Having children has changed my life for the better. Having girls has allowed me to see the world through changed eyes. I often do not like what I see, but there is always hope. I am hopeful because I can see strength in my princesses and I can see the world evolving. The change is not as fast as I would like, but change is happening. My princesses have been born into a world where they have access to opportunity and much improved safety. As women of African heritage they have unique challenges and strengths, but mostly they are from a long line imbued with confidence and self-sufficiency.
I continue to be sure of their success because they have great role models. My instinct is to protect them from all that is bad in the world by building a wall around them. My struggle now is to determine the height of that wall. I want them to grow by learning from my successes and failures, but understand they will learn best from their own experiences. All parents have that nervousness, but for a father of a women of African heritage the world is a little different.
My princesses are still innocent to the crazy world and I will protect them from it for as long as possible. They are three and five years-old and their life is changing fast. My five year-old is ready. She is the love of my life and I worry, and I am excited for her. I am ready for her to discover more of what the world as to offer. The world has already expressed their low expectations of her, but like her ancestors before she will perform above and beyond because her corner expects her to be the best. High expectations lead to commensurate performances. I will continue to protect and love her, and be her shield and sword. I am a parent, I am her father and her friend for life. I will always expect more.
I have big dreams and I am sure you do too. Those dreams are what we all live for. We work hard and push to attain new heights. Those heights attained are the source of stories for our grandchildren. The joys of the effort and the intensity of our victories are what we will remember. I think I have lost that drive for big accomplishments.
Now all I think about is how am I going to make life better for my daughters. At Sarah is 4 years old and Samantha is 3 years old and they only ask for my time and attention. That is easy to give, but what happens once its time for more substantive investment. My love will not pay for college nor will it be enough for that first car. So, like all parents I have to save. Will it be enough? I am sure I am worrying for no reason, but without planning for those events I will not be ready. I promise them I will be ready.
When my oldest was born, I was reborn. They are my world and no one comes ahead of them. Making them strong, confident and productive is my goal. The question of how to accomplish my goal is both harder and easier than it seems. Easier because I have my parents play book to look at and harder because of the same. Picking from what I think worked and not repeating their mistakes is a tough challenge.
Sarah, my oldest taught me a lesson this weekend. She is already strong and confident. I watched her perform under the big lights with her cheer team and she was perfect. She performed with intelligence, poise and confidence. I am a proud dad. At 4 years old she is already setting a great example for her 3-year-old sister. I had to smile when my 3-year-old said to me, “Daddy, next year I am going to win like my sister”. I am going to keep loving them and allowing them to dream big, while I dream of their success.