Yesterday we witnessed history, in more ways than one. My wife and I welcomed our fourth daughter into this world. Sloane Imani Wakefield was born 8lbs, 6ozs at 5:12pm right here in Atlanta, Georgia, the cradle of the civil rights movement. Like her sisters before her, she is entering a legacy of strong black women who have carried the torch from one generation to the next. Our family’s matriarch, My grandmother, Sloane’s great grandmother texted me after her birth: we are happy to have you join the ranks Sloane. I love that language, it conjures up images of a warrior joining her team on the battlefield, and in many ways that’s exactly what this is.
On same day that Sloane was born, our state nominated it’s first ever black woman for governor (not only a first in Georgia, but I believe a first in the country). It’s not lost on me as a father of four black girls, just how momentous this occasion is, because it’s one thing for them to believe that their future hopes and dreams are possible. It’s a whole other thing for them to see someone who looks like them doing it. My favorite message from last night was from a friend who said, a leader was born today congratulating us on the birth of Sloane. Definitely a woman after my own heart!
It’s why I’m so excited about being a father of girls at this time in our history. People always ask me when they see me out with the girls, wow, 3 girls…are you going to try for that boy? Usually my response is a joke of some kind like, what do you think I’ve been doing thus far? But the truth is, I’m pretty spoiled as a dad of girls and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m the king of my castle (as a matter of fact, my daughter London regularly tells me that she’s a princess so that makes me a king!). Meanwhile, my girls are growing up in an era where they have their own hashtag #blackgirlmagic of which I’m a firm believer having lived it up close and personal. They’re seeing the birth and growth of a strong movement of women taking their rightful place as partners in leading our world forward.
Now, with the birth of Sloane this just reaffirms my own commitment to raising brilliant, capable Esther leaders, and learning what it’ll take to be an ally for them in this society. Fortunately, I’m not alone. My wife, an amazing black woman in her own right has from day one built upon the legacy of her mother, grandmothers, and countless aunts. What’s interesting is that after Sloane was born and I held her in my arms for the first time, singing the special song that I sing to each of my girls (the other 3 already know it by heart), I just felt an immense sense of accomplishment. Looking at this life in my arms, I knew right then that I could literally do anything (must have been a euphoric rush of testosterone!). Then it dawned on me, imagine how my wife must feel right now? The woman who carried this baby for 38 weeks, and then birthed her from her own body. I’ve been witness to four of these events and it’s quite impressive. So I asked her and she smiled one of those tired, but knowing smiles.
We’re building something special alright, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.