Today, you are eight years old! Between your born day, the police killing of George Floyd, and today's opportunities in Antigua, I realize it is a blessing to celebrate this day with you. Over the years, we must talk about racism, but on this day, I want to say I love you, and I am proud to be your dad.
For the past month, you have told everyone about your pending birthday. Given that we are practicing social distance, this list includes your family, Germany teddy bear, a soccer ball, and friends you connected with on a Zoom call.
Did you know that you do not need to remind us of your birthday? We will never forget the day you arrived in our lives.
You came into this world on a Tuesday when we lived in a house located at 81st and Luella in Chicago. Without any complications, you were born at home. No, you were not born in a hospital. Mom and I planned a home birth with a midwife and doula.
We have moved multiple times since our Chicago house. First, we went to Lansing, then Mexico, and now Antigua. Through it all, we thank God that your health has not been a problem.
Sure, you've had some asthma challenges, but through a selective diet, we have maintained your allergy condition. When we moved from Lansing, you ate broccoli and cauliflower for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Aren’t you happy that now you can also eat baked chicken, potatoes, mangoes, and rice? When mom and I don’t allow you to eat certain foods, it’s because we want to prevent you from getting sick. We can't train Capoeira together or play restaurant when you don't feel well.
Last week you had an episode of diarrhea. We think it might have been some chicken you ate. After a couple of days on the couch, several glasses of ginger ale, and meds, your appetite returned.
This morning you ate vegan blueberry pancakes and cereal for breakfast. On most mornings, you eat a mix of Corn Flakes and rice cereal with a banana. In your mind, no bowl is big enough!
Did you know that you were the first child I took out after the spread of the coronavirus? We went to Bridget’s store to grab a few items and refill the water bottles. I also bought you a bag of your favorite plantain chips.
This year on your birthday, you wanted a bike. With the help of Auntie Brittany and your grandparents, we granted this wish. The roads in Antigua are not safe for children to ride bicycles, but I am sure you will make the most of our yard. I will also drive you to the Cedar Grove park with the bike in the trunk for you to ride around the tennis courts.
I want you to enjoy this day. Ride your new bike, cook us one of your fantastic meals, and play with Kazo and Zuri. Know that your mother and I love you and want the best for you.
Your life has a purpose. It could involve cooking, writing, playing football, or leading a global anti-racist movement. Keep enjoying creative playtime, and you will figure out how to use your talents to impact the lives of other people. I am prayerful that you will not experience premature death due to your race.
My work with teaching Capoeira, writing books, and making videos are components of my life’s purpose. I do these things to impact lives, serve people in need, and keep myself healthy. In a few days, I will begin the Capoeira In-tune program. You may notice that I am busier than normal recording video content or doing writing projects that help people around the world experience growth in their lives.
Please understand that I feel called by God to do my work. One day, you will discover your life’s callings and remember the model I provided at home.
Our family fuels my drive to provide and influence global change. If I could give you every ounce of my attention, I would, but I also have responsibilities outside our home. When you become an adult, my words and actions may make more sense to you.
On this birthday, I want to remind you that I love you. Don’t ever think that you need to conform to some ideal version of yourself or a miniature me. Being you is enough.
Happy Birthday again, little E. I love you!