“Becoming a Father is the most frightening thing in the world to become. …Here’s what a father does: He provides. He protects. He prepares. He must provide for his child ALWAYS; he must protect that child, there are some things they might want that aren’t good for them, and he must prepare that child for the day he’s not there.” -Black Men Revealed
But what if he’s never there?
- Buddha’s perpetual absence prepared me for disappointment.
- Stepdad #1s infidelity prepared me for disappointment.
- Stepdad #2s conditional fatherhood prepared me for disappointment.
So when I lost my scholarship, I was disappointed, but I knew that just like when Buddha went to jail, life would go on.
And it did.
But what am I UNPREPARED for?
I was unprepared for the responsibilities of being an adult as my mother slowly released them upon me.
Car insurance in your name
Own apartment and utilities 3 states away, making the thought of moving home a REAL decision
The more she released, the more overwhelmed I felt. I didn’t expect her to support me forever, but timing in relation to my finances really sucked.
I can’t help but think these transitions would have been smoother with my father or EITHER Step Dad steadily contributing. But then again, I’ve seen what it’s like to have your father still paying your bills and trying to control you because of it.
I used to date this guy “Paranoid Pete” and every couple of months he would ask me when my lease was up. I found it to be quite annoying because whether he had forgotten or not, it really wasn’t any of his business. I listened closely enough to the tales of his past to know that even though he was six years my senior; he had never really lived alone. I wasn’t ready to be his next roommate, or anyone’s for that matter.
I had seen my mother be the catalyst behind Step Dad #1 getting his first car and moving out of his mom’s apartment. I watched as Step Dad #2 slowly moved all of his belongings into my mother’s house even though he had his own. I heard the dissention based on decisions made by “those that DON’T pay bills” and I realized I wasn’t prepared to cohabitate with a mate because I had yet to see it done successfully. I wasn’t prepared for the expectations of man to want to live more closely, sharing more space and time, because I grew to value my independence. I wasn’t prepared for all of the perks that came with living with your man because I was only prepared for disappointment.
How can a father prepare the child for the day he’s not there if he never shows up in the first place?
Betty Shabazz once told Malcolm X “You’re present even when you’re not here”
The same goes for Daddies; we learn lessons from their absence. Be mindful of what you prepare us for.