Fathers of Daughters


Fathers, we are among the first examples of love that our children will experience. We must do our best to prioritize mindful time with them and represent the relationships that you want your children to embody as adults. After this introduction, is a letter to my daughter on her 10th birthday.


My intent in sharing it in this space is to demonstrate one of the many acts of love that we can provide our children.


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Dear Zuri,


Today is your tenth birthday! It feels like yesterday that we brought you home to our apartment in Chicago's South Shore community. Your mom and I did everything for you at birth. This weekend is your first swim meet. It’s hard to believe how fast you are growing up.


This morning we went on Facebook Live, while mommy worked out in the gym. I read a poem to you that I wrote soon after your birth and revisited this year as part of my latest book project. After our Facebook vid, you took off your shoes and put on your new skates.


Who knew that skates were hard to come by in Antigua? I went to three stores in search of skates for you! Your mom connected with Auntie Martha, who then found an independent seller to get us the pair you woke up to this morning.


Your initial response to the skates was comical. You said, “What are these?” Then, after opening the box and seeing the somewhat unconventional skates, you became ecstatic with your gift.


What does ecstatic mean? It’s a fancy word for happy. I know you are smart, and your mom and I love to challenge that beautiful brain of yours.


We ask you and your brothers to write gratitude lists and practice Spanish in the mornings because we see your potential. Starting your days in gratitude and with mental exercises is a good habit.


Do you remember these lines from the poem I shared with you on Facebook this morning?

I do, you do, we do believe in your infinite potential.


Instilled in you along with your brothers,


the courage to reject notions of inferiority.



That’s Black girl magic, you see,


You have gifts sent from the Divine.


Scientist, swimmer, painter, martial artist


All are options for you, daddy’s little girl.


Please know that you come from a beautiful past, remain part of an incredible present, and one day you will create a great future. There is nothing impossible for you to accomplish with your life. Yes, you will have some challenges along the way in becoming one of the best possible versions of yourself, but you have untapped strengths.


Trust in yourself, God, our love, hard work, and your teachers. With love, awareness, and hard work as part of your core values, you will get halfway to whatever magnificent goals you create in life!


I love you, Zu Zu. Below is the video of this morning’s live poem reading, available on YouTube. I hope it serves as one of the many public gestures in the coming years to demonstrate how special you are to me and this world. Happy Birthday!



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