Dear African-American Parents

Dear African-American Parents, You've Raised Some Strong Children

"Be bold. Be brave. Be beautiful. Be brilliant. Be (your) best." - Renée Watson

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I feel like I was lucky to be born in Black History Month. I mean, the culture, the new information that I discover, everything about Black History Month is my favorite. I also get to celebrate my mom (but when do I not celebrate her?) more than usual.

I've always looked up to my mother and it shows in how I act, speak, talk, walk, and write. She is a powerhouse and I know that she's tired, but I'd like to think of my brother and me being her motivation to keep pushing forward and not quitting. She's taught me more in 19 years than any textbook in school could have and she's taking on life, single and with her head held high because that's the type of woman she is. She's had to tackle raising my brother and me alone while helping us with homework, cheering us on at games and recitals, cooking our favorite meals, and putting us through college. She's superwoman in my eyes and I can only hope that I can be like this when I become a mother.

To all other African-American parents, you may not realize this, but you've raised some of the strongest children ever. You've given them reasons to stay in school and it's totally cliché, but you're the reason they want to buy their mother a new house or get their father a new truck. You're exposing them to the horrors of the world before the rest of society wakes up and sees the truth — it scares us at first, but you have to tell us otherwise we look stupid and you don't want your babies walking around with their heads down because they were unaware of the hatred that they had to endure because of a slight difference they have.

You made us understand that we should not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character and that we are not who society has stereotyped us to be. You've done an amazing job and I couldn't be any happier to be in such an amazing community.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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7 Life Lessons My Parents Taught Me

Your parents have been there from the start, and have no doubt shaped you into the person you are today

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I'm so grateful for everything that my parents have done for me. Even more so, I'm incredibly grateful for all of the life lessons over the years. At this point, they've taught me way too many life lessons to list here. However, I thought I'd take the time to write down seven of the most important ones!

1. Be Respectful. 

If there is one thing my dad has instilled in me from a young age, it's to always be respectful. I have always been impressed with my dad's ability to stay cool and calm in situations where that's the last thing anyone would expect from him, and he has taught me the importance of maintaining a respectful and mature attitude, even when life gives you the sourest lemons.

2. Be bold. 

My mom is the coolest woman I know, and she has always taken on life the only way she knows how: with unbelievable boldness and fierceness. Being bold means not being afraid to be different or to stand out, and my mom has taught me how badass it is to be the true version of yourself.

3. Be forgiving. 

Arguments and fights are unavoidable parts of life, and ever since I was little, my dad has consistently reminded me of how important it is to pick your battles. Knowing when it's time to pick up the pieces and move on is essential in order to be a forgiving person, not only to yourself but to others as well.

4. Be generous.

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be spoiled by my parents. Not only was I lucky enough to go on vacations and get beautiful gifts around my birthday and holidays, but I was especially lucky enough to be spoiled by my parent's love and kindness. Being generous, not only financially, but with your ability to love and respect other people is something I am so thankful my parents have taught me.

5. Work hard. 

Both my mom and dad are incredibly hard-working people. Growing up, there were times where my dad worked 12-hour days, and my mom juggled work, household chores, and taking care of me. Even though their hard work resulted in some sacrifices, they always did what was best for my sister and I. My parents have naturally pushed me to be a hardworking person in all aspects of my life, and I think it's a very admirable quality.

6. Be kind.

My dad is the type of person who will always stop in an intersection to give money to a homeless person, and my mom is the type of woman to never think twice about sacrificing her own needs to help others. Both my parents have shown me, along with the rest of the world, what it means to be kind and selfless, and I can only hope I will one day be as good at it as they are.

7. Stand up for yourself. 

Before I came to college, I often found myself doing what everyone else wanted me to do. I jumped into things quickly, hoping it would please others and make them like me. However, once I got to college, I quickly called my mom on the phone, crying because I regretted some decisions I had made. My mom told me how important it is to stand up for yourself, learn to say no, and only do the things you really want to do. Learning to live your life for you, and not let other people rule your universe is key to being happy, and I'm fortunate that my mom helped me realize this.

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