A year has passed since I first saw your precious face. Oh, how’ve you grown since that October afternoon. I still remember storming out the door and speeding down the highway to get to the hospital. So many thoughts raced through my mind that morning. How big you would be? What your hair would look like? Would you be a ladies man like your dad? I’ve never felt a combination of fear and joy like I felt that day. Why fear? Because of society. You were born during a time where race issues were beginning to resurface and I was scared that the world may not accept you.
I got to the hospital just as the sun was starting to peak over the trees. I ran inside and I could hear your mother moaning and growling like an animal in captivity! I remember going in the room and standing in the corner. I was afraid of your mother at that time. A few hours passed and it was time for you to make your mark on this earth. Your mother pushed six times and you were here.
Our sweet boy. Our soon to be King. You were here. I couldn’t believe it. I remember your mother panicking because she couldn’t hear you crying. I remember her asking frantically “why isn’t he crying. why can’t I hear him”. Then boom, that cry that we would grow to love could be heard down the halls of the hospital. I remember hugging your mothers head and kissing her on the forehead. You were a big one! I felt like there was a WWE announcer saying “WEIGHING 9 POUNDS AND 5 OUNCES WITH A HEIGHT OF 21 AND A HALF INCHES BRYYYYYYYYCEEEEEEE ANTHONYYYYYY MARRRRRTINNNNN”. Hope you said it in that announcer voice when you read that.
The first night, I was the happiest person in the world. Holding you in my arms made my heart melt. I remember you looking at me and scrunching up your eyebrows and looking like a grumpy old man. You looked as if you hated the world but then again, you were your fathers child. After a couples of nights in the hospital, the doctors determined that you were ready to go out and face the world! We couldn’t get you away from the hospital any quicker. We sped straight to sonic to get your mom some cheese tots. I know right? But you didn’t care. It was your first Halloween and you were happy as our little Frankenstein.
We were on our own now. Your mother and I were parents. There was no pause button or help desk we could call. Your presence made us change the way we look at life but it was a much needed change.
A part of me feels bad that both of your parents are photographers because you’re going to have a camera in your face for the rest of your life. But is that really a bad thing? People all over the world tell me how much they love you you’ve never even met them and may never meet them. All because of photography.
I plan to give you the universe and then some but it saddens me that you won’t be able to feel the love that my mother would have given you. She would have loved the brown right off your skin! I remember how happy she was when your cousin Christian was born. Being a grandmother was her gift and even though she’s not physically here, I know she’s looking out for you and making sure I take care of you.
All we want is to watch you succeed. I can’t protect you from the mistakes you’ll make in life but I can vow to be there to help you chart out a plan to avoid the next one. I don’t want to see you trip and fall but I know it’s the only way you’ll know what to avoid the next time.
One last thing. You were born during a very difficult time. Race is an issue right now. I wish I could explain why but I can’t. There’s a lot of black vs. white occurring. People are gonna say that you’re different because of the color of your skin. Listen to me closely Bryce, you’re not. And if you understand that, it actually gives you a one up. Skin is only skin. It doesn’t define your character. You may encounter some situations that will test your patience but just remember that some are ignorant to the fact race doesn’t matter.
You have a gift. The same gift my mother had. The same gift I have. You have a smile that can change the world. Never forget how important that gift is and never be afraid to smile during the darkest times to brighten your way.
I’ll always love you more than sharks love blood, baby boy 💙.