When my son was born his body temperature was a bit low. In order to get it to normal he was taken away and put under a special baby-warming heat lamp. While the treatment was being explained to me I thought of flame broiling burgers at Burger King. My kid was going to be delicious.
After being out of my sight for a few seconds I decided to go looking for him. I found my brand new little guy across the hall wearing a tiny diaper and a gauze cap. He seemed vulnerable in the small room as he was slowly being warmed up. I looked him over, counting fingers and toes, and took in the fact that we shared a face. And I noted that his navel was gross.
In an instant it was like the weight of the world landed upon my shoulders. I suddenly realized I was going to be responsible for helping him become a good man – a good black man. I knew my life would never be the same again.
Eventually I built up the nerve to touch him (after a little encouragement from the nurse that had come and gone) and I placed my pinky finger in his munchkin hand. In a voice that he seemed to recognize I whispered to him that I would be there for him no matter what obstacles he may face in this life. I told him how difficult becoming a black man would be, but that together we would make it. Iâ€™ll never forget those first moments I spent alone with my son as his dad. They inspired me to do everything I do todayâ€¦
I graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Urban Studies from Hunter College and I recently became Director of Operations (for Early Childhood Programs) for the largest non-profit children’s charity in NYC. This is in addition to my work with Malecare, Inc as a program director/developer. My wife Shalawn, is a licensed Medical Social Worker and psychotherapist, and my four year old son Devin is currently unemployed.
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