A Thanksgiving At Home; Because Traveling Is Overrated.

Our household usually has Thanksgiving at my mother in laws house.  Although we’re literally right around the corner from her, it’s a hassle to get the kids and go over to her house.  We’re usually the first ones there and have to wait for the other family members to show up.  Once they show up, dinner usually doesn’t start until thirty minutes later and the event is usually two and a half to three hours.  After being ‘convinced’ to take some leftovers home, we walk back to our house, have to put the kids to bed, and then, we can relax and unwind.

This year was different.  My husband was in a bicycle crash which broke his wrist and hand and has suffered from a concussion. My mother in law had her Thanksgiving dinner early because she was going away on Thanksgiving with her friend.  My husband just got out of surgery five days prior.  We  weren’t going to my mother in laws dinner because my husband was still in pain. I was exhausted from taking care of the kids, taking care of my husband, and driving him to and from work.  We were offered to go to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving, but my parents told us that my husband should rest and get better from his injuries.  So, we had our first Thanksgiving at home this year.

It really was a nice change to be at home on Thanksgiving. The kids can relax and watch TV, the hubby can relax and watch football in the comfort of his own home, and I, well, I cooked (I guess nothing changed there) but it felt really good to be home for the holiday to cook a Thanksgiving dinner. We didn’t have to tell the kids to get ready two to three times.  Didn’t have to deal with the crankiness of Bam Bam because he’s sleepy. Didn’t have to wait to eat because my inlaws were running late.  I have to say, it’s was great being at home.

My boys helped me mix the blueberry muffin mix.  Bam Bam mostly tried to eat the batter and The Don was very helpful putting the mixture in the muffin pans and help mix the batter for the pear cobbler.  The Don was happy that he can get a chance to make something to eat.

The Don Mixing

The Don Mixing Batter

These are the memories that we don’t get when we go out to eat with family; memories of cooking together, watching the game together, and being at home relaxing together.  It’s unfortunate that we decided to stay home for Thanksgiving because of my husband’s broken wrist and hand, however the memories that we get to share on this Thanksgiving are immeasurable.  Why would it have to take an accident to stay home with family on the holiday?  I believe once in a while, it’s good to be home with your immediate family for the holiday’s to make some memories of your own.  After all, when you’re ready to eat, you can eat.  When you’re ready to put the kids to bed, you can.  If you want to wear pajamas at the dinner table, you can.   

Although your extended family may be disappointed you couldn’t make it if your decided to stay at home this year, it’s good to build some new traditions and memories of the holidays of your own that you and your kids can remember for a lifetime.  Also it’s good to relax on the holidays because honestly, traveling for the holidays is overrated.

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A Letter To My Sons: How to Act When Approached by a Police Officer

Dear Sons,

Growing up as African American boys, it is unfortunate that I  have to give you “The Talk”. It’s not the talk that you might think of. I will need to talk to you about how to act when you are approached by the police. Notice I didn’t say ‘If’ I said ‘When’ so you won’t be surprised when the police target you.  Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t never be afraid of the police because the majority of them are here to protect and serve the community.

national-arrest-handcuffs-police-school-to-prison

Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

However, growing up as African American boys that will become men one day; some police officers have in their minds a stigma that is associated with African American men. This view of African American men isn’t totally the police officers fault; the media have betrayed African American men as hoodlums, drug dealers, murders, robbers, and rapist. These imagines of African American men make police officers more suspicious of you even if you don’t participate in these activities, but you may fit the “description” of a person that they are looking for. And there are police officers who are racist and will try to tempt you into doing something irate, so they have a reason to shoot or arrest you because they have a chip on their shoulder and want to take it out on you. Don’t fall for it.

I’m going to give you some advice to save your life when you are approached by a police officer:

Cooperate: Ask the officer: “How can I help you?” Listen to the reason  why the police office pulled you over or stop you in the street. Speak when spoken to and don’t talk over the police officer. If you were speeding, admit you were speeding and take the speeding ticket. If they ask for ID although you may not be required to show it to them, give it to them to avoid a confrontation. Also, make sure that your hands are visible so the police officer can see them e.g hands out of pockets, hands on steering wheel. If you need to reach for your license and registration, tell the officer where they are located e.g glove compartment or wallet, and ask permission to get it. You don’t want the police officer to think you are reaching for a gun. Finally, do not run away.  This will give the police reason to be suspicious of you and more reason to shoot you.  If you don’t have anything to hide: cooperate.

Don’t get irate: If you know that you did not do anything wrong, don’t give the officer any reason to arrest you by giving them an attitude. Also, don’t touch a police officer in any way, or they can arrest you for assaulting them. Let the officer see that they made a mistake instead of arguing with them that they may have targeted you because of your race. Even if that is true, it’s irrelevant as far as you are concern. Your concern is to clear up any misunderstanding calmly and non-threatening manner that won’t give the police officer any reason to detain you.

Know your rights: If the police decide to give you a ticket or try to book you for something that you didn’t do, know your rights. Know that you can fight the ticket in court. Ask the police officer: ‘Am I being obtained, or am I’m free to go?’ If they bring you in the police station and try to charge you with a crime; know that it’s your right to remain silent, know that you are entitled to a lawyer, know that you are entitled to a phone call. If they want to search your car, know that you have a right to refuse a search by saying, “I don’t consent to searches.” If they do search your car without permission, you have a right to complain about the officer violating your rights with a lawyer. Finally, whatever you do, ‘DON’T CONFESS TO SOMETHING YOU DID NOT DO!’  You may think that the police will let you go if you confess but they won’t. The police officer can legally lie to you to get what they want. Keep protesting that you need a lawyer.  Matter of fact, make sure you remember a criminal lawyer’s number just in case you get held up.  Remember, you get one phone call.

Show the police officer that you will cooperate, but smart enough not to give up your rights in the process. Don’t be stupid and think that the police officer is disrespecting you and try to physically or verbally fight back. Knowing these three things will keep you alive to tell the story and to fight to live another day if you’ve been wronged. At the end of the day, it’s your word against the police officer’s and since the police officer has authority, who do you think the judge is going to believe?  Be smarter than the police officer’s perception of you.  Although your ego will get damaged, it’s better than winding up dead in a box or arrested for a charge that could have been prevented.  Stay calm and check your ego at the door; you’ll be a better man for it.

Love,

Mom