Saturday, June 21, 2008

Everyday is Father's Day

I'm so lucky. I still have my Father.  He has battled two rounds of colon cancer and one round of prostate cancer. Diabetes and blood pressure are his current inconveniences.

Even the wait staff at our favorite diner know what he is not supposed to eat.

My Father's presence in my life was just assumed. I learned so much from my Dad. Hard work, persistence, spirituality, community/political activism, and the responsibilities of parenthood.

My folks were young when they married. Mom was 19, Dad, 23. Trying to raise a family in the turbulent 60s was not easy. What this generation is experiencing is nothing compared to what my parent's generation experienced "living while black."

Dad sat at the head of the supper table, with my Mother seated to his left. My older brother sat at the other head of the table. My kid brother sat next to my Mom because he was "the spirited one." Current events, work drama, politics, community events and our daily activities were discussed during supper. 

A common suppertime lecture from Dad was making babies. "Don't you kids bring home any babies I didn't help make." My mother would sigh, roll her eyes at the crudeness of the message but was supportive of the message. "Get your education before you settle down, " was another frequent lecture. 

Of course these sex talks were more for my brothers because I was never ever to have sex. Period. Since I have just my daughter, my Dad is convinced that I only had sex once and really didn't like. I let him live in that happy place.

I digress.

Mind you my Father & I did not always see eye about many things. But the foundation of my parents love was always there. 

My marriage lasted eight years but my friendship with my ex-husband continues. Our marriage didn't work but his role as a Father did not end with the marriage. I chose well. He lived all over the country but was/is very much a part of my daughter's life. Our values were in sync, much to the annoyance of my daughter. Even if she thought about it, she knew that she couldn't play us off of each other.

His current wife is an angel. She treats my daughter as if she gave her life. Her children are equally loving. My daughter has an extended family.  This speaks to my ex's extraordinary taste in women.

I learned as much by my parents actions as their words. I treasure the time that I have with my folks. When I am not on the road, I share at least one meal a week with my folks. My daughter and her son usually join us. Watching my Dad play with his great-grandbaby is awesome. My Mom just sits back basks in the joy from their laughter.

When my ex and his wife are in town, they are included in the family meal.

Could the schools be better? Yep. Could there be more jobs with living wages? Absolutely. Could the criminal justice system be fair? Yah.

These boys aren't raping these girls. The girls need to value their bodies. If they don't, who will? However, these boys need to understand that it takes a real man to be a Father to the child they made. 

What is critical, is the the expectation of growing old and living accordingly. Too many of members of this generation can't see beyond today.

Barak Obama was raised by a free-spirited single Mom. His grandparents provided the grounding that he needed. He earned his education. He got a job. Married the love of his life.

He waited to become a Daddy which is critical to his story.  He is a living example of life's possibilities in our country. His presidential run does not wipe out the harsh realities of being black in our country but serves a sign of a better now.

Father's Day is a day to celebrate fatherhood. The daily activities leading up to that day should be worthy of that celebration.

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