What We Did For Love
Some of you may recognize the post title. It's a reference to a popular song from the musical A Chorus Line. I guess I need to do that 100 things or 43 things or whatever to let y'all (such a wonderful Southern word) know a little more about me and Ben. By the way Ben is still asleep and for a change Joan's not freaking out.
I entered Furman University in the fall of 1980 as a drama major. Obviously I finished with a BA in Art (if you have read the profile) and in between got married for the first time, pursued a career in music, dropped out of college, got divorced, and got my ear pierced (which drove my dad crazy for awhile). I tell you this to let your know that I really love a soundtrack to a great musical.
An aside: if your want your own copy of A Chorus Line then buy anything but the movie version.
Me and Joan knew early in the pregnancy that Ben might have some problems. We thought we were prepared but parents can never ever be properly prepared for that special child that arrives no matter what. The world is turned upside down to say the least. In Ben's seven years our entire social network has changed. I can name several "friends" that we've not heard from in those years. If they ever read this I want them to know they are forgiven and we welcome you back into our lives.
My political agenda has changed as well. I was a typical white male Caucasian Republican (not card-carrying) voter who thought he knew the RIGHT (conservative) way and the Left Coast Way. And although I disagreed with much of affirmative action I had no problem with black folks. I've had several close friends who are black during my lifespan. In fact I can admit now (since my pa-in-law is pretty much computer illiterate and my deceased father knows better these days) that I even had crushes on two black girls back in my single days; one in high school and one in college.
Does that qualify me to understand the African-American experience? Of course not. I do think that having a challenging son makes me a minority though. A white man feeling oppressed. What a strange thing. Trust me, I will be getting to my point soon.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a wealthy environment. Perhaps I'm paying my dues now? Anyway the lady I called my Second Mom was a black woman. She cleaned our house but our relationship was closer than that. Miss Estelle cleaned up after me and my slob brothers but her hard work is only truly appreciated now. To make extra money Miss Estell would stay with me and my brothers when my dad and mom traveled.
One night me and Cam got caught trying to sneak out on Miss Estelle. She laid the law down on us and deservedly so. In a selfish fit of anger I called her the N-word. She slapped me across the face and I deserved it. Nothing was said to parents...ever because I knew how wrong I was. To this day I feel it was one of the worst things I've ever said or done and I'm so thankful Estelle forgave me because I do love her dearly.
So I guess these are some of my points:
1. Don't say things in front of your kids you don't want them to recite later.
2. I wish I'd never learned:"the word."
3. I wish rappers or whomever to quit saying "the word" and retire it for good.
4. See #3 again.
5. I wish I had told my father that I was attracted to a girl that was really cool (she just happened to be black).
6. You can believe that Jessie and Ben are being raised in an environment that Dr. King once dreamed about.
Because of Ben I see the world now through colorblind eyes in regards to skin; along with the help of Justin, Najee, Malik, Evan, Courtney, Jasmine, Morgan and three wonderful lovely ladies that work with these children everyday. Thanks Doris, Sallie, and Kristy.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
What We Did For Love