Happy Father's Day Mama!

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“The second day after surgery Debbie and Serge were in my room. My wife told me that my mother was out in the hallway talking to my father on the phone. Excitement filled me. I had been waiting for this moment my entire life. Maybe he did care after all. I couldn’t wait to hear his voice. I really didn’t care what he said, just as long as he called to ask about me—his son!

Mama and Marvin walked into the room. She wasn’t holding a cell in her hand and neither was Marvin.

I scribbled on the pad, “Mama, where’s Buddy? Weren’t you just on the phone with him?”

A shameful expression on her face was followed by a scowl. “He was just calling to see how you were doing. That’s all.” She had been apologizing for his bullshit our entire lives. It was almost second nature.

I tried to keep my expression neutral. I didn’t want anyone to know how devastated I was. I wasn’t expecting too much, just a few encouraging words over the phone. Surely I was at least worthy of that. I was his son! What could I have possibly done to make him so heartless towards me?” (Excerpt from GMan: The Education of a Criminal, by Gregory ‘GMan’ Marshall)

Today is that special day where we all feel compelled to call our fathers and wish them Happy Father’s Day.

Sadly, I don’t have the luxury of doing that. I don’t have a single fond memory of my father doing anything in my life. He’ll never understand just now much my heart ached every time he stood me and my brothers up for every occasion. He doesn’t know how I cried myself to sleep so many nights. He’ll never know that we needed him in our lives to mold us from boys to men, advise us, guide us, inspire us, motivate us.

We needed him to show us how to be fathers to our own children. He forced my mother to do his job. She wore many hats along the way and she did the best she could with what she had. But there’s only so much a woman can do when it comes to raising a boy. It’s only a matter of time before that curious young mind begins to seek out a male role model.

Only about 10% of those role models will be positive ones. The rest will force us to emulate them and have the streets raise us. Death, incarceration, and despair are the only choices that we’re left with. A cycle of fatherless children persists and it’s getting worse by the day. At the rate we’re going, the black responsible man is on the verge of extinction.

I thank God that I was man enough to be a father to my son. I couldn’t bear the thought of him hurting as much as I did as a child. I wouldn’t wish that kind of anguish on any human being.

If you were raised without a father in your life and you made it through the storm of abandonment, be sure to call your mother today and wish her a Happy Father’s Day!

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