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365 days ago... 2/13/18

I was at a Walmart on 95th in Chicago purchasing a six-pack of panties, a toothbrush, and a backpack. Standing at self-checkout, I cringed looking at the ugly little flower assorted panties which were too small. Honestly, they didn't have my size. Furthermore, I didn't have time to drive around the city looking for undies. So, there I was coaching myself on how to breathe "inhale and exhale, now swallow, inhale and exhale, Rahk you've got this," I said before looking around. I was hoping not to see anyone I knew. Although I live in Atlanta, I always run into someone back home.

Exhausted, I had been up literally 20 hours straight the day/night before. I flew in from Atlanta by way of Houston and didn't have time to pack. I was in Houston promoting my book before needing to get back to Atlanta and move, asap. So, things were busy. Walking my belongings from one end of the parking lot to the other then upstairs had me beat. I was all alone and preparing for a massive life-changing event.

Luckily, I was able to upgrade to a larger area before the kids arrived. My one-bedroom would've been disastrous for us. Not only was I not thrilled about sharing my personal space, but I was also concerned about how the kids would feel. We were all embarking on a new living arrangement. We were semi-strangers and soon to get to know each other - very well.

After setting up their restroom, I hung up a 3ft photo of us. The picture was a housewarming offering. I wanted the little ones to feel invited and welcome in their new home, city, and life. I can't front, I was terrified, stressed and had no clue of what I had gotten myself in.

Needless to say, I didn't have time to pack clothing or to truly prepare for what was ahead. I boarded a plane with the shirt on my back to get the kids. So, there I was purchasing undies and a toothbrush. I needed to stay the night. Every move was time-sensitive. The next morning I planned to withdraw them from school before feeding them and getting on the road. I had 48 hours to be out of my apartment in Atlanta and into the new one.

As if that wasn't enough stress - my mover/co-driver flaked the day I arrived. I learned this from someone else. Nope, they didn't have the decency to tell me. Yep, this is still a sore spot, though I've forgiven them. We agreed to drive the kids down together, rent a truck and move us into the new apartment. Therefore, the help was needed and significant! But, there we were (me the kids and my little cousin Kenya who offered to ride after learning I didn't have help) pushing it down I-65. The drive was long, and the move was brutal. I never imagined driving a Uhaul truck and lifting heavy furniture... Ever! We made it though!

Hashtag: grateful

Despite an unbelievable 2017, our year inched on by, and we haven't murdered each other. I may have had one million, sixty-seven-thousand cocktails, gained 20 pounds, weekly crying fits, Samuel Jackson cursing spells, acquired attention deficit, memory lapses, heavy eye luggage and thinning hair (this is all factual minus the drink count, lol), but we made it.

It has been such a rewarding conundrum of frustration, love, adoration, growth, bonding, stretching and giving. I watched two beautifully flawed children grow from insecurities, pride, underexposure, hopelessness, anger, hurt, academic deficits and fear to confidence, intelligence, compassion, curiosity, eagerness, zeal, optimism, love, humility, resilience, serenity, bravery and a lust for life.

For me, I've been exposed, exposed in areas that I didn't know needed work. In all humility, they are teaching me patience, flexibility and to flow in life more - getting rid of my schedules, calendars, and deadlines. They are reinforcing selflessness, humanity and the need to relinquish control. We've grown into this space to where I couldn't imagine my life without them. God knew I needed them as much as they needed me.

Truthfully, we needed each other. Because of my babies, I have a new found purpose, a reason to live, to keep going and a broader perspective of life.

Cheers to 1 year down and a lifetime to go.

xoxo, SistaMOM

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