BOBBI ELLE: BROWN SKIN GIRL…BLACK GIRL MAGIC

Brown skin girl
Your skin just like pearls
The best thing in the world
Never trade you for anybody else
Singin’ brown skin girl
Your skin just like pearls
The best thing in the world
I never trade you for anybody else, singin’…


This song has been on repeat in my home since Beyoncé dropped her album for The Lion King. Hearing the lyrics drives me to tears and makes me happy all at once. Watching my daughter, Bobbi Elle dance around the house while belting the lyrics of the song, brings me joy. The other day I asked her if she knew what the song meant.  “Yes mommy…it means my brown skin is beautiful.”

At 2 years and 3 years old, Bobbi would come home asking for her hair to be straight and long like her pre-school friends. She would ask why she couldn’t be “vanilla.” She would play with her white Barbies and call her black dolls “dirty.” Crazy part is…I used to hear other moms talk about this – but never expected to hear those words from my own child…and at such a young age.

I knew that she was in a pre-school where she was one of one. While she developed the best relationships and friendships that she still has til this day – it clearly affected her to not see other girls like her. She just wanted to be…what she saw.

By the time she was 4 years old, I knew we needed to balance out what she was seeing on a daily basis…and since she loved to dance – I found an African-American ballet studio near where we lived, Be Dance Studios.   I took her by to get her registered – and she looked at the roster of girls and said…“wow…they’re all chocolate.”

Her first few weeks into the program…I would watch her watch the other girls getting ready for ballet class…in awe. Her face told me that this was something new and she was intrigued by it all. I’ll never forget her looking at the girls – all different shades of chocolate…in amazement. It was a pretty telling moment for me.  And I knew we had made the right move.

In her first few weeks in kindergarten – she came home with a school project where she had to write her bio…”About Me.” Her dad had been doing morning affirmations telling her to repeat…“I am smart…My skin is beautiful….I am Kind…I am Special.” So it was only right when she had to fill out “I am special because….” She wrote…

“My skin.”

When I read that…I was so happy…and then I cringed.

This “About Me” bio was going to be put up in the walls of the classroom in time for Back to School Night. What would the other parents think? If I read a white child’s bio that stated they were special because of their skin…I would feel a certain kind of way and that child AND parent would get the side eye from me.

I started to erase her answer that I helped her write…and then…I stopped myself.

I thought about all the times she came home wishing she was “vanilla.” Asking why her hair could not be long and straight like her friends. I thought of the times she called her black dolls dirty.

And I pushed her bio away…looked at her and said…”what do you mean you’re special because of your skin?”

“Because my skin is brown…and its beautiful.”

That was all I needed to hear.

All I could say was “I love that answer, Bobbi” and watched her color in that section of her box…brown.

Everything we said and did in the past year to help her embrace her skin color, her hair and who she was – had kicked in.  And I was not about to unravel that.  She had pride…She was confident.  And she had no shame owning it.  And so should I. We fought too hard and too long to be in 2019 fearful or worried about how others will view of us…for loving ourselves…and loving the skin we are in.  And if we’re honest – we’re still fighting.  But that’s another blog post for another day.

Bobbi Elle: Brown skin girl..Black Girl Magic..One Balanced Mama blog

Black Girl Magic Photo Shoot

When Bobbi turned 6….as its our tradion…it was time to do our annual birthday photo shoot. I wanted it to be something that celebrated her and who she was at that moment in time…Black Girl Magic….A Warrior Princess. The Bantu Knots was her idea. She went from wanting “vanilla” to all black everything! I called my friend and hairdresser, Jade Davis…and she went to work. Between Jade and Toni Lowe who styled her and Erica Melissa behind the lens…we captured who she is….BLACK GIRL MAGIC…

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A GETAWAY TO THE KEYS

I was exhausted…even before I knew that I would spend the day before our anniversary trip being delayed in a DC airport for 8 hours – coming home at 4AM…I was exhausted.  The month of March was crazy for me.  Work trips.  Conferences.  A week long family cruise (more on that later).  A week without my nanny, who was on vacation.  I was done.

I had big plans for our 5th Anniversary originally…but I was also dealing with low energy, very limited time, and definitely no desire to jump on another flight….even to a gorgeous island.  So my husband and I decided to do a quick getaway for 2 days, right in our backyard.

I’ve lived in Miami for close to 35 years…and I’ve never truly experienced the Keys.  I remember going to Key Largo a few times with my parents – but I really don’t remember its beauty.  Well, that changed on this trip. But even the 4-hour car drive all the way to Key West was too much for me to bear.  We decided to head to Islamorada, which was a short 2 hour drive from Miami.  The Keys was exactly what I needed.  Peaceful, tranquil, laid back and charming.  I just wish we had more time to spend…but we will be back soon.  I’m sharing a few of my favorite photos from our trip – shot by my personal photographer…my husband.

The Mooring Village; Islamorada; The Keys; Blue Charlotte
Let’s start here. I can’t get enough of this photo. It just makes me want to breathe! And this was our backyard…literally….Our view in the morning and all day…just steps away from the amazing house we stayed in.
The Mooring Village; Islamorada; The Keys
We stayed at The Mooring Village and Spa in Islamorada. Its a beautiful collection of 18 cottages and homes – some beachfront…some not. Thankfully we had some friends that got us into the Blue Charlotte – which is the largest home on the property!
The Mooring Village; Islamorada; The Keys; Blue Charlotte
THIS is the Blue Charlotte…we walked in wishing we had our friends with us. Its a 3 bedroom; 2 story home right on the beach. With charming decor and a full wrap around balcony…this was a piece of heaven that came right on time!
The Mooring Village; Islamorada; The Keys; Blue Charlotte
Front view of the Blue Charlotte
Islamorada; The Mooring Village; Florida Keys
Front Porch Life
The Mooring Village; Islamorada; The Keys; Blue Charlotte
I am taking it all in…enjoying my breathing space.

15 THINGS FOR 2015

Going into a new year always brings about new promises to yourself…resolutions, goals, or however you chose to frame it.  For me – while I’ve gone away from setting “resolutions” that I’ll break in a week – there are a few things that I want to do MORE of this year that are easily attainable, with a little focus and balance throughout the year.  I thought I would share my top 15 things that I’m committing to do more of.  And instead of waiting til December 31st – I’ll make sure to check in from time to time to make sure I am on task.  Here goes:

15 things to do more of in 2015:  (in no particular order)

  1. Drink more water.  Just because it’s good for you.  I would love to drink at least 6-8 glasses a day.  Join me?
  2. Take better care of myself.  For me, that means working out at least 3-4 times a week. Whether it’s with my trainer, a yoga class or simply walking around the neighborhood.  Either way, I need to have a moment of focus on my physical being with the intent of improving my health.
  3. Eat healthier.  It kinda goes with 1 and 2.  I just need to cut out some sugar.  Drop the soda.  Subsitute juicing for a meal a few times out of the week.  All baby steps.
  4. More family dates.  We started this in 2014 and I would like to do this once a month. Whether it’s fun time at the park, going to a show or just going out for ice cream.  Even though we do things on the weekends with the kids – this would be a scheduled date with our family – once a month.
  5. Date night with the mister.  Same theory as family dates…except this would be just him and I.
  6. Try a new restaurant once a month.  This can coincide with date night with the mister.  The restaurant scene in Miami is booming and I think we should take full advantage.
  7. Clutter free sessions.  I usually do this but lately with two kids – its been tough. Clutter free sessions involve a bottle of wine…music…and cleaning out the house.  Purpose of this?  Helps keep the house organized.  And 4 of these sessions throughout the year will keep your house clutter free!  Schedule them around winter, spring, summer and fall.  Its like spring cleaning four times a year.
  8. Church!  I’ve been slacking!! And while I have a good excuse with two babies under two – I find time for other things. I should be able to figure out getting to church.  It’s already been discussed with the mister and we are working on a master plan. Starting this Sunday.  Bottom line – we have to keep our spiritual lives active and healthy.  Which leads to my next to do…
  9. Pray.  It’s hard, I know.  But we were doing this well for some time and then of course, the babies threw us off.  It’s always the babies fault.  Regardless, we need to pray more…as a family.  It’s time devoted for us to connect spiritually, and for us all to connect with the source of our strength.  And we need him as close to us as possible…the more we talk to him, the more we will hear from him.
  10. Return calls.  And text.  This was hard for me when I was single with little responsibility.  It’s even harder now.  And those around me know I am TERRIBLE at this.  So I can just promise to do better.
  11. Shop less.  On line shopping has gotten the best of me the last few years.  Between Amazon, Zulily, Gilt and more – it’s gotten outta hand.  I need to stop.  Or at least slow down.
  12. Organize my photos.  Seems trivial but with two kids – I am constantly snapping pics on my phone.  I need to print more photos to put around the house and not rely on instagram to be my life’s album.  I also need to organize photos on my computer via iPhoto.  I know I am not the only one.
  13. Read.  It’s so hard…I don’t have time – and I have so many magazine subscriptions that just pile up in the corner of my room that I convince myself that I will get to.  So many great books that I would love to dive into and not just purchase for my home library.  Anyone has any suggestions on how to realistically manage this one?
  14. Blog more!!!  I have this great vehicle to share my thoughts, experiences and journey. Sometimes I just don’t have the time…other times – I don’t feel like people really care what I have to say.  Regardless, I would love to blog at  least once a week and share my thoughts with the world.
  15. Celebrate life.  I think I did that more this year than ever before…and I want to continue on this path.  Life is to be celebrated.  Birthdays, holidays, anniversary, great accomplishments, small victories…take a moment…soak it up…celebrate…and be thankful for it all!

Would love to know what you’ve recommitted yourself to for 2015…please share!  Your thoughts will inspire others.

Here’s to getting it done…Happy New Year!

Cheers,

Lisa

SURVIVING LIFE WITHOUT MOM

There are no words to express the love between a mother and their child.  And definitely harder to express the loss of a parent.  My mother’s name was Margareth Joseph, we called her Maggie for short.  Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death.  She passed away at 4:08AM, May 10, 2004…..on Mother’s Day.  As if losing your mom is not cruel enough.

My mother battled with breast cancer for five years…I was 28 when she passed – she had just turned 50 years old….twelve days before her death.  I had a 50th birthday dinner party for her at one of her favorite restaurants in Miami…the Rusty Pelican. I surprised her with her sisters and brothers who flew in town.  She was quiet most of the dinner…she spent the time looking closely at everyone as if she knew it would be our last time all together.  For her 50th birthday, I presented her with a book of notes that I had people in the family write to her – letting them know how much she meant to them and their favorite memories of her.  It was something she wanted to know…I remember a few weeks earlier, laying on her in bed and she asked me what was one of my favorite memories of her.  I told her it was when she would take me to her office after school and I would sit back and admire how busy she looked on her desk.  She had so many piles of paper and she seemed to multi-task so easily.  I remember saying to myself…”One day – I wanna be that!  I wanna be a SECRETARY!!!!”  When I told her that story, she laughed so hard, she had tears in her eyes.  She loved that story and I knew the gift of favorite memories would be a perfect gift for her.