This year is one for the history books. The United States alone has navigated a global pandemic, racial reckoning and a tumultuous political landscape. It’s been a dynamic year and humanity is forever shifted from this point forward. Ironically, in this moment I’ve also been thinking about my parents during their November birthday month. Considering I’ve now lived a full life equal to the amount of years they have been gone, sometimes I have to take a pause to celebrate the moments that remind me of them.
My father WMC was a Marine who fought in the Vietnam War. He went on to become a New York City police officer, homicide and narcotics detective, retiring from the NYC District Attorney’s Office with a certification in polygraph examination. A graduate of Fordham University with a degree in Political Science, WMC was curious, a constant seeker of information. He was a father, husband, brother, uncle, cousin and friend all rolled into a handsome, charismatic brown-hued man, who worked hard, and played hard. I adore my first love and hero.
My mother GEC, was the anchor of our family. Mommy was the caretaker of our world, stabilizing our home in every way with patience and lots of tough love. She made sure I was on point for school and extra-curricular activities. She also had a passion for interior decorating so our home always had style. Statuesque standing at just under six feet, her signature reddish/auburn hair color was as bright as her smile. WMC worked a lot, so there was always extra love effort placed into our time together as a family. Our 1:1 girl time was where many lessons were shared. Mommy always wanted me to be prepared, for everything. GEC was a mother, wife, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and confidante to many, with a gift of making everyone she encountered feel special. Always with an ear to listen, she led with empathy.
After they passed away, I learned there were some things I didn’t know about the beautifully flawed humans I called Daddy & Mommy. I’ve have also come to learn it is pretty normal to learn new things about your parents as adults. What a novel concept, but one I must reflect through the lens of theory, not in practice with either of them. The man who presented my first image of provider, and the woman who nurtured me as my protector, provided a strong foundation around respect for myself, coupled with a hustle mentality, add a little passion, and this would ultimately anchor who I know myself to be.
Navigating life without my parental anchors has always been a natural reflection point for me. My norm. I always worked to make them proud and grew up keenly aware they created opportunity for me to thrive the best way they knew how to. I remember my parents telling me I could be anything I wanted to be if I worked hard. So that’s what I learned how to do – work hard. There is still so much I needed to learn and navigate for myself through my own lived experience. In a perfect world, to have experienced the full transition of our relationship from parent to friend would have been an amazing opportunity to grow from. It’s what my Mom shared about her own relationship transition with my grandmother. It’s a chapter I have come to make peace with.
I would love to have an adult heart to heart around their own dreams deferred or failures they may have experienced on their journey. I imagine my Dad would appreciate my sister and I found our way toward each other after meeting as adults, yet I anticipate he would be remorseful for not being the one to initiate our relationship. I do wonder if they would appreciate my new generation approach in creating safe spaces to navigate the real tension points in marriage and parenting responsibilities. Hello therapy, one of the greatest tools in the toolbox.
I think Mom would be comforted to see how I have found a tribe to support me and unpack the complexities I face in navigating life as Black woman. And right now my tribe is celebrating as the 46th Vice-President elect is the first woman, and first woman of color to have risen higher in the country’s leadership than any woman ever before her. It’s the irony of the firsts that still exist in their grandson’s generation that I’m sure they would have lots to say about, particularly in corporate America. I imagine had Mom continued to work in banking before transitioning to homemaker, there would be some personal strategies she would have offered first hand. I’d like to believe they would be content with the progress we have made as a nation. But I can also imagine the sheer introspective thought Dad would have offered around the assault of unarmed black men from a police officer POV, who is also a Black man.
In this moment, I am present. I surrender to the possibilities that as I continue to celebrate the moments that remind me of our shared time together, I’m equally reminded of the moments I’ve created without the benefit of WMC and GEC’s physical presence. It’s been a life full of unchartered territory. A world where the woman they raised, continues to explore and uncover new parts of herself over time and through faith.
It’s taken me a little while but I finally have grown confident that WMC and GEC would be proud of me and the life I’ve designed thus far. Perhaps not loving all my choices, but definitely blessed to successfully navigate through mountains high and valleys low. And I’ll continue further down unchartered pathways because I’m witnessing history in the making. Resilience and persistence are attributes for change in communities and humankind, also for change within ourselves. And in this moment, I am thankful for it all.
KK is an energetic storyteller, creative marketer and servant leader with a kaleidoscope of professional pathways in music, print publishing and television. Currently, KK is a marketing executive at a major media company. Faith and family anchor KK’s ambitions, and she believes Luke 12:48 hold true, “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” KK leverages her gifts, talents and abilities in support of advancing others, particularly in motivating her 9 year old son CMK.
Passionate about education and inclusion, KK is a graduate of New York University with a MS, Integrated Marketing and she supports her undergrad alma-mater Wesleyan University with dual, alumni volunteer leadership roles. As a Trustee on the Oliver Scholars board, preparing high-achieving African-American and Latino students for academic success is a priority. Through her writing and in her relationships, KK continues to unpack and explore life transformations the only way she knows how – with unconditional love, raw honesty and a touch of humor.