Look Up.

Disclosure. I love what I do. There are hard days, not many easy days and a handful of challenging days. Through it all, I love everything I do. I laugh, I think, I cry, I vision and my favorite part, is that I am surrounded by amazing individuals that make up our work place at Imani Collective.

Another beautiful part of my job is that I get to have a morning and late afternoon walk with my little boy because our childcare is in the same building as my office (just a room over). I remember when I first introduced childcare in 2015. I did it purely for the sake of my women. I wanted them to be close to their kids and be poured into. I wanted them to be able to bring their babies and kiddos to work as well as make a living to provide for them. I wanted to create a fun and safe environment and completely empower our mothers. Fast forward 3 years, I had no idea how much this program would affect my own life. My childcare directors are top notch and they love my little boy very much and guess what? He loves them! He loves singing, reading and absolutely loves his friends.

Every morning, after our typical routine of eating, a few cartoons and running around the house like crazy monsters, we head out the door through the alleyways of Old Town. The walk takes a mere five minutes, but that time that I get with Jadon is priceless. He giggles as he moves his little legs and arms as fast as he can, running through the narrow alleys. He knows the path to and from “school” and he leads the way most days. Some days I am lucky enough to have him want to hold my hand, but many days he has the adventurous and independent soul of both of his parents. He runs, giggles, runs, giggles and jibber jabbers the whole way. He is very polite too. He makes sure he stops and high fives or shakes hands with every passing soul. He is a true Kenyan and greets all his neighbors with a hello. I love seeing him grow up in such a beautiful and vibrant culture. He embraces the love that is sent his way and returns it quickly back. He loves deeply even at such a young age.

Then when the day comes to an end, he runs out of his classroom and into my office. He typically grabs my bag and starts dragging it across the floor towards the door. He reminds me daily of my boundaries with work and family always keeping his mama’s priorities in check.

The other day, I was trying to meet a hard shipment deadline and in comes my boy. At the moment, I was a little taken a back that the day was already finished and knew I had so much more to do. I was impatient and did not greet him with my normal hug and kiss. I packed up quickly and followed his little footsteps out the door. As I still had work on my mind and was running through the to do list, in the background I could hear Jadon’s “mamamama” in between the giggles. He was telling me all about his day in his little language of course and I was preoccupied internally through the cranking of numbers and scrolling through endless tasks. It was in that moment, I looked up and took a deep breath. I kneeled to be at his eye level and gave him the biggest hug and kiss that he had not received from me a couple minutes prior. We stared into each other’s eyes for a good minute.

Fact: My boy can smile with his eyes and in that moment, he was smiling into my soul.

As Brandon Rhyder says, “Freeze Frame Time.” I wish I could have done just that.

I have been running fast through this life and it is my little boy that reminds me daily to slow down. His innocent look on life reminds me to take in every little moment because they are fleeting. He reminds me to look up and truly take the deep breaths of the ocean air that surrounds me. It revives a soul when you actually, for once, not only look up but open all your senses to what is happening around you.

Thank you, Jadon, for teaching me to be present.

Love your mama.

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