MoreThanJoi Blog Repost: Processing my relationship with my dad over the years. (This was written January 2011)
Her mama rolled over in the bed and told him that she was going into labor... His response: "Ok. Go get me a glass of water."
Hours later, they piled into the car, as he headed to the wrong hospital.
Her first word was Da-da.
Besides the [pictures] from Disney World, Birthday parties and Family gatherings... She can only recollect one[ physical] memory of her parents being together... and happy.
She must have been five years old or younger... Her mom always went walking at night and she would always beg to go with her... But she couldn't walk as long or as fast as her momma, so... her daddy drove next to them. At about five miles per hour... So whenever she got tired... She can hop in and ride... Then hop back out and continue walking.
She remembers him taking her one Christmas to Toys R Us... telling her to pick out [anything] she wanted. She remembers getting a big pink Barbie Doll house...
"Your children need your presence more than your presents" - Jesse Jackson
She also remembers that in 2nd grade... For Father's Day... The teacher had them make cards, shaped like a tie... And although she had never seen her daddy wear a tie... She was excited about it and worked really hard to make hers look just right. At the end of the week... Her teacher had a really big party and invited all the father's to come for a fun day. She remembers having her mommy call for him... to remind him to be there. He never showed up.
The memories are short-lived after that. She remembers loving him though. Unconditionally. And always forgiving him for his mistakes... For forgetting her... Neglecting her...
"To be in your children's memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today" - Anonymous
She met her "sister and brothers" when she was about 8 years old. For 8 years, she thought she was an only child. She remembers... He picked her up. He sort of prepped her in the car... "You have a little sister and two brothers"... In her innocence... She couldn't understand how this could be. She remembers meeting this lady... she seemed nice... and her three kids. She didn't know whether to be excited or upset. She just had some new kids to play with.
She remembers this one time, in elementary school... Her mommy had to go out of town... for an emergency. She called all over town, because she didn't want to have to depend on her [baby daddy] to pick her child up from school. Sure enough... She got out of school at 2:00... No daddy. 3:00... No daddy. 4:00... No daddy. At around 4:30, the people in the office made her go inside to call someone to come get her. She only knew three numbers by heart. Her house, her cousin's house, and her grandma's job. Her big cousin didn't come until almost 6:00... and her dad came at the same time. She called her mom, and her mom said not to leave with him. He tried to explain, "He had to go get his [other] three children"
When her mom got back in town... She blew a casket! She tried to express that it was only one of her and three of them. As they could have kept each other company... Her baby sat alone for 4 hours... Waiting for him to show up.
"If my mama and daddy would've stayed together, one of them would've been dead, and the other would have been locked up for it" - Trick Daddy
As the years went by.... She started to see the [real] Baby Daddy in him.
She loved her new siblings... But only saw them every once in a while. She remembers her mother arguing that she couldn't spend the night because she didn't have a change of clothes and she was [not] about to wear someone else's underwear! Her mommy never had anything negative to say about him, though. She let her [love] her daddy... knowing she would find out what kind of "man" he really was on her own time.
She doesn't remember questioning it. But at one point, her daddy had [two] girlfriends. The mother of her sister and brothers... and this other lady. The other lady had two daughters... both around her age... and even twin nieces... for her to play with whenever she went with him to her house. But she always wanted to go with her siblings. She used to cry to him... "I don't wanna be here. I wanna go to [his other girlfriends] house" and he would hush her. Saying he'll take her there later.
It came to a point where he would just drop her off to his [other baby mama] house...
She was nice... She knew her birthday, her mom's birthday, and she treated her "special". Her kids weren't allowed to go in the fridge without permission. But she could. They weren't allowed to ask many questions, but she could. She remembers... that his baby mama [knew] about the other lady because she asked her one day... "Which one of us do you like better?" And she honestly replied, "You! I always want to come here to be with you guys..."
When she got home... Her mommy asked, what did you do today... and she must have told her the story because she remembers her mommy screaming at her daddy, "TELL THAT WOMAN NOT TO HAVE MY BABY CHOOSING BETWEEN THE TWO!!! [YOU] DON'T EVEN NEED TO TAKE HER OVER THERE, IF YOU'RE NOT GONNA BE THERE TOO. IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO SPEND TIME WITH HER JUST LEAVE HER HERE."
She never went to the other lady's house again.
"Fatherhood is not a right, it’s a privilege. Your children are the best part of you. I send my love to this new generation of fathers who have learned from the sins of the past and take a very active role in the lives of our children" - Talib Kweli
She started see her siblings less and less as they grew older. She knew that [at least] once a year, they would all go to the Skating Rink together... for her little sister's birthday. Besides that.... Not really.
In middle school, she got braces. For [two] years, her daddy didn't even know that she had them... until the month before it was time to take them off.
She remembers... crying to her mom.
She was getting older and things were starting to come together. Her older brother was only born 10 months before her, and her little sister and brother were a few years apart. She began to believe that [her] mom must have been the "side chick" because she was the only child. It must have been hard for her mom to explain... without completely discrediting her dad... and she doesn't remember what her mom told her to console her...
"Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them" - Oscar Wilde
Her mama only needed one time to learn that he wasn't a responsible father...
In high school... She stopped calling him for Father's Day. She saw her siblings... more than she saw him.
In 10th grade... Her worst memory yet.
She was on her way to the school after a football game. Everyone was excited on the Activity's bus because their team won... But for some strange reason, she was in a bad mood. She received a phone call from a stranger, asking for her mother. The stranger said she was a coworker... But she never questioned why she didn't know her, or why she called the wrong phone. She gave the mysterious lady her mom's number without dispute because she really wasn't in the mood to talk anyway.
When she got to the school... Her momma was late coming to get her. She was seriously annoyed. She planned to get in the car and sleep the whole way home.
When she got in the car... she sat in the backseat... She didn't even notice the radio wasn't playing... or that spine-chilling silence that filled the car that night...
Her mama called her name... as she struggled to say... "Your sister... Died." All she remembers is screaming... "SHE WHAT???" Her mommy pulled the car over to comfort her... But everything after that is a blur. She cried... and cried... and cried. All the way across county lines... she cried. Sharp pains tore at her chest... Her heart burned with anger... and frustration... She felt empty. She cried because she barely [knew] her little sister. All she knew was her whole name, her birthday, and bits of her personality. She didn't know her favorite color. She didn't know if she had a "boyfriend"... She didn't know all the things a big sister should.
The first person she saw when she stepped out of the car was her [daddy]... smoking a cigarette. She walked past him like he was the ghost of Christmas past.
"There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were" - Dwight D. Eisenhower
At the funeral. She got up to speak... No one knew who she was. Friends and classmates had shared their memories... But none of them recognized her as the big sister.
In the middle of her speech, her baby brother had to come hold her up...
After that day. She began to [hate] her daddy. She was only 16 years old. And wanted to blame [him] for why she hardly ever saw her siblings.
She [knew] that as little as she knew about her sister... Her daddy knew less. This should have served as a wakeup call... for him to get to know his children. He made no change.
She [refused] to write "his" last name on her papers at school. She didn't want anything to do with him.
Her God father tried to explain... Being a father isn't something a guy is born knowing... that her dad just didn't understand what he had to do...
"In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck - and, of course, courage" - Bill Cosby
As the years go by... he served as a weak financial link. A ride to get from here to there. This often turned into hours of waiting for him to show up... and tired excuses as to what took him so long.
He was now with that "other lady". And she actually began to like her... and her daughters. They had their own little family. The lady's youngest daughter came to call him "Daddy" and she was okay with that. She felt like if that's the kind of "daddy" she wanted... it was fine. Yet, he lived in the same house and didn't even know what grade she was in.
At age 20... She finds out... from her "God Daddy" that she has an 11 month old little sister. This tested her optimism... and all that she had learned.
How? How could he create [another] life... [another] daughter... and he hasn't even taken care of the first [four] children that he'd brought into the world. This "man" was 42 years old... and [still] making babies. And the little girl wasn't even from that "other lady" but a new lady!
When she told her little brother about the baby, he said, “I don't care what you say. I don't have a little sister. My [sister] is in college."
"When a parent loses the early confrontations with a child, the later conflicts become harder to win" - Unknown
Finally... she met her "little sister"
He brought her with him, while picking her up. This was her chance to ask him everything she'd wanted to ask him.
The conversation got heated really quickly... He said that he [never] wanted any kids. It was a mistake. And she couldn’t understand how he managed to make 5 "mistakes"... when he didn't even want one. It seemed as if the stork had brought his children into the world... because he seemed so unattached from them and his part in creating them...
He said that when the other baby momma had her brother and then her mom had her... he thought he would be done. One boy and one girl. But the other baby mama... "tricked" him. She told him that she was on birth control, when she wasn't... and that he would go out of town a lot and every time he came back she was (mysteriously) pregnant again. He said that at one point he sent her money and told her to "GET THAT BABY OUT OF YOUR STOMACH"... He was referring to her little sister or brother...
He even told her that her own mother had an abortion before she got pregnant with her...
She wanted to die. She just wanted to hop out the car while it was still moving. [She] could have been that abortion. What type of [father] would tell this to his own child??
She was quiet the rest of the ride home.
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men" - Frederick Douglas
He kept talking. He tried to explain that she was looking at things from a woman’s perspective. He can't make a woman decide whether to have a baby or not. He said he [only] had sex with this new woman a couple of times unprotected...
He said that all these women [knew] that he didn't love them. He had no interest in ever getting married, because he hadn't found a woman worthy enough to settle down with. Yet he had three decade long relationships... (overlapping of course) and made 5 babies. Yet, he wanted her to believe that he never said "I love you" to any of them.
He really believed all that he was saying made sense.
He stopped at the gas station before arriving to her house... She decided to ignore him. She reached for the little girl in the backseat and said a prayer over her...
"Dear God. Please take away this pain. Thank you for everything that you have done for me. Thank you for being the Father I've never had. Please let this little girl have a better life than I did. Not that my life isn't amazing... I just want you to allow her to have a better relationship with [our] father... Let this precious little girl be the eye opener... Let something positive come out of her birth... her existence. I love You. Amen."
Months later... She babysits her baby sister for the first time. She is beautiful... and [loves] her daddy.
She's one year old... and her momma doesn't want her.
The baby's mother gave her daddy the papers... to sign over her parental rights. Her daddy has to [watch] the baby all day every day. He has to change her diapers... Rock her to sleep... He has to [raise] a little GIRL all by himself... As scary as that sounds... he's doing a decent job. He can't hang out with his friends because he's 42 and has a newborn that has to be with him everywhere he goes. He isn't even a U.S. citizen... but he's talking to an immigration lawyer so he can gain residency and gain full custody... He wants to give the baby his last name.....
To be continued. (I can't predict the future)
She speaks in third person so that she can forget that she is me
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There is great importance in being there when someone needs you the most... Keeping your word... When someone is depending on you... Don't let them down.
Never hold grudges. It is not Christian-like to [hate] someone. No matter what they have done to you... Love them. Forgive them. Not for anybody else... but for yourself. Don't carry all that weight on your heart for someone you don't have control over... their actions [or] their feelings.
Some women have a lot of babies hoping to trap a man into being with them. In reality, if a man doesn't want to be with you... no one, two, or three babies will make him stay.
[Never] take a life for granted. [Never] forget about a person... Call often. Reach out... always let someone know exactly how you feel about them... Don't be afraid to tell someone you love them.
It is imperative to accept people as they are. Some people will never change... Some people will never learn. It isn't [personal]... It's just a part of the reality of life.
Everything goes full circle. Never question God or what He is doing... He knows what is best and will give you chance after chance until you get it right...
"All things work together for good, for those who love the Lord" Romans 8:28
I respect any man who wants to be a better father than the way his father was. Each generation has to be better than the last. Take responsibility for your actions.