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Mkazo at 9


Dear Kazo,

I am writing this from the Miami airport. Your mom took you and your siblings to play in the airport’s indoor playground. We have about two hours before our flight to Antigua.

This week you turned nine years old. We celebrated your birthday on our last day in Los Angeles. Before we boarded the plane at LAX, you said, “Dad, I think this was the greatest birthday ever.”

This year was special. We did your favorite things, and you received some unexpected gifts. On Monday, we went to Nella skatepark and the movies to watch the latest Jurassic World film. After the movie, we walked back to your grandparents’ home, where your aunties showered you with some extra gifts!

Your birthday was a good way to end our vacation.

During the trip, you skated every day. You tested your skills at the Leimert, Edward Vincent Jr., Venice, Culver City, and Eucalyptus skateparks. The drop-ins that were difficult to do when we first arrived were easy for you by the time our trip ended.

Facing your fears on the ramps, rails, stairs, and bowls taught you to trust yourself.

Trusting yourself is important in skating and life. You must believe in your abilities to do something powerful with your talents and skills. So whether you become a pro-skateboarder, a teacher like the guy we saw at the Culver City skatepark, or an expert geologist, there will be moments when trusting in yourself is necessary.

Right now, you look to me and your mom to take care of you. Among other things, we make sure you are clothed, fed, and have a place to sleep.

There will be a day when you have to take care of yourself without our help. You will be responsible for paying rent, grocery shopping, and meeting your entertainment needs. So now is the time to learn as much as you can and enjoy the simple stuff in life.

You will not always be nine years old! One day you will be my age. You might also have children. Crazy huh? Can you see yourself as a dad?

As I watched you, Zuri and Emery play this week, I had difficulty picturing you as a father. Now, if I push myself further, I can see you skateboarding alongside your children. You will teach them how to ollie and rock to fakie without falling on the ramp.

Alright, buddy, I will end this letter. You have crystals to polish and decks to tighten. I love you.



For similar fatherhood letters and poems, pick up my book, Dear Brother.


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It is with some hesitation I report on a research project on 11 year old Caribbean girls which was presented last week at our medical school, saying that was the median age when they began to have sexual intercourse; we of course were shocked, but their statistics were from large populations from all of the islands including Antigua. There were no comparable statistics from other countries. But can we imagine where adulthood is beginning right under our eyes. And think of the challenges for parents.

Replying to

This is shocking research and it is a challenge for parents. Thank you for sharing this information with me.

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