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  • Dr. Obari Adéye Cartman

Lessons from my son


Today is my son's 4th rotation around the sun! It's got me reflecting on the lessons I've been posting his last three years. I wanted to put them all in one place. I love him.

-One-

Things Naseer Hanif Jaco Cartman taught me this year:

1. Everything is amazing. 2. It’s okay to cry when you’re sad. 3. A smile can turn the worst day into a treasure. 4. Don’t put everything in your mouth, unless no one is looking. 5. The time only flies when you’re not paying attention. 6. Everyone deserves to be heard, even if you gotta yell a little (or a lot). 7. The Creator’s plans are better than yours. 8. The certainty of falling flat on your face is not a good reason to give up trying. 9. Poo on yourself. Just poo right where you are. No one’s gonna judge you. 10. Can’t avoid pain. Just gotta learn to deal with it. Even if you sat still to avoid any possibility of it, just growing teeth hurts. There must be something instructive about pain. 11. Making the child priority makes otherwise difficult decisions fairly easy. 12. What matters most aren’t the spectacular, majestic occasions. It’s cool to celebrate milestones, but that’s not where it really counts. The magic is in the moments in between. The brilliance of the everyday. The mundane details. The nitty gritty... Squeezing water from the bath towel over his head. Letting him pretend like he can use the spoon well enough to scoop his own food into his mouth. The smell of his back. The confident babble. Feeling his frustration while he struggles to find the perfect nook on my chest. It’s the little stuff, that I am most grateful for.

-Two-

11 lessons my baby taught me during his 2 years here so far:

1. movement is everything. don’t stay still too long. run, climb, throw, jump…move! 2. you like what you like. can’t force it. but sometimes its nice to try new things. 3. language is optional. communication happens all the time anyway. 4. he’ll never know what it feels like to NOT be loved. and until that’s true for everybody he’s gonna have to be okay sharing my time with the world. 5. time don’t fly, we fly. we rush, we grind, we scroll. time is slow. time drags on. time’s not real. we made time up. time is. 6. mothers are the most precious resource on the planet. any people that don’t treat mothers right will fail. 7. i couldn’t really appreciate my parents until I realized how many things you have to attend to make humans right. 8. laughter is medicine. 9. that romantic love crap we learn on tv aint got shit on this. my capacity to love has increased beyond my wildest imagination. 10. imitation is much more than flattery. it’s responsibility. it’s human development. 11. we come here to learn. curiosity is the fuel, exploration the destination. rent is a terrible reason to forget that.

-Three-

12 thoughts about life and fatherhood inspired by our 3 years together:

1) if u ever told me some young prince was going to demand that I bathe, clothe, feed and entertain him everyday and I must declare myself his faithful servant, I would’ve said no thanks. but it’s such a sincere pleasure.‪#‎boss 2) sometimes at the same moment I’ve had to force my baby and my mother to eat. I’ve had to drag both of them both into the shower. i’ve changed both their diapers. few things will give u more insight into the cycles of life. ‪#‎whatgoesup 3) i’ve gotten tons of parenting advice, it’s crazy how i never get any from parents with perfect kids. so I take it all with a grain of salt, and often give myself permission to figure some of this out on my own terms.‪#‎thanksanyway 4) we’re gonna regret how much screen time we allow. ‪#‎unplug 5) i used to be so terrified, didn’t think I was ready for this. now it’s hard to believe how much consistent joy i get from the same thing that used to cause me so much worry and stress. ‪#‎pleasantsurprise 6) i can’t remember anything that happened to me when I was 3. not one missed meal, or bored day, or bumped head. some of the things that seem so incredibly important right now will become obsolete in his brain in a few years. ‪#‎keepitmoving 7) sometimes I ignore his cry because it wouldn’t be good for him if he got everything he wanted. pain is a part of some lessons. it makes me wonder if The Powers that Be ignore some of my struggles for the same reason.‪#‎whatdoesntkillyou 8) nothing makes me feel more like a man. ‪#‎pride 9) it truly baffles me how many men give up this opportunity to receive such hard and pure love. ‪#‎cowards 10) i think of him dying at least once a week. sometime the thought is so vivid it makes me cry. yet the pain is still unimaginable. it’s morbid but it helps motivate me, makes me appreciate every moment with him, and helps me connect more deeply with the parents on the other side of the weekend body count stats in Chicago. ‪#‎blacklifematters 11) white supremacy is a silly idea. they should be able to assert whatever claims they like. if my son grows up to think he’s anything less than brilliant and capable because he is Black, i would take personal responsibility for that. ‪#‎fuckem 12) every single moment of this could have been different if he had a different mother. ‪#‎choosewisely

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