Having a child is obviously a life-changing event; it changes how you spend your days, and it also changes your perspective. Johnson says he believes that Ada’s arrival in his life has only accentuated his spirit, in addition to making him feel a growing sense of responsibility as a provider.
“I’ve always been an uplifting guy,” Johnson says. “Ain’t much that can get me down. But just her being around, it just uplifts my spirits even more. I can just look at her, and [it’ll] bring a smile to my face. And it’s, like, each day, every day I wake up, now you really know you’ve got somebody who’s really dependent on you. You’ve got to go a little harder and just commit yourself to being an even better person when you know you’ve got somebody depending on you.”
Beyond just the basic needs of food and shelter, Johnson recognizes and is excited by the knowledge that his decisions, words and beliefs will shape Ada’s future. There’s a considerable weight to it and it won’t always be easy, but he is eager for the full journey that fatherhood is, all the ups and downs.
“I’m not nervous about it,” Johnson says. “It’s pretty much just enjoyment. It’s funny. A lot of people are like, ‘You’re going to be a good dad!’ I’m like, ‘Nah, I’m not going to be a good dad.’ And they look at me crazy, and I’m like, ‘I’m going to be a great dad.’
“It’s a process that I’m going to enjoy every moment of it. Obviously down the road, everything will have their difficulties in life and stuff like that, but without difficulties, you can’t really shape yourself or make yourself. I’m just excited. It’s so joyful.”
As he becomes a parent, Johnson looks to his mother as a role model for the kind of provider and protector he aims to be.
“Obviously she taught us a lot of things, but one of the biggest things was she showed us instead of just telling us,” Johnson says. “She showed us she’s a hard worker; she worked two jobs a lot. Always kept food on the table. Even when things didn’t seem like they were going right, she made sure we was good. We wasn’t rich or nothing like that; we lived in the hood. But we never had to want for nothing. What we needed, we had. Obviously we didn’t get everything we wanted, but she made sure what we need, we had it.
“… It takes a village to raise a kid, but [I look to] just the endurance and strength and passion and knowing you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. No matter what comes across in your life or what happens, you’ve got to make sure you do what you’ve got to do to take care of your kids. And that’s one of the biggest things that I know I’m going to do just from learning from my mother and my grandmom.”