Dear white friends—I need you to love my sons as they grow into black men
Jacalyn Wetzel

Hey friend,

Do you remember me? It's been a while, I know. I sat behind you in civics in junior high.

Do you remember me? You were my base on the cheer squad, and once you caught my head just before it hit the ground after a long day of stunting.

You don't remember? Our boys played together on the soccer team in 4th grade.

We drank wine out of solo cups in college together.

You totally remember. My vernacular is so similar to your own that it's a running joke that I'm not actually Black, but I am.

And so are my boys.


Friend, I don't get deep enough with you and it's not your fault. I just see the quick twist in your face that quickly screams "I'm uncomfortable" when I broach the subject of race.

Discomfort I can deal with most days, but some days it's more than discomfort. Some days it's disbelief, and that hurts more, so I don't tell you.

I don't tell you the fear I feel on a daily basis as my boys continue to grow. I don't tell you that all on their own they've developed a healthy fear of the police, and even the school resource officer.

I don't tell you that my oldest son has said "the SRO treats the Black kids meaner. It gives me anxiety."

I don't tell you that even though we are careful not to watch these awful videos of unarmed people getting shot, your children are showing them at school, and my children have noticed the theme.

I would never tell you that as they shoot up to be as tall as I am, soon to tower over me, that my mama heart breaks for reasons you'll never fully grasp.

I'd never tell you that at the ripe age of 14, my son "fits the description," and his brother is not far behind.

I would never tell you that, because you can't imagine that being truth. You know my boys. You know their hearts. You know they're the sweetest, most respectful and helpful children you've met. The thought of anyone seeing them as a threat just does not cross your mind.

I love you for loving my boys, I do. But I need you to love them enough to demand change so parents that look like me aren't afraid our children aren't going to make it home.

I need you to love them enough to not just see them as your sons, but to see all boys that look like them as your potential sons.

I need you to love them like you love your own sons, because this world doesn't. Love them because my mama heart cannot handle another man being shot that looks like my brothers, cousins, uncles, and sons.

Love them because my son has said the words "I can't breathe" when talking about how seeing a police car makes him feel.

Love them because my big brother likes to jog.

Love them because my younger brother has the best contagious laugh you've ever heard.

Love them because my baby brother has the sweetest soul, but it takes him a while to say things. He gets excited and his stutter gets in the way.

Love them because the movie American Son is so many Black mothers' realities.

Love them so it does not become my reality.

Love them and demand America do the same.

You know me. I'm your friend.


Jacalyn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, writer and a mother of 4. She runs the blog Stop Yelling Please and has been featured in publications such as HuffPost, Today Parenting Team, Filter Free Parents, Her View From Home and more. She's an advocate for justice and believes everyone has the power to be an agent of change

This post was originally published on Jacalyn Wetzel's blog, Stop Yelling Please. You can read it here.

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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