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  • RUSSELL

Letter to my sons, Josiah and Treyvan

One day, you two will grow to be Men. That day, may bring with it challenges you will face, where child-like innocence can no longer assuage the responsibility of being an adult, mistakes will now be remembered and may forever count against you. That day, you may be judged, or you may be the one passing judgement, but I ask you to find compassion forgiveness empathy resilience perseverance love and strength through those coming trials, because life isn't just about what happens to you, but how you happen to be towards those around you. That day, I want you to remember that you are too precious to be judged for a mere moment, too young and still growing to be seen as someone incapable of change for the better, so don't be discounted by those that prefer the easy job of judging and stereotyping you because make no mistake, you two are black boys and you won't experience life the same as others, it will be more difficult. But it will make you stronger! Take pride in your own path and individuality, never seek to fit in, you can only chase emptiness if you travel that road. That day, fight hard to discover yourself, regardless the amount of rejection, you should seek more to understand than to be understood, let your actions tell the story of your heart, not the cunning or slip of the tongue. That day, forgive, because you will need that same blessing one day, and we never know the pain of someone that lead them to disappoint you, be an uplifter, avoid casting stones, because no one is perfect and that's what connects us all. That day, you may have unsettled questions and anger that may have found its place from my lack of presence in your life, don't run from that feeling, seek closure, don't project and deflect it by harming others, come to the source and let me have it. I can take it and will take it, don't push important people away because of that pain and void that I may have caused, I will answer every question and work to heal those wounds. At that moment, if you don't need a father speaking to you, but a friend responding to the pain of what the father caused, then I will be that, and you can speak honestly and expect honesty back. That day, don't ever hide from truth or let down, you can't run in life, never run! Tilt your head up in defiance, stick out your chest and face whatever it is with your eyes wide open so you can see fully, learning every bit of lesson embedded inside of your turmoil, understanding despite how it feels, its just temporary because there is purpose in pain. That day, believe that chivalry isn't dead, being a good man can never fall to fatigue, but don't only seek to open doors and pull chairs, but to empower the women in your life, because they are every bit as strong and fragile as a promise of love. Don't rename a woman, take pride in the name her parents gifted her, and only change it with your last name attached. That day, be a leader, a listener, a learner, a lover, a live wire of hope inspiration aspiration passion dreams goals faith and belief. Dare to trust, become a healer even when you feel weak. Strip away pride and prejudice from your personality, adjust adapt and evolve. Don't get stuck in your way, absorb opinions and ideas, be brave and audacious enough to experience life fearlessly. Champion causes, fight for the defenseless, take pride in being a black sheep and embrace what makes you different. Do not build walls, because you will need company...everybody does sometimes. That day, be yourself, stand tall and proud, never afraid to ask for help or to ask a question. You are greater than the sex that you can give to a woman, the more sexual partners you have, the more unhappy and empty you may feel, relationship is a sacred and spiritual bond. Do not feel pressured to conform to a religion, search for what makes sense to your soul, we all have our own spiritual routes, but believe trust me, you are proof that there is a God that even may...just maybe, loves you more than I do...maybe though. That day, remember your dad will only be a call away, and that I love you and will fight for you no matter what, my mistakes made me a monster I admit, but reflection and love of you two made me into a man again, and better than I ever was. I know a thing or two about falling, but I also know what it takes to rise, and that is love, my heart beats for you and that love is what has carried me out of my plummet to be able to one day look you two in the eye and say I love you and I'm proud of you. No matter the relationship between me and your mothers, just understand that we were young, don't take sides and if so, direct your angst and questions at me. Love your moms with conviction, being a mother is the hardest job, they did everything that I couldn't, so I can take it. I may have hurt them in ways that I may not still understand, we don't all hurt and heal the same. Parents wont always get everything right, sometimes all we can do is just love you in the best way that we know how, though we weren't always shown or taught the best way, we learned on the fly, so be better than us. I love Josiah, and I love you Treyvan...I hope this day, you never forget that you two are brothers, even if your mothers differ, through me, you two are forever family and you should always look out for one another. I wish I could bring you two together now. If I could take a lot back, I don't know if I would, besides the time I've missed, but that's just because all my bad paved away for you two to see so many other routes for good. Never having to be led astray, because I have sadly shown you what that looks like. Never hide who you are, nor quiet that voice inside you, it's okay to be weak or scared at times, stuffing your emotions will only set a course for combustion. You will lose control over how you react if you decide not to take control over how you are feeling and dealing with the hurt. On this day, you are men, and here I am I love you

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