8 Years Old
I’ve always wanted to be a mother. It wasn’t until I matured that I realized: I’m not just preparing for motherhood; I am preparing for Black motherhood.
I imagine the emotional and mental occupancy that my children will occupy in my body will be incomparable to any other connection I could possibly have with another being. I imagine that, as rational and civilized as I am, I will protect them without fear of any possible consequence for the extent of my protection. I imagine I will go to no end to ensure their needs are nurtured and their heart is safeguarded.
The Black mother. The mecca of life and all that walks the earth. Her essence alone makes her experience unique. Her nutrients are sacred and her melanated skin is precious. So precious, that her skin guarantees her children’s experiences will be different the moment they are birthed into the physical realm. She is at war against anything her baby’s innocent mind and body will be exposed to as soon as they arrive.
Look at what’s happening to our children. I personally don’t walk in fear, but if we’re being real…the possibility of my future babies’ body’s being harmed for reasons I cannot control bothers the deepest parts of my soul…and they ain’t even here yet. The emotional and mental capacity of a Black mother in the world currently live in, seems like a never-ending state of anxiety. Will my womb be the safest place my children could ever exist?
They say you can never be “ready” to be a parent and I get it. If I could be ready for one thing as a Black mother though, I’d want to know “At what age do Black children start to become conscious of racism?”. As a 25-year-old Black woman, I know I cannot recall when this was for me as a little girl but if I knew, “Could I prevent it for my own kids? Somehow?”, I ask myself. It seems inevitable that a piece of every Black parent’s heart shatters when they must interrupt their child’s peace by explaining to them how the world perceives them.
Child: Grandma, you know how Black people keep getting killed on the news? I'm scared it's gonna happen to me forreal.
Those were words of my little cousin, who has always been special to me. Through him, I was introduced to a lot of my maternal instincts. A “big-kid-grown up”, is what he calls me. This is the first child in my life where I was old enough to fully be trusted as an “adult” level of guidance and responsibility, but young enough to help him navigate a comfortable place to confide in and learn. He has taught me that children are the purest beings of life’s simplicity.
I usually take him to the park or any other place where he can be free. This time, when I watched him play on the playground, I saw how he was growing intellectually, how openly he communicated his thoughts and imagination, and how easy it was for him to make friends of any race. I loved this for him. So again, I couldn’t help but wonder “How soon will this beautiful Black child be forced to share mental space with ideas of racism and threats on his life?”.
A couple of hours later, I took him home so he could get ready for school the next day. When he was eating his dinner, his unwarranted confession of fear answered my question. The answer is: 8 years old.
Article submitted by Hallie Allen (Writer/Editor - TheProudBlackBrand)