Pause In the Midst of Chaos

America is Breathing and I came to see how my Family is doing?

Me an Zi well we have been so busy. I wish I could post videos here because it is easier. We rolled right from her being paralyzed to gaining back 90% mobility through her hard work and intestinal fortitude.

Then here comes Covid or as we call it the Rona. I swear. 2020 just wanted to make me scream but as we weathered that storm then here comes The horrific events of the past few weeks.

My heart is so heavy yet I understand that underneath it all we have more in common than people are willing to realize. My greatest dream was to purchase an RV or camper van and travel with my 3 year old when I retired also to tour state parks and go camping but I am so scared to do that and that is what it feels like to live in fear.

Fear is not this big bad bold thing. It is what keeps you in line it is why I have to someday have “the talk” with my beautiful toddler. About how to behave when police approach. I wish life could be like YLF and the MidLife. I was never fearful in the Army I stood proud with other men and women of all backgrounds.

My heart is heavy to admit that now I experience a great fear because I am black and now at 46 this extends to my child. Yes all lives matter but #blacklivesmatter when we live in fear and others don’t.

I cried when I opened up YLF to read Angies words. I recently returned to work just 2 weeks ago and it is a ghost town in Chicago under Military rule and Police patrols. I was fearful before now, I’m scared.

Yet we find a way to live and we find a way to laugh and we find a way to celebrate. I hope you all are breathing deep because this too shall pass.

Love y’all family

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • kkards replied 1 year ago

    I’ve started typing and deleted what i wrote about 10 times. I just cannot seem to find the right words.
    Donna, thank you for posting an update on your beautiful daughter. I’m so happy to hear that she seems to be overcoming her acute flaccid myelitis. And i hope that you are both staying safe and out of the path of Covid 19.
    I am sorry that your daughter will be growing up in a world that still divides us and them based on skin color. I have no other words, and this does not adequately express what i am trying to say.

  • Chris987 replied 1 year ago

    You continue to be an incredible inspiration. You speak the truth so honestly and bravely, and even though the truths you speak about today are horrible, you still have an incredibly strong light that comes through.  It's so awful that you have to have this talk with your daughter. How many more generations will have to experience this? No answers. So glad your daughter is recovering well, and please know how much it means to me (and I suspect to other fabbers) to hear your shining light. 

  • Angie replied 1 year ago

    LeDonna, seeing your daughter jumping with joy is absolutely SUBLIME. Best news I've heard in months, and especially special amidst these very tough, surreal, and troubled times. 

    Thank you for continuing to be a strong, positive, bright and inspirational  role model to your daughter. 

  • SW Ann replied 1 year ago

    I have been thinking about you, LeDonna, and ZJoy, and wondering how you were doing....this is a bright spot today, and I am so so happy to hear that she is overcoming AFM....I don't really know what else to say...Prayers...

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    LeDonna, I have been thinking about you and wondering how you and Zi’Joy were doing. It is wonderful to see you and your strength and health in the photos. Than you for the update.

  • Suz replied 1 year ago

    LeDonna, thank you so much for speaking up here, for updating us on Zi'Joy's progress -- it is AMAZING how well she has done. What a gift. Your strength and hope and determination are incredible gifts you share with her and with all of us. Thank you. 

    Thinking of you especially in these horrible times.  

  • Eliza replied 1 year ago

    LeDonna- I opened YLF today with a heavy heart. Your wisdom and tenacity, coupled with the powerful photos of you and your determined, strong Zion Joy offered hope, something that I currently find elusive. Thank you. Wishing you both peace and love as we all work to transform the challenges of 2020 into meaningful changes.

  • cindysmith replied 1 year ago

    Anything I can think of to say feels so inadequate. My heart breaks for people of color (((hugs)))

  • Echo replied 1 year ago

    I am so happy to see you LeDonna, and especially glad for the update on your daughter. You are two BEAUTIFUL, strong women! 

    The world is an especially scary place right now. Thank you for a smile in the midst of chaos.

  • Xtabay replied 1 year ago

    Your baby girl is amazing, and so are you!  These are tough times to raise a child, and I hope by the time you have "the talk," it's a better world for her to live in.  Blessings to you both!

  • rachylou replied 1 year ago

    Amen, LeDonna. My prayer behind yours. It is so good to see Zi hopping around. Children are the ray of hope.

    Btw... it IS scary to camp across the USA, but I do it anyway. It is also beautiful.

  • slim cat replied 1 year ago

    I'm so happy to see your baby girl doing all those things: swimming, jumping, walking with you, celebrating Happy Birthday! 
    Beautiful pictures - love your matching outfits in #9-11.
    Stay strong and healthy! Hugs.

  • The Cat replied 1 year ago

    I have been thinking of you and your daughter. Thank you for checking in. Good to see Zi'Joy jump and laugh.

    So sorry for all the stress and worries you have had and still are having. When I read your post, I came to think of favourite magazine of mine which recently featured the timely subject of finding relief from stress. Here is the link:
    It is my sincere hope that the articles will be of help to you, as they have been to me and many others.

    As you probably know, the Bible provides a secure hope of a happy future with peace between all humans. Our loving Creator is a reliable Source of comfort and strength. As Psalm 46:1, 2 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a help that is readily found in times of distress. That is why we will not fear, though the earth undergoes change."

    Sending you warm thoughts and my best wishes.

  • unfrumped replied 1 year ago

    So great to read your post and get the updates and photos. What an difficult time and heartwarming recovery  you and your daughter hadwith the AFM--so unusual that most people could not comprehend what you have been through. I pray Zion Joy continues to grow and develop so wonderfully. And yes, then there is Rona and now more senseless violence that no one should have to experience or live in fear of. Thank you for your inspiring words.

  • Helena replied 1 year ago

    You are grace beyond, LeDonna. I'm so grateful you're part of this space and that you share yourself so freely and honestly, and thank you for having me as part of your MidLife Mamas community. So much love to you and Zi'Joy. xx

  • Cardiff girl replied 1 year ago

    I am so glad that your daughter is making such a good recovery but I am so sorry that you feel that you are living in fear.No one should feel like that.

  • Belladogga replied 1 year ago

    It is wonderful to see Zi's ongoing recovery and the joy of your family.
    I am not American but I am black and I am riveted to the screen, heart heavy, as we watch what is happening in the US... but so hopeful that this might be a tipping point towards significant changes. Oh! We dream and pray that the fear you feel will be but a memory as ZiJoy grows into strong, black womanhood.    

  • Runcarla replied 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing yourself and your daughter.  You both are bright lights in dark days. 

  • DonnaF replied 1 year ago

    So pleased to hear from you and that Zi'Joy is doing so well. Thanks for posting all those pics. Zi'Joy is getting so big! Seems like yesterday that you were preggers. I hope to meet you both some day as it looks like my DD has settled in CHI. But who know when it will be safe for medically fragile DH to travel.

  • ClaraT replied 1 year ago

    The photos of you two lift my heart. She is very very lucky to have a strong mama like you. I very much value your perspective—always, but especially in these tough times. Thank you for posting. It’s nice to hear your voice :-)

  • Zaeobi replied 1 year ago

    The pictures you posted of the empty streets remind me of what's happening here in Hong Kong too - first with the protests, then with the virus, & now back to the protests again.

    Just wanted to say we stand with you & what is happening in your country - even if our political situations are different, & my fear is not the same as yours, I still recognise your turmoil. I'm glad to see you & your daughter standing strong & refusing to let this best you either - I know it's overwhelming to not give in to the fear, but if we do then there will be no one left to fight it.

  • Jenni NZ replied 1 year ago

    Thank you Donna for checking in, I was thinking of you recently. Zi’Joy looks so well! What a blessing.
    What is happening in your country is so sad to watch, I don’t know what to say.

  • Style Fan replied 1 year ago

    I have been thinking about you Donna and sweet Zi'Joy.  What is happening is beyond words.  Horrifying.  It is wonderful to hear that Zi'Joy is making such an amazing recovery.

  • Sal replied 1 year ago

    I am pleased you posted - and delighted to Zi’ Joy jumping with her beautiful strong Mama. You are the best role model to her.

    I am so sad about where the US is right now with treatment of black people. I wish that Black Mums didn’t have to worry about the safety of their children in everyday life. I hope that through courage and commitment this can change.

  • suntiger replied 1 year ago

    So happy to see her recovery! What wonderful pics of you two :)
    It breaks my heart to think of you living in fear. It breaks my heart that this keeps happening. At least this time the cops have some punishment. Not enough of course. I remember being so angry that the cops were never punished for beating Rodney King. It was just incomprehensable.
    Black Lives Matter!!!!

  • RobinF replied 1 year ago

    Thank you for the update, I’m so happy to hear how well Zi’Joy is doing!

    Regarding the protests, everyone has said it so well but I would just add that it is painful that we are still dealing with this after so many years and so many still refuse to see. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you on a daily basis. You are an example to us of grace and wisdom.

  • avicennia replied 1 year ago

    Dear Donna —
    I’m so glad to hear that Zi’Joy is 90%. What a beautiful miracle! I’d been wondering about you two!
    It’s unacceptable that you felt more respected and safer in the military than in civilian life. My brother served an African-American general for several years and says the change in how the general was treated in and out of uniform was astounding. #BlackLivesMatter.
    As a Latina, I’m not surprised, but nonetheless devastated by how “Rona” has widely revealed the fault lines in our country—with Black, Latino and Native peoples experiencing the brunt of the pandemic.
    On another note, you and I have the same dream. I’m a single mom in my 40s with a school-age daughter and would love to camp across the country. As I child I used to camp every summer with my Anglo grandparents. I want my daughter to have the same experience. We are thinking a trained protector dog might be a good companion. Perhaps someday we could make a caravan of single moms and daughters?!
    Sending you and Zi’Joy continued thoughts of health and energy!

  • Synne replied 1 year ago

    Happy to hear your little princess is doing so well!! What a blessing.

  • Kate replied 1 year ago

    It's so good to hear from you, LeDonna. Just today I was thinking of you and Zi'Joy, and checked up on Instagram and the MidLife Melanin Mama's page to see how you were doing. The images of you and Zi'Joy always make me smile, and your fight against AFM has been truly inspiring, as is your little warrior princess.

    Then I came to off topic, and here you are, checking in with us. I'm heartsick over what is happening in our country, but I am heartened by seeing so many people surging into the streets of my city, Washington, DC, and others across the nation, peacefully protesting. I am hopeful that we will see a new day dawn across America where #blacklivesmatter in truth. When we won't need a hashtag to remind us, when black women and men who live their lives with a constant flicker of fear that others never experience will live to see that flicker extinguished. We all have a role to play in creating that America. Much love to you and Zi'Joy.

  • shevia replied 1 year ago

    You are the champions. I hope ZJ grows up in a better world. She deserves it. We all do.

  • nemosmom replied 1 year ago

    You are such an inspiration, LaDonna. Thank you for sharing yourself and sweet Zi with us.

  • Laurie replied 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing the amazing progress your baby is achieving - a real and needed ray of hope. May her recovery continue and be complete.
    May our country - and this world - right themselves in time for Zi'Joy to have a safe, equal, full life.

  • Barbara Diane replied 1 year ago

    So glad to hear from you and about you and Zi’Joy. I’d been thinking about you two. Still shocked about her diagnosis, so pleased about her progress. Stay safe.

  • Debbie replied 1 year ago

    LeDonna I haven’t read the other comments because I waned to write mine before I did. You continue to amaze me. Covid was not easy to navigate with any special needs person in your life. It added another layer of concern and fear.

    I have no words to describe the fear I feel for you and all black people right now. I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem. I have talked extensively with my Grandson about what is going on. I encourage him to ask questions and to be aware of what challenges his black friends and classmates face.

    I hope this world unites and becomes a better place for our children and grandchildren.

    I also hope my ramblings make some sense.

  • Leslie replied 1 year ago

    Love to you and little-but-fierce Zi'Joy. I would wrap you in bubble wrap if I could and if I thought it would help.

  • Bijou replied 1 year ago

    LeDonna - I hope the turmoil that we find ourselves in today lead to lasting change where Zi'Joy will never be fearful or discriminated against. Change is achievable.

    Thankyou for the uplifting post, it is great to see Zi'Joy back on her feet again.

  • Janet replied 1 year ago

    I am late seeing this thread, but what a relief and joy that Zi’Joy is doing so much better! She is precious and you are a fierce and wonderful mama.

    The protests have been a long time coming. Real change needs to happen. Any words I summon feel inadequate, and I know that I cannot truly understand all the anguish, but I am working on learning more every day to be a better ally.

    I want you to be able to take that trip with your daughter some day. I’ve done a very similar trip — almost 10 years ago, solo in a little teardrop trailer, camping and hiking and taking pictures every day, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I will work and fight and pray for the day when you can do the same, free of fear.

  • Phoebe replied 1 year ago

    Thank you for all the beautiful photos and your beautifully written post
    You create such a presence even on this flat page, so kind and full of feeling. You are full of courage and it's a privilege and inspiration to read your words.

    I love especially number 6, in the others the view is from the photographers perspective, in 6 we are almost there with you and your beautiful brave girl.

  • JAileen replied 1 year ago

    I’m sorry you’re going to have to have the talk with your darling little daughter some day.  Until cameras in phones became common, and we saw all the videos, we had no idea!!!

  • JenniferAnne replied 12 months ago

    LeDonna! I'm not on here much, but whenever I browse through YLF, I always look for an update from you. I couldn't be more overjoyed, first off, to hear how much mobility Zi has recovered! You two have been through so very much, topped off by the additional heartbreaking upheavals of this year, where each day seems like the worst news day ever! Day after day. Knowing you two are hanging in there makes me feel a whole lot better. BIG squeezy hugs to you both and please keep us posted. xoxoxo

  • karen13 replied 11 months ago

    LeDonna - I am not on YLF much these days, and rarely see off topic - so just saw this. I'm overjoyed to see you post, and so saddened by our shared fear and your additional burdens. I was just wondering how you two are doing. Much love and support to you and your precious unicorn girl. Thank you for sharing your photos and world.

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