It’s my birthday today. First of all, no I’m not 35, I’m forever 21. That’s all you need to know.
It’s been really cool so far. Texts, calls, tweets, all that stuff. Work has me tied down, but hey… such is life.
Someone called me, and asked if I’d gotten any gifts. I said “No, I’m used to not really getting anything.” which is true, more or less.
But I realized, on the 9th of November, 2012, I got the best present I could ever have asked for. And I’m going to share it.
I started writing this letter about 5 weeks ago… it seemed pretty right that I finish it on my birthday.
*Written while listening to Ed Sheeran’s “Small Bump”*
I know the first words you ever hear me say may be muddled with tears as a result of the emotional rush I feel when I first hold you in the hands that type these words so, the first thing I’m going to ever do for you is to translate them:
I love you.
You’re more a fragment of my soul than the biblical bone taken from my ribs. The physical can’t even begin to match up to the miracle that went into bringing you into existence and every day I see you for the rest of my life, I’ll be reminded that contributing to your being is the greatest thing I’ve ever done.
I know that by the time you’re old enough to read this, you’ll have realized that this place we’ve brought you to is hard. You’ll have thought to yourself how things would have been even more glorious if I’d left you where you were; you’ll have gone through a lot of things that may get you down, may make you cry, and may make you feel like questioning God and asking him why.
But you’re a warrior.
From a long line of people with strong souls, the very first thing you did was swim to be the first among a billion, and you’ve been winning ever since. So I know that even when things get hard, you’ll always be able to get to the top of it. With my strength and your mother’s intelligence (I’m intelligent too sha), you’re a formula for fantabulous that finally balanced as your voice was heard in the four corners of the hospital room.
I love you.
You’re my reason for being. Man was created and instructed by God to replenish the earth. You’re the culmination of my obeying God’s commandment; a beautiful being born of Technicolor dreams and a pastel of prayer, painting you the dark brown shade of earth’s vitality, and filled with a fresh breath of hope.
You’re everything I’ve hoped for.
Don’t be fooled, I didn’t hope for you this soon, and the journey to your birth was anything but easy, but you came at the right time. You’ve brought a rhyme to this unbalanced mind that had been going astray; you saved me. You gave me a reason to wake up every day and be the best man possible. Being your father is the best job I’ll ever be fortunate enough to have (though, I’ll have to get a side job… you know we gotta eat, right?), and for this I’m doubly glad.
But I’m not perfect.
I apologize for the days when I’ll frustrate you. For the days when you’ll be able to taste the grit of anger as you grind your teeth at something I’ve done or a decision I’ve made. For the days when I won’t be able to make you smile and stop you from being sad, for the days I say the wrong thing when you make me mad, and for the men out there who may one day treat you bad. Even though it was never meant to be unkind, I myself have led many a woman on terrible dance of the heart and the chance that karma will be kind to me may be more than I can ever hope for. I just hope you have the strength to cope and never get bitter when that boy breaks the most beautiful part of you. Understand that life is often unfair and good people get hurt, but believe that it won’t hurt forever, and one day you’ll find a man worthy of your love, and strong enough to take away the marks my wrongs have made in your life.
I’m sorry for the days I’m not there to help you be strong.
You may call out to me one day and I’ll be too far to help in time. You may feel like I wasn’t there when you needed me, but just hold out your hand, and I promise you I’ll take it. I may have to swim across the seas to be with you, but I’ll show up. There may be days when you feel alone, but remember that you are always loved. Remember that even on the days when you feel lost, I will always find you. And on the days when you start to forget that I do what I do for you out of love, I’ll be there to always remind you.
I love you, and I pray for you.
You’re the most amazing thing about me; the Joy of my crown, my Hope and my Life, my fresh breath of clear air on a beautiful night. You’re the reason I can go to sleep with a smile, knowing that my sun rises and sets in your eyes. I pray that God gives you the strength to put up with me. That you grow up to be exactly what you want to be. I pray you get your mother’s beautiful smile and a female version of my hearty laugh. I pray I can make you laugh.
I pray you love me.
I may not turn out to be the best father ever, but I’ll love you with all my heart and soul. I pray you realize that bringing you joy is for me, a means of enjoying eternity. I pray you get your mother’s love for dancing, and as you smile for me when your feet conquer the concrete, you realize that you make me proud in every way possible. Even now I smile, ‘cos you may still be a small bump on your mum’s belly, but the thought of bumping fists with the flat belly kid you’re sure to be fill me with glee. I pray you love books. You’ll learn more flipping through pages set on your knees than you ever will sitting at my feet, but there’ll always be room for you here. I pray you get your grandfather’s will & resilience; I hope you get both your grandmothers’ strength of soul and your great-grandmother’s good nature. I pray that you get your parents voices; that you get to experience the joy of opening the doors of your heart and letting your spirit make a pathway through your lungs. I pray that you find expression through your fingers. I pray you find yourself early in life.
I fear that I won’t make a good father. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and I worry that I may once day find myself there for not doing well by you. I fear that like me, you may find it hard to have faith in humanity. That you may get disillusioned by human nature and become too tired to be any less than cynical, but still have enough respect for God to be more than just a little decent. I fear that you may grow to be arrogant like me. I fear that my actions may be the reason you someday grow up to be dysfunctional. That your heart may not be stable enough to handle a true relationship because of my wrongs and you grow up with needs that only I could fill, looking in the wrong places and making the wrong decisions from a bad viewpoint that will always bring you pain.
They say true love conquers all fear, so I’ll love you with reckless abandon and be a father you can count on.
If you can, love me back.
Live life to the fullest. Learn to love yourself more than any other person can love you. Work to be the best at everything you do. Remember at all times; be epic, or go home. Give respect and watch it be returned. Be kind whenever you get the chance, be peaceful whenever possible. Believe in yourself the way I believe in you. Have faith in other people but be ready for the possibility that they’ll screw up. Try to love God as much as He loves you (it’s not possible, but try).
My life didn’t really make sense till you came into it. I never really knew my name until I gave it to you.
By the time you’re old enough to read this, you may be wondering why we didn’t just leave you in Heaven to prance around and dance with the stars, but I guess life loved me enough to let you come out here and be the one that makes my feet tap. And for this, I’ll be everything you need me to be; your warrior, your teacher, your provider, your friend, your valentine (until you find a newer model to replace me), and most importantly, your father.
I probably have a lot more to say to you than this, but I’ll spend the lifetime I have with you telling you everything.
Welcome to the world, Nadine Ademilayo “BabyBear” Fatona.
Your Da is proud of you; before you were born, now, and forever.