The Kids Are Alright

So, this title has nothing with the movie from 2010 with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.  I just like the title and it totally fits where I am in life.

Almost to a fault, I’m the person that is always checking on others and making sure they are okay.  I’m the one sending the text messages and the calls with the “Hope you are alright” and the “thinking of you”.  So, please know that I’m intensely more like that where my kiddos are concerned.  You know, trying to parent from hundreds of miles away, but I’m pleased to announce that I’m doing better or at least I think I am.

My Only Begotten Son: (his words…not mine)

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If I’m honest….he’s the one that I worry about the most.  I feel like MY life choices put him at somewhat of a “disadvantage”.  I didn’t always make great life choices and as a result, he was raised without knowing his father.  Don’t get me wrong, he was/is surrounded by some amazing men that have nurtured him.

He finally has his first career (job).  Now, he’s been working but I’ve always felt like they were jobs (because he needed to eat and likes nice things) and not a career.

So, Saturday, I was cleaning and he was calling…AGAIN….but a “new” face was looking at me…

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Fresh outta the barber chair

After 11 years, he cut off his locs….I hadn’t seen that face since….

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Lately, he’s been calling more.  Our conversations are mostly about #adulting and about his new job and how he’s finally ready to settle down and get him a good woman (*insert rolling eye gif*

He seems happy….content….alright.

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Can’t wait to to replace this handsome picture of him with the new “loc free….I got my own house…my own car….I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T man pic.

 

Marsha….Marsha…Marsha….(The Middle Child)

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So, TMC recently moved to West Palm Beach from St. Louis and is beginning to grow into her 26 year old self.  When I talk to her, I hear a confidence in her that I both like and admire.  I mean, she has always been this no nonsense kind of girl, but I think the “rose colored glasses” have been removed and she is navigating this world with the innocence of some one who watched Disney Channel much longer than she needed to, but with the wisdom of all the matriarch’s of her/our family.

So, as she travels the world, writes her book and speaks to the NATIONS, I know that with each passing day, she’s alright.

The Youngun

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As I’m typing this, we are on the countdown to the wedding….Nope, not my wedding…hers!  (I still get heart palpitations thinking about it.)

Last year this time, she was newly engaged and graduating from college and now this year, she is prepping for her wedding…next month.  In true, YoungUn fashion, this will not be a traditional wedding…..we’re going to VEGAS BABY!

I’m so proud of the woman she is becoming.  Her 24  year old self, is much like her three year old self that was BUSY…questioning everything and seeing the beauty and creativity in anything.  She is smart, she is bold and she just… is…

Note:  The artwork is for sale!  Get at me for more information

When I think back to all that we’ve been through collectively and separately, I know that they can conquer anything.

Knowing that #thekidsarealright I can walk through this world a little more at peace.

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This picture is sooooo old, but hangs in my office.

Feel free to leave your comments and share this with others that may be on the “other side of motherhood” or soon to be.

Contact Kennetta at kpiper@thebirthingpoint.com or 830.499.1172

 

HER

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Now that Mother’s Day is passed…I’m still thinking about it and about HER.  I purposely chose not to put a message on the “innerwebs” about my mother or even about being a mother. Frankly, I just didn’t want to do Mother’s Day this year.

However, with all of the social media posts and tributes to mothers, it was hard not to “do Mother’s Day” and the day left me with thoughts and questions.

What would my mother think about me today?  Would she be proud of me?  Would she mention the extra pounds? Would she like Le Dude? What would she think about me “chunking up the deuces” to Corporate America and stepping out on my own?

Those that knew HER would agree….she was Light…a Giver…an Activist…she was BRILLIANT.

(Very little known fact: my mother was selected to be a part of the FBI…..until…well…ME)

Damn shame that she had to chose between her job and her family.

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My HER NEVER bit her tongue…you always knew how she felt on any given subject.  Her laughter was infectious and you would find yourself laughing without even knowing why.

 

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Tell me you didn’t smile just looking at that picture…

She was the first “creative” in the family of 11 that produced educators and engineers.  She was in dance and pageants and wanted to travel the world and did so at a very young age.  She was a free spirit (it’s where my sister and youngest get it from)

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She taught my sister and I that we could do ANYTHING.  Her philosophy was “I can show you better than I can tell you”.  She loved…deeply and passionately and family was important to her.

Mess with one of Brenda Gail’s kids and you will see her wrath.

I think about all of the things that she’s missed, like the kids graduating from high school and college, my sister’s wedding, and my daughter’s upcoming wedding…..but somehow, I know she’s there…smiling…feeling proud…and bragging to the other angels about her kids and grandkids.

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My great grandmother, mother, and grandmother #threegenerationsofangels

Those of you dealing with the loss of your mother (or significant female) in your life, I wish I could tell you that it gets easier, but it doesn’t, but it does get sweeter.

Here’s what I mean by that.  Honor your HER in ways that you know will make HER proud, makes it sweeter.  Your HER knowing you are living your best life or on the road to it, makes it sweeter.

Whenever, you’re missing her the most, think about your HER cheering you on and encouraging you to live your life without limits and without apology.

Feel free to leave your comments and share this with your tribe.

Contact Kennetta at kpiper@thebirthingpoint.com or 830.499.1172 for services or speaking engagements or simply to be added to the email list.

Tis the Season….to Graduate

 

 

 

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It’s that time of year again.  End of year programs, parties, prom, and most of all graduation!  Whether graduation will leave you an “empty nester” or your kiddo embarking upon “adulthood” and their first real job, this can be a tough time for you.

Although I don’t have any kids graduating, I still get nostalgic and sappy.  While going through some old paperwork and pictures,  I found something that I didn’t even know I still had. (No….not this picture….)

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I came across a letter from my Great Uncle written to me as I was about to graduate in 19….. from high school.

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February 1988

Here are is some advice he gave me in the letter as I was about to embark on a life changing event.

“High School is a part of life you’ll never forget…no matter how good or bad”

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High school for me was tumultuous ( I may be a little bit dramatic).  In my Senior year of high school, my mother decided to move us to LOUISIANA.  I was devastated, as this meant that I wouldn’t graduate with my friends and people that I knew.  While this was traumatic for me, it taught me some valuable lessons.

“Take lots of pictures, you will change, but the pictures/memories won’t”

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Behind those big glasses/eyes, was a fearful, but excited young lady.  She had no idea about the challenges that would face her, but in that moment, it didn’t even matter.

“Set goals and reach for them with all your being”

He reminded me that no matter what others say to try and discourage me, be realistic enough to know where I am always, even if it means standing still to collect my thoughts.

“Keep a positive outlook”

Sometimes clouds come to help us appreciate the sunshine, but it won’t be cloudy always.

“Never, and I mean NEVER, leave God out of your decision making”

It’s easy to pat yourself on the back for what only God could have done.  Thank Him for the small things, as well as the big things in  your life.  He’s similar to the humans He’s made and it’s great to enter young adulthood with someone that BIG on your side.

“Listen to SOUND advice”

Listen to those that you trust and love.  Especially those who have traveled the road you are about to journey on.

“You are special”

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It was in this part of the letter that I was reminded of the legacy tied to our last name and how much it was to be commended that I was finishing high school (it’s not like I had a choice) and was going on to complete college.

Final thought:  Who knew that those words written on yellow legal pad paper would be something that I  would keep for THIRTY YEARS!

As you begin this journey with your own kiddos or know of someone that is, encourage them to put pen to paper (yes, ACTUAL pen to paper) and encourage a graduate.  Whether it be a letter of encouragement or one that gives life lessons, just do it!  Don’t feel pressured to say something clever, just speak from your heart and everything else will fall in place.

 

 

Feel free to leave your comments and share this with others that may be on the “other side of motherhood” or about to be.

Contact Kennetta at kpiper@thebirthingpoint.com or 830.499.1172

 

Raising a Feminist

A few years ago, a male friend of mine asked me if I considered myself a feminist and I struggled with my answer to him.  I believe in equal right, equal pay, etc for women, but for some reason, I didn’t consider myself a feminist.  In my narrow thinking (at the time) I thought I should be out somewhere at a rally….

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or in the streets protesting

 

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Now tha I have understanding about what feminism is and what it is not, I totally identify as a feminist.  Depending on the cause, I have advocated from behind my computer and through social media and if need be, I will “suit up” and head out to the streets.

It wasn’t until after I watched this clip of Diane Von Furstenberg being interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, did I begin thinking about raising a feminist.

I started thinking about if my own view of what feminism was somehow stifled my kids, especially the youngest.

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This one (The Youngun) was a rebel…different…from the very beginning.  It was a lot harder for me to wrangle her and get her do anything she didn’t want to do because she wanted to make sure that the work or whatever was being doing was EVENLY DISTRIBUTED.  It used to infuriate me, that no matter what I did, I couldn’t “break” that out of her.  It was through much prayer, personality assessments and spiritual gifts tests (yes, I did that….#fightme) with the kids that I began to understand them better.

DID I RAISE A FEMINIST?

I firmly believe that my mother was a feminist, pre my sister and myself, however, there was still this rebel inside of her that couldn’t be tamed no matter what.

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That’s my mom with the red scarf on.

My sister and I have the activism/feminist gene, and we WILL exercise it, but I think (not purposely) I stifled that gene in my youngest.  Let’s be clear, she had petitions drawn up from the moment she could write words and spent much time trying to get the family and yes, random strangers, to sign the petition.   I believe the first petition was she wanted to save the whales, after seeing “Free Willy” the first time.

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Thinking back, I wonder if I properly nurtured that part of her.

 

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The first thing she did when she left for college was to get a tattoo and a piercing (she had already gauged her ears). She would often call me after a class or an encounter and the resounding theme would be “this isn’t fair”.  All along, if I looked back, I would realize the things that were important to her.

Here are a few steps if you, too, are raising a feminist:

  1. Bury stereotypes – including your own – We all have unconscious gender biases, don’t feed them, based on how you were raised, or what you were taught or by media influences.
  2. Pay attention to what your child is talking about (school, media, etc.) – Through these interactions, you are able to see what is important to them.  There is a pattern there and one that shouldn’t be ignored.
  3. Cultivate their natural empathy and increase their emotional intelligence
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Graduation Day, Prairie View University, August 2017

Final thought:  This [tatted, pierced and soon to be wife] seems to be doing okay.  So, perhaps, I got it right.

Feel free to leave your comments and share this with others that may be on the “other side of motherhood” or about to be.

Contact Kennetta at kpiper@thebirthingpoint.com or 830.499.1172

Parenting, Rather NOT Parenting Adult Children

I’m a PROUD and HAPPY Empty Nester!  Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I have a confession….I sometimes still try to ‘parent’ my ADULT children.

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Picture taken, Easter 2013 (I believe)

Let’s be clear, my kids are [almost] 28, 26, and 24, so, in reality, that gig is up.

This means I have to stand by and watch them make [what I perceive as] mistakes or missteps, but it also means that I get to celebrate them when they win.  There are many things that I wished I could have done or done differently, but because I had my children ‘early’ I wasn’t able to do so.

For instance….

I will be in my late 40’s before I’m able to visit Paris.  The Middle Child was able to do that as her college graduation present to HERSELF.

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This picture was her 2nd or 3rd time visiting.

What about having an actual spring break…like with your friends, away from home and all….

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Or having the time to explore your creative side after graduating from college, like the Young’un

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Art available for purchase

Do these pictures look like children that need to be parented?  No!  It wasn’t until The Middle Child said to me, “Mom, you realize that I’m not asking for your permission”.  That stung…but it was true.

Here are some steps that I take when I feel myself about to ‘parent’ my ADULT children:

  1.  Recognize and respect differences.  I have to remember that I raised my children to be strong and free thinkers.  Therefore, I cannot judge them for being who I raised them to be.
  2. Share wisdom and insight without being critical.  I can talk to my kids about my experiences, knowledge and insight, without forcing my opinions on them.  Here’s the better, in the event that I WAS right about a situation, I don’t bring it up or boast that I was right.
  3. Know Your Role.  My role is to provide emotional support and encouragement.  I don’t have to do it for them or make them do it my way….I just have to support them.
  4. Let reality be the teacher. There are some life lessons that I cannot teach, only reality can do that and referring back to step 3, I have to be there to provide emotional support.

Now, this does NOT mean that I mastered it.  Hell, I ALMOST messed up just yesterday, but I quickly recovered and was able to listen objectively and without judgement.

Feel free to leave your comments and share this with others that may be on the “other side of motherhood” or about to be.

Contact Kennetta at kpiper@thebirthingpoint.com or 830.499.1172

 

The Other Side of Motherhood

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This site/blog has been a LONG time coming.  The idea/vision came many years ago, but had it launched then, it wouldn’t have survived.  (Note:  God’s timing is everything).

This blog will be about navigating “mommyhood” after the littles have left the nest.  We will explore topics such as:

Tough Love

Motherly Advice

Navigating the Empty Nest

New Holiday Traditions

Social Media and Parenting

Dating…Them and You

You Wanna Do What?

Decisions, Decisions!

It Takes One To Know One – Lessons that your children will get after they become parents

When Their Zip Code Changes…Dramatically

Get Your Hand Outta My Pocket – When To Cut the Purse Straps

and SOOOO much more.

This blog will allow me to be transparent about parenthood and the mistakes that I’ve made and the lessons learned from being a mostly single parent (I had a tribe around me).

 

The Littles:

 

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Present Day [No longer The Littles]

The Boy AKA The Wanderer

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The Middle…AKA Jan Brady (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha)

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The Young’un AKA Freedom’s Song

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The Fam

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Feel free to leave your comments and share this with others that may be on the “other side of motherhood” or about to be.

Contact Kennetta at kpiper@thebirthingpoint.com or 830.499.1172 for services or speaking engagements or simply to be adding to the email list.

 

 

 

Just Do You…

just do you

“Just Do You”

I heard a voice that told me I’m essential
How all my fears are limiting my potential
Said it’s time to step into the light and
Use every bit of the power I have inside

So what’chu waiting on
Who You waiting for
If You don’t take a chance You’ll never know what’s in store

Just Do You (Somebody’s got to be a star)
Just Do You (Somebody’s got to raise the bar)
Just Do You (Somebody’s got to change the game)
Just Do You (Today)

Every mountain needs someone to climb it
Every ocean needs someone to dive in
Every dream needs someone to wish it
Every adventure needs someone to live it

So what’chu waiting on
Who You waiting for
If You don’t take a chance You’ll never know what’s in store

Just Do You (Somebody’s got to be a star)
Just Do You (Somebody’s got to raise the bar)
Just Do You (Somebody’s got to change the game)
Just Do You (Today)

If You create the game then You create the rules
And if You just be You
There’s no way You can lose

There’s a story waiting for you to write it
There’s a treasure waiting for you to find it
There’s a picture waiting for you to paint it
There’s a dollar waiting for you to make it

So what’chu waiting on
Who You waiting for
If You don’t take a chance You’ll never know what’s in store

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I’ve been SUPER busy working on a project!  Now that it’s done, somehow, I feel empty.  I keep asking myself, shouldn’t I be doing something?”

See, I’ve never been the kind of person that just sits idle.  I like projects and I like to be busy and this week of “downtime” has been challenging for me.  I will say that this downtime has afforded me many moments of reflection.

In the past two weeks, I turned 45, had a health scare, and realized that I’m vulnerable to what could be…(dare I say it)…love.

After my morning Starbucks run and while heading to work, the words “Just Do You” popped in my head.  I don’t take those moments for granted, so I decided to play the song by India.Arie. Yes, it is a song of Woman/Girl empowerment, but this morning for me, it was a song of permission.  Permission to live my life unapologetically.

Due to some past experiences, I sometimes have this internal battle going on.  On one side, I have “center stage Kennetta” and on the other side I have the “oh-don’t-mind-me, there’s-nothing-to-see-here Kennetta. I’ve learned how to hide in plain sight (to be unnoticeable, by staying visible in a setting that masks presence).  I used to think that if someone noticed me, they would see my imperfections and my flaws and judge me based on those things and not get an opportunity to see me for who I am.

Point of note: While I present as a “no nonsense, I’ll cut you if you get in my way” kind of a chick, that there are parts of me that are so mushy and soft on the inside.  #carryon #framingtherestoftheblog

Despite being aware of the negative scripts that run over and over in my head at times, I sometimes slip back into letting these thoughts affect how I act and behave.  This morning I was reminded of how this “stinking thinking” affects my mood and even how I approach my day(s).

Recently, I was “confronted” with the realization that I had slipped into old patterns and hadn’t realized it. I was LITERALLY called out from background (unexpectedly) right into the spotlight of the main stage by the headliner at a major music festival.  She kept beckoning me to come from the shadows and I kept shaking my head no, that is, until she came and got me and brought me out front and center.  It was a surreal moment for me, not because it happened, but mostly because I almost allowed myself to miss one of the hallmark times of my life because the shadows were more comfortable for me.

As I stare into the 45th year of being on Planet Earth, “just do you” has never meant so much more for and to me than it does in this moment.  It means that I will take my mantra of living unapologetically to newer heights.  It means that I will no longer hide in plain sight.  It means that I will be more open to the opportunities and the possibilities.  I will live with a  little more spontaneity , and I will take more risks….and most importantly, I will allow myself to be vulnerable because there are lessons learned/gained from just being/doing you.