My son Edwin Paul Kahn was born on January 1, 2019 at 4:25 PM, weighing 8 pounds 6 ounces with a height of 21.5 inches. He’s a beautiful little angel and the feelings of love I have for him are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. He is the light of Sara and my life. His cute little coos melt my heart, I even find the noise of him crying to be cute. I have learned so much from him in the week he has been alive and I am so in love.
I wrote this for Edwin and read it aloud at the last Chosen By The Funk Event: Bobby and Bacon’s Holiday Jamboree. Here it is, unedited, in honor of the birth of my sweet little boy!
In anticipation of your entry into this world, I wrote this for you, and I am going to share it now with you, your mother, and everyone else in this room.
In a few weeks, we will finally get to meet you. There are no words to describe how excited your mother and I am for that day.
I like to think you were willed into existence by the Universe. Your mother and I will, knock on wood, meet you before we celebrate the first anniversary of the day we met. It’s an unusual story, I know, but to say you were meant to be feels like an understatement.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote a pretty good welcome message for babies like you, which I will use to open my message:
Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. The only rule that I know of babies – God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.
I’d like to add:
You’ve got to believe. It doesn’t really matter what you believe in. What matters is that you believe. Belief is what gets us out of bed in the morning, and what propels us to face each and every day, even when we are struggling. Belief is also why we are here tonight.
It is important to watch and learn from others, to seek inspiration in every direction. It is even more important to believe in yourself and your ideas, to turn that inspiration into something all your own, to blaze your own path and do things your own way. How else could I explain the opening act from the show tonight?
You’ve got to be thoughtful and inclusive. Your mother is very good at this, you could learn a lot just by watching her. You will come to learn in life that just being a white man affords you a privilege that other groups of people will never experience.
It is important to remember that everyone is facing their own struggles and challenges and many people are fighting against a system that is designed to keep them down.
Surrounding yourself with diverse communities full of people with different backgrounds and experiences will make your life much more rich, always make the extra effort to seek out those who are different than you, and make them a part of your life.
You’ve got to be a feminist. Lord help us if you aren’t. Your mother and your aunties and your cousins and your grandmas won’t be having none of that! You are very lucky to be born into a family with so many strong women, and I’m sure you will learn from a very early age to respect and appreciate women, and that you will do everything you can to dismantle the patriarchy.
And lastly, you’ve got to be a source of love and light. The world can be a very dark and angry place. It seems like now is a particularly bad stretch for humanity, but I’ve only been around for the past 34 years so I’m no expert. I can say with certainty, however, that regardless of what’s going on in the world around us, life is beautiful, and it’s about to get a lot more beautiful once you arrive.
There are dozens of people in this room who already love you very much, and you will meet thousands more who will fill your life with love in your life time. It is important that you take note of life’s beauty even on the darkest days, and that you reflect it back into the world. The world needs it!
I would also like to add a few things that I hope for you. I hope you follow in your parents’ footsteps and become an artist. Technically this is your first time on stage, I hope it’s the first of many. You will have a lot of role models like those amazing boys Darwin and Roland in your life who will inspire you. But it’s ok if you aren’t interested right away, it took me almost 30 years to unlock this side of me.
I also hope that you like music and like to dance. It’s going to be real awkward if you don’t because those things are very important to your mother and me. I am thankful to know that it sure seems you like to dance in Mama’s belly any time we go to a concert or play music for you.
Most of all I hope you like the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. You are entering a family in which Hamilton is a central tenet, and again it’s just going to be pretty awkward if you don’t like it.
There’s a lot more I hope for you, but I’ve been rambling on up here long enough!
I know that’s a lot to remember. Thankfully you’ll have a long time to practice. I didn’t realize a lot of these things until just a few years ago. Until then, your Mother and I, your family, your friends, we’ll all do our best to teach you by example and to bring you places and show you things that will inspire and amaze you.
I truly believe that you are going to make this world a better place, my son, but the only thing I will ever ask of you is that you be yourself. We are very, very excited to find out who yourself is. I love you Edwin.