“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Growing up, I never really saw myself having children; I was the girl who envisioned a career in the music industry, living in a big city like Atlanta and enjoying the life of an independent bachelorette. Well, as we all eventually learn, our life does not usually go as WE planned.
At the age of 21, as a senior in college, I got pregnant as a result of a young and dumb decision. Totally caught off guard, I guess I thought that I was untouchable when it came to getting pregnant. Not in a relationship with the father, who lived out of state, in my last semester of undergrad and a fresh off the burning sands Greek ready to stomp the yard, I wasn’t ready for motherhood; socially, emotionally, mentally…NOT READY!
There were many routes that I could’ve chosen but in my mind, I chose the only option that I knew was best based on my values and beliefs: I made a decision, pregnancy was the result and now I’d have to deal with it.
Once it settled that I was going to be a mother, I hoped that it was a girl. Being the girly girl that I was and being raised around mainly women, that’s all I knew. Well, I found out that it was a boy and in my mind, I was like, “How am I going to raise a boy and I know nothing about being a boy?!” During my pregnancy, his father and I decided that once he hit high school, he would live with his dad fulltime, because no one can teach him about being a man better than a man and his own father.
Throughout the years, life took me on many journeys and led me into a career of education. From those experiences and conversations with my aunt who worked as a middle school teacher, I quickly decided that it would be best that my son moved in with his dad for middle school, instead of waiting until high school. Yes, I decided that it would be best to pull a Boyz N The Hood move on my son, in advance. I had learned that once boys hit puberty, just as girls, they go through a lot of changes physically, behaviorally, mentally and emotionally; changes that as a woman, I did not go through nor am familiar with. Outside of these changes, there are also life lessons that a boy must learn as he transitions into manhood; core values that again, as a woman, I cannot relay effectively.
While I tend to receive more praise than bashing for this decision, I have had a lot of moms who have expressed to me that they’re not sure if they could make that same decision, how it would be hard and inquire how I could allow such a thing, as well as how do I allow my son to leave for the entire summer to be with his dad, which he has been doing since 3 months old.
In my mind, it’s not about “how can I do it?” but about what needs to be done for the sake of my son. Just as I am his mother, his dad is his father; there is no such thing as “allowing” his other parent to do anything. Just because we are not in the same household, it doesn’t mean that I have to allow or not allow his father to parent HIS own child. He isn’t a babysitter who gets his son occasionally; he is a parent…our son’s parent, who has every right to raise the child that he helped conceive.
My question to these women would be, “how could you not grant your son or his father the opportunity for a great manhood?” As a woman raising a 9 year old son, I firmly believe that no woman can really prepare her son to be a man, period. I want my son to be a great man, father and husband, all roles that I am simply not familiar with. His father is entitled and obligated to teach our son how to successfully manage the journey into manhood and I have no right to deny him of that.
Seeing my son leave in a couple of years will definitely be hard; emotionally, it has started to take a toll on me as early as now but it must be done. I love my son so much that I am willing to step outside of my own feelings, selfishness and comfort zone to give him to his father, in an effort to see my son have the best opportunity possible to become the best man that he can become.
To my fellow moms out there raising boys,
Be selfless enough to let your son go. Let him live. Let him make mistakes. Let him learn. Let him explore. Let him figure things out. Let him have every opportunity possible to be the man that he is required to be. If your fear is that you will no longer have a bond, that he will forget about you, that he won’t miss you, etc, then you MUST remember that there is no bond like the bond between a mother and her child. No one can ever replace that; you birthed him, you raised him and he will always cherish that. Hold close to your heart that once you, “Train up a child in the way he should go: that when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
“Ain’t no woman alive that could take my mama’s place.”
-Excerpt from the Book of Tupac