Picture this: a classroom in small town Arkansas circa 1991. The teacher reminds the children that Parent/Teacher conferences will be held. A classmate leans over and asks a young lass will her mother be at the conference. The young girl replies "yeah and my dad will be there too". The classmate looks perplexed and asks "your dad lives with you and your mom". The girl is now equally perplexed because she assumed that all dads lived with kids. On the walk home from school, the little one can't get that off her mind.
My dad has been in my life ever since the doctor slapped my behind. Never a day went by that he didn't come home (unless he was out of town or something). My parents were married from my jump street. As I got older, I realized more and more how prevalent single parent households were. I found out that everyone didn't have a father or a father worth mentioning in their home. Now that I think about it, I'm extremely blessed in that regard. Not knocking anyone who grew up without their dad just speaking on my life.
My pops and I were best friends when I was younger. He was a garbageman so he would always find something cool that he found on his route. I remember once he found an old record player. He fixed it up for me, got me some records, and we would cool out and listen to them. I observed my pops and the way he treated my mom, my sisters, and me. He was always respectful and real cool. He was firm (and at times a little too firm) but my mother could always turn him into a puddle. My pops taught me how to treat a woman.........sure that wasn't his intentions, but hey it's like that sometimes......LOL.
I got older and like most teenagers, hanging around my parents wasn't the business anymore. Parents were "the enemy". They were their to restrict our freedoms and run and ruin our lives. I probably really don't have a beef there because my parents were actually pretty lax. I could close my bedroom door and curfew could be extended with a courtesy phone call.
By the time I got to university, my pops and I had kinda drifted apart. We would speak here and there. Still had mad love for the guy, but I felt like he didn't understand me. I thought that while he wouldn't be upset at me for being gay, he would be the most disappointed. What father doesn't dream about walking his daughter down the aisle to marry some strapping young man? I kinda felt like I was taking something away from him, so I fell back from him. Also by then I had became the ultimate mama's baby which continued up to her death.
Now that my mom is gone, I try harder to reestablish a solid relationship with my father. I know that we definitely need one another. Some days my heart hurts so bad for him. To spend your the majority of your life with someone and one day they're gone. He talks about her sometimes until he tears up and on the inside I want to cry too, but I hold in it and encourage him. I get off work sometimes and I'm so mentally spent yet I still grab the phone and give him a call. Even if it's just to shoot the breeze about his favorite football team or listen to him vent about what my aunt or sister did. My father will never be mistaken for perfect but he's the best dad I coulda ever asked for. I love that dude. Peace.