Chittlin's and Chopsticks

Writer and mother, Terris McMahan Grimes, the Mother From Another Continent, an her friends share their slighty off kilter parenting views and their takes on a whole lot of other things.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Emmett Till and the Proliferation of Baby-Boys

My daughter, in her role as the family soothsayer, cautioned me that early one morning in the not too distant future, some woman was going to kick in my door, point a trembling finger at me, and cry, “You! I hold you responsible for creating this baby-boy I married!”

I doubt that’ll ever happen, and if it did she wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. I have my disclaimer already prepared for any woman crazy in love enough to marry my son. It reads:

I, the besotted one, do hereby acknowledge that Terris McMahan Grimes, soon to be know as the “Mother-in-law” and eventually to be know as “that woman,” did nurture, instruct, discipline, and raise said son, Jared Grimes, according to the highest standards of the African American community. I do hereby indemnify and hold harmless Terris McMahan Grimes should said son forget his raising, lose his ever loving mind, act a fool, or show his behind.

I’m no lawyer, but I think that’ll cover me.

I’ve heard it said that we black mothers raise our daughters, but spoil our sons. I try to be objective about how I parented my son, which was the same way I parented my daughter. I raised them both and spoiled them some. I don’t believe in parenting with pain, so I didn’t whup them, but I taught them right from wrong. My son’s a caring, loving, compassionate person. What more could you ask?

I admit I parented out of fear. Some people fear the things that go bump in the night, I feared the evils that all too often befall black boys. So I might have hugged him more than his father, bless his heart, thought appropriate. His dad thought a hug would make him weak, I thought the lack of hugs wouldn’t make him strong. I thought we should build a hedge around him, lavish as much love on him as we did his sister, because the world out there was waiting for him with a beat down.

And besides, I was raising a child, not a ghetto-bred pit bull.

And besides, I remember Emmett Till.

I was just seven-year-old when Emmett was murdered, but I remember it like I was forty the day it happened. My parents wept. It was all over Jet Magazine. Pictures, articles, I was drawn to them. I couldn’t turn away. They told me a frightful truth—it wasn’t safe to be a black boy and the joy of being a mother of one was tempered with fear.

More tomorrow unless you’d like me to change the subject…


At 10/23/2006 9:29 AM , Blogger Teri Hicks said...

I feel ya!! I really Thanked GOD form the highest mountains that I was Blessed with a girl. Although there were times when I asked God why I was cursed with her she turned out well and is now pregnant with her own child. I remember her coming home drunk one night with some of her friends. They were all worried I would kill her but I kept a cool head and said nothing. The next morning (a hot day in the summer) I woke her up about 7 am (yes she was hung over and oh so sorry) gave her some toast and jelly (while her friends slept on) and put her to work in my yard for the entire 100 degree plus day. I allowed her breaks for water, and lunch, but worked her hard and didn't let her friends help. Needless to say she never came home drunk again and to this day is not a big time drinker. Parenthood?!?! Well I wouldn't trade the experience for all the tea in China, but I personally can't wait to hear her when she is tested by her child!

Luv and Smooches
The Catering Lady!!! Teri


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