Hello. Hello. Hello!
I hope you are doing well today. I have something I feel the need to write about; however, it is so deep and complex that I feel like I should leave it for another day and time. Save it for when I am not emotionally attached to the subject, at least not as emotional because I feel I will always be attached to it. The subject is fatherhood and fathers, specifically Black fathers, being present and active in their children’s lives while mothers are put in situations where they have to choose what that looks like. Y’all know I love my Tyler Perry shows and this particular subject was brought up in another one of his shows, House of Payne.
As I mentioned, the topic is too deep and complex to tackle without me becoming emotional. However, I would like to say this before sharing a short story. Being a parent is a balancing act between making sure your child(ren) are properly cared for and loved, and you having and maintaining proper self care. And by proper self care, I am speaking holistically. In most cases, we as parents will always choose our children’s wellbeing and happiness over our own.
When I decided to get my divorce, I thought about this same subject. What would I be doing to the relationship between my son and his father. My daughter was already out of the house but my son had about 7-8 more years to go. Honestly, I was in that relationship much longer than I should have ever been, even during the divorce process (believe me, it did not have to take over four years) because I was concerned about my son’s wellbeing. Y’all, I never said anything negative about his father in his presence. I was so intentional about not letting my thoughts and feelings tarnish their relationship. Well, a few weeks before my husband moved out, my son (then eleven) asked to have a conversation with me. His father had already told him about the divorce after we agreed we would tell him together. I had no idea. Well, he asked me if I no longer loved his dad and if he would get to see him again. I was honest about both — “No” and “Yes.” When I asked him how he felt about the situation he told me he just wanted us both to be happy even if that meant us not being together. Y’all, I was floored! I don’t know too many kids his age who would have put it that way. Talk about wise beyond his years. When I asked where he wanted to live, he told me wherever his sister would be. Listen, if he would have chosen to stay with his dad, I was prepared to let him do it and pay child support. One thing I knew from living separately from my father and my mom making sure I had a relationship with him was that I would always make an effort to be in my child’s life no matter what.
Anyhoo… That conversation sealed my decision to move forward with the divorce. Had he asked for me to stay with his dad, I would have. I was dying on the inside, but I would have. As I said in a previous blog, the day my ex moved out it was like a weight had been lifted. The entire atmosphere changed. A few years later, my son said he hated hearing me crying. Y’all, I didn’t even know he knew. I didn’t even know he knew I was sad.
Okay… I’m going to go ahead and end this now. I have so many personal and family stories about relationships between children and fathers – me and my dad, my parents and their dads, my stepdads (mom was married three times) and my children and their dads (which I would never share beyond my interactions with their fathers).
Y’all, managing our own lives is already hard. Then throw a child in the mix… Whew! I will leave you with this, a whole parent is able to love and give more than a broken parent. In return, the child thrives. Believe me, I have seen it!
Well, that’s all I have for you today. Tried to keep it light. Going to visit my mom in a few hours. She’s still in the hospital but no longer in ICU. Y’all, life is short, don’t overthink or make things complicated. Keep it simple – love unconditionally and be kind.