Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lovely Day

Today has been lovely. I woke, dressed and fed my children, and then went off to my very relaxing spa appointment. It felt great to be the focus of so much attention and gentle touch. The therapist even sang "Happy Birthday" to me! (Although I prefer quiet during massages, I appreciated the gesture). Then I went off to a lovely cafe and had a healthy and yummy lunch while I graded papers. When the food came, though, I put aside the papers and enjoyed my food and my own company. I rarely do that, and it felt so good to just sit with myself. The semester isn't over, but what a great way to move towards the end stretch!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Filled with Hope


Yay for your successful mission today! I'm so excited about your new developments, I can't even tell you. I'm hopeful and so looking forward to good things. The anticipation is at an all time high!

The Diva will fill in the details later . . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Two Offers

My class was reading Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's "Two Offers" the other day and one of my graduate students pointed out that women are still dealing with the story's major dilemma because women are "held hostage by children." I nearly fell off my chair with laughter. After I had righted myself, I muttered, "Yeah, that's kinda true." The story is about two women. One of them is contemplating two marriage offers; the other is taking the path of work and professionalism. Ostensibly, these are the two, and very distinct, options available to women.

Now, of course, I can't complain so much about having those options. I mean, the women in the slave narratives we are reading don't even have the choice of marriage, and the choice of motherhood is pretty much ripped from them, too. And many throughout time have not had the option of work they choose. let alone work that is fulfilling. So, I won't complain, especially in this semester of course reduction and new pedagogical challenges.

Nevertheless, nobody in the class disputed the grad student's comment--not the men and not the women. I had mapped out the points I wanted to make about the story, but I wasn't really prepared for this personal turn in the discussion. Some of the undergraduate students talked about their plans to vigorously pursue work before they sought family life. One even stated that she planned to be a stay-at-home mom. In general, I got the impression that these young women hadn't given a lot of thought about just how could have any of what they want. I don't blame them; young adulthood is built for other things. Things unrelated to the smell wafting right now from my son's diaper or the annoying whining sound that someone in this house makes every 20 minutes. Or even to the 20 pages of research I should be revising--deeply-- instead of writing this blog entry. But the ideological split in the story seemed very much alive to these much-younger women and men. The problem, though, isn't that women can't handle the dual identity of worker and homemaker. Certainly, black women have had to be models of this pardigm for a long, long time. The problem, and the female grad students understood this palpably, is that there is no framework that supports the actual lives of women in these dual roles. I can't help but to wonder if I've been punished a bit for choosing to make, birth, and parent two children in close proximity. I'm almost certain that I lost a possible job offer because I was pregnant. Even with my flexible schedule and ability to do work at home, I'm not a rock star in my field and I don't see that changing any time soon. I've decided that I don't care. But that's not exactly the truth.

There are days when I foolishly Google former classmates and colleagues to see what they are doing. They always seem more fabulous than me. I wonder if I could have been, would have been, just as fabulous if I had spent the last several years being fabulously productive. Just as often, though, I wonder if I would be (nearly) debt free and more beautifully dressed if I had been working for 7 years instead of toiling away in graduate school.

I don't know. I guess we make the choices we make. Then, we just keep pushing. I don't have much time to work all of this out in my head. My daughter's crying and my article isn't going to write itself. When you figure it out, let me know, please. Then, I'll tell F.E.W. Harper; I'm sure she'll want to know.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

President Obama

The only words that I can muster: I almost don't believe it. But it turns out, Yes. We. Can.

I'm so verklempt. . .

I voted this morning and it took me NINE minutes! My brothers were mad because it took them 2 and 3 hours in other states. I went prepared to wait for a long time: I ate breakfast before I left; I got dressed (in my red, white and blue, no less) for work so that I could leave directly from the polls and go to class; I took my magazine and some paper to write down some class notes; I carried my sassy heels and wore my comfortable black flats. But the line was not long, everyone was friendly and smiling--AKA and Delta, black and white, I cast my vote and I was out of there. It was a good experience. Should I take this as a sign?

On NBC, I caught a glimpse of a news report about the world's perception of this election. Largely, the rest of the world is hoping for an Obama presidency. (Israel is not as excited about it). They said no place is as excited as Kenya. That moved me. Obama represents so much to so many. Yes, this is an election that could change the world's perception of America for the better and that is important. But Obama is carrying so many more hopes and dreams that go beyond just a Democrat winning. And he represents it for so many more people around the world. This election is so much more than what many may think. This is deeper than just a mere American election.

Now, talk amongst yourselves. I've already given you the topic.

Whatever Will Be, Will Be . . .

So, the future is almost here. It's scary and exciting and while we're waiting, we're hoping and praying and imagining the best.

I nearly cried this morning on the way to the polls. Okay, so I actually did cry a little. Is anyone surprised? Anyway, I was overwhelmed at the thought of my great-grandparents and of my surragate great uncle, who made his transition just last week. He wanted to attend the inauguration. I thought of the generations of people who lived before me and hoped for a day when they could cast a ballot for someone who looked like them (for my great-grandmothers, that includes women!); I bet they could hardly imagine that the day would come so soon. I couldn't. Only a year ago, I figured 2008 would be a trial run.

Watching the Obama family vote this morning was moving. I had plenty of time to bask, too, because they took forever; it must have lasted 30 minutes! Barack and Michelle showed their daughters the ballots and explained the process. They looked so happy. It made me happy, too. Malia and Sasha will never know what it is to laugh at the idea that they would be the country's first children. And neither will my precious babies. Of course, their mama's tongue is waaaayy too fast and loose to run for anything. Plus, I was a member of Jeremiah Wright's church. Apparently, that alone makes me unfit.

I know that Barack is just a man. He's not the man who walked on the water or the one who turned the water into wine. He's acknowledged that managing expectations will be one of the first things he has to do when he's elected. Still, he embodies so many of our hearts' desires. Even if things don't go the way I'm hoping, I'm renewed.

My dear daughter saw "Arockobama" as she calls him, on TV this morning, folded her little hands, and with a timidness that is uncharacteristic, asked mommy and daddy to pray for him. So we did. I don't have any words to describe that moment. It was good, good stuff.

"It's been a long, a long time coming/But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh, Lord, Hear My Prayer

I can't deny that, on this Election day eve, I am nervous. I know so many have said they will be glad when this election is over, but for me, as long as the campaigning went on, there was hope. Tomorrow what will be, will be.

I am praying that Obama wins. I really don't think we can afford another Bush-like administration in this country. The possibility scares me. I know, however, that there are some who say the same about an Obama presidency. They are afraid of what it will mean for the country and what it will mean for them. Personally, I don't think that their reasons are valid, but they probably don't think mine are either. Since they believe that their reasons against Obama are strong, they are praying that Obama doesn't win.

So whose prayer will God answer?

In my life I have had to accept the fact that I don't know everything. Hard as it was for me to believe, I just don't. Since I can't see the future, I don't really know what is best for this country. I could not have seen the benefit of a Bush presidency in 2000, but it has paved the way for a Black man to run and possibly win. I would never have seen that in 2000. So, my prayer is that God will do what is best for the nation. I believe it is Barack Obama winning the presidency, but if I'm wrong, I trust God to do what's best.

(Lord, please let it be Barack. . . .)