Growing up without a father in Baltimore was quite the norm. I really only noticed a few times that I didn’t have one. My mother dated a few guys who were temporary father fixes but even at an early age I knew they were too lame to be called father. Except for one, Reggie, he was different. But even as I fell in love with the idea of having a father figure, his lifestyle temporarily removed him from my life. Then of course I went back to living life like fathers were rare commodities.
The realization that I was fatherless hit me during my early twenties when I sat in a doctor’s office filling out new patient paperwork. It asked questions about my mother and my father. I sat back in my chair in a daze.
How’s his health? What about his parents? Does he drink? Smoke? I looked around as if someone were waiting to give me the answers.
I spent years thinking that I didn’t need someone in my life who didn’t want me in there’s. I was OK with that. But this questionnaire changed everything.
I thought about my unborn children. What will I tell them? It was the only time in my life where “I don’t know” wasn’t good enough. For a moment I felt responsible for exhausting all outlets to discover who this guy was. For my sake. For my unborn children’s sake.
Of course, I’ve seen him a few times. We had lunch a couple times. He took me on a tour of his extravagant home once. He even brought me a bike. I won’t highlight that the brakes didn’t work and after discovering that I spent the summer on crutches. He tried, I guess.
But it was obviously not enough because I hadn’t spoken to him for about eight years. For the next year, whenever I was bored, I’d do quick Internet searches looking for him.
I found a few numbers and put them away until one day I decided to call. It was the wrong number. I gave up for a few months and finally decided to try the other numbers. He answered.
My throat closed and my mouth immediately became dry. My nerves soon faded at the discovery that he didn’t recognize my voice and even after saying my name I had to follow-up with…it’s your daughter.
It was a ten-minute conversation that ended with one conclusion; he simply doesn’t want to be my father. He spent much of the conversation surprised that I didn’t have children yet, wasn’t married and that not only had I graduated from college, I had a fairly good job. He spent the rest of the conversation talking about his son, the brother I never met, and how great he was. He ended the conversation by taking my number and saying, “we’ll meet up one day soon.”
That was two years ago. No calls. No meeting. But I have no regrets about reaching out.
So this morning I woke and as I was getting for work I wondered about the impact that having a full-time father in my life could have had.
Would I love and trust men differently? Would I be less career focused and more family oriented? Would relationships be incredible experiences instead of scary commitments?
Would I be different?
It’s too late for me to know that. I’ve lived a full-time life without a full-time father. But what I take from this is a desire to give my unborn children the love of a father that I never knew. That even if my love with my future mate doesn’t last, his love for his children will go beyond his relationship with me.
That’s a start to what I pray for as I look to build a family.
Until then, I will be spending father’s day with a man who truly is not only one of my closet friends, he’s the father I never had. While God temporarily took Reggie out of my life, he returned years later a much better man and example. He’s probably one of the best decisions my mother ever made.
He is a true example of a man who can change and a man who was brave enough to father a girl like me. LOL
So for those without blood fathers, look back and thank those who stepped in at times and gave you what you needed when you needed it most.
Happy Father’s day fellas!