For the first twelve years of my life I thought someone else was my father and he wasn’t around much. Looking back, he probably put two and two together and found out he wasn’t my father and instead of being cruel and telling me I’m not your father, he quietly faded out of the picture.
The man who really was my father knew this because he was my mother’s old boyfriend and they were still friends. He would come from time to time and give me money and take me to something to eat and try to have a conversation with me i never thought anything of that i said to myself this man is really nice.
In 1982, one day in December, I don’t know the exact day, but it was very close to Christmas, I walked through the back door of my house, I entered the kitchen and I saw my mother and her ex-boyfriend talking. She said hello to me, she looked at me and smiled and my mother told me to go look in my Christmas stocking, I went into my room and looked in my sock, inside there was a hundred dollar bill and a Sony walkman. I left my room back to the kitchen, hugged him and said thank you.
He looked me square in the eye and said, “So when did you know I was your father?” I told him that I still don’t know that he is my father. He took me by the hand and led me to my room, we both stood in front of the mirror and he said, don’t we look alike? I told him no, he told me to look carefully. My mother walked into the room with us and they both sat down next to me and began to explain the details that led up to that day.
After the long conversation we had, he gave me his number and told me to call him anytime. It took me a while but I finally called. I talked to him off and on until one day I called and his phone number was disconnected and I didn’t hear from him for about five months which really pissed me off. The fillers from her and the abandon washed over me like a quarterback being tackled.
On Thanksgiving Day of 1983, my father stopped by my grandmother’s house with his two daughters and introduced me and the rest of my family who were at my grandmother’s house for dinner. We all sat around the dining room table, and after my uncle blessed the meal, he looked at my mother and said, “Why does Cleo’s youngest daughter look exactly like Sheronda?” My mom said “Cleo is Sheronda’s father” and Cleo said “boy woman sure can keep secrets right?” They all laughed and began to eat, talk and enjoy each other’s company.
As they were leaving, my father apologized for not being in contact for five months and said it would never happen again. The following month, my father and two sisters went to my grandmother’s house for Christmas. He told me to get my coat and took me to her mother’s house. I met his wife, her nine sisters and brothers, and most of her children. I remember feeling like I was on display, everyone commenting on how I looked like him and his youngest daughter Nikki and how beautiful she was. It was at that very moment that I felt at ease and complete.
As the years passed, I was able to form a strong and loving relationship with my father and his side of the family. No, it wasn’t easy, but nothing in life worth doing is. I reflect these events in my life because I lost my father on December 16, 2009 and this is the second man I have lost that he has dedicated his life to showing me that I am powerful and deserve respect. The first man was my grandfather who was there from my birth until he passed away on February 8, 1998.
What I’m saying is that children need men and women in their lives that they can count on. Men, you shouldn’t have a choice about whether or not you want to be in your children’s lives. Children are a gift from the Creator, not a sweater that you can return because you don’t like it. You must take care of the children you have before you take care of someone else’s children. You should not decide if you are going to be in your children’s lives based on the relationship you have with their mother.
If you cannot get along as parents of the children you have together, a neutral party can be asked to facilitate visitation. Remember that this should be your last option because if the children realize that their parents are not getting along, they can easily use it to their advantage.
Women need to stop making decisions about whether their son can see his father because they are angry with them or because they have wronged them. The only way a man should be denied a visit with his children is if they are a danger to his children, not if they cheated on you.
If a man has children from previous relationships, this is one way to tell if he would be a good father if you had a child with him. If you are doing more for your son than he is, this is a big indication that you are not a good father (you should be there to support the man in maintaining relationships with his children, not to do his job as a father). If a man blames everyone for why they haven’t spent time with his children, what does that say about that man’s willingness to be a good father?
It is up to us as mothers, ladies, we must stay together to build a united front, remember that there are three sides to every story, theirs, yours and the truth. In other words, keep your mind open, you’re only hearing half the story and when you’re working on half the story, you’re working on half the truth and that never works. So always remember to keep the best interest of the child in mind and everything else will fall into place.