Category Archives: Family Matters

A Cops not gonna drag her from a classroom by the hair…I hope!

I never thought parenting would be easy, but I sure didn’t think it would make me want to shake the living hell out of one of my kids. I say that because sometimes it seems that they lack the common sense I hope for them to have. I also say that because they often say something snotty to me when I ask them what I consider to be a simple question, or because when I try sharing something with them by way of what I’ve learned during my brief fifty years on this earth, they get major attitude. I mean, hey! I have some serious experience under my belt, that happens to be quite varied and not of the common variety for a man of my education and status.

Nevertheless, shaking the hell out of one of them, my little one in particular is how I felt one morning while dropping her off at the bus stop before school. I wanted to, but didn’t. But I really wanted to. Even if I had I’m not sure she would have listened anyway. I mean this child has got more fire than spit, and when she spits, whoever is in range had better run. I suppose the main reason I didn’t shake her – besides not wanting to be brought up on child abuse charges – was that for a long time, I’ve been trying to avoid being my parents (well at least my Mom). I didn’t smack or threaten her with a spanking, and I didn’t push the point of what I was trying to get across because I didn’t want her to have a bad day in school.

Instead I retreated. I let her revel in her smirkiness. I let her win. Yes I was hurt, and yes I was a bit put off that this creature whose picture I look at think how angelic to me, was becoming a demon, but like I said I let it ride, kissed her goodbye when she said, “Bye, Baba. The bus is here,” and drove myself to work a little heartbroken and dejected.

I’m proud of my kids, as any parent would be, and especially proud that my youngest has a strong will and personality. With that said, I sincerely hope that she will use that strong will for good and continue to make me proud. I hope that when restraint is necessary, that she will see the value of losing one battle so that a greater one can be fought. I know that I will not get a call from a teacher telling me that she has mouthed off to them, because even though I showed restraint on this day, she and I know that my wife and I have raised her better than that, and to be honest, I think she knows that daddy would probably be put in shackles if she messed up in that way. When I was a kid, the goal was to never embarrass your family. The goal was to never make them feel less than by your tomfoolery. Somehow, that code has fallen by the wayside and kids today don’t care if they embarrass themselves, their family or anyone else for that matter.

Now I don’t know all of the particulars of the young woman in South Carolina who was manhandled by the school security officer. However, I do know that all of the truth is not known to the rest of the world, and that much of what was shown, is skewed. I also know that because we are human, we do things that are both good and bad to and for each other. I know that what you do in one particular instance can make or break you, and that whatever you do, makes you a candidate for having to deal with the consequences.

People think that they are without fault because they are liberal, conservative, black, white, latino or whatever, you are not without fault. Your title or whatever you call yourself doesn’t save you from the stupidity that you sometimes do, or save you from the stupidity that others may sometimes perpetrate against you. You are human and you will falter, and you will excel. So maybe this time I was right to resign myself from shaking the hell out of my child, or maybe I wasn’t. Only time will tell, and I hope that through all of my parenting moments I have made her aware that sometimes looking weak is the greatest show of strength.

This is my home, but it’s not where I belong…

This past August, I finally got a chance to take my family back to my hometown,  Atlanta, Georgia, for a brief vacation and/or visit.  It was perhaps  one of the best trips for me because “my people”, got a chance to see and meet “my people”, and my wife and kids also got a chance to see where I went to school,  meet some extended family and friends, see where I grew up, and essentially see where I became me for the most part.  I say for the most part because obviously, the Army, Mexico and Spain, helped formulate large parts of who I am based off of that essential upbringing in my city of birth, Atlanta, GA.

As much as I enjoyed being home, I also realized that I could not live there ever again. This is nothing new for me, many of my private journals go into the details of “why not” and of course my life in San Diego, with everything I do in Flamenco, and just the quality of life that I enjoy, I realize that my life is so utterly pleasant in San Diego that any place would be difficult to move to without some serious arm twisting.

Nevertheless, I do admit that home was good, and after a week of visiting Piedmont Park, eating at The Varsity, The Waffle House, and visiting the people that I grew up with and love, that me and “my people” made our way down to  Miami, and Boca Raton, Florida, to enjoy the beach and some Cuban coffer and food, and soak in that Florida lifestyle.

I realized that Atlanta is still Atlanta for me, good and bad and that I still have demons that I deal with because it is home. Yes it’s more international, and yes it’s grown, but home is home and we all have our reasons. I love you ATL, but I have to admit that abhor you as well. You will always be mine and I will always speak highly of you in the same breath that I speak smack about you as well. You are mine and I am yours and never shall we hurt each other again. But I’ll come back to visit, you birthed me and suckling at your tear provided me the pride and determination that made me stop those who try and tell me that I can’t do something because my skin is dark and my mind is not able. You and my people gave me that ATL, and I love you for my upbringing, good and bad!

Puppy Power when Paired with Kids!

IMG_0481After our first dog, Oliver, a Tan Dachshund who passed away some five or six years ago, it was tough for me and the wife to jump over the edge into the abyss of pet ownership and bring another dog into the house. Part of it had to do with the pain that’s so acutely associated with the loss of a pet, and part of it had to do with the responsibility level and or lack there of of our daughters, now 19 and 10. I suppose i should clarify this and say that it was the youngest that we considered most when we considered our leap, especially since she protested the loudest about having a pet, and more specifically one of her own. She actually said that she wanted a dog that she could name and walk and let sleep at the foot of her bed, because, “Oliver was Sissy’s dog, and she’s not as responsible as me. Plus, I just need to have my own dog. Why can’t you guys understand that?”

The fact that Oliver was the family dog never seemed to sink in with her, probably because he was there before she was born, and she felt that she had no say in choosing him or even giving him a name, which is big around that age and specifically with my youngest daughter’s personality type. So in a way I understood her neurosis about the issue, and with that, allowed the seed to be planted in my own head about getting her a dog. My wife must have felt the same, because at different times, and when we both were on opposite ends of the spectrum, she would say to me, “Maybe we should get another dog.” At which point I would protest and say, “So I can feed and walk it, and pick up its poop. No way, I’m not going through that again.” Or vice versa, I would come to her and say the same, and I would get that same speech, minus the walking part of course.

Eventually we both considered the level of responsibility of our most vociferous child, as well as the breed of dog that would work best for us, especially since like with Oliver, we knew at some point that we would be the ones bearing the load when it came down to feedings, maintenance and all of the unseen issues that involve pet ownership. It took a while, but as I mentioned, my youngest child is the most vociferous, and I suppose that day after day and month after month, of hearing her try and convince us that she was ready must have worked. Or perhaps in some small corner of our brains, my wife and I were really convincing ourselves that it was time and that the memory of Oliver would live on. Nevertheless, watching that kid research different breeds via the internet, or declare herself an animal, and most loudly a dog lover to people we met in the street whom she asked if she could pet their dogs, pushed us off of the precipice, and for Christmas 2014, we welcomed another Dachshund into the house. A Black and Tan, who my oldest and youngest named, Charles Xavier — after Professor X of course.

Maybe its the power that puppies have, but this young cachorro has definitely been a welcome addition to our family. The most obvious thing is how truly responsible my youngest has been with him. She meant what she said, and that commitment hasn’t waned. She feeds and provides water for him on a daily basis. She cleans his poop when he goes potty. She takes him for walks and gets up early before school to play and spend time with him. It’s been a joy for me to watch, and I now realize that not only was our other dog, Oliver, acquired while my oldest was too young — maybe 5 or 6, but that we didn’t know what we were doing when we decided to bring him into our home. No he wasn’t our first dog, but he was the one that lasted the longest via the husband and wife partnership agreement and had the biggest impact for everyone.

I say everyone, but I have a confession about the dogs that have joined the Hubert Household. Here’s a bit of history. Our first dog, Shaggy, was  a mixed stray that someone pushed onto us, and to me was a bit psychotic. She ended up running away. Our second dog, Annie, who to this day I love and miss more than anything and wish that I had never caved into regarding the marital agreements and got rid of, even if I did acquire her of my own will and volition, because she came up to me on our first encounter, sniffed me, marked the spot I was standing in, and walked away to go back and wait calmly for my decision, while the other puppies frolicked around showing off for the folks at Pet Smart’s looking to pick up a family pet. Annie was a Black and Tan Rottweiler German Shepard mix, with the kindest eyes and heart that you could ever find on a hound. I used to take her to the Flamenco Dance Class that I play for and take her with me to play tennis. She was mild mannered and the biggest baby you could ever meet. At the dance class she would sit quietly and bask in the Solea or Bulerias that I was playing, and while I was on the tennis court, she would lay in the grass adjacent to the court that I was playing on and use her big brown eyes to beckon kids over to play with her or rub her belly, at which point she would lay down, feet pointed to the heavens, while she basked in the love they shared. She was the best dog that I ever owned and I will never forget the great times we had. She and my oldest daughter were best buds, and we all had some great times together. Though, more than anyone, she brought out the boy in me and fueled that fire for pet ownership.

To Charles Xavier, I say you are on that “Annie track”. You look like her, although you will never grow as big, and you fill my kids and the whole family with a joy that’s immeasurable. I doubt I’ll be taking you to the tennis courts, but I do see a visit to the Flamenco Dance Class in order.