After listening to this song called "Tadow" by an artist named FKJ, French Kiwi Juice, I started to listen to all his available music on Spotify. Listening all the way through the first time I realized I could get behind it, the genre is like an alternative jazz. There's this particular song I became fond of named "Better Give U Up," it actually has words and the beat switches up where he sings.
I've played it so much that Amara has started to like it as well, it didn't take long since she is so in tuned to music. I'm always dancing when the song plays. This past weekend in the car, I was playing the song dancing and looked back to see Amara doing the same thing! We made eye contact, and ever since, we've been dancing and bobbing our head to that song. She always slightly parts her lips showing her teeth when she bobs her head on beat, it's the cutest thing.
Sometimes, I just sit and stare into her eyes and occasionally she'll hold contact. I'm always wondering what she's thinking, what all babies are thinking really. Especially since they can't verbalize the things that they want, I wonder how their mind communicates to themselves. How do they refer to, let's say, an apple or their bottle or when they want to be picked up.
We can all agree and say that babies are smart, so is it that they know what that item is because we repeat it over and over but just can't speak it, or is her mind just saying "that?"
When I'm looking into her eyes it's almost as if I'm looking into a time portal. In her eyes, I can see the growth from the day she was born. The different times I've looked at her in various stages, when she couldn't hold her own food or when she was just learning to walk. The electricity in her cornea's that become ever more vibrant as she learns more about herself and the world.
In her eyes, I see the past of how she got here, the good memories and talking to her in her mother's belly. Some mistakes that I've made that lead me to not having her in the house with me. I see healing, the love she gives me the random kisses and deep warm embraces showing her affection. How they spark when she sees me and dim when I'm walking away.
In her eyes, I see her future, what could or could not be, the possibilities the lay in her wake. Wondering which path will she take, will she play basketball or run track. Will she be an artist or a writer like her daddy, I'm always wondering how much better she will be than me. How much smarter and intuitive, I've always heard that the next generations advance at a faster rate. I see promise, a fresh start, new beginnings filled with the blessings of witnessing the commencement of life.
In her eyes, I see a version of me, too early to tell exactly what traits she extracted through the Punnett Square. I see the vibrancy sparkling as she smiles and laughs, reminds me of my free spirited nature. In her actions, I see her willingness to be independent whether it be feeding herself or trying to buckle the car seat in. Her eyes carry a determination to get what she wants, which can be both bad and good, knowing from personal experience.
In her eyes, I see an innocent faith. One that isn't riddled with fears created from our past or put on by other people. A daredevil who believes that she can safely jump from moving shopping carts or try to touch hot ovens. An unadulterated faith believing that her mom and dad will always provide her with food clothing and shelter. A faith that knows that we are always there regardless if she can see us or not.
In her eyes, there's much joy and freedom of pain, innocence plastered on her face like her grin from ear to ear.
In her eyes, I see love.
It's that same love that brings back nostalgic moments of pursuing the dream of becoming a Division I athlete. Amara and I watched a lot of basketball this weekend and cheering on upsets while yelling at the refs and unforced turnovers. With UNC out and The Citadel not making it this year, I don't have a team to go for therefore I enjoy each game for what it's worth.
I can see the grit on player's faces remembering the times we took the floor when we only have one chance to stay or go home. The pressure in your chest and how it can either expel in excellence or fear, but undoubtedly, will cause chemical reactions to go off in your head. Causing a fight or flight decision, or in basketball terms, play hard or lay down.
Unfortunately, I never got the chance to play in a conference championship let alone make it to the big dance but every competitor understands wanting to get there. Most understand the grind, a lot understand what it takes, few do what it takes, and even less come out on top after figuring it all out.
The incessant need to keep growing and working out, becoming the best player that I could possibly be. The need to become great, leaving legacies for following players to strive towards holding records well after the ball stopped bouncing. The pride and bragging rights that come with being a winner and exclaiming that you played during that specific time period.
I'll always be able to say that I went to school when the football team was back-to back Southern Conference Champions. I witnessed the build up of the team, and how the older players influenced my class while we added talent. Doing early morning workouts with them trying to keep up on the turf and weight room, I saw their focus. Although it wasn't my time and my career that I wanted to see blossom, but it was a shared experience with brothers that I still connect with.
There will always be a part of me that wish I could play college basketball again, there is nothing like it. The camaraderie, the heart, the traveling, goofing off in class, memories that will have me laughing for years to come. Some sad too, as I think about a couple fallen brothers from our class.
Ra'Shaud "Preacher" Graham.
Brothers I will forever love. It's crazy to actually know that their gone and I can never speak to them again. Last time I saw Preacher was at Mitch's funeral, I never liked how that felt. I'll never forget the way Mitch's daughter was dancing in that white dress at his funeral unable at the time to understand the gravity of the situation. It had me thinking about Amelia who I had wished was there with me, this was back in 2017.
In her eyes, in their eyes, I see a responsibility to love teach and progress my daughters to become respectable confident and conquering black women.
Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.