she was in my shadow. the shadow of an overachiever. she rebelled because of that/because of me.
you came in 1993, in the morning. the winter snow had not yet come but scarves accompanied our turtle neck shirts. you may have brought about the first time we communicated, your mom and me. or shall I say, she listened to my advice. better than that, she asked for my advice. she asked what should she name you. I was in my senior year of undergrad and I sent her a list of names that I thought would be different and memorable. she chose Tajh Jelani, (Prince Almighty). why? because it’s easier for God to find you with a name like that. ashe.
I remember seeing you in the nursery. you were the only baby not crying and looking around at every noise you heard. I couldn’t wait to hold you. I couldn’t wait to show you off to everyone.
I wanted to make sure you knew where love lived. I wanted to show you how to grow air. I wanted to make the world appear like sugar for you to place in your pocket. new places to eat, activities outside of our neighborhood… I wanted you unafraid.
creating an everyday home with you was nothing like our 40 days of summer we were routine to. you were now 15, with experiences of your own. some I will never know. ask God how much I prayed. ask God how purposeful they were.
fear stole my sleep when I realized my words were no longer reaching your altitude of 6′ and then some. but you would stand there because you knew something would stick. you now had discernment. your eyes were begging I could reach your soul as I did when you were younger. you were a young man, living with his aunt, and younger brother and three younger sisters. in a different city. ask God how purposeful my prayers were. ask God how I asked to find a way to reach you.
20 years old. ask God how purposeful my prayers are now that you have moved out. now that your darker skin has given you doubt. now that your natural leadership serves you alone. Almighty Prince, keep your eyes open amongst all the noise. remember, your life extends outside your neighborhood. I always have a pillow for you. your name makes it easier for God to find you so pray.
call me if you forget how to grow air.