I have yet to birth children of my own. Not for any particular reason, it just hasn’t been my time and I’m fine with that. The universe has still provided me with lots of little people to love, spoil, stuff with candy, AND RETURN to their rightful owners lol; an opportunity to have a hand in shaping the lives of the children in my life. Stepping into this relationship, I knew that that group of young people would increase. Aside from being an awesome human being, husband is also a father, a very serious and hands on father. From day one (the 1st day one back in 2002), he expressed verbally, and with his actions the importance of fatherhood. Fast forward 15 years and nothing has changed except the status of his freedom. As such, I understood that there would actually be 3 relationships I’d be cultivating and nurturing. Fuquan, the father. Jabril, the first born. Asaad, the baby boy.

We spoke extensively about the boys before he reintroduced us. How proud he was of them as young men, students and as athletes; about their personalities and what I could expect once I finally met them. And as always, he’d light up. His boys are definitely his joy, so he expressed the importance of me having my own relationship with them as well. The first time I “met” them, was Father’s Day 2016 when Jabril’s mom brought them to visit. As expected, I could tell they were kinda feeling me out….I guess it was them having to warm up to me, and it was pretty much the same for me. The last time I had saw either of them, they were in diapers, now here they stood, teenagers and damn near taller than me.

 Initially husband and I were both nervous about my relationship with Asaad. His birth was the start of our end. The one time I held him after he was born, I could feel my heart breaking, so I wasn’t sure if that feeling would resurface. It didn’t. Husband and I had already spoken extensively about that situation early on, plus after 13 years, it was old news to me, but he still sought my forgiveness and promised better. As time went on and I got to spend time and interact with the boys outside of visit, our relationships grew, beautifully. I got to see those parts of their personalities that their dad had already told me about. Asaad’s loving, cuddly nature, and Jabril’s silliness and outspoken side all began to slowly reveal themselves. At the first visit we had with just us 4, their dad really spoke to them about our plans, his undying love for me, and how he expected them to give me the same respect they give him. That conversation was important to me, because it set our relationship apart from the many others that the boys may have seen him in. It let them know that I was not just another passerby, but a permanent fixture, and someone who’d be around for the long term for their dad and for them as well. I think that conversation also was what they needed to hear from their dad so they’d know it was ok to let me in and just fully be themselves.

Fast forward to today and you’d think they knew me all their lives. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked if they are my sons, or told how much we all look alike(I guess we were just destined to be together). And I’m 110% sure the people at visit think our whole lil family unit is batshit crazy …. in the most loving way of course. We’re usually the loudest ones laughing or clowning in the visit hall, and when we’re in line, the boys are either singing to me(don’t ask why), holding my hand (cuz they swear im some old lady) or are both trying to wrap their extra-long slanky arms over my shoulder. Their dad told them to check on me from time to time just to make sure I’m ok, and of course what he says is gold so they follow through accordingly. They’ve expressed their love to and for me and it warms my heart to know that they are not only comfortable enough to be themselves, but to also confide in me, about their future plans, girls *eye roll* or school. I don’t take it lightly that they sometimes come to me for advice, to share an accomplishment, or just to laugh at one of our many inside jokes. There have even been times when I’ve been disappointed in their behavior and had to tell them a lil about themselves, and they still love me afterwards. I didn’t birth them, and I would never try to take the role of their mothers, but I definitely won’t downplay my love for them because it makes someone uncomfortable, or because outsiders don’t understand how I can love someone else’s children so much when I don’t have any of my own(I’m also tryna understand why that even matters, or why so many people are worried about MY womb or when another human will exit it🤔, but that’s another conversation).

In my eyes and in today’s climate there’s no such thing as a child (especially a black child) getting too much love, or having too many people in their corner. Plus there’s no limits on love(not mine anyway), so Inshaallah once I finally do have children of my own, my love reserves will just kick into overdrive. Funny thing, husband even told me the other day that I spoil them, “They call and you just come running huh?” smh, I couldn’t do anything but laugh because it’s kinda true…. maybe definitely true but so what #fightmeaboutit. I love my babies, ALL OF THEM, and I try to be for them, the same kind of person I wished I had in my life as a kid growing up. It’s really that simple. Plus I just happen to love their father like you wouldn’t believe, so of course loving them came easily and without question.

The other day we were out at dinner and I asked them, “What do yall think of me?” With a mouth full of french fries, Jabril said “You lit….” Asaad, sipping on lemonade just shook his head in agreeance and they continued eating.

#andthatsthat