“The time for you could not have been more perfect…”
I don’t know you. But I love you. We both do. From the moment your mother told me she was pregnant, till the day I’m dead and gone, you and her are my entire world. I have dreamt of the day where I could dress you up in my favorite brand, put bows in your hair, and parade you around like the princess you are. Not many men want daughters as their first child. They want sons to mold into their image. To carry on their names and preserve their lineage. I hated my father. Not the man who raised me because he was great and I wish you could have met him, but the man who is connected to me biologically. He wanted me to be like him. He wanted me to carry on his name. I never took it. He was far from a good father. He was never there. My dear sweet daughter, I aim to be much greater than he. For as long as God allows it, I am going to be there. When you fall, I’ll lift you. When you cry, I’ll try to make it better. When you want something, I’ll do my best to get it. When you need something, you’ll have it. One day, someone will break your heart and I’ll explain to you that the heart is the strongest muscle and over time repairs itself. One day, you’ll get into trouble and I’ll be there to explain to you that this is a lesson you should learn from, and that I won’t always be able to bail you out. One day you’ll have kids of your own, and you’ll love them as much as I love you. One day, your mother and I will just be pictures in a frame, but just know that we had the best life, because you were apart of it. But that day my sweet daughter is not today. Today we’re here, and we’re excited, and we’re ready for you.
Now on to your family. You have the distinction of being apart of two different worlds. Your mother is the kindest, most giving, beautiful woman I have ever met. And although she can be annoying, (she is going to annoy the hell out of you), there is no one more loving than her. She will break her back for you with a smile on her face. Her side of the family is very country. Their world is full of trees and nature and basically, a lot of solace and peace. They eat deer with every meal. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You may not like that. Or, you may love it. Prepare yourself to spend a lot of time outdoors with Grandpa Mark. He’s going to teach you things for which I have no clue. You’re going to garden, you’re going to ride tractors and backhoes, you may even shoot guns and hunt. Your Grandma Judy will show you how to make pies. The best pies. Pies passed down from her mother to her and now to you. Don’t ask me why your mother never learned, she just has no interest in the kitchen. Grandma Judy is the one to stay close to. Especially around Christmas. She bakes, she shops, it’s HER holiday. Then there’s Uncle Neil. He’s going to test just how much of a daredevil you can be. He’ll be the one to have you screaming on four wheelers and snowmobiles. He’ll have you help him build and paint derby cars. He’ll watch you close as you jump from the top of a party barge into the lake. My dear sweet daughter, from the dirt in the garden, or flour in the kitchen, or mud from four wheeling, you’re going to get messy.
Then there’s my family. My side. My world. The very opposite of your mothers. Where upstate you’ll find solace and peace, in NYC, you’re going to find people, and movement, and noise. And again, you may hate it, or you may love it. The trees and lakes from your mothers world are replaced by skyscrapers and endless city blocks in mine. Your Nana Joy (who also happens to be named Judy), doesn’t bake. She shops. Uncontrollably and probably, unnecessarily. She’s going to have you in designer clothes and eating out almost every day. Bloomingdales and Macys, Third Ave, Fordham Road, 125th street, 34th street, 5th avenue… And if you’re lucky, she may teach you how to fry some chicken somewhere in between all that. Your Uncle July is quiet but very street smart. He knows the ins and out of almost every hood and will teach you how to move accordingly, how to carry yourself. From the Bronx to Harlem, Uncle Juju is known even more than I ever was. He has a wicked jump shot and is quite the athlete. You’ll be on every court (Franklin, Fulton, Crotona, St Mary’s, Rucker, Dykeman). So stay close to him and one day your face will be more recognized than my own as well. Then there’s your Aunty Pourcher. Stubborn but smart. Beautiful but arrogant. You’ll never meet someone more like your father than her. The drive to prove others wrong, stand on your own, hold on to what you believe no matter what others say or how they feel about it. When she comes around, (and one day, she will come around), hopefully you can see what an educated and strong black woman looks like and strive to become one yourself. Because she is highly educated and strong in her beliefs and although I may not agree with her or her ways all the time, I want that for you. NYC is the most beautiful city in the world. People from all over the world spend their entire life savings to go. You are lucky enough to be born into a family that grew up there and know it like the back of their hands.
Besides all of that, you have a host of great aunts and uncles, cousins and second cousins, friends who are like family, and pets who are all dying to meet you. For YEARS people have asked your mother and I when were we going to have kids and we’ve always told them, “When we were ready.” My dear sweet Elliana, the time for you could not have been more perfect. Your mother and I have traveled, ate well, spoiled each other rotten and loved each other as if we were the only people in the world. Now we get to share all of that with you. So prepare yourself for a father who loves videogames and movies, and a mother who loves Dunkin coffee and Chipotle. A father who is loud, rude, and shows off, and a mother capable enough to put him in his place. Two people who thought they had everything, and realized they had nothing without you.