Dear Zu,



 

Today you turn 11 years old. It’s hard to believe my little girl is making one more step toward becoming a woman. Every year on this day, I think about the morning you were born.


You came into our lives during another cold December in Chicago. Your mother and I planned to have you at home, but you decided that’s not how you wanted to enter this world. So we drove from our apartment in South Shore to the University of Chicago Hospital in Hyde Park.


The hospital was about fifteen minutes from our apartment, but the distance didn’t matter. Your mother remained in labor for almost 30 hours after we left home! You took a long time to show us your face, but it was worth the wait to see you with a full head of hair.


Some things never change. See header picture for evidence.


I might have almost cried when the doctor placed you in my arms for the first time. Don’t tell anyone! Just joking, you can tell all your friends, “My dad almost cried when I was born. That’s how special I am.”

I am grateful to call you my daughter.


This year, you are asking for a new skateboard. The first one we bought you, we picked up from a second-hand store called, The Stock Exchange. It was in decent shape, but you broke the bearings, and it no longer moves without a serious push.


You also want to create your first social media account on Discord. Unfortunately, your mother and I will not allow this, despite the platform's popularity and the encouragement of your friend Timothy.


Did I tell you that you cannot date until you are 35?! Now, you have it in writing.

If the person is mature and respects you for your mind and other non-physical features, then I might allow you one date at 34 years old!


You are a bright, beautiful, and talented young lady. When I see you earning good grades in school, swimming hard at the meets, and being kind to your brothers, I am honored to call you my daughter. Of course, I love you when you're not acting aligned with the beautiful person you are, but it's easier to see everything your mother and I poured into you when you act like the best version of yourself.


Happy Birthday, Zu! Know that we love you and thank God for your presence in our lives.


Let’s have some cake!


Dad


 

To read poems and an essay about fatherhood, pick up my book, Dear Brother: 82 Powerful Poems to Guide Your Journey to Healthy Black Masculinity.

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