Some of you know that in April of this year, I lost the first man that every truly loved me. I kinda knew it was coming, I kinda wished it would. My daddy was a proud self sufficient man and his health was on the decline. He’d gone blind in October of last year, but was so proud he hid it from us and would still sit at his kitchen table with the newspaper in front of him – AS IF. But thats who he was. My mother, unfortunately, did not have the same type of husband as the daddy I got, but thats between them. All I know is I was loved fiercely by a man that gave me his face and his last name. The last couple of weeks were rough, he was slipping cognitively, and one of my worst nightmares, is having a loved one not know who I am. Thank God it never came to that. On one of our last visits, he asked me if he’d messed up my life by not staying married to my mom. Between tears he would never see, I assured him I had the best life imaginable, and he smiled and nodded good.
So this is the first Fathers Day without me having a daddy in the physical realm. As such, I will be visiting a cemetery for the first time in my life with my brother. Its funny, when my dad’s dad passed at the ripe old age of 92, I remember my nearly 60 year old dad turning to me and saying, “well, Im an orphan now.” (my nana had died a couple of years prior). I get it…Im closer to 50 than I am to God and in the words of Blanche Elizabeth Devereaux, “im nobodies little girl anymore.” And it fucking sucks. I wanna pick up the phone and run so many things past the smartest man I’ve ever known. I want him to talk to him bout how 46 is soothing the soul of the world. I want him to know how Ill look in my wedding gown. I want him to know the bears drafted a fucking black qb for chrissakes! But most of all I want another opportunity to thank him for my life.
I have so much to be thankful for. And on this Father’s Day, I wanna speak to my single dads, or dads that are not the custodial parent. Weekend dads. Summer Vacay dads. I mean the ones who have a vested interest in the welfare and well being of their children. The ones whose kids may be being fed false narratives about them. The ones that are fighting the courts. The ones who may be fighting bitter women who are angry they may have found happiness, while she is stuck nursing old wounds. KEEP LOVING YOUR KIDS, Gents. Keep showing up for them. My parents separated when I was around 10, but every morning until I could drive, he was at my ouse dropping us off at the bus stop. Every Saturday he was there to take my brother -and sometimes his friends – to his YBA games at the Y. We went on vacations as a family – until my deep twenties. The TIMES I was unfairly detained by Chicago’s finest, he was right there to bond me out and lawyer me up….aaaah good times.
Daddy, I want you to know, your efforts were not in vain. Me, Damon and Janine are all thriving and doing well. I can’t tell you how many men I’ve counseled (in my limited way as only a person that has never bee a father could) on fatherhood outside the home using you as an example. I tell them, you can love and support your children and give them the fullest life imaginable. Im so proud to be your child and Im even prouder that the way that you loved us was evident to so many people. You may have had to ask if you messed up my life, but no one else who truly knew me had to.
mya courtney seals