Pondering on the commencement, I watch my youngest, Amara, play with everything but her toys. From trying to grab books from the shelf, my phone, the remote, I stare at her and wonder why all kids neglect their baby toys. Subsequently wanting to get my money back, but I can't name a price for the feeling she gives me.
It's truly a divine experience, watching Amara grow, the development and changes on a weekly basis are phenomenal. Her excitement when she sees me is unmatched, and her want for me, making unavoidable whimpers with outstretched arms. Trying to be a good father in letting her learn how to entertain herself, but when she puffs out that bottom lip I can't resist.
With her big beautiful eyes staring into my soul I swoop her up giving her kisses to her face and neck while she giggled playfully. Putting her back on the bed I relaxed, watched her finally play with a toy, and started to cry. Tears raced down my face like droplets of water falling down the window on a rainy day.
I first cried tears of joy, the ability to get her every weekend has been a blessing and the bond we're creating is heartwarming. Squealing and smiling at me, I'm thinking of the responsibility that having a child entails. Right now, she is young and doesn't need much, but one day she will need more than kisses and cuddles. Looking within myself asking if I'm ready for such a task, is any father?
Then I cried tears of sadness, knowing that Amara will grow up without me in the household. Simple fatherly duties she'd lack in her everyday life, yes, she could video chat but that can't compare to my physical presence. Talking to other fathers helped me understand what happens to a kid's mind growing up in a split home. I didn't grow up in said environment and never imagined that my kids will have to, this fact hits like box out drills after a tough loss.
Catching Amara before she fell off the bed chasing after one of my remotes that she knocked on the ground. The daddy instincts are incredible, developing overnight, a heightened sense of awareness of your child and the dangers surrounding them. I get on all fours searching the ground checking for what my babies could potentially put in their mouth to harm them. Aware of cords, pot handles, and able to hear crying over loud music and closed doors.
Ever since I had daughters, I started to handle emotions I never had to face. Tears kept coming down my eyes as I cried over the sentiment of loss. Loss of time, lost goals, a loss of self. Cringing at the past I swallow my pride and wipe away my anger like the tears on my face.
Refocusing on Amara, and showing a determined gaze, I vow to atone mishaps by being the best father I can be. I relish these moments, every second, every smile, every laugh, and even every cry. Learning what each whale means, the different pitches and the ferocious shrieks. Amara feels like she should always be in my arms, even when I change her diaper fighting her to stay still as she tries to roll over and crawl away.
The only time it truly bothers me is when she has a diaper full of putrid smelling filth. Trying to wipe her while saving my sheets from having to be thrown in the wash proves to be a challenge every time, along with not trying to get any poop on my fingers. As frustrating as it is, I do it all with a smile knowing that this little girl needs, loves, and most importantly, trusts me.
Smacked by another wave of emotion, my body shuddered while my breathing skipped and my eyes started to well up again. Looking at my daughter, I wonder how any person could mistreat a child. I admire her innocence, ignorant to the vagaries of the world.
Free from the fear of what may be lying in wait. Free from fearing authority who despise the color of our skin. Free from the fear of failure, watching her while at my parents house try to climb the couch to reach the top or jumping out her pack and play. Continuously falling, but never quitting.
How can one infest a child's purity with perversion, creating ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and trauma that takes years of healing. Parents like me, who had irreproachable ACES still trying not to pick at the ever healing scar tissue, we have an incessant anxiety wondering if we'll be able to protect our children.
Hearing conspiracies like the ones surrounding Wayfair, and the insurmountable cases involving kidnapping of young children inducting them into human trafficking. The lack of compassion and the love of money drives individuals to be heartless enough to steal random children and sell them to grown men. The diabolical acts these fallen children are subject to, makes my stomach turn, threatening to retch my lunch on the floor.
Then I hear about some movie called "Cuties" on Netflix, and from what I'm told it's the exploitation of young teenage girls. To me, it's obvious it was made for the secret pedophiles of this world, but the next thought should be. What else does Netflix have a hand in? If they're saying that this movie is o.k, what else are they ignoring or supporting.
More and more, companies and people are being exposed for what they do in the dark. At some point, it always comes to the light. My father told me God told him that there will be a big fall out over human and sex trafficking, a lot of established names will be revealed and it will shock the world. I honestly believe this will happen, and truly believe the government has a hand in it. If human trafficking were truly a problem, they would set up systems for them to be trapped much like they do for the black and brown communities. I see trafficking increasing rapidly but the focus remains on breaking down any foundation or movement dedicated to the betterment of my people.
As I'm getting older I'm understanding the benefit in putting money back into the black community. Building our own businesses and generating wealth with longevity. When we support these other companies there is a chance they are in cahoots with something immoral. Privately owned prisons, mass incarceration, trafficking, and the drug trade could all be damaged by keeping our money within.
Noticing my daughter getting fussy and tired, I pick her up and go to heat up one of her bottles. As she clings to my arm, I wonder how I will articulate the proper words to get her to understand there are people and things out there that mean them harm. How can I adequately prepare her for the endless possibilities of pain, knowing that she will inevitably face more than a few. When it does happen, how do I react in a way that is most conducive to her healing.
Holding Amara in the cusp between my arm and body, I stare in her eyes as she holds my gaze while drinking pre-pumped breast milk. Holding the bottle in one hand and grabbing my finger with the other I assume she felt the vibes of my sentiments. Assuring me that she trusts me with her life, she then precedes to grab at my face pulling on my lips and nose as her eyes start to close.
I begin to poetically whisper my love for her, how I will protect and care for her. Never letting anything bad happen and guaranteeing I will always be right there by her side. Kissing her hand as she clinches my lips tight, probably in efforts to shut me up. Her eyes finally close while a smile creeps across her face. Attributing the smile to the last thing she saw, I return it along with a kiss to her forehead.
Sill unable to control the flood in my eyes and holding on tight, I cried tears of hope. I know as long as I'm alive, I get another chance, another day, to be a better father.
Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.
Amara Noelle, learning to walk while Onyx lurks waiting for her to drop food.