Nonfiction 3 minute read

1st Day of High School & I’m Sober


Today my oldest son started high school, but the real growth can be seen in me. Sure, he’s grown too—in the typical way the kids grow: he’s taller, bigger, more mature. Overall, however, he’s still a kid: thinks the world essentially revolves around him, loves his family, his toys (though they are different toys), and hanging out with his friends. Today he approached starting high school in essentially the same way he approached starting kindergarten—with a mixture a fear and excitement.


With me, it was a totally different story. It was with me where you could actually see some psychological growth.


The night before my son started kindergarten, I didn’t sleep. Who in the hell were these people that I was releasing my child to? Would these people be kind to my child? What if his teacher was mean like my third grade teacher, Mrs. Hawkins? What about the other kids? Would there be any “biters” in his class? (I was the biter in mine—sorry). What if the other kids were more advanced than him? You know how these super moms are—classical music in the womb, Baby Einstein at two months, Kumon at a year, reading by age three. I feared that my 1-hour of Sesame street per day wasn’t going to cut it. Would he be placed on the slow-track in kindergarten—never able to get off? I was a non-sleeping, Nick-at-Nite watching, nervous-stomach mess.


That morning nine years ago, I wanted to ensure that my baby had a good breakfast (you know that doctors say it’s the most important meal of the day), so he had pancakes, bacon, yogurt, donuts, oatmeal, fruit salad, and orange juice. Okay, so I went a bit overboard. He had his breakfast, and after he went off to school I had mine: a shot of tequila. I’m serious. Sometimes liquor is medicinal.


For lunch, I had the same thing that I had for breakfast…Tequila.


Fast forward to today. I ‘m not saying I won’t have any tequila, but it won’t be before the sun sets and it will be for pleasure and not for medicinal purposes. Like I said before, I’ve grown. I slept well last night. Today when my son left for high school, I felt completely calm.   Of course, I know all of the possible perils that are out there; but, I understand that I have no control over those things. But what I (and my husband) can control, and have controlled over the past 14 years is this household. That young man has been given the very best of me (and my husband). He has been raised. When you know you have absolutely done your best at something, it’s easier to let it go –just a bit.


My son doesn’t know how incredible he is yet. I didn’t know how great he was when he was in kindergarten; but, I know now. He walked out of this house today with a firm understanding of right from wrong; a warm, kind spirit; a quick brain; an empathetic heart, and an easy laugh. Most importantly, that 14 year old young man walked out of this home knowing how very much he is loved.


We both are going to be alright.


My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more


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