About Me – Making Memories for Others

Becoming a Substitute Teacher in January, 2014 (highly recommended by my Son) was the first job I could secure after my return from South Africa in November, 2013 and graduating with my Master degree in Family Studies in December, 2013.  This meant that now my Son, my Daughter-In-Law and I were all working in the school system.  For the first time, this year, we were all going to have Spring Break at the same time.

For this reason and coupled with the fact my Daughter-In-Law was pregnant with my GrandSon (due in July), she got in the traveling spirit and came up with the brilliant idea for us to take a family trip to visit GrandDaughter Mink’s GODFather, Eric and his girl, Rachel; who had recently purchased a home in the Atlanta area and we were excited to visit!

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We went to Georgia with tourist mentality.  We wanted engage in the Atlanta area as tourist; to make it educational for Mink; it was Spring Break.  We were especially interested in touring the King Center; an educational and social change institution.

When my Sister heard about us housewarming trip to Eric’s place, coupled with her traveling spirit and remember, her vow to be more physically present with her niece and nephew, she decided to join us in Atlanta!

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Additionally and ironically, our Cousin/Sister Regina and her newly wed husband, Leon (married March 28, 2015) were in Atlanta during the same time.

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We made plans to meet them at the King Center for a Family Day Adventure!  (Rachel had to work)

Our goal for the experience was to not only engage in the experience for ourselves, but especially to bring awareness and educate Mink.  But a wrench was threw in our game and she saw this before we could enter the center.

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Though Dad and Mom insisted that she continue on our quest,

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she became disengaged and disruptive to where she kept loudly repeating, “I want to go to the park!”  So Dad and GODFather Eric took her to the playground, while we continue to engage inside the center.

When Regina, Leon and Doreece decided to proceed to the Freedom Walk, I chose to go to the park to capture pictures of GrandDaughter Mink on the Playground; because she LOVES playgrounds!

While there we began talking to a nice guy, sitting at the playground, as well.  He gave us insight on how he felt it was to live in Atlanta, places to visit in Atlanta and things to do.  He told us he was at the King Center with his Son; who was playing on the playground as well.  He explained to us that his Son lived with his Mother in a different city and they had met at a midpoint from their homes in order for him to get the Son and spend the weekend with him.  “AAWW, that’s so nice,” I responded.  I was so impressed and touched to hear that they were two parents that had rose to the occasion of functioning in the best interest of the child and I told him such.  He responded by saying, “It wasn’t always like this.  We had to grow to get to this point.”  I was even more impressed and touched; their presence exemplified “parental growth.”

Of course, my response was, “Take lots of pictures; this time is PRICELESS!”  He responded, “Yeah, but my phone has died.”

OPPORTUNITY for Change; because I LOVE making memories for others!  I wanted to capture this moment for them.

I said, “Do you want me to take you guys picture?!”
He said, “Absolutely!  But how would I get it?!”
Me:  “Do you have Facebook (the quickest and easiest way to share pictures today)?!”
He:  “Yes”

He gave me his Facebook information, I sent him a friend request for him to accept, when he regained access to his phone.  We are still Facebook friends today.

Hats off to the Parents that are doing whatever it takes to parent in the best interest of the children!

Salute to Marcus Campbell and His Son’s Mother!!

Need for Change – My Sister (Aunt Doreece)

My Sister, Doreece Devone Lawrence, has a personal goal to visit all 50 states in her lifetime.  Because of this goal, we have lived In in different city and states most of our adult years.  We did have the opportunity to live together in Oakland, California (1987 – 1989), until her continuous desire to move surfaced.

Our tenure together in Oakland, California gave Aunt Doreece the opportunity to build a relationship with Magic (my Son).  Our continuous residential distance has caused her to be far from her dear ones and miss most of our family milestones.  This challenge didn’t seem to bother her until my GrandDaughter Mink was born.  Mink was 3 months old, when they were able to meet personally in St. Louis, Missouri.  Because Mink was just a little baby, Aunt Doreece didn’t really expect her to know her.079

Though we have been distant in location, she has always been close at heart.  She would consistently send Mink gifts in the mail.  She was sure this practice would ensure to build on the relationship bridge with her.

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Yet, when they met again in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico for my Son and Daughter-In-Laws wedding, Mink treated her like a complete stranger.  Mink was only 16 months; she was dealing with stranger anxiety and viewed most people as a threat.  Aunt Doreece’s feelings were really hurt and making Mink like her was her goal.

She was so determined to turn Mink around that she volunteered to babysit her on my Son and Daughter-In-Law’s wedding day.  She bathed her, dressed her and made her sleep with her.  This is a picture of how Mink felt about it.

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Unfortunately, Aunt Doreece left Mexico without being able to break through Mink’s stranger anxiety.

They met again a month later, when Aunt Doreece came to Chicago for my Surprise Going Away to South Africa party.  And the gap still existed.  Mink was comfortable playing with other children, but still was not feeling Aunt Doreece.  Our little cousin, Kaliyah (7 years old) had to be a buffer in order for Mink to even take a picture with Aunt Doreece.

I tried to convince Aunt Doreece that she needed to be patient and allow Mink to grow up more to get to know her better.  Just as I advised her, when she came back to visit in December for Christmas (after my return from South Africa), Mink (22 months) was more comfortable with her and they were able to engage with each other.

Though Aunt Doreece was very happy for their new found relationship, she vowed that if/when my Son and Daughter-In-Law had another baby, she would not have this problem again; she would come around more in order to be able to spend more time with the baby.

Opportunity for Change

When my Son and Daughter-in-Law informed us (November, 2014) that they were expecting again, Aunt Doreece cancelled all of scheduled travels and immediately started making plans to be in the Chicago area for the birth and every milestone after.  She confirmed this vow, when we went to visit Mink’s Godfather Eric and his Girl, Rachel in Atlanta for 2015 Spring Break, she came from Virginia to join us.

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Just as she said she would, when we called Aunt Doreece to let her know that my Daughter-In-Law was going into the hospital for delivery, she jumped in her car and drove to the Chicago area from Virginia.  She was able to meet Magic Deuce, when he was 1 day old and was one of his first visitors, when he arrived home from the hospital!

Even though the internet and smartphones are the next best thing to being there.  Hopefully, Aunt Doreece will continue to choose the Best and has learned the value of being there!

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Will she change her quest to visit all 50 State to ensuring that she makes it to all family milestones?!

EIU FCS Meets EIU ED in Knysna, South Africa!

During our overnight stay in Knysna, we met with two other Eastern Illinois University (EIU) students, who are residing in Knysna, doing their student teaching through the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (C.O.S.T.).  They are Jordan Jones and Hilary J. Reynolds.  Jordan is a Secondary Education Student Teacher and Hilary is an Elementary Education Student Teacher; both teaching at the same (private) school.  Jordan is living in Knysna Heights and Hilary is living on the Heads.  Jordan is from Salem, IL and Hillary is from Arlington Heights, IL.  They both travel to Knysna from their hometowns and met in Atlanta during their flight to Knysna.  Like us, they will be spending an entire semester in South Africa, but we will go home before Thanksgiving and they will go home after Thanksgiving.

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We met Jordan and Hilary at Quay Four, which is one of the oldest restaurants on the V&A Waterfront and now a famous landmark.  Quay Four has an elegant upstairs restaurant where the emphasis is on fresh seafood.

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Jordan told us the thing that he has enjoyed the most during his visit where the views in Knysna and boy do they have views; check some of them out!!

 

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