A Father’s Place

I just got off the phone with my daughter and we had a moment that went deeper than normal. For the first time in a while, she opened up to me and let me know about some things that had happened to her and how she was feeling. She shared with me a bullying experience, but she also stopped because she didn’t want to be sad again. Those were her exact words and they stung a little bit. I became anxious and deeply concerned.

It lead to me explaining that she looks “more like me” than a lot of students in her class and that I actually know about being in that position. I also told her to never ever feel that the way she looks makes her “less than” or “weird” or anything else that an insecure or hurtful child might tell her.

The story did end somewhat positively, but I never want my daughter to feel hurt or feel like she can’t talk about her joy or her pain to me. I pleaded for her to call and talk to me no matter the time of the day. I told her if she’s having a bad day at school or something happens to her that she should tell me. I also told her if she’s having an amazing day I want to hear about it. I told her although I don’t live with her or in the same state that I want her to always feel that she can come to me and that I am here for her. She’s only 8, but I really took my time and feel I used the appropriate words and tone to convey my sincerity.

I never really talked to my father, ever! I don’t want to be that father. No matter the situation with her mother, I want her to know that I am accessible. I have care, concern and want to be involved in every aspect of her life. From now on, I’m going to request more detail. I need more than “good” or “ok” for her answers. I now realize that she may be going through a lot and feel she has no one to really talk to. I want to be that someone for her forever. I just hope i’m going about it the right way.

I Wrote A Letter To My Daughter

This morning, I wrote a letter. I didn’t workout. I didn’t meditate. I just started writing. I did because my mind was too congested with my fatherhood and parenting dilemmas. It makes me angry at times. I was brushing my teeth, talking to myself and angry. Angry with myself, but I know things will be ok if I just weather the storm and continue to make the best out of my unfortunate circumstance.

I wrote a letter to my daughter today. It was explaining why things are the way they are. I admitted my faults, flaws and told my truth. I also let her no why my presence is minimal. She’s only 8 so I can’t send it to her now, but I dated it just as a constant reminder of how long I wanted to tell her the things on my mind about everything. Also to let her know long before she was old enough to truly understand, I’ve been wanting to talk to her about this situation.

I don’t know when I’ll send this letter. I want to make sure it’s age appropriate for her to digest. I also want to make sure that after she reads it, we really talk about it and our lives. Cause the ultimate goal is to get closer and make our bond greater. I want her to know I’ll never give up on our relationship and that she really means the world to me.

I don’t have everyday and multiple hours, but I will always make the most of my time; But it’s so much deeper than saying that.

Why I Stopped Telling My Mom “Happy Father’s Day”

I like many kids grew up in a single parent home. Not a co-parenting environment, unless you count my grandma, but an actual home where one parent does everything. Although my mother never talked down on my father when I was younger, it was clear that his consistent active presence was non-existent in my life. To be honest, I have maybe 5 real memories of him from my childhood that I definitely remember.

As a teenager, I can say that he was trying to build a relationship with me when I got to high school, but I didn’t know how to do that, so the outcome became poor on both parts. A seed of “get what’s owed to you” was planted in my mind, so all I knew to do was ask for things. He came through a couple times, but it was short lived. I assume any man would feel like bouncing out once it becomes clear, money is the only motivation of company. At this time of my life, I can’t say that I’m angry or even hate him. I just don’t know how to do “this”. This being build a father-son relationship. I’m still a child. I don’t know how this works. My friends have active dads, but I didn’t know how to apply that dynamic to my life.

As I get in my later teens and early 20’s, it’s whatever. I don’t feel that I need the relationship I never got with my Father. I think I’m grown and “I got it from here”. I’m wrong, but I don’t know that yet.

I’m happy to say now, I’m in a great spiritual place and I have no beef with this cat…That’s my Pops.

Throughout all these years, I told my mom “Happy Father’s Day”. I think at one point I was even buying her Father’s Day cards. Why? Because that was the glaring narrative that was pushed for “The Fatherless Children”. It was ingrained in our minds to acknowledge the woman who “Play both Mommy and Daddy in the house”. It was a narrative I ran with for years…until I had a child of my own.

I don’t think people know the things I have gone through mentally, emotionally and psychologically being a parent. In someways, I lived my greatest fear and potentially worst nightmare. I had a child without being married with a woman I had no true desire to be with long term. That relationship in itself can’t be summed up in a few words or one post. It was my greatest fear because I didn’t want to be what I had experienced. A predominantly absent father in the life of a child who truly needs me. I built heavy anxiety over this. I had no idea what I would do with this new reality I was facing. Then the relationship with the mother made it worse.

Imagine a person who claims to love you. Love you more than anything and wanting to be with you and wanting to “make a family work” even though you don’t feel the same. You then say, I want to be a parent. A real parent. I help to help and assist in raising a wonderful child, but I don’t want the package that is “us” with that. You put truth and action behind those words and then that person leaves with the child. They begin to make it difficult to see, talk, bond and nurture the child from your perspective. You are given hurdles, hoops, summons, court dates and last minute invites. You’re expected to honor court orders and “do more”, but even 1 hour alone with the child in exchange can’t be done. All of a sudden, you’re not “fit” to be alone with a child, but yet the previous year, you were the one taking care of everybody and you didn’t complain once about it. These type of occurrences happen consistently and for years. What do you do? You’re trying. You are really willing and able to at least give time. You can’t afford a lawyer to get your rights as parent. What will you do?

I can understand the anger, bitter and rage-filled mind those action breed. I can empathize on wanting to give up on every aspect of the situation. I can see why some parents don’t have it in them to continue to fight, endure and deal with the other parent who takes it upon themselves to orchestrate an emotionally charged heart-wrenching gauntlet for reasons that have little to nothing to do with the child.

I’m not saying the above is what definitely happened to my dad. Till this day, I honestly do not know why our relationship is the way it is. But I pray and consistently stay in the fight to make sure that these instances don’t end Layla’s Dad.

Me and you
And you and me
No matter how they toss the dice
It had to be
The only one for me is you
And you for me
So happy togetherrrr…

My soul would crush into a billion pieces, if my daughter told her Mother, Happy Father’s Day. The things I have felt and endured to just get a hug from her. The holding of my tongue and the amount of pride and shit I had to swallow to get the phone to pick up consistently. The action that kept me away from a birthday party that I was still going to make it to even though I was going to be unemployed at the party. Yeah, it would hurt me beyond any words that I can type if she told her mom, Happy Father’s Day.

Again, I don’t know why my Father wasn’t around as much, but the life I have lived as a Father in an undesired situation has made my acknowledgement of women on Fathers Day non-existent. Even for the one I know for a fact had the biggest hand in raising me. She doesn’t need this day. She’s had the other 364. Birthdays, Mother’s Day and Christmas were always a highlight. As a Father, I can tell you it’s been a very long time since I have gotten 24 full hours with my daughter. And the last time wasn’t my birthday, Christmas or Fathers Day to be clear. Through it all, I make it a point to be a presence, make a bond and never leave my greatest creation wondering about me. Yeah, I’m supposed to do that, but you got to live the life to know that sometimes, it ain’t that simple.

My daughter is my life saver. I really didn’t care if I lived or died before her. She gave me greater purpose and it’s an unreal feeling when you can’t connect with your purpose. That’s why I won’t quit. That and cause I know my daughter truly loves me. I know she loves me, trusts me and enjoys our moments no matter how long or consistent they are. That alone will keep me in the fight forever.

For a few years now, My mom has asked, “Why I don’t tell her “Happy Father’s Day” anymore?” I have yet to come up with a reply I think will be understood.

Encouraging Layla Reign’s Star

Today is 50’s day at Layla’s school. She has her outfit on and she looks cool! She took pics at home smiled big and was ready for the day.
As she got closer to the school. She asked if she had to take the bus home. She was told yes and then became afraid and anxious that other kids would make fun of her and her outfit.

Her mom stepped in and told her the entire school would be dressing up because it was a spirit day. She also said she would get on the bus and speak up and defend Layla and always have her back. I agreed with all that but added this.

I told Lay, “You are being an individual and not everyone understands that. You are great because you are being you. The people that will try to make fun of you are trying to be like everybody else. Never be afraid to be who you want to be. You do you and let everybody be like each other” Then I went on to tell her how beautiful she is and how cool she looks and how participating in school spirit and activities is the cool thing to do.

When she got to the school she seen some of her other friends dressed up. Some in the same style of outfit that she had on. She began to smile again. It made me feel a lot better for the rest of her day. Before we parted I added extra on my encouraging words to her. I told her “You Are Special, You are amazing. Have fun. Be great. Daddy loves you.

I’ll admit my daughter doesn’t have the thickest skin. She’s very outgoing when she wants to be and she definitely is eclectic in her thinking and style. I never want her to lose that. I see the joy in her face and the new life and energy in her when she has an idea and sees it through. It inspires me and I’m the adult/parent. I don’t want her to lose that because ultimately that would lead to a suppressed or lost part of herself. I don’t want a regular child. I want my Layla Reign. Because Layla Reign is the author of her own “cool”. I encourage her thoughts and actions as long as they are positive and don’t hurt anyone. I want her to dream big and understand the world is hers as long as she believes it.

To all parents out there that may see this. Encourage and uplift your child’s individuality. Let them know how that makes them special and how it’s building the “star” within them. It’s the unique people in this world that actually contribute to it and shape it to be great. I want my daughter to be in that elite class of people who change this world by being herself. What’s fun about being the person watching the change?