HAPPY FATHERS DAY!
Here are a few Father’s Day messages from some of my friends. They each come from different places… Houston, Birmingham & Philly. I hope their stories encourage and inspire you to love fathers too and be a great father (men).
A Story from Philly, by @RafiqtheEmcee (from www.rafiqtheemcee.com)
Today across the U.S. is Father’s Day. Father’s Day came about in the 20th century to compliment Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. Thanks to Social Media I am witnessing a Father’s Day massacre. Instead of getting the praise we deserve like Mothers do on their day we are reminded of those who have fallen short in their duty as fathers.
I can’t speak for every father just like I can’t speak for every Black, Muslim, male, geek or athlete. What I can is give you a glimpse into what it’s like to be greeted with cheers and hear the boos. This blog will shock many who have known me for a long time and never knew what I am about to say. This is my story, song and therapy.
From an early childhood I remember the good and bad times of being raised by a single mother in the 70’s. I remember her working hard to keep our two person family fed, clothed, and maintained. The funny thing is I never really wondered about my father more than I wondered where her husband was.
As I grew up I always felt special but a little too special. It was almost like I different. One day while playing with my cousins they said I wasn’t one of them I was adopted. I brushed it off as cruel things we said to each other.
I still recall the day I officially met my birth mother. I had seen her before but was just introduced to her as a lady my mom knew. When I met my mother again she didn’t really have to say anything I just knew it was her. The prodigal son had returned to his mother’s life at 14. Coping with 2 head strong women protective over the same son is another blog for the ages but I digress.
Let’s jump forward another 10 years. I was my 5th years in the Air Force, I was new to Islam, and coming into my own as a man. I was at my cousin’s cookout and I was introduced to my father. What do you think happened next? I can hear some of say you cussed him out, you cried, you turned your back and walked away, you fought him, etc. I said “Hello” shook his hand and continued enjoying one of my cousin’s classic cookouts.
In the 20 years I have officially known my father I believe he is more damaged by his actions than I am. I don’t resent, hate, or dislike him. He had his reasons for his actions and whether I or anyone else agrees this is what was done and life continued. To this day he still thinks I have negative feelings for him. I don’t. I love my father because he is my father. I have never said anything bad about him because what good would it do. We don’t keep in touch other than when we see each other in person and it seems to work for him so it works for me. Many are probably saying huh, what, how, why? Because, I too am a father.
On 13 May 96 I received a phone call while in my door room at Hickam AFB, HI saying I was going to be a father. I immediately thought of my upbringing and the lack of a father my first 24. I covered some of my journey in my blog YES WE EXIST. I knew I didn’t want the same for my daughter or me.
When my daughter entered the world I was right there. I was so close I saw here coming out of her mother and asked the nurse “What is that?” to which she responded your daughter‘s head. I remember taking her into the bathroom to say an Islamic prayer for her as is the ritual for children who are Muslim or born of African descent.
I did not marry my daughter’s mother even tho I am well aware of what scripture says. I also didn’t do what many of the vitriolic Facebook posts, tweets, and stereotypes for men, black men and military men says we do, I did not run. My daughter’s mom tried to use underhanded techniques to keep me under her control such as threaten to remove my daughter from my house and not let me see her. I did not cave. From day one I told my daughter’s mother and her parents I would be there and take care of our daughter and even take her full custody if need be. I was always told don’t worry about it I could visit anytime I wanted to see my daughter there was definitely no need to file for joint custody. I did not fall for the ookie doke. I took my daughter’s mother to court for joint custody and so that I could pay her child support. Re-read the sentence yes I took her to court so I could pay her child support. When I arrived in court the judge looked at me and said he already knew how he was going to rule before I or the state presented our cases. I looked at him and said no you don’t and explained to him I am the one who asked to be here and what I wanted to do and the state backed me up. He had to take back his words and I was granted joint custody.
I left my daughter in Hawaii when she was 9 months old to return to the states and go to Air Force Computer Programming School, in Biloxi MS, while there I called here every day at least once. It pained me to be away from her but I had to do what was right for both of us. After graduating school I was stationed at the National Security Agency, Ft. Meade MD. I moved into an apartment just as I did in Hawaii in preparation for the arrival of my daughter.
One day I was sitting at work and called to talk to my daughte and couldn’t get in touch with her mother and was told no one knew where she was and that I couldn’t take my daughter from Hawaii because a lawyer said so. Less than 4 hours later I was on a military flight from Dover AFB to Travis AFB via military plane to catch a flight to Hawaii on Emergency Leave. I called the Honolulu police department and informed them my daughter was parentally being kidnapped and needed their help. They informed me once I arrived as long as I had paperwork with me if there was any problem they would arrest my daughter’s mother for violating a court order. I informed my daughter’s mother’s people of this and when I arrived in Hawaii my daughter magically appeared.
I was given grief for taking my daughter back with me by her family. They said it would ruin my child, she wouldn’t know how to cope, and more fodder. I was given the option of letting her stay in Hawaii and me and my family could fly there anytime we wanted to see her. Once again not falling for the okie doke.
I decided for many personal reasons I wanted full custody of my daughter and went about researching how to get it sans a lawyer. It was amazing how supportive people who didn’t know me were on my journey to full custody. I was granted full custody and here we are today.
I’ve met a lot of men who voiced their will to go to court but just didn’t think a judge would give them join let alone full custody of their child(ren). There are plenty of men who can’t see their child(ren) because the mother just won’t let them for various reasons such as being vindictive, jealous of his new relationship, child support payments hostages, etc. The stereotype men aren’t willing to step up to the plate and take care of their responsibilities needs to soften. Get to know a man in this position there are a lot of us less trifling than you think. Some of us even are awarded child support; after all she made a baby too. Yes there are irresponsible fathers but they are mothers who are too. To keep knocking men without knowing their journey is prejudice. Anyone who has experienced prejudice knows it can hurt and is often wrong.
Along my journey as a human, man and father I could have chosen may excuses to go the opposite path I am on now. It all comes down to choice, strength, support and blessings. I have had had the pleasure of receiving all of them from time to time from my maker, family, friends and even complete strangers. I would like to especially thank every woman who I have met who is a single mother. You are definitely my role model. We are come into the situation different ways aren’t created as parents equally. Oft times there are historical reasons we act the way we do. Thank you for reading my side of a father’s journey.
An Alabama Son’s Story: My First Father’s Day Without My Dad by @josmoke
Man! What does Father’s Day mean? I have battled the emotions that this day will bring in 2012 for a few weeks now, being that this will be my first Father’s day without my dad. I’ve also been thinking about the last few Father’s Days and realized how I didnt appreciate them. Last year I was at work and all I could do was call. The year before, I didn’t even call due to some selfish BS. When I finally talked to my dad the following day, it hurt when he addressed me not calling, but it pales in comparison of the hurt I feel now.
It kills me to know that there are so many people that can talk to their father, but choose not to. There are so many of us who would turn back the hands of time if we could, and make things so much better. I was blessed enough to have a supervisor who took on a father like role when I moved to Birmingham. He told me his mother always told him that in whatever you do, you have to be right. I took it as, no matter what wrong anyone does or has done to you, you still have to be right in everything that you do!
Many people told my brother and I that we were blessed to have our father as long as we did because many aren’t afforded that luxury. The selfish side of me didn’t want to hear it at the time, but it was one of the realest things we heard.
What bother’s me most, are those who have a living father that they don’t associate with because of a variety of issues. I’ve heard all the excuses. “He wasn’t there for me when I needed him.” “All he do is talk bad about what I do, when I know what he’s done.” As adults, we must put aside all of the negatives that we’ve heard about the men we call or should Dad. None of that matters anymore, it’s about you, and ensuring that you’re not hindering any of your forthcoming blessings by holding grudges.
I’ve been wanting to call my dad for almost 6 months now, but I know he won’t answer. We all have to get out of our own way sometimes. This Father’s day has taught me so much more than any other. You have to appreciate ALL of your blessings because there are so many of us wishing to have those problems that you seem to think are beyond reconciliation. On today, I have to go to the cemetery to visit with my dad, and pray to talk with him without a response. All I have to rely on is the things that he’s taught me in the previous 28 years. How did you reach out to your Dad today?
ONE LOVE to Mr. Alphonse Briggs
~ Mr. Marcus T. Briggs
The Texan… Daddy’s Girl by @CourtLove98
My Dad is probably the most amazing man I know. He was the first man I fell in love with and for good reason. He is a man of God, smart, hilariously funny and he has a heart and a strength I have yet to find since. My father shaped me in so many positive ways, from the way he looks and responds to my mother with such love and kindness, to my decision to attend and graduate from Hampton, even to him being the reason I know what off sides means and what a fade away jumper is.
My dad is my support system. And no, not financially but if I ever get in a jam I know he is there for me. He stands with me through the tough times and I know I can have the tough conversations with him and get good advice. I can honestly say I was blessed to grow up with Cleveland Wesley as a father.
My father is a true family man and a true provider. He loves my mother, my brother and my self with all his heart. A few people have said I was lucky, but really I’m Blessed.
I really hope that the messages shared in this post are inspiring to my readers. I know many people don’t have relationships with their fathers and or their own children, and that is sad and it sucks terribly. However, I believe in love and in fathers. Without fathers we can’t exist, literally and figuratively. Do more to make fatherhood an intentionally present thing in our community (Black Community). Our community is harmed and set back every time fatherhood is denied and ignored.
Happy Fathers Day with love from The Southern Socialite!