In honor of Father’s Day, I give the greatest of love, honor, respect to my Father, my dad. As a kid, I remember having foot races with my dad. I remember one time, he gave me a head start. I only had to run half a block. He had to run a little over a block. In my heart and mind, I truly thought this was a race I could win. A little kid running, laughing, excited. I lost that race but I gained a memory and I felt the love. All I could see was the love my dad had for me and the joy he felt.
I want to skip to the now for a moment.
In my later years, late 30s…early 40s, I began to have a yearning to know more about my dad and how he came to be. One of the reasons I wanted to know was I was trying to understand myself. What a great source to learn from! Our DNA matched. We learn behaviors from our parents. But something happened as I was seeking to learn more about myself. I learned about my dad. See I did not really know his side of the family tree that well. He never really talked about his childhood much. He would talk about his singing journey. How him and his group sang background on a Jackson five song. I believe there was a music studio on Central Park and Ogden in Chicago that a lot of artists used. I knew that he was serving his country at a very young age and had four children by the age of 22 years old. He was stationed in Germany at one point. So I began to ask more questions. I asked my mom because they were teenage sweethearts so she knew of him and his family. I asked my father also. See I knew that my dad lost his mother at a very young age. What I didn’t know is that he was basically raised by older siblings. So where was my grandfather? He was there. I heard of how tough and mean my grandfather was on his kids but I never knew to what extent. So now my curious mind wanted to know how it came to be that my grandfather was who he was. That’s where I am to this day. So with what I’ve learned so far, I began to piece together how my father became to be who I perceived him to be in my teenage years.
Let me get back to the joy I felt.
I continued to feel that joy until as a child I began to mature and understand feelings. As I got older, my father seem to me to be reserved and distant, but he always tried to keep food in the house. There wasn’t as much fatherly hugs and kisses on the head as in my younger years. My father actually had a reputation amongst my friends as being mean. I believe that stemmed from things like when he would come home from a hard day’s work and I was hanging on the porch with friends, he would say “I gotta have this porch” meaning get y’all butts off the porch now. Lol I actually began to think he was mean like most kids would think of the parents.
As I began to grow into adulthood, our relationship grew nonexistent, a phone call here or there. I take a lot of the blame for that because I began to do my own thing and took the moments that I was losing out on for granted. I believe, had I asked back then if he wanted to catch a ballgame or something that he probably would have said yeah. I never did ask so I do not have that answer. Had my father asked back then if I wanted to go to a ballgame I’m not sure what my answer would have been because I was busy doing my own thing. These are questions that I would have like to have answered but there is not a necessity for them now.
What I have learned is that I still feel joy. The relationship is still about the same, but I am able to understand that a person loves the way they love. I understand why he loved the way he loved and you know what…I’m ok with that. My father is great to me, flaws and all, just like he would say the same about me. We share unconditional love for each other.
One thing that I have had a hard time doing in my 45 years on this earth…saying I love you to him. I really can not remember the last time I told him “I love you.” There is no reason that is acceptable for me not saying it. I’m sure emotions will get the best of me and I may break down but it is something that I need to do. So on my 45th Father’s Day, I will call him (we live in different states) and tell him I love you.