This is always a favorite week for me and my household.
Aside from the immediate shift from cold to warm in this part of the midwest with the accompanying blowing winds, pollen, and chirping birds, it is birthday week!
My youngest son became a legal adult on Monday.
That threw me for a moment to stop and realize that that much time had elapsed between his improbable beginning. He is doing everything I ever wanted him to do. When I think about this place in his life - almost a college senior as soon as he finishes his last final, following his passion in opera, enjoying being young, and meeting a wonderful young lady - I pause to think about the blessing of being a black mother with a black son who hasn't been a statistic.
My son is almost my birthday twin. We are two days and a whole lot of years apart.
Today is my birthday.
I woke up to my plus one day.
It felt fresh, unpackaged, expectant.
I remember the combination of fear, anxiety, celebration, and happiness I felt as I crossed from one decade to another, sealing myself in the space of middle age. There were so many things I thought about doing and began to utter prayer of more time to read, more time to write, more time to live for my grandson's birth.
The morning dawned on a feeling of excitement and purpose.
Almost a year ago, the world turned upside down and everything I thought I would be doing changed. From the first week of August to now, I focused so much on culture, social justice, human rights, and fairness The endless days, posts, meetings, marches, and tweets began to take a toll on my emotional health as name became hashtag after hashtag after hashtag.
So it was with great jubilee that I greeted today knowing that purpose for me is being sealed, that my enlarged tent has put me on a path I was meant to follow, and that my title of "Mama Tayé" was not only earned, but recognized. It gave me a moment to pause and be humble.
When I dropped the girls off to school and went to have coffee, I sat outside at a bistro table at my favorite local coffee shop. I left my laptop at home, intentionally, and turned my phone off. There was a call in my soul to be present, to feel the morning sun gently warm my face, to be caressed by the wind whisping through my hair, and to be serenaded by the birds chirping their appreciation for that crumb on the concrete. Moments became minutes as I sipped my beehive Tanzanian coffee and took bites of a handmade yogurt parfait. I allowed myself to acknowledge that not only did I deserve this time, I needed this time.
The morning respite was briefly interrupted by an errand for my daughter followed by a yearning for more. I hopped in my car, turned it west, and ended up in a suburb a few miles from home. Taking a chance, I turned into a little strip mall and found myself outside a local French bakery. Being Creole and yearning for the reminded carefree afternoon in New Orleans, I decided this was the place to remain for the afternoon.
I was not disappointed in the perfectly frothed cappachino dusted with cinnamon, the mini fresh french rolls with warm butter, the raspberry vinegrette on my salad, and the light and airy strawberry layered cake that demanded all thoughts of increasing middle age weight be tossed in the pond beside my table. I took my time to be present, wrote a few lines that will eventually be a poem or essay, and smelled the freshness of the flowers, listened to the calm of the water fountains on the patio, and watched the ladies who lunch with hands glistening with jewels earned over a lifetime.
My plus one day filled me with hope and opportunity.
Time is a precious gift.
It is not to be frivilously squandered, irreplaceable.
Today, for my plus one, I gave myself the moments of me.