Family is where most of my loyalty lives. My core family knows who I truly am no matter how many times I mutate – no matter what persona I put on for the public eye. When I’m around them, I’m a little more vulnerable; not always…but it happens a lot easier because I know them, and they know me. It’s not that way for everyone, and I’m appreciative that we coalesce the way we do.
Today, after a solid workout with my sister-in-law, I spent a little time with my nephew Jaiden. I accompany him as he goes solo player with his toys. I bubbled into tears as I reflected on my 3 month journey in deepening my relationship with him. The transition from me being no name to uncle to now…Uncle Eric shoves me emotionally. The first month, I’ve been conditioning him to call me uncle; one day he just promptly called me Uncle Eric. As it is commonly spoken, it’s the small things that mean so much. It’s been an intensely sentimental experiment, and he’s yield some surprising growth spurts. Surveying his growth has been harshly invigorating, as I witness the patience pour out of me when I respond to him. I’ve found the balance of my father’s sternness and my mother’s compassion when dealing with him. I smile more when I watch him play in solitude, dripping with admiration for his imaginative exploits and his coddled innocence. He reminds me so much of myself as a kid; playing alone – fabricating fictional friends that fit his protocol of play. I’m tickled by his boisterous narratives as I secretly pray that he retains that essence into his elder years. His charisma is heartfelt, and at the apex of it all, I reserve supreme confidence in Jaiden’s ability to be a great brother to his younger brother, Amari. Jaiden has been human for 3 years, and he’s been teaching his little brother how to play, speak, and behave; his compassion is admirable. He’s in a good position as an older brother showing acceptance of his responsibility early in his developments. Amari definitely shows signs of trailing his older brother. They seem to recognize their roles in each other’s lives as they’re protective of each other. The love is present, and the most inspiring thing is that none of this was taught! I observe the next generation of our family…and I feel good about where the destiny that the love instilled will flow.
But the essence of this post is about memories. Legacies.
My financial depression has recalled me to the realization that money does not define character. I have loved my family from lengthy distances. But, this distant love was given with the intention of providing what we have always lacked – economic stability. We experienced homelessness for a brief period when I was about 6. My mom was still recovering from two abusive relationships (my father and my little brother’s), and abandonment from my sister’s father. She enters a relationship with a religious man named John whom seemed very well-rounded and stable. That is, until we moved to Alabama…..with his mom, whom resented my mother. Eventually, we had to move out, and we vacated to a Waffle House. My mother had no job, no savings, and 3 kids; the hue of this bleak circumstance would make a woman wanna fade into nothingness and just give up. As a child, I didn’t know the severity of the situation, but I was aware of what was going on. I remember the mysterious man who bought us food and referred us to Salvation Army. From that point on, we were on the rise back to stability. But it was in the thicket of those moments that I realize what we didn’t have, and what I believed we should have in order to be happy. So I made it a priority to do whatever it took to make sure that my mother and my family were safeguarded from that level of poverty. From elementary school towards high school, I reached for excellence by exercising the system towards my benefit. In all of my endeavors, my purpose in life was to make my mother proud. Her expression was my gauge for success. From living in trailers to living in the projects, we persevered. Our lifestyle motivated my strides to travel and search for more. No matter where I travelled, I always returned home to add sentiments to our legacy.
The side effects of paper-chasing: money becomes the primary method of problem-solving and bonding, which will lead to a lack of emotional substance, virtue, and character.
Being financially depressed will not only reveal the presence of a transcending love, but its intensity and form. We are less than 12 hours from an official Mother’s Day, and I have packaged a gift for my mother – but it’s something that I feel that my whole family can share. I laced together a slideshow/song combo for tomorrow. It’s fascinating what a few pictures, a beat, and some words will conjure. Of course, it’s all about the meaning. The creation course has offered a large entrée of fulfillment along with few side orders of sentimentality. I’ve cried during the course of creating this compilation – capturing the substance of the memories. Thinking to myself that my financial health may not equate to mountains, but I’ve endured an extraordinary life that transcends them. I have a solar system of relatives, and their presence catapults my pride beyond the stars. During my search for mementos to stitch into the slideshow, I found a video that was captured by my best friend Eric. He’s more like an older brother, truthfully. Ever since our move to Regency Village in Moultrie, he’s been accepted as one of us. The chemistry was just a statement of perfection. 18+ years we’ve maintained our bond. He’s always been family-oriented. He’s always been prone to capturing the moment….so our Black Peter Parker captured these deep-rooted emotional scenes of our reunion.
We have a few dysfunctions in our family, but they don’t overshadow the cohesions. If anything, they glorify the love that’s present. What I value the most about my family is that we extend our legacy. We multiply it within this tight-laced sphere, and then like the Big Bang – it scatters; creating new worlds, and unfolding new possibilities. But this love always returns to the Singularity – my mother. Everyone isn’t approved for the opportunity to meet my mother personally, but they receive a representation through each of her children. We’re all very protective of her in our own unique way because she is the core of who we truly are. Yet still, we retain our paternal essences. And as we strive to each become autonomous, we continue to solidify our union whenever we’re cognizant of its presence.
As effective as I am as a wordsmith, my definition of family transcends words.