A few weeks ago my son went to NYC for an interview with an investment firm. Dressed in his custom-made suit and his mezlan shoes and his ever faithful red and blue tie. He's been taught to get to his interviews early, so he got there 1 hour early......now that's evidence of a guy who is ready to get it done! Not expecting to hear from him until after his interview, I was stunned to see his number pop up on the office phone. He proceeded to explain his encounter. 15 to 20 police officers descended upon him. He was told that he fit the description of a man who had just robbed a jewelry store in Manhattan. My mouth went dry, my heart raced and I was shaking. It's a mother's nightmare. You feel out of control because you can't protect him/her from every traumatic experience. Then I begin to play the 'what if' scenarios. Not a very good idea, but relevant because of all the mothers who lost their kids at the hands of police. I maintained my composure until he told me that everything we taught him 'went out the window' and he was in 'fight or flight' mode. I almost lost it!!! We've taught our children to be respectful of police and authority...and above all...DO NOT RUN! I think that's when I passed the phone to his father because my fear and anxiety were so strong that he didn't need to hear it in my voice. He was already traumatized.
He later explained the fear, the trauma, the anxiety the rush of emotions that flooded him and his strong urge to run. He said, "not only the guilty run mom. I know that now". However, something kept him standing....and I'm grateful he did. Even though an officer attempted to escalate the situation, he maintained a respectful tone and posture and shook the hands of a few of the officers and proceeded into the building after 30 plus minutes of questioning. So for those of you who wonder why I participate in protests and make statements that Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown,Tamir Rice or Freddie Gray could be my son....this is why. It could happen to anyone. No one is exempt....not even the guy in the dapper suit. I respect the job police officers and members of law enforcement do. It's a very tough one. But I also know that like many other jobs, there are some policies and procedures that need to be revised and addressed. One does not have to be anti police to be pro change. I'm certain that some in law enforcement also welcome systemic change. I thought the number of cops was excessive. It was later explained that it's for the safety of the officers.
Nevertheless, in spite of this ordeal, I am grateful for the outcome. I learned a long time ago to celebrate EVERYTHING!!! My children teach me so much and I'm so grateful to them for the lessons. My son is like an eagle in a storm. He soars. The eagle is the only bird that flies in a storm. All other birds seek shelter. It actually uses the strong wind of the storm to soar higher. Sam didn't cower and cancel his interview. If anything, he seemed more determined. We prayed with him and he went into his interview. Clearly he nailed it because he is now interning at the firm. As he is about to turn 21 this month, I celebrate his life. He continually faces challenges/storms, but he never backs down. He's not afraid to spread his wings and allow his storms to propel him to higher heights. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring but today I celebrate Sampson.and I'm proud of his character and grateful for his life.
I guess it's time for me to trust him when he says: "mom, I got this" and allow him to soar. Be encouraged, be supportive, be prayerful and embrace your journey.