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THE DART: Couple embracing role as “older” parents

Phillip Xavier Stokes, 9, rides his bike while his parents Phillip Stokes, left, and Dedria Stokes, right, watch from the porch. The Stokes had Phillip when they were in their 40s and they think being older parents has benefited their son tremendously. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Phillip Xavier Stokes, 9, rides his bike while his parents Phillip Stokes, left, and Dedria Stokes, right, watch from the porch. The Stokes had Phillip when they were in their 40s and they think being older parents has benefited their son tremendously. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — For Phillip and Dedria Stokes, with age came wisdom.

That is why when they were both in there 40s and they learned they were going to have a child neither one of them was afraid.

Now, nine years later, they see tremendous benefits in raising their son Phillip Xavier, 9, as older parents.

When The Dart landed on Stiers Lane Wednesday, Phillip Xavier was playing in the front yard while his parents watched from the porch.

This is a regular sight at the Stokes’ house when the weather is nice.

“He is a ball of energy,” Dedria said, “Sometimes we play with him, but for the most part it’s like this.”

Some would see the Stokes’ age as a disadvantage when raising a young son, but they don’t.

“There aren’t a lot of other kids around, so he has learned to entertain himself,” Dedria said. “He’s independent and he’s more mature because he’s around people older than him all the time.”

This is the epitome of the Stokes’ parenting style. They are present and relaxed, yet they give Phillip Xavier space.

“That is just the kind of people we are,” Phillip said. “But we became that way after years of experience.”

They believe that experience is one of their greatest gifts they can give to their son.

“We are more worldly,” Phillip said. “We have so much more life experience to pass on if he ever needs it.”

Before Phillip Xavier, Dedria raised a daughter, LaKetsha Skipper, but this was Phillip’s first child.

When Dedria learned she was pregnant the numbers started to swirl in her head. When Phillip Xavier is in high school she and her husband will be pushing 60.

“But I quickly got that out of my mind,” she said. “Tons of Grandma’s raise kids these days.”

Phillip reacted differently.

“I was just excited to be a father,” he said.

Now, their age comes up in their everyday life.

“When I am dropping Xavier off at school I’ve heard kids tell him ‘oh, you got an old daddy,’” Phillip said. “I just think it is funny, we still got so much life left in us.”

The Stokes see their son as nothing but a blessing that keeps them young and whole.

“At first, I didn’t see where he was going to fit into my life,” Dedria said. “But he is our life. He just fits in.”

“It’s been a trip.”

 

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