This Meme Crush Monday is sponsored by my good friend and brother-from-another, Kalique…the biological father of two beautiful girls and the head of a blended family in which he is the paternal figure to his wife’s son and daughter. He does any and everything for all four of his children and considers himself tertiary behind them and his spouse. Salute, my g.
I write a post just like this every year around this time. Why? Because it’s needed. I’m doing my civic duty. I write about fatherhood and it is something that I am passionate about. As a black father, I feel as if I am fulfilling parts of my universal purpose by giving a voice to a demographic that is mostly covered from a deficit rather than deductive standpoint.
Fathers only get two days a year: our birthdays and the third Sunday of June. Right before, during, and maybe a day or two after Father’s Day, many of single mothers get to posting statuses, memes, pictures, tweets, and a myriad of other forms that relay the sentiment congratulating themselves or other mothers for Father’s Day. Mohagany-a black subsidiary of Hallmark-had the unmitigated gall to green light and mass produce a card for children to give their mothers for a day for fathers. Another company made a commercial echoing similar sentiments. Word?!
Here’s the truth: for every absentee father, I know an equal amount of bad mothers. If I am correct, the number of children born out of wedlock in black communities is around 72%. Some mothers raise boys that unfortunately perpetuate and continue the cycle that they were born into, as well. Does anyone shed light on these? No.
I bring this up because nobody talks down or badly about those who aren’t the greatest mothers on the second Sunday in May. We’re busy uplifting the matriarchs who are amazing, shitty, and absentee ones. Because whether or not you’re a great one or not, you’re still a mother and you should be celebrated.
To the “I did it all of myself” tribe: no you don’t. There are a couple of parents that really do 100% of their own. However, they are the outliers of the bell curve. To be an outlier means that you are truly the 1% of the world. Many may feel that they don’t always have the emotional support and that makes them feel all by themselves. I can relate to that, because often I feel emotionally isolated as a single parent.
For the most part, someone plays the role of father figure. Grandfathers, uncles, older siblings, cousins, teachers, pastors, deacons, chaplain, imams, rabbis, khalifs, principals, community leaders, coaches, boyfriends, good friends, neighbors, landlords, that old guy in church that really loves kids and just has a way with them, Mr. Wendel that Arrested Development made that song about, etc. Very rarely does someone live in an isolated bubble or vacuum in which there are no men to play a role of some sort. I just wish that we did a better job celebrating the village that it takes to raise a child than isolating the ones that don’t.
My nephew has never had an interaction with his father…and he could give a fuck because he doesn’t feel as if he’s missing out. I’m there. There can and will be a day in which he will feel something because of this. But when he has that Will Smith moment on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air moment, he’ll have his uncle who coached baseball and basketball, who gave him advice or girls, and how to turn his little hustle ideas into something enterprising in a way his mother never could because she can’t fully relate.
Mother’s Day, is Mother’s Day. I have a lot of help with my daughter, Cydney. Instead of patting myself on the back, I shift the love towards those who have been there. I have even given gifts to girlfriends who have been played a role, even if it was temporary; just to show them appreciation for helping me out and being there. They’re still an influence on Cydney.
My daughter’s mother is dead and she has no actual memories of her. That in itself could make Mother’s Day a fairly somber day for both of us. However, it makes me feel good to redirect that energy towards what I do have rather than what I-or my daughter-doesn’t. Emotions are energy. I learned in physics that energy cannot be created or destroyed; but it can be redirected. So if a feeling is an energy, I can let the emotions hit me and have an impact; or I can use an action-love-to redirect said energy into another direction. That’s a law of science; which is something that has been experimented on many times and always applies under the same conditions.
You can be the greatest mother of all time who was raised by a single father that had more children than the Jacksons and they’re youngest and only girl. With all of that knowledge, they still can’t do what a father can. Our minds-mothers and fathers-are wired differently; so at one point or another, there will be a disconnect when it comes to relating. You can have all the experience in the world shaving your legs, under your arms, and even have a little mustache that needs to be tended to. But you can’t fully teach him how to shave his beard against the grain because it grows differently and those are a different kind of razor bump because of how testosterone makes the hair grow. You can’t explain fully explain your son how that first entry while having sex feels and that cloudy judgement from the climax feels because you don’t process it the same way. You can’t explain to your daughter what to look for in a man and set an example or what kind of game to stay away from because you aren’t unconciously wired to be a bloodhound for insecurity like a man is who attracts who he currently is or what he is looking for. I can’t do those things for my daughter, either because I’m a father-a single father-who on his best day knows I can’t do that, either.
I hope there is a June in which I don’t have to rewrite this from a different angle saying the same thing. Maybe one day, I will write it well enough to redirect them to an old article. Actually, I’m more than perfectly fine with doing it every year.