Sins of a father…

I read the following post Schadenfreude and as much as I didn’t want to reply, I couldn’t help myself, but given that I knew my reply would resemble a post, I decided I’d simply do just that.

As a child born out of wedlock, I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to have never known my father. Actually, had mother had her way, I would have done just that and probably gone through life thinking my step-father was my father even though he’s light-skinned of mixed Jamaican and Chinese heritage. She’d pulled off that lie for five years until my father found her/us.

After coming to know my father and two of the eight total children he’d fathered, I was both happy and confused at my existence since I didn’t fully understand the full life dynamics that come with ‘external’ children…My father was married at the time of my conception. My father was good to me and my two siblings, but I didn’t realize there were still five more of us whom I’d yet to know or meet. That would come about well into my adulthood. Correction, I met my oldest and now deceased eldest brother when I was about 13. He was a nice guy and was saddened by his passing because I never had the opportunity to really know him unlike the two immediately above me.

During the years I’d spent shuttling back and forth to my father’s house, I came to see and know a man I actually disliked. He had an affinity for women making it rather difficult for me to form a bond with any of them since I wasn’t quite sure they’d be around from one weekend to the next. The two above me no longer lived with our father, so I ended up being there with him or whatever woman was in his life at the time.

Unlike, the father(s) mentioned in the referenced post, my father acknowledged all of his children; however, he was still no real father in the true sense of the word. He ruled with an iron fist with the “it’s my way or the highway” mentality and imposed strict and sometimes unrealistic expectations of his children. He disowned my brother above me because his children they were bi-racial and to date has yet to acknowledge their existence. He additionally refused to allow my brother into his home because my brother grew locks and my father vehemently disapproved of this hairstyle. My sister, the eldest of the three of us was disowned for the same and additional reasons.
As I got older, I questioned and challenged my father’s actions toward his children because it was wrong. My father was and remains a devout member of the Pentecostal church and prescribes to its many dictates; well, those accordingly to how he wants to interpret them. I’ve read the Bible, conferred with those who are also of his particular sect of Christianity, in addition to other pastors and nowhere in the Bible or in my conversations does it say it’s okay to disown ones children due to one’s personal beliefs, prejudices, or thoughts on life/society.

To date, I’ve met all but one of my siblings and maintain a relationship with three of them. To date, I am the only one of my father’s children that speak or have a relationship with him. He has successfully estranged himself from his children with his bull-headed, rigid, and often down right insulting ways. It’s a crying shame that a man; a father would treat his children with such disdain and disrespect. His actions have also distanced him from his grandchildren.

Some irony to my father’s antics is that he has embraced my daughter who is also bi-racial, which I gave him some serious grief over. Of his children, I’m the only one who does not have his last name and I’m the only one who he has a relationship with. I have and continue to argue and challenge things he says because I’m not afraid to call bullshit. I’m also the one he calls when he wants something that’s out of his limited budget. For someone who’s pushed just about everyone away, he’s the one who needs someone close to him the most – He lives in Jamaica and I’m in the US. The two of his children that reside in Jamaica have nothing to do with him.

I have limited respect for my father as father because he’s failed so miserably at being a good one even when he had the chance to be. I still wonder what it would have been like to have never have met or known him. He came into my life when I was 5 and I left the UK when I was 15, so he was only actively in my life for 10 years. I saw and spent time with him upon my return in 1986 and we maintained a long distance relationship for a while until he once again pissed me off and after that time, we were estranged for about 10 years. It wasn’t until 2007 when he and I actually started communication again and I was 39 at that point. So, here I am pushing 47 and have had a short and somewhat strained relationship with the man who help put me in this world. I can’t say I love the man and I can’t say I hate him. I maintain feelings of a familial connection and wish him no harm. Somewhere deep in his abyss is a sad, hurt, and broken boy who never healed and he took his pain out on his children, wives, ex-wives, girlfriends and ex-girlfriends, and most importantly himself and lost some of the absolute best relationships he could have had in life. I allow him to take no credit for my successes in life. What I do, do is credit him for some traits and qualities he’s passed on be they good or bad. I couldn’t choose who my father was and I accept who he is, but what I can’t and won’t do is minimize the negative effects both his presence and lack thereof caused. Fortunately, I’ve long since resolved and moved on in order to stop carrying the emotional baggage I had.

Sadly and unfortunately, there are no lessons or training for being a parent; though I wish there was. I further wish that men who help create children take care of them in every way possible. Children need their fathers as much as they need their mothers and any man who fails to live up to the responsibility that comes with his title is a poor and lame excuse for a man.

Yea, I said it!

8 thoughts on “Sins of a father…

  1. On my next birthday in 2015 I will be 50. At this point in my life I can honestly say that the single greatest thing I’ve ever done is to be a father.

    I’ve often said that in this world you need a license to drive a car, sail a boat, drive a bus or a train, fly a plane…..and so on; but any fool with genitals can be a parent. We don’t get to pick our parents. Our parents should be a lesson for all of us, to either emulate or do whatever we can not to be like them.

    One of the reasons I really enjoy your blog is because you put so much of yourself into it. The very best posts we ever write are posts that are near and dear to us. Those are truly the memorable ones.

    Excellent post BluJewel.

    • I applaud and commend your attitude on being a father/parent Reggie. I, too, feel the same way about being my daughter’s mother. I never wanted kids, but for whatever reason I changed my mind, I made damn sure I could or would be the best parent I could be. I know I’ve had my moments, but I gave and continue to give her my all.

      I chose not to be the mother to my daughter my mother was to me and I’m fortunate that breaking the cycle has made me a better person overall and a damn good mother in the process. Couldn’t help by laugh at “any fool with genitals can be a parent”, so very, very true there Reg.

      Thank you! I strive to be honest because I do myself and anyone reading no good if I cloud or continue to cloud the truth; especially my own. I’ve come too far in life to still hate myself or lie about what I’ve gone through.

  2. For a Sunday afternoon, am glad to have read this great introspective recollection of your life stream. And what a wonderful human being you’ve turned out to be. Equally the same principles and morals you grew up with, will invariably be passed onto your daughter too.

    I mentioned in a post I wrote last week, we take certain things for granted, one of them being the luxury of living under the same roof as your parents. Appreciating the concept of companionship, love and respect even if things are rocky. Although this is not always the case for some families.

    I am lucky and never taken it for granted that my parents have been together for over 45years, raised 5 children and are growing old gracefully. That being said old age is beginning to change certain behaviours of the old folks which make me cringe but I realise the responsibility ahead.

    My father was in the Ghana Navy and as such travelled away a lot leaving mum to care for the nest. Whilst away from his family he always made sure we were catered for. These are some of the things we do not take for granted.

    I have a niece we hardly see because her dad, my brother couldn’t get his shit together and be responsible (we try and do our best where she is concerned). And as for her mother, hmmmm some people really don’t deserve the gift of parenting.

    As a parent, I truly appreciate the importance of raising a child in a loving environment. When I got divorced my biggest fear was that I’s become another national statistic, cue, single mother. How the hell was I gonna raise a child so they grow up balanced, how was I gonna finance her daily living, how and why did we end up here?

    Another of my mum’s phrases, don’t ask too many “Whys” because the letter “Y” has a tail longer than you care to chase.

    One thing I do know is, when I wake up every morning, whether I have a mum or dad, the next move I make is entirely on me.

    • Congrats to your parents for the marital longevity and to you for having great parents. I’ve always admired couples who last for decades.

      My parents were sadly, not always a good example of what a marriage/relationship is or should be and I ensured that I didn’t pass those negative traits/cues onto Lil Lady. When her father and I split, I never once considered myself a single parent as he remained active and present in her life and I didn’t disparage him to her as my mother had done to my father. Regardless of their relationship, I shouldn’t have been exposed to that, so I ensured I didn’t repeat those habits.

      As Reggie said, “any fool with genitals can be a parent”, but it doesn’t make them a good one and sadly the child is the one always caught in the middle of that awful volleyball match. You’re experiencing that first hand as I have with my youngest brother (mothers youngest).

      Kids aren’t trophies, pawns, rites of passage, or things to objectify, they’re small lives that require the best we as the parent have to offer, which isn’t material based. If more people considered that, we’d have far less kids caught in the crossfire or abused in some form or another.

  3. great post and a testament to you. In my case my Doctor of a brother, blessed with both parents, wealth, intelligence and much more, could not rise above himself to seek out and give love to his son. As Karma will have it, his only son. We used to fight about this a lot till I realized somewhere in his soul is a very cold place, very self centered and incapable of showing unconditional love. Its a tough thing to feel that way about someone you’ve grown up with, a harsh truth. As it goes, one day I find out some Intel on his son, 19 years old, all grown up, keen sportsman, top of his class and embarking on a university course, Chemical Engineering. Spitting image of my brother, physically and intelligence wise. I show this to my brother, bitterly reminding him I was right the boy will turn out this way, bringing shame to his weak ass. We had a deep chat and he promised to make amends. I told bros the very least he could do is set up a sizable trust fund, aid the boy through Uni, he owed him that much for contributing nowt a penny to his life. And that he should man up and go meet the boy face to face. Well its been a few months now, not heard any promising moves from my bros. wont be holding my breath.

    • Damn! That’s very sad and you’re right to have called your bro out of his lack. Your nephew seems to have fared well in spite of his father and maybe you can step in as uncle/role model to at least give him a decent male reference point.

      Your brother needs to heal what’s broken deep within himself instead of being so bitter and forge a relationship with his son before it’s too late

  4. I enjoyed this post because I could relate to many aspects of it. I was in high school when I found out that my biological father was not my mother’s first husband, but someone else entirely. I met him when I was in college but we did not forge a relationship. I was an “outside” child and even though I wasn’t really a secret it was still awkward — for me anyway. I have met my other siblings but we haven’t bonded in any type of way. My father passed away more than 10 years ago and all I have are my mother’s memories of him.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting on my post. 🙂

      {hugs} I understand and recognize your pain and the experience you had in life. Adults fail to realize the severity of their actions when they bring children and in your case “outside” children into the world. Children should not have to suffer for the indiscretions of their parents nor should they be cast aside for said indiscretions.

      It angers me to no end when things like this happen, not only because it has happened to me, but because I’ve seen the damaging effects it has on the children.

      Just a thought, try reaching out to various members of your fathers family again. You may find one who’ll speak with you away from the others. In truth, I feel they owe it to you to know your lineage especially for medical reasons.

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