Convo With the PoPo

popo1We took the family to a parade today.  When we arrived, it was colder than we thought so I took Liliana to the car to add more layers.  We were parked around the corner from our house, so Milton drove home to get my coat and a blanket for Maximus.  Maximus and Nana stayed and watched the parade.  While I waited for him to return, I decided to chat with the police officer that was directing traffic.

I’ll admit, I’ve had very little interactions with police officers.  I’ve had one speeding ticket and that’s really about all.

But, with all that is happening right now with black men being killed (i.e. Eric Garner and Mike Brown) I figured there was no time like today to talk to one.

As I walked up to him, he made a funny comment about Liliana’s legs in her baby carrier.  I told him I had a question to ask him.  I said, “What are your feelings with everything happening in today’s society with the police?” His expression was priceless. I listened to him give his viewpoint on everything, including how to start change.  It wasn’t a time for me to agree or disagree with him (which I did both), but a time to hear his view from his experiences.  He didn’t sugar coat his answers and you could tell he was still uncertain about some things.

Our conversation ended toward the time Milton pulled back up in his car.  At the end of the parade when Nana, Maximus and everyone was were walking back to the car, I introduced him to the family.  He gave Nana a hug and Maximus a high five and a sticker.

I know I didn’t solve all of the world’s problems with that one interaction.  However, I do know that I took one step toward improving relationships.  I know that I started exposing my toddler son to the police.  I know my mother-in-law who screams at the tv while watching CNN appreciated his small gesture.  I know that many police officers are friendly and approachable.

Change starts one person, one conversation at a time.popo2



Feb 11-2There’s one relative that I am much closer to than all of the others.  When I have problems, she’s the person I call.    When Milton was going to propose to me, she is the person he called.  When I was trying to decide on a wedding dress, I took video of the dresses and she helped me make the decision.  When I walk down the aisle, I wanted my Aunt Cheryl by my side.

While at UNC I would spend every Thanksgiving at her house instead of traveling home.  My senior year, in 1997, Aunt Cheryl had a heart transplant.  I remember being ‘mad’ at her that year because they left me alone for Thanksgiving.  The transplant was supposed to give her 4-6 extra years of life.  But that was 13 years ago.  Whenever I could, I would travel to see her.  She started dialysis a couple of years ago.  She enjoyed reading National Enquirer to pass the time.  So I ordered a subscription.

Milton and I were in North Carolina in December to see her.  Milton told me that he wanted us to have the same type of fun loving relationship that my aunt and uncle had.  When I returned home, she called me and said she has never seen me so happy before.  She was excited for my wedding.

Recently I was getting my hair done and had a feeling of sadness run through me.  I didn’t know what it was.  A couple hours later I receive a phone call from my uncle.  My aunt had to be resuscitated three times and it wasn’t looking good.  At first I thought about flying down to say goodbye, but I didn’t want to have the last vision my aunt unresponsive and attached to all types of responses.  The next day she died.

It was difficult because the motherly figure in place of my own mother was now gone.  It was difficult because I knew how excited she was to see me get married.  It was most difficult because instead of her traveling to see me get married, I was traveling to attend her funeral.  I knew she was in a better place and the pains and illnesses she’d felt for a long amount of time were gone.  I truly believe that things happen for a reason.  I also know that she will have a back row (my parents will have the front row) seat to my wedding and all will be smiling down from above.

M.Y. February 2011