A Note to My Mom …

Happy Friday, All!  I hope those of you who utilized Thanksgiving as a time to rekindle kind spirits, visit and be with family or friends, and enjoy the comfort of a good home with good foods and beverages enjoyed the time together.  So, I KNOW that you can politely say “Thank You!” for the many many blessings.  TGIF in a fine tone of voice.

I pretty much spend this time of year alone.  I don’t like going to “look” for people to hang out with during these spiritual holy days.  I used to go to a good childhood Friend – Peter Zachary RIP – and his Family for the “holy days” … even Hanukah.  For me, it’s better to be alone than take the chance of experiencing some unnecessary negativity … from ANYONE!  I know that it’s not easy to be “content” or “happy” when you are alone, but I can … I simply can!  I’ve HAD to do it a few times in my life.  There were a few times when I didn’t see people whom I actually knew for several months.  No … I didn’t “grin and bare it”, I went inside.  I also know that the “inside” of some people is a place that they don’t want to be.  Some don’t even know how to get there!  Many folks have been driven outside of themselves so often that they are not sure who they are anymore.  Not a journey that I’d even want to begin, let alone complete.

You know, as the youngest in my original family I got to see a lot.  And still, I had to star in my own family dramas from time to time … rebelling, testing boundaries, and just acting up.  On November 6th, 2005 at about 1 am, Marietta Dolores took her last breath.  I had just left the hospital’s hospice ward while she remained in a coma until expiring.  As soon as I had driven a half hour or so back home, my cell phone lit up in the darkness of the City due to power outages across South Florida caused by Hurricane Wilma.  I hurried back to the hospice to bid her a fond adieu and went back home before going to report to work.  I didn’t stay at work long … I couldn’t …

So this Thanksgiving note is for her.  My Dad was like the “hammer” once provoked by one of his children’s stupidity or selfishness.  My Mom did the “clean up” with lots of love in whatever condition she found us in.  I remember hiding under the bed once because I knew my Dad couldn’t fit!!  That did it!  He got a hold of one leg … and the rest was a blurry teary history.  “Big Ike” didn’t play once you had provoked him and he had gotten angry!  Discipline was of the utmost for him.  However, he was very lenient with his two daughters.  Once, my oldest sister actually cursed at him!!  I was like, she must have a death wish!  But this time he just walked away.  From what I can remember, he never spanked his girls …  My Mother loved him for that, too!

We were well-raised as a family.  We all HAD to sit down at the tiny dinner table in the kitchen of the three-bedroom apartment in the Winbrook Housing Project.  No, you could NOT eat in your room or in the living room!  We EACH had our seat at the dining table.  We said “Grace” before every meal that we ate together, Dad’s doing with Mom’s lead.  I liked it.  I felt an integral part of “The Cook Family”.  I felt the love, especially during the Holy Days which included Thanksgiving.  We had Saturday outings together as a family to places like Bear Mountain State Park in Upstate New York and often met up with other families from The Winbrook Apartment Complex with kids of similar ages as us four.  It would get so “good” sometimes, the adults would even let us go off on our own and enjoy the Park’s amenities which included boating and horseback riding!  But as we all know, some of the “kids” turn out different than what the parent(s) wanted.  It’s pretty much a crap shoot from the parent’s perspective though the responsibility for providing a safe and nurturing (free from bullying) environment for the young ones to have their best chance at life is definitely solely on the parent(s).  My parents did their best … with each of us.  It’s just that I have taken on the responsibility that they set out on … being the best that I can be.  And yeah, I had to fight back sometimes against bullies (still do from time to time!).  So, confidence and courage must be instilled in the “kids” so they learn and know how to protect themselves spiritually and emotionally. (I accompanied Mom and Dad to Bethel Baptist Church frequently!)

The Colorado Springs shooter had had his name changed due to his horrific experiences of being bullied … even online … and abandoned by his father at a tender young age … 2 or so …  His mother then put on her “convict coat” and received multiple charges including arson.  Now, these aren’t excuses but they are REASONS why parenting should be taken seriously.  A parent or parents can really mess their children up by letting them be bullied and not teaching them the proper defense mechanisms.  At some point, a victim of this pathological family behavior coupled with being bullied via an online account characterizing him as an “abused Asian transexual” or something extremely hurtful like that is going to snap.  While “Aldrich” (formerly Brink before a legal name change) says that he is “non-binary”, his father said, “…we don’t do gay!”  So, imagine where his various psychological states had been as he tried to navigate his way and “grow up”.  Still, it seems that the “red flag laws” weren’t exactly helpful after charges were dropped that had been filed by his mother after he threatened to blow up their home with a homemade bomb, perhaps dropped by his own mother.  You see, being a parent is more than saying it or taking credit for it … you actually have to BE one … responsible and accountable and all that other stuff.  Sometimes, people hold on to a child like a pawn in a chess game or a trophy of some sort without ever being a full-time parent.  This is an unfortunate quagmire of misdeeds, lies, frustration, and unaccountability.  What else could they expect from this burgeoning monster?

I’m simply trying to elucidate the importance of how good parenting can increase a child’s chances of becoming a stable citizen of the universe, perhaps worthy of procreating another decent human being.  A stable family unit is extremely important.  If you are not “ready” to become a parent, then DON’T!!  It’s all cute and fun until the “kid” acts out uncontrollably by hurting others … as “it” has been hurt, maligned even.  So, I thank my Mom for choosing my Dad, a true partner, to help me along my way!  I’m grateful for ALL they showed us … even their “mistakes” as they found and fought their way through a racist system and society so I could come out okay and thrive!  I’m grateful that I don’t need a lot to be happy now and can manage my way through my life with as little hurtful, hateful drama that often appears in families like this “kid” …

So, as we move through this “holy day season” be sure to SELF reflect that YOU are doing a good job at being the best that YOU can be!  It’s truly a blessing!!  You’ll see … trust me!


John I. Cook, Director

Thank you for reading … it means a lot to me … and hopefully, the world!

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