Father’s Day is Sunday, and the jokes, dissing, and pity party for dads who aren’t expecting anything from their kids and spouses have already begun. Well, let me say for the record, I’m not wit' them. I look forward, not only to honoring my daddy and all the millions of good ones like him, but to use this forum to tell the haters it’s time to stop.
All you have to do is listen to our show, watch daytime talk, court shows, sitcoms or commercials and you can see fathers looking incompetent, ill-equipped, uncaring - or just plain goofy - all day long.
That isn’t my reality, nor is it a reality for a lot of us. And even though this may not be the best time, I have a couple of important confessions – three to be exact.
The first is not that big of a secret. I’m a daddy’s girl and make no bones about it. Now, the second is not that easy to admit. Because of my love for my daddy, there was a time during my early teens that I resented my mother. It only got out of hand one time, and my father stepped in to set some things straight. He told me in no uncertain terms that I could not love and respect him as much as I do without loving and respecting the woman that he chose to love and respect for the rest of his life. And with that one sentence, he set the bar for the man who would be a part of my life.
In fact, my daddy has set the bar so high, the men in my life have had to take a running start and a flying leap just to get close to reaching it. It’s a blessing - and sometimes, I’m beginning to think, a curse - to have lived in a home with a father who did everything he was supposed to do and then some. A blessing for the obvious reasons; I always felt safe and secure. I always had everything I needed. I had his love and attention and didn’t have go out seeking it from other “father figures” I see women going after, like their pastors and their bosses.
The downside is kind of obvious too. I thought that finding a man that did all the things my daddy did would be easy. I had no idea that what was a given in my home was nothing to be taken for granted.
I’m not by myself. I’ve talked to a lot of women who had extremely high expectations from their husbands and children’s fathers based on their own experiences. They didn’t realize that a lot of what their father was had plenty to do with the woman who was by their side helping them, loving them and supporting them along the way.
Thank you, Mama.
So if your man isn’t the man you think he should be, or your daddy wasn’t the daddy you thought he should have been, it could have been that you or the woman in his life wasn’t willing or able to give him what he needed to become the best man he could be. Not trying to ruin the mood of this blog, but I’m just saying ...
And since I’m going to use this space to salute the fathers, old-school and new, who, in spite of their conditions, always found a way to dig deep and put their families first, I’m going to do something that is against the TJMS rules. I’m going to shout out some of the daddies who have made a difference in my life.
This blog is dedicated to my Uncle Harold, whose nickname was Moose and whenever he wanted to talk to you, would invite you to step into his “office;” my Uncle Patrick, who is one of the most selfless, caring and kind men I know. Love him so much I named my oldest son after him. My Grandpa – who didn’t have much more than a third grade education, but seemed like the smartest man in the world, my Grandpops – who answered every letter I wrote. I received his last letter on a Friday night. The next morning we got the news that he died. I still have the letter.
To all the Hinsdale Court fathers for stepping in and being surrogate daddies, whether us kids liked it or not; to my boss - Tom Joyner – who created a legacy for his children and talks about his sons with such pride that you can’t help but be proud to be a small part of what he’s created; to J. Anthony Brown – for always putting the humor in child rearing, like hanging up on moms whenever he hears their kids in the background; to Willis - for always working to be a better man and a better father.
Honorable shout outs also go out to MVP Kobe Bryant for having his beautiful daughters at his side last night during his press conference - and making it seem it wasn’t his wife’s idea - to Bill Cosby and "The Cosby Show" reruns for showing a lot of men and women who grew up without daddy figures what to shoot for and for reminding us NOT to give daddy ugly sweaters; to Wanda Sykes and Rosie for making me thankful that my daddy is a dude, and to President Barack Obama for showing the world a beautiful portrait of a black husband and father.
And finally to my Daddy – for being all of the above and then some, with the exception of the Wanda and Rosie reference, of course. In Sade’s “Baby Father,” she says, “Oh child, don’t you know your daddy love come with a life time guarantee?"
So, whether you have daily daddy duty or give 100-percent the 50 percent of the time you have access to your children, you are to be commended for giving your children something no on in the world can give them or take way: Their Daddy’s love. And I wish for all the children to truly feel their Daddy's love.
Happy Father’s Day!