Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

My Dad’s birthday is today, although I can’t see him until this weekend I called this morning to wish him well and tell him I miss him like crazy. I love my dad to pieces he’s been everything I want and didn’t know I needed since he came into our lives and I’m so grateful for that.

When we moved in with him, wow, over 10 years ago we were in such a bad place I’m shocked he stuck around with us. My Mom and I were going through what all teenaged daughters and their mother’s go through times 10 because my Mom and my real Dad had just recently split and I was carted from the south side of Chicago to the freaking boondocks in the suburbs. Culture shock is an understatement, seriously I woke up in Mayberry and I was neither happy nor quiet about it. Things were really rough those first couple years but my Dad stuck with us, we were his “girls” no matter what. The fights my Mom and I had should be recorded as some of the greatest battles in history. I got kicked out, arrested, caught up with the wrong crowds, partied all night, hardly ever went to school, fought girls, fought boys and dated all the guys that parents hope their daughters never give the time of day and he stuck by us. He was so patient and understanding because he knew how scarred we all were and now that we’re kind of better (some wounds never heal) I can fully appreciate him as my Father, no step just Father.

When my real Dad finally left it was in handcuffs. I was 13 going on 30 and I remember listening to my Mom scream up and down the street as he chased her and struck her up and down the block we’ve lived on all our lives (still do). I had my baby niece that night so by the time I realized it was her screaming I still couldn’t get to her but my brother did. He also left in handcuffs that night because he got to my Dad before the police so you can put 2 and 2 together there. All my life he had been my teacher and my best friend. My Dad and I would sit for hours on end talking about everything under the sun and then some. He taught me all he’d known about religion and race, politics, history he was an intelligent man and I admired everything about me that was remotely similar to him. He was the one who taught me the answers to all the questions I will ever have are in books. It was no secret in our family that we had a special relationship and connection he just didn’t have with the other kids, I was his baby girl. But on that day when I sat on the porch with a crying baby girl and watched my family fall apart he washed his hands of me too.

This wasn’t the first time he’d hit her but this was the first time the police knew. When I was a kid and I came home with the standard 911 emergency coloring book that teaches kids how to go for help my Dad told me if I ever called a cop to our house I’d be sorry and we all understood that. Police were a no, no. So when he used to hit her all we could do was watch, hell sometimes he made us watch. He kept guns all over the house, a shotgun at the front door in plain sight and always a handgun under his pillow. Long after he was gone we searched the house and found so many more that we had no idea he had. Still after the terror and the abuse he was still my only friend, I was too young for the most part, to know what he was really about.

So, he left. My uncles came around to make sure of that, they had no idea of the kind of life we were living he isolated her from her family and friends to the point where no body knew the real deal. I was team “Momma” all the way so there was never any question of who I’d stay with but all in all he was a bad husband to her but a good Dad to me in a sense so I still wanted him in my life. She even came to me at one point and said what’s between me and him is just that and I don’t want that shaping your decisions. He was closest to me out of the three of us so I knew for sure he’d want me but he didn’t. He didn’t call, try to see me or anything. My Granny lives literally 6 blocks from our house and he’d go there on a regular basis my Granddad said he wouldn’t even ask about me. It stings just a bit now but not really so much anymore.

So, life goes on and I grew up some more. I tried to contact him, got a cell number so I didn’t have to give out the new house number when we moved in with my other Dad but he still didn’t call. He would stop by and see my brother and sister all the time but not me. They passed along my messages and my digits and he disregarded them. Graduation and prom rolled around and I invited him but he didn’t show. Started spreading some bullshit rumor saying my Mom told him to stay away but it wasn’t true. I got really sick with kidney infections shortly after I graduated and ended up in the hospital, I called for him and he responded the first time in almost 4 years only to tell me that my Mom owes him 45k and how sneaky she is. After that I gave up. I figured if he doesn’t want me that’s cool you can’t force love on anyone so I gave up. Around that time my Dad that I live with now came to me and told me that he would be my Dad and he’s proud to be and that’s the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

My real Dad still has strong relationships with my brother and sister but he still won’t have anything to do with me. On those rare occasions we do cross paths he’s always careful to tell me as quickly as possible that he doesn’t have any money like that’s what this is about. He went to jail about 2 years ago on a bullshit charge that let him out 60 days later but the crazy thing about that is I just didn’t care. Even my Mom checked into the shit to make sure he wasn’t sitting down for some years or something but me I didn’t care in the least bit. I saw him a little while after he was released and he gave me a Biggie CD as a late Christmas gift, yeah thanks. I still don’t know why he divorced me, he was my best friend and I was caught in the middle but no child deserves to be cast off like trash. I found out recently that before he came to Chicago and met my mom, he left a wife and a family of six kids (all his biologically) in the south. I go back and forth in between wanting to contact them or not but for now I take it as consolation that I’m not the only kid he didn’t want, if that makes sense.

My Dad, my Father was at my graduation, he took pictures at my prom, drove me to college for the first time, let me cry on his shoulder when I first got my heartbroken and he’s proud of everything I’ve ever done. He is my rainbow after the storm and I can’t appreciate him enough for making me feel like somebody wanted me.

Happy Birthday Daddy, I love you too the moon and back!!!


THE JODY said...

Wow! Your entry hit home. My pops ran out on us when I was 10 with a fat white woman to kentucky. Since I was the oldest, it fell on me to be the man of the house and help raise my brotha and sista. I hated that nigga for years and wished him ill will every time I seen my mama cry and be depressed as we struggled. I vowed to never grow up and be like this dude and neither would my brotha. I am now in my early 30's and he has diabetes and a drinkin problem. I found it in myself to sit down and tell him how I felt about 2 years ago. He told me to let it all out. Get everythang out and I did. It aint cool for us men to show open emotions but I cried 2 rivers and a ocean that night with my father, my daddy. Since then, we have been cool and the healing continues.I don't have any kids of my own yet, but when I do, I hope he is around and apart of all our lives.

Anonymous said...

underneath all the horribleness with your bio dad You've been blessed with the REAL love from a REAL dad!, a real man INDEED!, all the love he gave you and his patience reminds me both of my stepdad and my daddy, I'm a double daddy's girl!

clnmike said...

That was deep, at least you have a real dad to show you love.

Darius T. Williams said...

hey - what's up?

Are you ready for the first book club discussion? I sure hope you are! Are you done with the book? You should be.

See you Saturday.

Go to for more details!