My son, Jeremiah J. Barnes, is now a published author. I never knew how divisive this statement would be until my son started talking about his book and reading it to others.
Yesterday, my son and I drove to a person’s home to deliver a copy of my son’s book that she ordered. She looked at my son as if he was an absolute miracle. When my husband and I were struggling with infertility, she prayed and gave us uplifting words. Later, I would learn I was pregnant, but the pregnancy was difficult. I was on bedrest for four months, two at home and two in the hospital. My twins son were born ten weeks early and stayed in the NICU for two months, and this person continued to pray and always had kind words.
Yesterday she said, “Just look at you. Look at what you are growing up to be.” She was so proud of him, but everyone did not share the same sentiment.
Recently, my son was accused of not being a real author. A few people, who didn’t read the book, stated it was just all pictures. As a writer, I’m used to negativity, so I should have been prepared for the negativity towards my son, but who goes after an eight-year old? Who puts down an eight-year old?
My son wrote a six chapter book that had 36 paragraphs, 36 pictures, and 2,102 words. Instead of celebrating that #BlackExcellence some people attempted to tear him down.
But…it’s okay. It is a learning opportunity. My husband and I don’t try to shield our sons from everything. We are raising two black sons in America; that would be stupid. The best I can do is prepare them for this world by helping them process various situations. I talked to my son about jealousy and the negativity. This allowed him to express how he was feeling, and I was able to reassure him that his feelings are valid. Moreover, we talked about what we do with those feelings, so we can move forward.
The belief gap is real. There are simply some people who don’t believe black children can achieve great accomplishments. It is easy to not stay focused on the negative because of all of the people who are supporting my son Jeremiah, and those who have already pledged to buy his twin brother’s book once it is published.
Still, I can’t get past how this supporter looked at my son. As she recounted all my husband and I went through to become parents, and all the fighting my sons had to do to learn simple tasks like rolling over, crawling, and walking (which comes easy to most children), her look and joy reminded me of my family history.
My great-grandmother was illiterate, but my son is a published author. It is easy to get caught up in a few negative people when you could be focusing on the accomplishments in front of you. I’m going to get wrapped up in joy in 2,102 words not consumed in the negative words of others.
Click here to learn more about how you can purchase my son’s book, My Family’s Trip to the Smoky Mountains.