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Category Archives: Motherhood

Who is Tica Ayoka?

No se. I am unsettled… perhaps that is a poor word choice because I feel amazing! I simply don’t know which direction this new me will take.

I seldom know what day it is and those days speed by in technicolor. We continue to homeschool and my son has now started boxing lessons, twice per week. My schedule is dictated by his activities which is not unusual for a Mom. However, this is the time to carve out my place…

My goal is to truly lean into “pura vida” and know that all is well in time.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2022 in Family, Motherhood, Reflection, women

 

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My Son is 14 Today

Today is my son’s 14th birthday. I have mixed feelings… Of course I am joyous that he is celebrating another year of life. I left the states to ensure that. However, he is a teenager and all that comes with it!

He is a young 14 and still finds joy in simple things. Thank you! And the girl obsession hasn’t kicked in yet, another blessing. But I think as a parent, especially Mothers, we get very nostalgic for their younger, adorable years. SIGH…

 
 

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Stranger Fruit

In 2022, our fruit doesn’t hang from Southern trees. It lies rotting in streets, alleys and fields. We seldom know who plucked the precious fruit… or it goes unpunished.

 

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Passion Project

Many people don’t know that I am the executive director of a non-profit based in Delaware called Empowering Single Moms, Inc. I am that behind-the-scenes person who maintains the website, conducts intakes, brainstorms, creates content and strategic plans.

Dr. Crystal Edwards is the face and personality and my long-time college friend. She is a brilliant educator and speaker who is all about public service. We were both Single Moms at a relatively young age who leaned on each other when it got rough, which was often. We needed an organization like ESM.

We were both Single Moms at a relatively young age who leaned on each other when it got rough, which was often. We needed an organization like ESM.

We create a network and community for Single Moms who often feel (and sometimes are) alone. Our programming is developed to support them in their journey to create better lives for themselves and their children. It’s alot of work and we sometimes take two steps back for every one step forward. However, the reward is transformative for all involved.

Check us out and share with a Single Mom who could benefit. (Our service region is limited to Philadelphia, PA and a few counties in Delaware and Newark, NJ). We could always use volunteers and donors!

empoweringsinglemomsinc.org

 

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Dear FLOTUS: Various ‘Love’ Letters

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A beautiful dedication to the First Lady of the United States.

Thank you New York Times.

 

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Women’s Equality Day

Supposedly, that’s today… Is it really or just a hashtag?

Yesterday, I bumped into an acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in a while; she is blessedly pregnant. She is going on 40 and never thought she would have children because that’s what she’d always been told. 

As I shared a bit about pregnancy and motherhood, I asked her how she was doing.

It’s been interesting.

She said that about three or four times, but with a smile so I wasn’t worried. What she said next changed that… her employer does not have maternity leave. 

[A quick aside: I worked for an employer with no maternity leave, however this was a small non-profit and there was short-term disability after seven days.] But we are talking about a large, stable organization. 

Not only is there no maternity:

  • There is no STD until 90 days;
  • Can’t use the sick leave bank (even as a participant) unless you have a cesarean; and
  • You can’t have leave donated to you.

Her plan: bank as much leave as possible until December, tap her savings and get back to work as soon as she can.

But they have FMLA so at least she’ll have a job to come back to…

It’s 2016 y’all! Happy #WomensEqualityDay!!!!

 

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Black Lives Matter

It is amazing to me that so many can be offended and feel the need to misconstrue such a basic statement. A statement that is so basic and human that it begs the question: why would anyone feel like they need to make the statement at all?

But then again, I belong to the group that must make such a statement…

Last week was an extremely long and emotional one. On Wednesday morning, I was late for work trying to say the right words to my beautiful daughter to melt the mask of rage on her face. The slaying of a black driver in front of his fiancée and child was too much. And what do I say to make sense of the nonsensical? Especially following the videotaped murder by police in Baton Rouge? And how can I convince her of anything when my heart is so burdened?

That evening, she attended two rallys: one in our neighborhood then another at the White House. She was feeling better but I was not.

The next morning at work, I was asked to proof a statement that would be sent to our employees; a statement in response to the killing and wounding of officers in Dallas at a Black Lives Matter rally. It needed a black girl set of eyes…Why was there no statement the day before or the day before that? Hell, where was the statement two weeks ago following the Orlando shooting at Pulse? Where was the statement when churchgoers were murdered in their place of worship in South Carolina? I gave my feedback and suggested that it not be sent as is. The content was thankfully changed to address the unrest in the country rather than to only express sorrow about the police officers.

This morning, I bit off my man’s head because he was sharing some ridiculous “points” that Guliani made on In the Nation. “If I were a Black father, I would tell my son…” Well sir, you are not so you don’t need to fibish that sentence. You have no idea what it’s like to have to have conversations with your children that are literally life and death. It is unfair, it is heartbreaking and it is necessary.

#blacklivesmatter

 

 

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Belated Father’s Day

My First Love

Trips to the beach
Weekend shopping sprees
You holding my hand in yours,
Protecting me from the world.
I was your “Boop”.
Tall, lean and caramel brown;
A clefted chin and
Beautiful smile.
Your singing drove me to breath-taking giggles-

I thought no one could compare…

My hero
My king
My love.

Lonely days of waiting melted into lonely nights
And inconsolable tears.
Years went by.
You came back, charming as ever.
With your sincere words and tender kisses, that would lead to
Days unaccounted for
Unexplained.
Broken promises,
Money borrowed.
The shock of your fist knocking me to the floor.
The flashing lights,
Me giving a statement
As a crimson print settled onto my pale cheekbone.

At graduation you came smiling
As if you had a hand in my milestone.
Be nice and smile for the camera, said mom.
You had no right.

My hero
My king
My love.

So save the apologies
And personal attacks on my integrity.
You were an asshole long before the rock
Became your motivation.
I remember Mommy on the floor of my room
With a blood-stained Afro.
Me, wide-eyed in four-year-old feety pajamas
And you, swooping down to take me.

I remember our trip to Florida in a yellow, foreign car
You shimmying up a tree to get me a coconut.
Then twenty years later without decency or restraint, you shattered that tender memory
with the truth-
A truth that would have changed my identity.

My hero
My king
My love.

So excuse me.
Excuse my contempt.
For you
Your family and
Your life.
Excuse my hardened heart
And inability to trust.
That mean streak that everyone loves to hate-
Lovingly molded by you.
Excuse me,
For shielding my children
From your poisonous nature
And lobotomizing you from my life.

As a woman, my journey continues.
For the one to console me
Who will guide and protect me.
To rub my hair
And tenderly kiss my forehead
As a father would.
To rescue me
From the world
From myself
From you.

A girl never forgets her first love.

 

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Crime and Punishment

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We have a serious problem in this country because all too frequently they are mismatched.

My daughter and I have received a flagrant introduction to the justice system. The justice system assumes that anyone whom becomes engaged with it is familiar…

Today is my daughter’s trial. Another sentence I never saw myself forming. We are trying to get an APO charge dropped from July when she was roughed up and arrested for unknowingly not paying the complete Metro fare. She was assaulted, arrested, had to spend the night in jail, shackled and arraigned and now is on trial.

The fact that she has to zig zag between exams from here to Philly is infuriating! Her focus should be on school. Was what she has already endured not enough?

Here I sit, in the hall of the court building, waiting to testify. Friends and family are in the courtroom for support since I can not be present, lest her testimony impact my own. So I wait…

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Girls, Motherhood, Politics, Race, Real Talk, women, Youth

 

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Radio Silence

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I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting.

Sometimes the world becomes overwhelming and I become withdrawn. Like I need to recharge or reboot to successfully interact. I usually write poetry to get back to an even keel, but the words did not come…

I’m searching for higher ground.

 
 
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