I am the mother of two beautiful, smart Black girls. When I was married to my first husband, I thought my first child would be a boy. I had a name picked out for him: Quentin.
I thought that sounded regal, and I thought having a child whose nickname was “Q” would be fitting for a girl whose father loved music. I remember telling my husband (now ex-husband) that the laws of misgenation still exist: any child we have would be seen as Black. For this fact, as complicated as being pregnant was, that thread–that threat–lay in the back of my head. And I was scared half to death.
When I found out my oldest would be a girl, that specific fear eased, but it was replaced with a slew of other fears. But, to be honest, I wanted a boy. When I think hard about it, I still do. Even with the state of the world. Which makes me think, if I had a son, what kind of mother would I have been to him? What could I have done for him? How would I have protected him? There are so many women that have flashed across my screens, my timelines and nightmares whom had a child in the morning only to lose him that night!
The reality of this, is not lost of me. Yet, it has not, does not paralyze me. Perhaps this is because the reality of having a son, a gorgeous Prince, is still an imagination. Yet, the fear of losing a child to something other than age is horrifying and real! If I had a son, I want him to know that nothing is off limits to him: the world is as open as he believes it is. I would want to tell him that he is a King. Meaning he is accountable for his life, and has access to do all he must–and I will help him in whatever way I can!
If I had a son, I would tell him I can’t live his life for him–but I will do my best to help him reach all he desires. I would give him the power to dream! The right to keep dreaming!
If I had a son, the police talk would happen at age 11.
I would tell him what to do if the police where to follow him while walking, what houses to go to, who to call.
If I had a son, I would tell him ‘There is no such thing as a good policeman.’ I would tell him there are policemen that do their job, but far too many don’t. I would tell my son that I need him to understand his goal through any police encounter is to come home to his family! I would tell my son that respectability politics is always a tool of the oppressor–and a skeleton key.
If I had a son…I would dread telling him that one day he would be out of my reach and be in a position with only the things I told him for wisdom and weapons! If I had a son, my prayer life would be at the level of an angel with its tenacity! I would encourage him to read, to question and to write.
If I had son, I would let him know his war is on three fronts: what he thinks, what people think, and what the world at large thinks of him. I would tell him it would be okay to cry. That having emotions–emoting–doesn’t make him less of a man! If I had a son, I would want a father to help raise him–in the house. If I had a son, I would want him to see that struggle love is a myth; show him what happens when I woman is treated well–that she deserves that much. If I had a son, I would let him know his worth surpasses what his phallus can do–nailing girls doesn’t prove manhood!
If I had a son, I would let him know he is worthy of all good things…including someone that loves him, for who he is. If I had a son, I want him to know is life matters–while keeping my fear of him becoming a hashtag from him. If I had a son, I would remind him he has a legacy to create…and a life to live.
If I had a son, I would tell him his crown is bought and paid for: just put it on. This way, I can keep mine on…