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  • Annette Hilliard

My Strength!


On April 10, 2019 I was afforded the opportunity by God himself to see my son SaVonte officially become a part of an organization of men who encompass service, brotherhood, and distinction. Over the last few months I’ve stood back as a parent and allowed what I’ve instilled in my seed to flourish from afar. There were many nights that it was difficult to sleep and focus because all I could do was wonder. I wanted to know if what I had preached and spoke over my son was enough to make him strong enough to withhold his own! As parents we have this vivid imagination of what we would like our kid to be in life. Often the manifestation of our thoughts and prayers appear numbered. We often think what we’ve taught our kids is being overlooked or misunderstood. I watched my son make difficult and sometimes negative decisions in the past. Because of this sometimes I felt that I had failed as a mother!


See the odds were stacked against this young man while he was in the womb. Born out of wedlock to a mother who’s 15 years old and father who’s 17 years old we both were dependent upon family and limited resources.

There would be opposition from several

Individuals in each of our families as well as outsiders. However with the support of our immediate family we both were given the opportunity to complete high school and attend college.


I can speak from a place of sincerity when I say I wasn’t always a good mother but I was a hustling one.


During my beginning years as a mother I was confused and naive. I didn’t take responsibility as serious as I should leaving my mother and grandparents with the ultimate responsibility of raising my son.


It was nothing but God’s protection and grace that allowed this to happen. My support system has been out of this world. God knew my mind and heart were not in-sync when it came to the ability to raise a child.


I don’t disregard or take lightly the fact that I wasn’t ready because, God makes no mistakes. My son’s humble, eager, & reliable demeanor was mirrored by the uprooting of my grandfather. His calm and heart for others was definitely adopted from my mother. And I must say the gentleness and ability to pray along with spunk must have been as a result of my grandmother guiding him.


Over the years SaVonte and I grew up together. He taught me how to slow down and become more involved with grooming him by sharing authentic transparent experiences of my own.


Once I grasped that I was his first line of development as a youth my heart and mind finally caught up. Somewhere between his transition from adolescence to becoming a teenager I became a stand up mother.


I begin to take responsibility off my mother and grandparents. I knew what I had gained as a young mother during college would be a staple for his growth into manhood.


SaVonte and I have an unexplainable bond. It’s like he knows I’m a comical mother but when I get serious he hones in and immediately focuses. I’ve always encouraged my son to be a leader and he’s taken on that role throughout life pretty easy. I can remember during his middle school days he would throw parties and do shows rapping. He’s never been one to ride the wave of anyone else. He’s always wanted to be a boss/socialite.


I allowed him to make decisions whether I liked them or not. Even when I do not, I’m always there to support him. One thing I’ve learned as a parent is thatbwe can’t write our kids story about life. They’re responsible for their own paths in life. Beating someone while they’re down will only bring resentment and lack of communication.


Throughout his high school journey I was unsure if he’d even consider college. He was only doing bare minimum effort in his school work. Boy did we stay at each other’s neck! I can also remember during his senior year, he was kicked off the football team after playing since kindergarten. This decision was due to lack of communication and misunderstanding. He fell into depression after this. It was a hard patch of depression and uneasy to break. As a young black male the odds are stacked. In Wilson, NC outside of sports community involvement and activities are limited. When something is snatched away that has been a part of someone for so long it can open a path for Satan to manipulate your heart and mind. Many youth use sports as a means to exert hurt or pain in a positive way. It can also grant a feeling of success or accomplishment. Once meaningful things are stripped away it’s so much easier to allow idle time to become opportunity for negativity.


I noticed a extreme change in his demeanor after this hurdle. He struggled with wanting to become street creditable. I guess that’s the best way to sum it up while also struggling with making the decision to push forward in a positive light.


SaVonte’s senior year was rough. We struggled with acceptance to colleges. I prayed and cried a lot. I must admit I probably pushed school on him even when he wasn’t really interested. I wanted him to experience college because it changed my life. I felt he needed to leave the familiar and meet people who were from all over the world. This would open many opportunities as well as enlighten him about other groups of indivisuals.


After several months of applying to colleges, Finally he’s accepted to Chowan University. I’m excited and he’s excited too. However when he started his journey at school he wasn’t quite ready to focus, this would lead to some difficulty down the road. He almost lost student aid. And I tell you private schools are expensive!!! I mean I was ready to give up and make him join the military. It was either in my words “ You can go to school or three choices: the ground to fight, the air to fight or get ya big head on a ship and fight.” Lol He knew exactly what I meant when I repeated this I’m sure more than he would like. Lol


So through difficulty, defeat, depression and the loss of my dear grandfather SaVonte was ready to give up. His father asked me to allow him to continue his studies. I agreed that I would as long as he received support. We all have banned together and done the best that we can to encourage and support him as a family.


My son returned to school about two years ago with a vengeance for his life. Not only did he focus but he managed to make Deans list. He is serious about school and life this time around. He pushed himself beyond his comfort level.


Through job losses, my surgeries, my son being robbed and many other issues he pushed through! He wanted to make the family proud. He informed me that he found interest in a group of men who he felt would be an asset to his life. I gave him my blessings and encouraged him to go for it. He proceeded and he was accepted. I felt in my heart he was living a dream of my own. Unfortunately during my college career I wasn’t able to join a sorority. The road to becoming a part of a Greek letter organization has been difficult for SaVonte. However he exceeded the expectations of many!!! He has earned his position as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated. He is the first on maternal and paternal sides to do so. I do believe that some of us have to endure many obstacles because of the level of anointing on our life. I’m convinced SaVonte is one of those persons. I’m sure he’ll use this platform to encourage and support others. It’s so much more I could say but again he can tell his story better than I can.


I’m extremely excited and honored to have watched my oldest son do an huge turn around in his life. This post stretches beyond his accomplishments of maintaining grades and joining a fraternity.


My reasoning for this blog post is to speak of not forgetting where you’ve come from. As well as that it’s never too late to transition your life for a positive impact. God’s hands have been on my son and I from day one.


SIDE NOTE:

I do want to say to the doctor that looked me in my eyes when my son was around 3 years and told me my son will never be anything other than a statistic because, I was a young mother with no skills to support myself!! (True story)


I beg to differ!! He’s the product of a hard working family! A mother with the heart of a lion when it comes to her boys! And most importantly a child of the most high!! I don’t care if I ever see the doctor again. His words are void! God has the last say so!!!


Congratulations to my son SaVonte aka “Kuiet Storm”!!!!!!!!!

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