The other night at dinner, I was talking to my son about his day. Jordyn, my 2yo was sitting at her table singing Bob Marley’s “3 Little Birds”. She’s a little jukebox, just like her mother. I couldn’t help but smile.
Afterwards, my son Jaden who plays AAU basketball had a scrimmage. So we got in the car and he put his NBA 2K12 Soundtrack on, like he does every time we’re going to do something basketball related. And for an hour he provided me a much needed distraction.
Inside that gym, I saw him, his teammates and their competition (varying hues, but predominantly brown like he & I)– being carefree children. There was laughter, frustration, coaches yelling and applauding, whistles blowing and parents talking recklessly. I watched as the fruits of extra practice time, allowed him to regain his jumper. And on the last one, he left that goose neck up as he walked off the court.
When he headed to the huddle, we made eye contact and he smiled broadly. I shook my head, grinned and gave my sign to focus and keep playing. He nodded and listened to his coach.
Unbeknownst to him, my heir had done for me the same thing that my air had done over an hour prior. They allowed me to break not only from the usual day to day grind. But they forced me to unplug from the negativity, the hatred, the fear, the unnecessary yet unavoidable reality that is again being forced onto the masses.
Our nation is broken and has been since forever. Our justice system is broken and has been since forever. Yet even with that, if we as individuals don’t allow ourselves opportunities however small they may be, to exhale and experience some form of normalcy– we will burn out and be worthless to any cause or to those that need us most.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, the news, both cable and network. They all are regurgitating the same negative information and energy over and over again in a non-stop 24 hr news cycle, that can easily do as much harm as good. Yes, it is necessary to be informed. It’s also a must to be selective about whose feeding you and how often.
Our present day reality is not new:
- there’s a chance I, my children’s mother or anyone in their village could leave home in the AM and never return.
- my son, is nearing that age where he will begin spending more time away from the nest. He’s only a year younger than Tamir Rice was.
- my daughter could be riding in the backseat one day during a sheer happenstance encounter with law enforcement, that could go wrong for any number of reasons (see Philando Castile).
This is the remix to a past that POC were faced with some 3-4 generations ago. One that I try my hardest not to let outwardly affect me. At least not in the eyes of my babies. Because they need me, us, here in the physical as well as to preserve the ideal we provide them.
They need to know that someone in their life cares. Especially as they come up in a country, that continues to prove it could give a good damn about them.
With all that said, no matter if you are a frontline fighter against injustice, a background supporter or quiet sympathizer…I implore you to make time to unplug. Because if you don’t, the sheer volume of mind numbing occurrences and their coverage– will certainly, drive you mad.
Be vigilant. Be smart. Be safe.
:: Love ::
featured image source: thecatholiccatalogue