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Dear Zuri,


This week, you made nine years old! Where did the time go? I remember the day you were born like it happened yesterday.

Your mom began labor in our Southshore apartment. We planned a home birth for you, but you had other plans for coming into this world. After about nineteen hours of limited dilation progress, we went to the University of Chicago hospital.

On the day you arrived, my world shifted. You transformed me from a man to a father. I remember saying to your grandmother, “isn’t she beautiful?” Your grandmother replied, “of course, Vernon, and look at all of that beautiful hair!" We knew from your first breaths that you were special.

This week more people are coming to our YouTube channel. Over 161k people watched the video of me doing your hair and responded to the release of Hair Love. Our family resembles the main characters of the book and Oscar nominated short film.

You’re the star of our popular hair video, but you’ve always been a star to me and your mom.

Your mom did your hair for your birthday this year. I don’t think you trust me with a brush and comb near your head. Your mom gave you a mohawk that you wore to hang out with me at work, go to Jump Zone, and eat a special meal. You told me at the end of your birthday that you had a good day.

Last weekend, you went to your best friend’s house for your first sleepover in Antigua. Your mom and I didn’t want to let you go. We get concerned when you’re not with us.

Before I picked you up on Sunday, your friend’s mother called and said that you wanted to stay another night. We said no, because of our family’s plans and we missed you. I also knew that there would be other opportunities for sleepovers.

You are a responsible and intelligent child. Last week, we received your school report card. It made me smile to receive the text message from your mom with pictures of your good grades.

I want you to promise me that you will continue making school a priority.

No, you don’t need to earn an advanced degree to be successful. However, school is a resource that can open doors to opportunities in life. The schools your mother and I attended play a major role in how you live your life today.

School adds to the education that you are gaining through travel. You should appreciate that you were born in the US, moved to Mexico at age five, and now live in Antigua. Your exposure to different cultures is preparing you to do something with the greatness God planted in you at birth.

Vizuri, you must remember that your life has value and purpose. With time, positive beliefs about yourself, faith in God, and an open mind, you will discover why you are on this earth. Yes, you are alive for something other than playing football, swimming laps in a pool, or wrestling with your brothers.

Zuri, I loved you on the day you were born, I love you today, and you will always hold a special place in my heart.

In addition to this letter, I made this special video so you can remember this birthday.


Happy birthday Zuzu!



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