gunshots and the sight of drug paraphernalia littering the sidewalk they’re playing on. That shit is heartbreaking, seriously. I’ve witnessed children running for their life because bullets were flying. The age of recruitment of drug dealers in appalling. If you don’t think there’s a problem with guns and the easy accessibility, don’t even come talk to me because clearly you have been living under a rock for all your days. Just read the paper, the victims of gun violence and drug addiction are getting younger and younger. Like everything else, there are pros and cons to moving South. The kids are thriving, all of them. I’ve got my hands on all of them. There are so many activities that they have the opportunity to get into for little to no cost. My son started his football journey here. He found his confidence on the field amongst great men who want nothing more than to see him succeed in life, and not just because he can ‘play real good.’ But there are other people here that really want to sow into him the importance of believing in himself and can be whatever, not just an athlete. My oldest daughter, man, that girl has really blossomed. She is gifted. No seriously, like tested and is a ‘genius.’ I know right! Never saw that coming because HONEYYYYYYY….let’s just say that God is always in control and knows what he’s doing. She was tested and accepted into the gifted program at school and so many more doors and opportunities opened for her. The array of friends she has and the different experiences that she now has access is something I’ll forever be grateful. Our youngest has some pre-existing medical conditions and has access to some of the best doctors and has been making the most extraordinary progress. Truly. I’m not going to be that naïve person who thinks that none of this could have happened back home because it could have, eventually. But at what cost? Would all of my kids have the opportunity to be prosperous?
Just DO IT! Take that leap of faith. Walk in your truth and look fear right in the eyes and let it know that you’re one bad ass person and you will not be crippled by your own fears. There truly is no time like the present. Take back your life. That’s what I’m doing. I’m just trying to make decisions and live my life as if you only get one and there aren’t any do-overs. Simply not to try and impress anyone, but to let my kids know that their mother would move heaven and Earth for their successes, nurture their failures and the availability and space to allow them to be their authentic selves without fear of repercussion.