“Black ‘Oman, Hold Yuh Heart” aka Boss Baby Is Coming

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A few weeks ago, I was at the HERStory In Black event, hosted by How She Hustles and CBC. The entire evening – honouring 150 Black women in the GTA who are doing amazing things – was incredible, but there was one particularly poignant moment for me.

Dub poet d’bi Young Anitafrika performed a piece she wrote specifically for the event – a powerful and emotional poem that had most of the room in tears. d’bi guided us through the recognition and celebration of who we are as Black women, with a constant refrain: “Black ‘oman, hold yuh heart!”

Most of us placed our hands to our chests, but I had a moment of hesitation about where to place mine. You see, I currently have two hearts. One has lived, loved, broken, and mended more than the other, but the newer one beats strong with the rhythm of promise and potential.

All that to say – I’m pregnant with Baby #2!

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This pregnancy so far has been very different from 3 years ago when I was carrying Little Magician, and has frankly been a rougher ride. Morning sickness and extreme exhaustion took over the first trimester, and there were days where I couldn’t raise my head for anything except to take a sip of lemon water. This one also took a hit to my vanity – with LM everything flourished, but this time around my skin, hair, and nails suffered until the second trimester. I had more food cravings with LM, and this time (aside from my never-ending desires for ackee and saltfish), my diet is driven more by my aversions – namely chicken, most juices, and dairy.

It also feels like my emotions have also been on an even bigger roller coaster this time around. One of my biggest sources of anxiety is, how will I love two children equally?

I remember being pregnant with LM and wondering what it was going to feel like to be connected to another human being in such a way. I couldn’t imagine what that love would look and feel like, but it came, in all its beautiful and overwhelming glory.  Now, I’m clearly not the first person to give birth to more than one child, but I wonder how my heart will stretch to give another baby the same quality of love I’ve given to LM all this time, and how I’ll be able to keep loving her so that she never feels like she’s lost part of me.

Personally, I felt so changed when I gave birth the first time, that I’m also a bit anxious about how I’ll evolve after I go through the process of bringing another being into the world again.

Who will they be? Who will I be? How will LM adapt? How will HomieLuva and I maintain our identities as individuals and a couple while raising two children? As has been my trend lately, I have more questions than answers – but I know the answers will make themselves plain in due time. If previous life experience has shown me, I never know what I’m doing, but somehow always figure it out – or at least get by without anyone getting hurt. Lol.

For now, I’m enjoying the smoother sails of the second trimester (though I’m still hella tired thanks to chasing one Little Magician around) and awaiting the arrival of Boss Baby aka El/La Jefe aka Lil Remix. The story behind Baby #2’s nicknames deserves its own post, so stay tuned for that – and for all the fun times ahead as I become a mama of 2!

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Health/wellness professional. Social media fiend. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen '83-present.

Childhood Traumas & Triggers: How They Shape Us, How We Avoid Them

BSM-protectWhen we think about the things in our childhood that shaped us as adults, do we first think of the positive memories, or the negative ones?

Childhood trauma is something I’ve been thinking about lately, and figuring out how to avoid unnecessary anguish in my children’s lives is at the forefront of my mind. I know I can’t control every aspect of life and society that will impact my child – but can I steer around some of the homegrown traumas that could leave a scar? That’s the plan.

Anything that makes me assess my own childhood inevitably finds me shifting the lens to assess as a mother as well. An example of this was an episode of one of my favourite podcasts, The Friend Zone, called Theater Masks. Co-host Hey Fran Hey led a discussion on the patterns we recreate in relationships – either attracting the same types of people who don’t serve us well, or feeling the need to act a certain way in relationships to receive love. The question she posed was hard-hitting:

Who was the parent whose love you craved the most? And once you have that parent in your mind, ask yourself ‘what was the performance that I had to put on to receive that love?’

Mind = blown.

I’ve thought about the ways to protect my child from abuse. We’ve made the decision to not spank or “give licks” as punishment. I try hard to not raise my voice (and fail often) and I monitor my frustrations so that I don’t take something out on my child that she didn’t create. HomieLuva and I work hard on our relationship so that we’re healthy as individuals and a couple to support our family structure. We’re trying to nourish our child with the skills, confidence, and self-love that will hopefully provide a buttress against those things that seek to chip away at her. Our children’s wellbeing and potential is paramount in everything we do – but am I missing something? Will she struggle in future relationships because of something we’re unconsciously teaching her now? Those insidious things are where my mind focuses these days. I don’t have a crystal ball to see what’s to come, but that episode of The Friend Zone put me on to a new level of awareness as I move through this mommy game.

The other side of the coin is that no matter how perfectly we create a safe space at home for children to thrive, you never know what they may face once they step out into the world. Additionally, is it viable to consider a life where a child faces no hardship and doesn’t carry any kind of negative experience with them through life? (No.) Is it realistic to think that Little Magician will always look back at memories of her father and I without saying “I wish they had done this” or “I wish they hadn’t done that”? How do we balance out the fact that bad things do happen in life – and definitely have a crucial role in shaping us – while still avoiding those superfluous traumas that didn’t need to exist in the first place? And how do you navigate trauma as a parent if you experienced trauma yourself – particularly if you haven’t worked through it yet?

As you can clearly see, this post is more question than answer, because that’s all I really have at this point. Even with the multitude of unanswered questions, I’m thankful for the reminder of awareness. Even moreso, I’m thankful for the fact that I have never worked so hard at something while knowing that I have no clue what I’m doing – but I’m accepting that as what motherhood is.

Maybe I’ll do an interview with Little Magician when she’s older to see how she feels about it all. Stay tuned.

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Health/wellness professional. Social media fiend. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen '83-present.

Motherhood, Activism, & Sharpening Oyster Knives

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Photo courtesy of Samantha Clarke Photography

No, I do not weep for the world. I’m too busy sharpening my oyster knife. – Zora Neale Hurston

I remember a time while I was pregnant when all I could do was weep. While the joy of bringing a new life into the world never waned for me, it was constantly challenged by the foreboding of knowing that my child was coming into a world that would threaten their existence at every turn. I don’t know how many times I cried and how many times I apologized – first to my belly, then to the squirming brown beauty who entered the world one sunny morning.

I never want the light to dim for her.

Activism in various forms isn’t new to me. Whether through writing, volunteering, attending rallies and demonstrations, or taking the time to read and listen to others whose experiences vary from mine, I work on myself to ensure that I can better do The Work in liberation, resistance and fighting for rights, justice, and joy.

But.

Becoming a mother? That inevitably put a new battery in my back when it comes to activism. Now, let me say here that activism and motherhood do not require each other’s existence. But for me? My desire to bring her here and force her to inherit everything that this world contains means that my work on her behalf goes beyond providing food, shelter, and love.

What will her future look like? What possibilities will be available to her as she grows? Will the world allow her room to be whoever she wants to be during her time on this earth? Will she be safe? Will she thrive? Because of the society we live in, I know that the answers to these questions will not solely be determined by how well I raise her. Once she steps out into the world, the answers to these questions will also be determined by the people she encounters and the systems she partakes in, so I see my work taking place in two areas: privately, in the home, as her father and I do our best to help her bloom; and publicly, out in the world, helping to shape and reconstruct the people and systems that she will inevitably come across so that they are ready for her.

When I think about how parenting and activism intersect for me, I inevitably think about my own parents. I acknowledge the ways that my privilege allows me to say and do certain things that were not possible for them, but I also acknowledge the multitude of ways that they fiercely worked on my behalf to try to right the wrongs in the world I grew up in. I recognize that nothing is truly 100% safe for me in this society and that I have my own limitations – but I also know that there are other parents for whom their and their children’s safety and level of capacity is paramount to their activism. We take up the mantle for each other in our own ways.

I always think about what kind of model I’m showcasing for Little Magician, and I want her to see the power in various forms of activism. I want her to see that her voice, words, and actions can effect change, and I want her to be emboldened by that. I want her to see that she doesn’t have to wait or ask for permission to demand her rights, and I want her to see that she can be an effective support to others whose concerns may vary from hers, but are no less important.

Life as a Black girl/woman consists of clear intersections, but as time rolls on, those intersections can become even complex. Fighting against homophobia, transphobia, ableism, racism, sexism, poverty, and other forms of bigotry is a priority to me, not simply because my daughter could face them, but because eradicating them will expand the possibilities for self-actualization exponentially, and that is something we all deserve.

If becoming a parent is the catalyst that inspires people to action, then I say, “Welcome.” However, I’m weary of the mentality that uses kinship as the singular reason for support or activism. “(Insert marginalized group here) deserve support because they’re our children/mothers/husbands/etc.” – while personal relationship will always motivate our desires to fight and resist, that cannot be the only value determinant we place on each other. Activism is one of the terms I agreed to within my personal motherhood contract, but while parenting has deepened my activism, it doesn’t solely define it.

I used to weep and sometimes I still do. But now, I take more of my cues from Zora and spend my time sharpening my oyster knife, ready to fight and teach Little Magician how to sharpen hers, too.

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Health/wellness professional. Social media fiend. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen '83-present.

Family Getaway Fun At Viamede Resort aka My First Cottage Experience

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At the beginning of 2016, I had my heart set on taking a grand trip somewhere. Anywhere. I was in desperate need of a change of scenery, and I needed it fast. Unfortunately, life’s obligations had other plans, and my getaway wishes got pushed further and further down my list of priorities.

I thought all hopes for a family vacation this calendar year were dashed – until I learned about Viamede Resort.

Nestled on the shores of Stoney Lake in Ontario’s Kawarthas, Viamede is a rustic resort that has actually been around since 1885. In 2010, Ben Samann purchased the resort and transformed it into a delightful space for people who desire a getaway off the beaten path – literally.

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On a Friday evening in early November, HomieLuva, Little Magician, and I packed up our car and headed east to Viamede. At a mere 2 hour drive from Toronto, escaping the city isn’t that difficult – and the drive was actually a beautiful one for this chick who hasn’t been further east than Durham Region. Driving at night made us lose the effect of seeing the gorgeous fall foliage along the way, but there would be much more time for that through the weekend.

We arrived at Viamede, a large resort area consisting of a main building (housing the reception, individual hotel rooms, fitness area, and common lounge space called Club 1885), cottages, Boathouse Restaurant, and the jewel of the resort, the Mount Julian Inn. Upon check in, we drove back to our cottage – and I held my breath at the door.

Full disclosure – I’ve never been camping, never stayed in a cottage, and “rustic” is me sitting on my back deck overlooking my little grassy backyard. I didn’t know what to expect with our Viamede cottage – but I opened the door and breathed a sigh of relief. It was clean! And quaint! And cute! And comfy!

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We quickly settled into our 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom cottage (complete with living room, dining area, full kitchen and wrap-around porch), and welcomed our friends and their toddler daughter to enjoy the space with us.

What to do:

I figured that Viamede would be poppin’ in the summertime, but wondered what we’d be able to do in the latter part of fall. The little ones (and us big ones) had a ton of fun hiking, watching grasshoppers, and jumping in piles of leaves, and we spent a LOT of time doing just that.

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We got to kick back and relax with complimentary snacks and drinks at Club 1885, splash around in the indoor pool (connected to an outdoor hot tub), skip rocks into Stoney Lake, explore the nature trails, and had way too much fun on the outdoor playground (I still can’t do monkey bars).

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Back in our cottage, the 6 of us had more than enough space to allow the little ones to play, and allow us big ones to kick back with a drink or two once they went to bed. And when it was time for us to turn in? The rooms were spacious and the beds were deliciously comfortable. Wins all around.

What to eat:

Eating is one of my favourite pastimes, and Viamede didn’t let me down. Our first meal was at the homestyle Boathouse Pub, where we were treated to delicious burgers, fresh-cut fries, wings, salads, pizza, pasta, and more. The staff were extremely accommodating to my groups’ nut allergy and gluten-free needs, and the food hit the spot.

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The breakfast buffet (included in each guests’ stay) was probably one of the best resort/hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had. Incredibly fresh sausages, crispy bacon, grilled tomatoes, scrambled eggs, breads of all kinds, hash browns, yogurt, cereal, you name it. It was the kind of breakfast that you wish you could start every day with, and eating while looking out onto Stoney Lake set the perfect vibe each morning.

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For HomieLuva and I’s exquisite dinner at the prestigious Mount Julian Inn, we were taken care of by none other than Ben Samann, General Manager and owner of Viamede. We sat down to an utterly delicious 5 course meal (we could have also chose a 7- or 9-course meal, were it not for toddler time constraints) with fresh cuisine and accompanying wine pairings. And when I say fresh, I mean fresh. Mount Julian Inn and the other eateries on the resort make a point to utilize ingredients sourced right on site to create their delicious meals. From the fish to the Cornish hen to the asparagus to the quinoa bread to the poppyseed butter and hempseed hummus – pretty much everything you eat comes from Viamede’s farms. Our meal at Mount Julian Inn was intimate (only 9 tables in the whole place!), romantic, absolutely delicious, and complete with a little happy buzz from all the wine. A definite highlight of our stay.

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How to relax:

One of the things I was most motivated to do during my weekend at Viamede was to unplug and relax.

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I meditated each morning on the porch overlooking the green space and the lake, and wished I could recreate a bit of that peace and serenity back home. I was initially annoyed by the lack of WiFi in our cottage (don’t worry – you can easily get internet access at the main building) – but I eventually grew thankful for the opportunity to really disconnect. The TV had one sports channel, but a combination of our favourite DVDs, dope adult conversation,  and hilarious childhood imagination kept us well entertained.

Walking the grounds and nature trails really brought me back to a space of not having to rush, not having any time restrictions, not having to be anywhere I didn’t want to be – and instead just re-learning how to be present in the moment.  Also, traveling with children reminded us about the wonders of seeing things with new eyes – the magic of red, yellow, and orange leaves was renewed for me through them, and it was a pleasant, necessary shift.

Final verdict:

Viamede was the perfect getaway for us, at the perfect time. A place that can satisfy adults and toddlers isn’t easy to find, but we found it here. If you’re considering a family trip to Viamede, there are some things to keep in mind. Since Mount Julian Inn isn’t really a kid-friendly venue, we’re lucky we had friends with us, or we wouldn’t have been able to partake. And when we thought of our older tween goddaughter, we figured she might not enjoy a visit to Viamede in the fall – summer yes, but without the added water activities and ability to enjoy the sun and warmth, older kids might get a bit bored. All that to say, if kids are in the mix, timing is an important factor. We met people who were there to attend a wedding, a raucous girl’s group, and couples who were there for a romantic weekend – so Viamede definitely offers something for almost everyone.

Small details and areas for improvement caught my eye – making sure utensils and mugs are pristine in the common areas, extending the windows for lunch and dinner availability, perhaps working on the WiFi in cottages (or maybe not – there are pros and cons as I found), and closing off the opening between the indoor pool and outdoor hot tub during the cold months (the pool was a tad chilly indoors). Minor yet notable things that could have made a fabulous experience even better, but nothing that drastically took away from the weekend.

All in all, we had a wonderful time at Viamede. Our curiosity is tingling with thoughts of what a summer weekend stay would look like (access to the water? Bonfires at night? Seeing even more of the grounds?) so we may very well be back! But don’t let the time of year discourage you from planning a city escape – Viamede is open all year round, so you’ll be able to enjoy yourself no matter the season! If you go – let ’em know Bee sent you!

All in all – I might be willing to choose a cottage over a cushy luxe hotel from time to time, so I thank Viamede for introducing this city girl to country life.

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This post was sponsored by Viamede Resort, but all opinions are authentically mine. Special thanks to Ben, Laura, Deanna, and the Viamede staff! 

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Health/wellness professional. Social media fiend. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen '83-present.

How I’m Managing Toddler Meltdowns With Mindfulness

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The Terrible Twos with Little Magician have definitely had their moments of terribleness. She’s impatient sometimes, but headstrong and independent all the time – so tantrums and meltdowns have become an expected part of life with a toddler.

I’ve been on my own anxiety and stress management journey for a couple of years now, actively working on making meditation and mindfulness regular practice. Ever since Little Magician could listen and take direction, I’ve been working on the same with her. Mindfulness for her looks like stopping everything, sitting still, inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly – we sit together and I guide her through the process whenever she’s frustrated, too wound up, or on the verge of a meltdown – and it really works for her.

It looks like we might be on to something. In this Upworthy article, Baltimore’s Robert W. Coleman Elementary School is featured as a case study in what happens when you replace detention with meditation and mindfulness – and the results are positive.

Instead of punishing disruptive kids or sending them to the principal’s office, the Baltimore school has something called the Mindful Moment Room instead. The room looks nothing like your standard windowless detention room. Instead, it’s filled with lamps, decorations, and plush purple pillows. Misbehaving kids are encouraged to sit in the room and go through practices like breathing or meditation, helping them calm down and re-center. They are also asked to talk through what happened.

In addition to the meditation room, the school also offers mindfulness techniques and yoga in after-school programs for kids from pre-K through grade 5.

The school has reported zero suspensions in the current school year and last school year, and other schools have started to implement mindfulness strategies, with similarly positive outcomes.

For me, this is a sign to continue along the journey of teaching meditation and mindfulness to Little Magician.  Benefits include stress reduction, better focus, improved memory, and higher emotional intelligence, so why wouldn’t I want to instill that in my child? And hopefully, she’ll be able to absorb this as a natural practice since we’re starting so early. Mindfulness and meditation can be difficult for me because it’s hard to turn my brain off – but hopefully I can start to normalize the practice for her now, before she has more stressors and responsibilities battling for room in her mental space.

The fact that schools are now starting to look at mindfulness as a positive approach and intervention for children is a good sign. Compared to the U.S. and the UK, Canada hardly collects or makes race-based statistics public, but a 2006-7 report from the Toronto District School Board showed that Black students were 3 times more likely to be suspended than White students. Black students made up 12% of the high school population, but accounted for more than 31% of all suspensions (comparatively, White students made up about 33% of the high school population, but accounted for 29% of suspensions). In the 2011-12 TDSB report, it showed that suspension rates have dropped across the board, but Black students are still disproportionately suspended – in grades 9-12, 8.2% of suspended students were Black compared to 2.9% being White.

Curbing these skewed suspension rates requires a multi-pronged approach, but as Robert W. Coleman has shown, meditation and mindfulness may be among those possibilities. Teaching students to be more attuned to their emotions and more mindful of their behaviours helps to re-centre their locus of control – and giving our children tools in their arsenal is part of what parenting and educating is all about. Best believe I’ll be tucking this info away in case I need to introduce this concept at Little Magician’s future school.

Wondering how to introduce your little one to mindfulness? Check out the Breathe, Think, Do Sesame Street app on iTunes and Google Play, aimed at teaching children problem solving skills, resilience, stress management, and emotional intelligence.

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So while I work on my own practice of mindfulness, I’ll keep involving Little Magician in the journey. Tantrum management now, possibly improved school outcomes later, plus a host of other benefits? Mindfulness is more than worth it to me.

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Health/wellness professional. Social media fiend. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen '83-present.

The Mama Who Ran Out Of F*cks To Give

I don't give a f-ck.

Maybe it was after the wind blew my skirt up around my waist, exposing blue panties and brown booty cheeks in the middle of a busy intersection. Or maybe it was after I picked up my miserable, teary-eyed, runny-nosed, diarrhea-stricken ball of toddler from daycare, accepting the fact that she was banned for the next 24 hours. Maybe it was when I tried to pay for groceries (with an unhappy baby in the cart) and my debit card chip decided to malfunction. Or maybe it was when I finally stepped in my house – squeezing through a narrow doorway while cussing at the pile of shoes blocking my full access, and wondering where I was going to find time to clean up.

It doesn’t really matter which moment it was – all I know is, by the time I flopped down on my couch, I became completely aware of the fact that I’m a mama with no fucks to give.

Through a combination of crossing that threshold into the 30s where you apparently stop caring so much about what others think, and being in a phase of motherhood where your toddler ensures there’s little room in your brain for nonsense, I – somewhat blissfully – don’t give much of a damn anymore. And it’s a blessing in two ways.

For one, this new fucklessness has helped me to dull the nerve endings that made me super-sensitive to what people thought of me. I have a tendency to take things personally at times, and used to spend a lot of time and energy asking if people liked me/why didn’t people like me/what did I do to make people not like me/etc. Now? There’s not much room in my mental or emotional space to consider that as much as I used to. My blood pressure used to shoot up when I heard that someone said something shady about me to someone else – how was I going to address it? What would I do the next time I ran into this person? I used to practice cuss-outs to keep in my back pocket just in case – because there’s nothing like having a confrontation with someone, walking away, then thinking of all the soul-crushing things you could have said.

That was a tiring existence. Without actively trying to embody the saying “What other people think of me is none of my business” (which I always had a hard time understanding), that concern has been eroded by the simple fact that I don’t have the time. If someone has an issue but doesn’t raise it directly, it doesn’t exist to me. I don’t second-guess myself as much anymore – when I have an opinion, I state it without trying to overthink it. I used to criticize myself so much – especially what I looked like – and I don’t have time for that shit anymore. I honestly think I’ve shed some of my self-consciousness and embraced confidence by seeing Little Magician move through the world with such self-assurance and fearlessness. I never want her to lose those traits, so why have I let mine go?

The other benefit that fucklessness has brought me is the fact that I am even more empathetic to the idea that life is not one size fits all. In most cases, especially for personal, innocuous matters that don’t affect me directly, I have stopped giving a fuck when giving a fuck looks like filtering someone’s life through my own biases and judgments. Everyone doesn’t do things like I do, but if the way you’re doing things works for you and isn’t putting  anyone in danger, go ‘head! I am much more cognizant of giving people the space to live their lives as they see fit, leaving my well-intentioned advice to the wayside if I recognize I’m offering more judgment, less perspective. Every move you make as a mother is picked apart, criticized, and measured against someone else – I am well aware of how that feels and recoil at the thought of doing that to anybody else.

Finding your way to fucklessness isn’t a cake walk – there may be bare buttcheeks, failed transactions, diarrhea-having babies, and messy houses along the way, as I’ve learned. But I’ll tell you what – once I sat down, chuckled at my peep show, thanked God for my credit card, changed Little Magician’s diaper, and put one dirty spoon in the sink (hey – baby steps), I realized that removing my fucks from spaces where they were wasted, and directing them to areas where they were needed, felt like freedom.

The freedom of fucklessness. It’s a movement. Let me know if you’re down.

Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Health/wellness professional. Social media fiend. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen '83-present.

Celebrating The ‘Modern Day Dad’ Through Word & Film

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When it comes to marriage and long-term relationships, you can sometimes fall into a trap of believing that you know everything about your partner. You feel you know their choices and can predict their actions with ease – then they turn around and do something that shakes up your view and makes you truly say, “Wow – I didn’t see that one coming.”

I am fully aware that this can happen in both positive and negative contexts, but for those of you reading, I hope more of the happy surprises come your way than the alternative. This recently happened to me, when HomieLuva told me “I have an idea to do a film,” then a few weeks later showed me an actual trailer for the completed piece.

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Modern Day Dad gives an inside view to fatherhood – particularly Black fatherhood – in today’s society. Fathers of all kinds (new dads, single dads, dads who have great relationships with their dads and ones who never knew their dad, etc.) use this space to talk about what they experience in this identity, and their stories are rounded out by featured children, partners, and professionals of various backgrounds. It’s an important conversation, and I’m so proud of HomieLuva and his team for pulling it off. Though I’m not featured in the film, I wrote a piece for him on For Harriet this time last year that spoke (and still speaks) to how I feel about him as a father:

Dear J,

On June 21, 2014, life as we knew it shifted, ballooned, and took on new shape. Our daughter burst into the world accompanied by the summer solstice sunrise, bringing with her the gift of new identities for the two of us. Taking on the roles of mother and father, we were immediately thrust into on-the-job training with this beautiful brown baby as our only guide.

Growing into motherhood has been incredible, but a hidden corner of my heart has been filled by watching you step into your being as a father. On one hand, I’m not surprised. If I ever wavered in my faith that you would be an excellent dad, we wouldn’t be here right now. The unexpected part of it all has been bearing witness to just how you’ve taken the baton of fatherhood and ran with it. Those before you stumbled and succeeded in their own ways, but this is your race to run, at your pace, with your unique stride.

You’re an “all in” kind of dad, and hesitation is not part of your process. Save for labour, delivery, and breastfeeding, I’d be hard-pressed to find any other act of parenting that you haven’t been able to do. Your fatherhood is more than presence—it is deliberate action and intentional love; a fertile soil where our daughter can take root and thrive.

You’ve become equal parts provider and nurturer. Building her crib is as important as smothering her with kisses in it each morning. You’ve taught her the wonders of soca music, and you’ve learned that detangling her hair is much easier with a wide-tooth comb when wet. From doctor’s appointments to daddy-daughter dates and everything in between, you’re in this 100%.

You spent six months as a stay-at-home dad. I’ve never seen you smile more, never heard you laugh more, never felt more appreciated once you understood the work required at that level of caregiving. Was it easy? No. Was it soul-fulfilling? You remind me everyday that it was. The proof is in the bond between you and her: the inside jokes you share, the way she settles instinctively into the crook of your arm and nuzzles into your neck, the way you look at her, then look at me and smile.

Here we are—June 21, 2015. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, which is fitting. No other day is better equipped to encompass the momentous celebration of our daughter’s first birthday and your first Father’s Day. While we rejoice and mark her first turn around the sun, I cheer for you, too. I was the daughter who wished for more from her father at times. I am the woman who hoped for a team player in this parenting game. Every day you give our daughter the love she needs, and you give me the partnership I desire.

Happy Father’s Day. It’s been a blessing watching you bloom.

Modern Day Dad premieres on Father’s Day, June 19th 2016 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto, and you can get all the details and tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/modern-day-dad-tickets-25044609100

Happy (early) Father’s Day to all the real ones, the hold-it-down ones, the I-learned-from-my-mistakes ones. I’ll be celebrating with some of the best dads I know at the Modern Day Dad screening, and I hope you’ll join us too.

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Bee Quammie

Big hair+mouth. Word lover. Award-winning blogger. Health/wellness professional. Social media fiend. Wife/mama/daughter/sister/friend. Dancehall Queen '83-present.

Motherhood in colour. Motherhood with flavour.