Photo credit: Date of Dunbar Photography

I Have A Son

This was totally different.

From the moment that my wife and I learned that we were pregnant again, everything surrounding this circumstance was different. With Naomi, our first born, we were wrought with anxiety, waiting with bated breath at each prenatal appointment for news of her health, as well as my wife’s, who was on critical and immediate bedrest for four months. This time, we experienced a relatively event less pregnancy. There was no bedrest, no dangerously shortened cervix, no threat to the baby’s life.

On May 1st, my wife and I became parents again to Noah Michael. And I became father to a boy.

I have a son.

Typing these words out feels weird, because honestly speaking, once arriving home, I struggled to own this fact.

Allow me to set the scene.

My wife and I live modestly, caring for our daughter and cat, making ends meet with our one car. I commute and carpool to work, a 30-minute drive from home. Both our careers are respectively demanding, on the mind and spirit.

Upon Noah’s arrival, we felt somewhat aware of the enormity of this undertaking and attempted to carry on, only to learn the hard way that each child is different.

And Noah is totally different from Naomi.

Enter colic. And silent reflux. And possible hearing loss. And a mild heart defect. And general newborn fussiness that did not respect normal sleeping patterns.

Stress + sleep deprivation = stress squared.

Being totally honest here: I did not like this kid at first.

I loved my son, without doubt or reservation. His eyes were mine, his blood was mine, he was mine, undeniably. I would die for him, if need be. When I look at him, all I can see is his potential.

But at 2am, with no foreseeable sign of sleep on the horizon and a 5:30am wake up time, it’s hard to like anything, much less a screaming newborn.

Yet, with all that, something curious happened. I had an opportunity to pray recently, with some undisturbed time between myself and God. I found myself repeating a single phrase over and over.

I have a son.

I have a son.

I have a son.

Yes, he is totally different from his big sister, and the love I have for him is totally different. And while it may not have been the “love at first sight” story that Hallmark would have you believe, the truth and enormity of Black Fatherhood began to re-emerge, like the rising of a summer sun.

He will grow up, from a baby to a toddler to an active child to an adolescent to a teenager to a grown man. He will fight colic, fight boredom, fight other kids, fight my rules, fight his flesh, fight generational curses, fight racism. He will love cookies and nap time, cartoons and the outdoors, sports and short skirts, soccer and sandwiches. He will love his wife. He will love our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.

He has so much in front of him, and so much of it depends on me and my Christ-driven leadership.

I have a son, and it is my responsibility to turn him into a man.

This burden is intense, and if these days of sleepless nights are the training ground for the will to push through, then push through I will. Because he doesn’t need a weak man to lead him.