This post is part of a month-long series on my cancer experience of 2013. They originally appeared on my blog at http://www.caringbridge.org.
As I’ve been on this health journey lately, I’ve also had the opportunity to reflect on the awesome people in my circle. (Health issues have a way of making you feel sentimental. ) Like my friend and mentor Richard said about himself, “My circle is big.” One thing that I am honestly thankful for is that the past 30 years or so have brought fabulous people in my life. So, because I love these people, and I know you’d love them if you knew them, I’m going to tell you about them!
The Class of ’90
I know a lot a people have fond memories of high school, but you definitely missed out if you weren’t a part of the Class of 1990 at Francis Parker. We are a class of 70 people who still LOVE each other. We stay in touch with each other, we support each other across the miles, and we actually look forward to our reunions. And you know what else, we don’t look a day over 29….well maybe 30.
Oh, and let me say this…anyone who EVER went to Francis Parker is amazing,
I know that when I mention my Mississippi heritage and college connections, a lot of people are confused as to how a state with such negative connotations can be a positive place for me. It’s simple: because of the people. My ancestors and family elders overcame a lot in that state and while much of their suffering was due to racial oppression, they still found a way to own land, get educated, and help others out of their circumstances. I will always consider Mississippi my second home after Chicago, and love it when I get to visit. Tougaloo Alums are the some of the smartest people you will ever meet. Their intellectual pedigree is second to none. I know that sounds a bit extreme, but it is true. Especially if you have a medical situation. They really, really know medical stuff. Did I mention that they know the medical stuff?
The Green-Hudson-McGee Clan
When I moved to Texas in 1995, one of the first people I met was Christie. Our friendship gave us both entry into each other hearts and families. Our mother’s even have the same maiden name…so of course we use the familiar terms of “Granny, Papaw, Lala, Maxine, and Walter” when speaking of family members. This is perhaps the first time in 18 years we have lived further than 2 miles apart…well scratch that, the second time, I think. But anyway, this girl and her family get so much credit for the greatness in my life.
At my wedding, I had a poem dedicated to my cousins because they are amazing. I am an only child. I have 3 first cousins. We are tight. If one of us is sick, all of us is sick. Right now, we have Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer. We also have also rediscovered our childhood because one of us has 2 granddaughters. We live in Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Jackson, and we dare anyone, anyone to mess with us. Outside of the initial 4, I have plenty more cousins who are the bomb as well. Try any of us and we will cut you. Just ask Bubba, he’ll tell you.
My Work Family
To work anywhere other than the Dallas County Community College District is sad. Not because what we do is more important than other organizations, but because we are so awesome when we will work together. My DCCCD family knew Toni Williams and Toni Holloway and Toni Williams again and loved me unconditionally through it all. And here’s the thing, once you work in the DCCCD, you are always a part of us…even if you leave. I have dinner with an eclectic group of friends every so often and at one point in time we all worked at one of the colleges together. We’ve gotten married, got divorced, had babies, had schizophrenic dogs, eaten ice cream for dinner, and even dealt with serious health conditions. We don’t color in the lines, and that can be a huge frustration for some, but we don’t care. And kind of like the cousins, we may cut you if you mess with one of us too.
Spend five minutes with me and you will find out pretty quickly about my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. In the African American culture, greek letter organizations are lifetime commitments. I have friends who may say, “I was in a sorority in college, or I used to be a ____”
Well for us, if we joined a sorority or fraternity in college, we are still members. We still perform regular public service activities and are committed to the principles for which the organization stands.
We also have a little friendly rivalry with members in other organizations. But the rivalry is friendly. Friendly.
So I’m a Delta and I know a lot of Deltas. And we wear red and collect elephants and make loud noises. And sometimes we hang out with grown men who bark like dogs when they are happy. And you know what, CJ is in a male mentoring group with those men and I couldn’t be happier. With all of the influences he is faced with at school each day, he NEEDS to be around college-educated men who look like him. Remember, the cousins live out of town…so for Dallas male involvement, we have the Omegas. So they are in my circle too, along with the Alphas, the Kappas, the Sigmas, and the Zetas.
The Village People
Better than the group that sings “YMCA”….this is the church! I joined St. Luke Community United Methodist Church shortly after I moved to Dallas. I love being Methodist. (Mississippi friends, this church is a lot like Anderson UMC.) About 3 years ago, St. Luke expanded it’s community base and opened a satellite location in the southern
Dallas suburb of DeSoto. The kids and I started attending the southern location, which is now The Village United Methodist Church. Church is awesome from the preaching, the singing, community outreach, and the friendly folks. They will help you pray though any circumstance, and the Pastoral staff are not just ministerial icons, they are people who I know and love. The Village is definitely an important part of our lives.
Preschool and Kindergarten Mommies
I know this may sound a bit strange, but when my kids were in preschool and kindergarten, I bonded with the moms in my kids’ classes. Here we are 6-8 years later, at different schools, and we still meet for lunch, catch up over email, talk about raising chickens, and genuinely care about each other’s lives. These ladies rock, and I am better for knowing them.
Hyde Parkers (like President Obama)
To grow up in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park is beyond incredible. It’s multicultural, it’s lively, and the food is amazing. I will always love Hyde Park and the people in it. ALWAYS. (Sidenote on Chicago facts for non-Chicagoans: I do realize that President Obama did not grow up in Chicago, but he lived in Hyde Park and still has his house there.)
Now, there are five more people who pretty much are the circle, rather than being in the circle. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them, but they don’t like being mentioned ANYWHERE on the internet. I am eternally grateful for all of the support they’ve lent over the past 40 years as parents, family members, role models, disciplinarians, fashion consultants, and now grandparents.
So thank you for being in my circle, wherever you are. And especially thank you for joining me on this journey. Now tell me about your circle……………