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Inside out - Week 2

I never bothered with sleep routines since I usually get my daughters on the weekends, and I always try to make the most of my time. The Sunday night before the first day of camp for Amelia and preschool for Amara, I made sure to get them fed, washed, and teeth brushed in ample time.

A true pleasure. I was weary of how the sleeping part was going to go. Admittedly, I still sleep with my babies partly because I want to, and the other part is because physical touch is my love language too. As they fell asleep, I watched over them and relished the moment.

Excitement for the next morning filled my spirit, I couldn't wait to experience what it's like to be a full-time parent. Responsible for the everyday provisions and mastering the process of the day.

The first day was the smoothest of the entire week, it's like they wanted to impress me just as much as I wanted to prove my competency. It lasted as long as their attention spans, the next day they were fighting with each other and crying wanting to be picked up. Monday, I was the proud dad that got his kids to camp on time without having to rush to work. Tuesday I was the rushing parent who tried to beat the clock by testing yellow lights and cruising at 80mph.

It was a great experience, but a lot of my focus this week was on the championship game that coming Sunday. We were to play the undefeated number one seed, their team was full of current, future, and former Division I athletes. Young, fast, and athletic. I thought about how, I now, am the older head reminiscing on the days of walking into the gym and dunking in slides.

Although it's understood that the ball has to stop bouncing at some point, it seems like we will be young forever. Playing four or five games in an AAU tournament or being on the outside courts grimacing in the sun. The days of the grind, where every day was dedicated to getting better at the game we fell in love with. I see young guys coming in daily asking for cones and putting up shots. A nostalgic chill always runs through my spine, there's nothing like it.

I see a lot of good young talent out there. I'm lucky enough to have a big window in my office where I can watch and assess. Surprisingly, there's a lot of schools in such a small city. Seems like each year a player is transferring to a new school and reclassing or searching for a better opportunity. Maybe a new system or just a new coach in general. I never had the courage to try to transfer because I feared that it wouldn't be the experience I had hoped for.

My game heightened as I knew the extent of their talent and the fact that we lost to them in the regular season had me ready to play. I had a nearly flawless game, scoring effortlessly and minimizing turnovers. My dad, older brother and his wife came to watch me play as well. Extra motivation. I made sure to bring my daughters to work that day so that I could tap into a different frequency with my game. I wanted to show out for them.

The last time Amelia saw me play she was two and Amara has never seen me play in a game. Amelia told me throughout the game that she enjoyed watching me play and told me I was funny, which I was unsure on exactly what she meant. I was told Amara's eyes followed me wherever I went and clapped appropriately.

Of course, by bringing them I had hopes of them finding a deeper interest in the game that I love. Sharing that connection would be an inexplicable experience. Amelia cheered for me after we won the game, she kept telling me how happy she was that I won. I was trying to talk to people after the game and they both kept trying to jump on me and get in my arms, some might find that annoying, but I can't imagine anything better. The day before we went to the pool in my parents' neighborhood, and I attempted to teach my babies to swim. They both were too frightened to fully trust me staying on the stairs and the edges of the pool. Amelia isn't shy about meeting new people and once she warmed up, I was getting attacked by water guns and pool noodles with her new friends.

I'm blessed that I always have energy and can keep up with my babies. Although I didn't plan on having kids the way that I did I always wanted to have them when I was younger so that I could play with them longer. I'll always wish that my father could've played competitive basketball with us longer. We used to play two on two, me and my older brother Edmond versus my dad and younger brother Sl1m.

I'll never forget those games, mostly because I lost more than I won. Which undoubtedly, contributed to my current mentality and my former style of play of giving it my all for a victory. I remember playing in gyms like Lake Lynn, Optimist, and on the outside courts at my grandad's house in Florida. Times that I will forever cherish.

My goal is to use this summer to create core memories like those off the children's movie Inside Out. Memories that are held in high regards and shape personalities. Memories that are engrained so deep that mere words or circumstances can't eradicate what has been sown. Namely, the seed of my presence, the root of protection, the stem of love, the leaf of faith, and with a little bit of water and sunlight.

The tree of family.

Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.



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