Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Daughter's Dad

First, I need to vent about the fact that I do not have a photo for this blog entry. I did my usual google search based on the topic I am blogging about and tpyed in 'dad daughter pic' into the search field. The list of search results was riddle with porn! While I can understand that in the "be careful what you type into the search field" sort of way, I'm just disgusted that the sanctity of the father-daughter relationship is so tarnished that even google can't escape the mockery and depravity that the world has made of the most important relationship in a woman's life.

I could tell that my son was enjoying the opportunity to tattle on his sister - his body language, the slick look on his face (the one with that one side of his mouth ever so slightly curled upwards) and the subsequent "act like I didn't do a damn thing just now" demeanor ... it was all there.

Don't be fooled, parents KNOW. Parents ALWAYS know. And you parents out there need to back me up ... we know out children.

However, the reality of what my son had to say drew his indiscretion so far into the background that I've not even bothered to deal with it - and I won't. I had to delicately inspect the situation because if it didn't have the emotionally equivalent backlash that does the disarming of a ticking time bomb, nothing does. "She said you love me more," my son tattled.

"No, I didn't!" my daughter exclaims. And as the proverbial seconds counted down on the read out screen, I slowly went to work separating blue from red wire in an effort to diffuse this thing.

She denied it for a while until I was able to confront her when her brother wasn't around. "Well, you never call HIM names and when you call ME names, I feel like you love him more."

"Wait - what names do I call you?"

"Like, 'drama queen' and stuff like that."

In my defense, that child is the epitome of the drama queen - if she gets a scrape on the knee, she reacts as if her leg's been cut off ... she screams like mad, raising her voice to decibles that challenge the Ice Cream Truck, whenever she's fighting with her brother ... and all that. But I totally had NO idea she was feeling like I loved her less. Fuck ... fuckfuckfuck!

"Baby, you need to know that you are my favorite girl in the entire world - your brother is my favorite BOY in the entire world. I don't love you less or love him more. I love you both the same. I had NO idea that it was bothering you like this, so I promise you right now that I will never do that again. Not on purpose. If I forget and say a name by accident, just remind me that I'm not supposed to ... because sometimes daddy can forget. But it's just cuz I forget things, not because I don't love you. Because I do love you - more than I can even tell you."


I kissed and loved on her and all that. And she asked me not to tell anyone. She said she would be embarrassed. And I promised her that I wouldn't. Now, I'm telling my blog family, but I'm gonna go with "that's different" because

  1. Daddy needs to vent too sometimes
  2. Her issue is that our immediate family would find out and she would have to discuss it again, and
  3. No one reading this would ever tell her I vented about it

Life Lesson

This happened nearly two weeks ago and I have spent a lot of time sorting through my feelings about it. I've experienced some dissonance about it because I am thrilled that I have the relationship with her that I do, that she could discuss it with me and trust that I wouldn't use it to embarrass her. Yet, I'm mortified at myself for being the one who has hurt her feelings. Mortified, I tell you.

So this duality has made me emotional. Tonight she came out of her bedroom and came to me in the living room. She said she looked around her room and felt lonely. Then she crawled on top of me, laid her head on my chest and the 75 pound child drifted off to sleep ... but not before telling me she feels safe when I am holding her.

I'm such a softie for that child. I could've cried right there. One of the other things I've contemplated over the last two weeks is the tendency of today's fathers to abandon their fatherly responsibilities ... and I would be lying if I said I hadn't wondered what it would be like to do that ...

Now, don't get me wrong. I've wondered what it would be like ... but I haven't DESIRED to do so. There's a difference. I don't know any parent who hasn't at least wondered what their life would be like if they didn't have children ... it's not that you don't want them, it's just that you wonder. You know, like ... I wonder what life would be like if my parents hadn't moved to Brooklyn when I was 14 (as an example, although I've never lived in Brooklyn).

Anyway, I continue to work in one city and live in another because of my children ... and after 15 months of driving back and forth weekly, I'm still not tired of it. It's amazing, but I never once have yet dreaded the drive. So, while i understand the "what if" mind game one plays ... i do NOT understand actually walking away from your fatherly responsibilities ... I seriously don't get it. And I don't WANT to get it. Despite all the nonsense my ex-wife has put me through, once to the point where I had to fight to maintain custody of my children, I have never EVER wanted to leave them.

And this evening was one of those times that I understood the importance of a father in a little girl's life. Dad makes her feel safe ... takes away the feeling of loneliness, even if she was just in the other room laying there looking at the walls. And just WOW at the thought of her feeling lonely and wanting her daddy and my not being there.

OMG .. men ... MEN, please be men ... and be a daddy once you've become a father. Please. There's likely a little girl just waiting for you to take away the lonely ...

... God help the nigga who wanna step to my little girl to fill that void. I'll have to hurt his feelings, if nothing else.

... God help the daddy-less little girls who thinks a nigga might just be able to take that lonely away. That they not become the result of someone's twisted google search.

... and God help the father who refuses to be a daddy. (or strike him down. Real Hard, too)



PhlyyGirl said...

I LOOOOOOOOOVVVEEE that you're a father to your children. I don't say that to give you e-props or kudos or anything like that, cause I know they don't mean shit. I say that because posts like this show me what to look for in the man who will eventually father my children (should I ever get over that nasty fear of labor and shit).
I am so glad that you're daughter has a daddy like you and I wholeheartedly say 'AMEN' to your prayer at the end.

RunningMom said...

2nd PhlyyGirl. Even though I grew up with a father he was absent in the "works all the time never paid attention to his kids" kinda way.

You are a great dad, hugs!

yet another black guy said...

Would you PLEASE send this to every major publication and news outlet? How someone can just avoid a HUMAN BEING they brought into world is beyond me. Kudos to you for being a wonderful father and showing a great example of what it means to be.

Miss P said...

omg, jack you are SUCH a wonderful example of a father! when i read your posts about your children, it makes me even more angry at my mother's sperm donor. he lived TWO BLOCKS away from me, and was never a father to me, and still isnt. i hope your little man grows up to be just like you. and god help the bastard that steps to your daughter wrong. if that ever happens, i'll pitch in some money to help bail you out, lol