It’s a new day when “one day” transitions to “day one”
Setting an intention to be present and accountable to yourself and your dreams is A LOT. Setting an intention to be present and accountable to another person is A LOT MORE. Considering that we cannot grow in isolation, I’ve considered that what is a lot for me, maybe easily managed by another person. The whole point, it is all relative.
As the world is looking to land footing on our new normal, I attempted to navigate my second summer “in quarantine” full of love, laughter, and experiences fueled by outdoor exploration – as we were masked and continuing to flex, pivot, and adjust to the unknown. Summer 2021, my husband and I were vaccinated and feeling more confident to engage in what felt like normal activities – including travel and seeing family. Not that the frequency returned to normal, but we definitely dipped our toes back into the water. And with that toe-dip, came a wave that I didn’t anticipate. Let me explain.
When I married RK, we were both bonded in the fact we were adult orphans who suffered loss. Simply put, without a mother or father in our present-day life. We do however both have siblings, and each of our sibling relationship stories has many layers. For the sake of time and to minimize complexity I’ll simply say, my sister has been in our lives actively, however, RK’s brother was not.
Over the years, I asked and heard about RK’s younger brother SK and his family that lived in the DMV region, but there was no formal introduction in person. I chalked it up to family dynamics, but I intentionally put it on my prayer list asking God to one day bring them back together in the physical and kept moving, but refreshing my prayer from time to time. You see RK holds a lot close to the vest, so this wasn’t necessarily the easiest topic to broach. The why of it all I never fully grasped, but I had my own family dynamics to navigate so I attempted not to push. But quietly, time was ticking, as was my curiosity. Married for eleven years without meeting my in-laws felt uncomfortable. But life happens, and this was one of those circumstances beyond my control.
One day in mid-June, we received a very formal invitation addressed to both of us. The return was from RK’s adult niece, SK’s daughter, inviting us to a surprise celebration for SK’s milestone birthday during Labor Day. I thought for sure this was going to be the moment that I finally meet my in-laws and RK reconnects with his brother in person. I couldn’t contain my excitement but I did need to manage it.
I took the liberty of booking us a hotel room so we wouldn’t need to drive back home late at night after the surprise party. It was the best decision because it gave us flexibility with our time that evening and the next day. And while this event was totally not about me or my feelings, I can share that I instantaneously felt the evening became the answer to one of my prayers.
As we arrived in time for the surprise, we were greeted by RK’s two young adult nieces and nephew. Upon meeting me, they then reached for hugs and said “hey auntie, nice to finally meet you.” I melted in that moment, and the moment after while witnessing them embrace their cousin CMK the same way. By the time we were set for the surprise shortly after, the expression upon SKs face seeing a room full of his friends and family, including his brother plus two, I knew we were in for something magical. And as the night got more warm and filled with love, between the laughter, reminiscing, and dancing it was like I knew I had found my tribe. I felt right at ease and at home from everyone I encountered. This is my family.
I was so honored to bear witness to these two brothers reuniting, hugging, and laughing throughout the night. I turned into Annie Liebowitz trying to capture my own photo moments for RK commemorating this night. The professional photographer and videographer crew must have captured dozens more footage than I imagined. I saw CMK get comfy with his cousins around the dance floor. Since I always encourage him to dance like no one is watching, like his mama, it was awesome to see him build his confidence through music. SK and I had a little chat and we even identified this moment as day one. Our time also allowed me to be vulnerable and share my own desire to not only gain a big brother, but to have CMK get to know his uncle, aunt, and cousins in a new way. It was perfect.
And that’s how the rest of the night flowed. In between the amazing dinner, the heart-warming dedications from SK’s kids and wife, plus the photo booth and dancefloor, we were fully entertained until the clock struck midnight. At some point, I was also smart enough to swap my heels for flats, so I continued to twirl at my heart’s content. So as RK and I are damn near the last ones out with SK and his wife CK, my heart is full. When we finally returned to the hotel, I lay my head to rest, happy that the whole experience was divine and right on time.
Because of Labor Day, we had an extra day on Monday, so our Sunday easily became our Saturday part two, and we were hoping for an opportunity to connect again before everyone headed back to their respective homes. And when that moment presented itself to meet for hugs, we took full advantage heading to my in-laws hotel. It was here with SK and CK, I further solidified an intention to not let any more time pass between our collective and immediate families.
Perhaps the synergy CK and I established with few words the evening before, at the party, she felt like a safe space when I re-shared my excitement to gain a sister-in-law the next day at her hotel. She met me with “you gained a sister…and you are wearing my absolute favorite color today – purple.” Adding our birthdays are one day apart too. Hello Libra! I learned so much about their love as a couple and family through the visual photo montages at the party, but I had the opportunity to encounter the woman, mother and wife who loves the Lord like I do when CK and I spoke on Sunday. Time spent continued to reveal the answer to my prayers as RK and SK chatted and laughed, while CMK straddled both conversations within ear hustle of the 400 sq. ft. room. By the time a few more family members joined in the fun, it was well past brunch.
That Sunday became very fluid as day turned to night for the second day and we connected with other remaining family and broke bread together. Throughout the day there were countless moments to listen to understand, versus speaking to be heard. Some chats I participated in, and some chats I simply observed. All were equally entrenched in love. By the time we were preparing to head home, we indeed were full and ready to keep the love fest going. What felt like one day all those years ago, the times and moments we missed, felt like this present day moment was a new start for us all together. Everyone exchanged numbers. Even CMK has access to reach out to his extended family in a new way to own the development of his own relationship. It was a beautiful answered prayer as we are forging new territory together and anchored in love. I’ll never soon forget the day one day, became day one for our family to acquaint ourselves to be present and accountable for each other and full of unconditional love.
KK is an energetic storyteller, creative marketer and servant leader with a kaleidoscope of professional pathways in music, print publishing and television. Currently, KK is a marketing executive at a major media company. Faith and family anchor KK’s ambitions, and she believes Luke 12:48 hold true, “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” KK leverages her gifts, talents and abilities in support of advancing others, particularly in motivating her 9 year old son CMK.
Passionate about education and inclusion, KK is a graduate of New York University with a MS, Integrated Marketing and she supports her undergrad alma-mater Wesleyan University with dual, alumni volunteer leadership roles. As a Trustee on the Oliver Scholars board, preparing high-achieving African-American and Latino students for academic success is a priority. Through her writing and in her relationships, KK continues to unpack and explore life transformations the only way she knows how – with unconditional love, raw honesty and a touch of humor.