Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Battle of the DNA

From time to time, I invite others to share gleaning moments here at thegleanse. Meet my very good friend, Amber Smith: Intellectual, Wonder Woman, and Cynic. Our friendship developed in Holmes Hall at Clark Atlanta University over a mutual love of The Sims!

             Anyone that knows me personally knows that I have had a challenging couple of years.  My ex and I had a beautiful baby boy.  And the relationship promptly fell apart shortly after.  I struggled with the prospect of being a single mother because that’s not how I was raised.  I have a wonderful father who has always been there for our family physically, financially and emotionally.  I always assumed that when I had children, they would have a similar childhood.  Even though the relationship was crumbling right before my eyes, I still held on tightly and miserably because I wanted my son to have a family.  Long story short, the relationship ended and our dealings with each other have become less frequent.  The conversations we do have are fraught with tension and resentment.

             Because I’m a rookie in the game of motherhood and because I am attempting to raise a black boy who will become a black man, I am terrified.  I always second-guess myself because I can’t fail in raising him; he is my heart, not to mention my legacy.  I wonder if I’m spoiling him, if I’m being too soft.  He mimics the female things that I do, such as putting a scarf on my head, putting my heels on, and putting my purse on my shoulders.  I worry because I am completely unathletic and can’t teach him sports.  Even on a general level, I think about every decision I make and how it’s going to affect him in the long-run; at this moment, I don’t have his other parent to bounce thoughts and ideas off of.

             Besides my fear that I don’t have the ability to raise a boy to a man, I constantly worry about the DNA my son has.  His father was raised with every advantage, but he didn’t have an active father or father figure in his life.  I fear my son will have some of his characteristics: lying, hustling, entitlement.  His father was raised by a single mother who seemingly did everything she could humanly do to raise a responsible, productive member of society, but for whatever reason it has all fallen by the wayside.  (Disclaimer: Some of you may be asking why I was with such a man in the first place, but having a child with someone sometimes shows true colors.  I was blindsided by how quickly he and our relationship deteriorated once our baby arrived.)  I am so afraid the nature will overrule nurture and that when my son is no longer a cute, cuddly barrel of laughs, I will have a financially and emotionally draining manchild to deal with in my golden years.  But for now I will enjoy my little boy for what he is now, not what he may become in the future.


  1. Wow! That was so amazing. It was so succint, heartfelt, insightful, and hopeful. You are an awesome mother, and a beautiful soul. You are brave to share your personal story. Just remember, you have your girlfriends, and your family: the village. Lean on them, utilize their support, and be encouraged no matter what goes on. In the end, it is not up to you. Your son is his own person, and who he grows up to be will not reflect negatively on you, despite what society may think or say. You are surronded by so much love and that picture is to die for. You make me what to have a baby!

  2. On behalf of Amber and Dylan, thanks so much Teri for those encouraging words!