I don’t think you will ever understand exactly how much I love you until you have a child of your own. Since you’re only 11 years old, you won’t understand for quite a while (at least I hope not!).
You growing up and living a happy, successful life is my biggest wish and hope. And everything I do in my life at this point – every decision and choice, even if you don’t understand them – is my way of supporting that dream.
I admire you. I know that sounds crazy coming from your mother, but I really do. Your heart is so wide and open. You have friends of all races, genders and backgrounds. You still wish for the best and think the world is a wonderful place. I do not want to shade over your bright and colorful optimistic views with the black crayon that is reality. So, when I seem like I’m being negative or causing you to miss out on the joys of life – it’s really me protecting you.
When you use the slang words you heard on a TV show like some of your friends do, I tell you to stop speaking that way not to be a prude or because I actually think you don’t know how to construct a sentence correctly. When you want to wear your baseball cap to the side or backwards like your favorite singer and your friends, I tell you to only wear it forward not because I think you are some hoodlum. When I tell you to be careful whose home you visit when I’m not around, it’s not because I don’t trust you or your decisions. When I punish you for having a quick-wit response to questions or statements, it’s certainly not because I never had a smart mouth. When I ask you who your friends are and what you know about their family, it’s not because I’m just being nosy or that I don’t want you to spend time with anyone.
When I look at you, I only see the happy, bright-eyed intelligent boy who laughed for the first time when his father was bouncing him on his chest. When I glance over and look at you, I see an often shy child with dreams of becoming an engineer or “computer hacker” for the government. The problem is that the rest of the world won’t always see you that way.
There will come a time when you’re an adult. A lot of people (not all, but some) will look at you and see an angry and defiant Black man– despite the heart you have or what your GPA may be. The simple act of walking home from the corner store could result in your death; depending on your reaction to another citizen questioning you. The people you choose to spend time with could cause you to be “in the wrong place at the wrong time”. The quick-wit you have could be construed as lack of respect for authority.
I don’t want to ever change your optimistic view on life. I don’t ever want to change the way you view yourself and the world around you – but at the same time, I’ve got to prepare you for that world. Is it fair? No. But, my sweet boy – unfortunately, that’s today’s reality.
So don’t ever change, Tyson. Always look to have friends of every race and culture. Keep standing up for the kid that’s being bullied. Keep believing that Jesus loves us all and continue praying everyday for the world around you. We need that spirit right now more than you could ever know.
I love you.