Letter to my Newborn Son
There’s so many things I’ve imagined saying to you, knowledge I want to kick to you, that I hope your little ears can hear and mind can comprehend. I’ve dreamt about you, prayed over you as you grew in your mother’s belly, and fantasized about how you’d look, how good your hair will smell, and how much your smile will warm my heart. I will tell you that for as long as I can remember, I spent years of my life trying to be who I thought everyone wanted me to be, and it was not until recently I decided that I should be who I want to be. I feel like I, at age 26, am approaching my potential as a man worthy of being a dad. I have you to thank for that.
When I first met your mother, we were young, and very unsure of ourselves. Oddly enough, we were actually around the same age your grandparents were when they had me, 17 and 18. In my heart, I have always wanted children, but at the same time never felt ready to be a father. There was so much I thought I needed to experience before having kids. I imagined having this grand life all set up for you, like you’d be our little Blue Ivy. To be completely honest with you though, I have very few personal examples of what a great father even looks like, which scares me. Being a parent is a lot of responsibility, a lifelong commitment, and your mother and I agreed that we did not want to bare children until we felt we could provide a life they deserved. Guess what? After 9 years together, including 3 years of marriage, 5 college degrees between us, and a solid standing in our careers as a Doctor of Education and a Registered Nurse, we STILL don’t feel completely ready!! I’ve learned through experiencing pregnancy with your mother that it is very difficult to ever feel ready to have children, mostly because we’re so used to just taking care of each other. Rest assured my son, we will do all that we can to give you the best home any kid could ever dream of. We, as human beings, will inevitably make mistakes along the way, because that’s what people do; I promise to do my best to exhibit how people admit their mistakes and learn to become better because of them.
I want you to know I love your mother with all my heart, and you are the fruit born of that love. When she first told me that we were going to have you, the night before my birthday (which is by the way the greatest birthday gift EVER) I was super excited, then scared, then worried, then happy, all in one bundle of emotions! I’ve always been very protective of her, but when she gave me that news, I felt EXTRA pressure to take extra great care of her, and make the necessary changes in our lives to get prepared for you. I moved us into a bigger home, bought a new car, and hustled every way I knew how to make sure you had the best. And I must say, the friends and family your mother and I share in our hometown of Detroit, a place you will become very familiar with, and the friends and family we have in Nashville, a place we have made home for you, have shown our little family a tremendous amount of love and support. There is no way we would even feel comfortable having you without them.
That last point I made is the crux of this letter, my son. I plan to teach you many things, expose you to many places, and provide you with all I can. My first lesson to you, Tristan, is a lesson about love. Love is forged in bonds, and comes in all shapes and sizes. All people, regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, religion, or any other political affiliation, deserve love. It is through love you will come to understand such character traits as trust, self-esteem, respect, empathy, and compassion. Those principles help the marriage between your mother and I remain strong, and I want to engrain those into you, even at this early age. I want you to have love in your heart for your parents, family, community, and fellow man. I want you to love learning and exploration and having an imagination. I want you to love history and understand the origins, struggles, and triumphs of Black men in this world. I want you to love Jesus, because He died so that we may live. Carry that love with you, Tristan, and let it be your lighthouse, so that you can be a beacon of light and hope and change for others. Love, Tristan, love! Being trustworthy and honest will save you worlds of trouble. Being confident in your beautiful, chocolate skin will be a gift that no one can take from you. Showing and earning respect is morally what’s best for you. Showing compassion, empathy and humility are traits of strong leadership, and we are leaders in this house.
This love that I speak of is impossible to learn if it is not properly and effectively demonstrated to you. Some men feel emasculated with talk of love and affection, especially for their sons. Let me be the first to tell you that is not me. I loved you when I first discovered you were coming into this world. I loved you in the ultrasound room when you yawned for the camera. I loved you when your first books came in the mail because I could read to you, could feel you move, and knew you could hear me. And I loved you when you kicked me in the head through your mother’s belly when I kissed it goodbye before work. I had no doubt you’d be a boy, which is why I already had your name picked out, Mr. Tristan James Scott. I love you, your mother loves you, your family and godparents love you, our friends love you, and everyone is very excited to meet you and watch you grow into a great person. It is my prayer that this love I have for you infects others and not only makes them want to love you, but to love their own kids, and families, and each other. This world needs a lot more love, so it’s lucky to have you Tristan! We’re lucky and blessed to have you! Welcome to the world!
With all my love,