Since the day I was born. My father dressed me like a son, but he loved me like a daughter. Everything he did I did, everywhere he went I went. I never knew what my father did for a living. All I knew was anything I wanted he provided to me with ease. In the day he worked construction but he seemed to disappear in the night. The man who gave me my first taste of beer at four is the same man who promised to never leave his family.
Two years after he made that promise to never leave, my dad picked me up from school like he always did.We were playing with my easy bake oven trying to get it to work. The treats tasted like plastic but we were having a good time. Then we were interrupted by a BOOM,BOOM,BOOM. Cops knocked down our door and came flooding into our apartment. Everything happened so fast.The last thing I remember was me being left with a lady cop waiting for my mother to come home.
I didn’t understand why they were arresting my father, I didn’t understand why we had to move and the only person who can answer my questions was my father. The next time I seen him we were in a courthouse. I was six when my father entered Rikers Island. I never wrote my dad but I saw him once before we were to appear in court. I don’t really remember much about that day but I do remember meeting a van on 149th ST. Grand Concourse and the long ride. My mom who never worked a day in her life had to work bullshit jobs to cover up where the extra funds was coming from. We moved at least 3 times from the Bronx to Manhattan to the Bronx again. That was our life for the next couple of years.
The next time I saw my dad was in court. Sentencing day, the day I would be placed on the stand. The attorney was blonde with glasses and about 5’6 and her voice was extremely annoying. Even at nine I was easily annoyed by the littlest things. She started asking me about stuff I had no idea about, like did my dad perform any illegal activities in front of me. My statement would determine my dad’s future, our future. About 2 yrs later he was released because they didn’t have enough evidence or witnesses to prove that he was involved in what they were trying to charge him for. 5 years is a lot when you have kids. I wouldn’t say he missed out on a lot, but I will say he wasn’t there as my brother and I were growing. I learned to not need him because he just wasn’t there. The man I use to be so close with was a stranger in my eyes. He looked like my father, but didn’t feel like my father.
It’s been 9 yrs since my dad got out and we’re still working on our relationship. He begs to know what’s going on in my life, never met a boyfriend, never even met a friend because I am just not comfortable being that open with him. He has to build that trust again. My father’s mistakes led to a distant relationship between his kids, which will take time to rebuild.
I’m not knocking him or any of the fathers out there trying to make sure they family eat but as the man of the house you have to make better decisions when there’s kids involved, for the sake of the relationship. Having a father is just as important as having a mother. Not having a father around impacts the family as a whole. Women think they can make it without the father. They boast about being a single mother. They boast about being a single mother on Father’s day. But coming from a child who lost time with her best friend, I can tell you my father’s absence made a difference in how I go about life.
I find that now is when we need each other the most. I will not give up on him. The past has not made me love him any less. We may have a rocky relationship and bump heads, but we continue to progress. I wouldn’t trade my dad for nothing in the world. I guess it’s my turn to take care of the old guy.