I have spent half my life mad at my daddy. My first memory is of him and my mother telling my siblings and I they were getting a divorce. I think I was three. My next memory is of him telling me he would be suing my mother for custody of the older two but not me because I was the youngest and a girl, so he wouldn’t win if he fought for me too. (As it turned out, he didn’t win custody of any of us.)
In the beginning we would visit him often: every weekend… holidays… summer vacation. As the years progressed, however, my visits became less and less frequent. I don’t remember any phone calls. What I do remember is my mother struggling to make ends meet and complaining that daddy would not pay his court ordered child support. When I was seventeen, mommy was finally able to garnish his paycheck and get some of the child support she was fighting for all those years. At that point, I pretty much stopped hearing from daddy altogether.
Let’s be clear. Daddy was around. We all lived with him for about six months when I was 9. My sister and brother would live with him again after that but I stayed with mommy until college. By my teenage years I almost never saw him. My brother had started living with him (whole other story). My sister had her own apartment. Daddy would visit my sister often. My sister lived two blocks away from me.
Daddy did not visit me.
Daddy was not at my high school graduation… or my college graduation… or my law school graduation. And he missed pretty much every event in between. I don’t remember any phone calls just to say I love you and every attempt at relationship ended in him either throwing me out of his house or with me feeling rejected and abandoned again.
My daddy is not an inarticulate man. He has been highly educated my entire life having obtained a master’s degree in the seventies. He obtained a PhD from the University of Michigan when I was sixteen. He has been a community activist my whole life. As a college professor and later a college dean – he has a long list of students and colleagues who call him mentor or counselor and who attribute the success in their lives to his attention and encouragement. By all accounts he is a successful black man.
I am his youngest daughter. He was not successful to me.
I am his youngest daughter… but I am no longer young. Life – and a season married to a man with similar traits – has taught me that daddy’s behavior wasn’t because he didn’t care about me or didn’t love me. In fact, they weren’t about me at all. It was because he just did not know how to show up as “daddy.” He knew how to be a community leader. He knew how to be an educator. He even knew how to be a provider. But a daddy? Not so much.
As a black man coming up in the civil rights era, being degraded was an everyday occurrence for Daddy. And because he was a dark-skinned man born to a dark-skinned man life was not giving him many breaks. Add to that the death of his mother and separation from his beloved stepfather at the age of ten (and if I’m really being honest… add to that me: a strong-willed daughter who refused to just do it his way) and the not-so-young me can see why it was easier for daddy to just not show up at all.
But daddy needed me as much as I needed him. He just didn’t know how to show up. I believe he wanted to. I believe he knew that-as the daddy-it was his job to provide for me; that it was his job to protect me. I also believe daddy knew how important he was to my realization of my own power… to my own identity and validation. I believe he knew he would be my barometer for how I would require other men to show up for me in the future. That I would look to him for my value and self-worth. We all do. We all need “daddies” to show up for us. And I believe all daddies want to show up for every relationship they value: their wives, their careers, their communities…
If daddies-whether biological or not – knew how to show up authentically for those closest to them, they would see the positive impact of the power they inherently hold and realize they are perfect just the way they were created to be. They would stop sabotaging relationships-both personal and business- and instead take back the power they hold to positively impact the world around them-including the one inside their own homes.
So, this letter is not to tell you that I’ve spent half my life mad at my daddy, but to tell you that I see the “daddy” in every man out there trying to show up for their family. This letter is to tell you that I know you love your children, your family, and your community. That I know you know that when you do show up, your family will be transformed… your communities will be transformed… and more importantly, YOU will be transformed… into the version of yourself we all need… and the one you always knew existed.
My pal Patty used to talk about the romance of her parents’ life. They were a young couple from different cultures in their small town but in the 1940s, they were so in love with each other that they eloped one warm summer evening. They had eleven months of romance bliss before Patty was born in June.
The household was not a happy one but Patty explained this lack of happiness was due to financial pressure. Her maternal grandparents had raised her mother with lots of money but when she ran off a married a guy from the poor part of town, they cut off their bounty.
Patty saw the power of money and how the lack of it could eat away at the love of even the most adoring couples. The firm believe in the early powerful romance of her parents shaped Patty’s own life and belief in romance. She also secretly felt that her birth got in the way of her parents’ enjoyment of their life together.
Her father died first. He was in his sixties when he succumbed to a heart attack. A few years later, a stroke took her mother. Patty was going through the papers stashed in her mother’s writing desk. She found her birth certificate. Then she found her parents’ marriage certificate.
She said the room actually spun when she looked at it. In spite of almost fifty years of wedding anniversaries celebrated in July, the evidence was in Patty’s hand. Her parents had gotten married in wintery January. They were married a bare six months before she was born. It rocked Patty’s world because everything she believed about her parents was called into doubt.
Facts are Facts, or Are They?
When you start gathering your family history, use that old tenet of journalism. Double check your facts. People have many reasons for changing facts to suit their personal histories. In the case of Patty’s mother, she did not want her daughter to know that she was pregnant when she married.
Another “fact” that was recorded in an obituary of one of my ancestors was that she was descended from Brigadier-General George Townshend who fought with General Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in the Seven Years’ War (also known as the French and Indian War).
When I began doing the family history, I accept this as fact and in creating the family tree, this was a good solid branch for years. Until the day I discovered that the Brigadier-General was at best a distant cousin.
When you are building your family history, check all the facts against the official records and make notes of the “facts” that have only been received by word of mouth.
Tracing your family history is an amazing way to learn about yourself. It also is a great way to learn how to research facts and separate them from fiction. I am narrowing my writing down to fiction and am thinking of using family history as a source of plots.
Motherhood is a gift and no one could ever take that gift away from you. Before the time of conception, you are being prepared to become the perfect mother to your beloved. Your entire being has been designed to become fit as a mom.
As soon as the baby is born, you would realize that you possess certain characteristics, talents, and abilities that you didn’t know exist hadn’t you become a mother. That is why there is no such thing as incompetent mom, there is however, someone who is just not willing to take on the responsibility.
Whether you have been a mom for a long time already or still about to embark the journey, know for a fact that there’s so many things to love about motherhood. Here are some of the reasons why:
Motherhood is not a walk in the park. There will be lots of challenges and roller coaster rides along the way – and this is normal. You would experience occasional bouts of intense emotions or perhaps experience tremendous stress during the first years due to lack of sleep and physical tiredness.
Despite of all the difficulties experience by a mother, it is actually the perfect time to see and know how much support you have around you. Your spouse would be the first one to be there for your needs (especially in the emotional aspect) & your immediate relatives like your own mother will be there to guide you every step of the way, teaching you what and what’s not in raising a child.
This support you’ll receive won’t be at par with the support you experienced in the past, because the support shown to you will have a significant impact to your entire motherhood experience.
Sense of accomplishment
No one said that raising up a child is easy. In fact, there are no shortcuts to it. The complexities of motherhood will what makes it very challenging and exciting for every single mother out there. Once you break through from all the challenges you face, that will be the time you would begin to feel a deep sense of accomplishment for yourself.
A connection with your own child
An opportunity like this does not always come. Being a mother gives you opportunities to see and discover the world of your own flesh and blood and also lets you have a deeper sense of connection with them.
You get to embrace them with your own arms, play with them, talk with them anytime of the day, and even sleep beside them all through the night. Being able to get connected to your own child is a priceless gift that does not happen all the time.
Opportunities to watch them grow
Children don’t stay where they are. They grow to become mature and independent. The opportunity to be able to watch them grow from being an infant down to becoming an adult is truly rewarding. It is even more amazing to think that you will be there in their most promising time to be their number 1 supporter.
As they grow, you begin to see what their interests are and see how those interests evolve to be their strengths and capabilities.
Bundle of Joy
Even in the most trying times, your child can be your ultimate joy and satisfaction. Children are a heritage, a reward, and a blessing to families. Most parents would agree that children can be your source of strength when times are tough, and joy when things go rough.
They will serve as your inspiration in everything you do. In the past all you did was for yourself, but now you get a sense of purpose in everything you do- and all of them for your children. As a parent, you would always want their best interest in mind. And while you busy yourself raising up your child, you will also feel the joy of being their mother.
Motherhood is both hard work and joy. They go hand in hand and that makes it very rewarding. Motherhood may not be for everyone, but to those who have been honed by it, they would be more than willing to share to everyone their experience of motherhood bit by bit.
I am George Patt, passionate writer, photographer, traveler and technology addicted. Proud dad of three awesome boys.
Positive parenting! I like the ring to that, don’t you? In a world that is so tumultuous sometimes it really helps when our children can look to their parents as their positive role models. Parents, we can do this! It won’t be easy, but we can do this. We can practice positive parenting and make a big difference in our children’s lives. And someday they will then take forward our positive practices and make a positive difference in the lives of their children
As positive parents who practice positive parenting, we all innately know that it is our parental duty to make sure that our kids feel protected and loved. We all have our own ways of doing this, so I’m not going to go into how to do it, okay? So, let’s just make sure that all of our kids know they are protected and loved. The knowing is the tricky part. So, let’s make sure that they know.
Next, as parents, it’s imperative that mom and dad don’t fight in front of the kids. I know this is easier said than done. But we must be vigilant about not looking combative in front of our children. Arguing in front of the kids scares our kids and makes them feel unsafe and torn between mom and dad. Let’s air our marital disagreements in private, away from the eyes and ears of our children.
Also, let’s set expectations and rules for our kids like bedtime, chores, and how they are supposed to treat others. When our kids don’t live up to our expectations and rules, then let’s discipline them out of love, rather than anger and resentment. Let’s speak to them softly and help them understand the right and productive way to conduct themselves. We can have high expectations and be both firm and loving.
Now, as my Granddaddy always said, “Go learn, lead, and lay the way to a better world for all of us.” Being a positive parent who practices positive parenting will absolutely have a positive impact on our children. And once again parents, thanks in advance for all that you do, and all that you will do…
Playing with a stress ball, geometric puzzle, tangles or similar toys may seem a lot like idle distraction. In fact, these toys are useful objects to help calm and focus a person, while helping to promote the more creative and clearer thinking. Also, the fidget toys are a practical option for tactile input and movement that is necessary for some people’s ability to learn. They come in a wide range of textures, sizes and shapes for ease of use and comfort.
What are they?
Fidget toys are practical for both adults and children. They are mostly used as therapeutic toys and relatively small in size. Most of the toys can easily sit comfortably in the palm of the hand. This small size means they are easy to carry in a lunch box, pocket, purse, or backpack. The toys are used in all types of environments, such as the office, in school and at home. They are built in a variety of materials from metal to washable nylon material, but no matter the type, it is still intended to increase a person’s attention and focus. The toys are often recommended by counselors and teacher’s doctors for those that lack focus in a learning environment.
Use for children
Children today can be more distracted and less inclined to learn and pay attention to their teacher. Their behavior, diets and entertainment options are completely different to previous generations of children. For the children that are quite restless and often fidget, it is worth trying these toys to see if it can help increase their focus and attention span. The fidget toys are practical to use in the home or school and help in a wide range of situations. Plus, the children are likely to have a lot of fun with these toys and they are very affordable.
The benefits of the fidget toys are wide-ranging for both adults and children. They are a useful choice to help improve focus and self-regulation. For those that use them in a school or work environment, there is the potential to see an improvement in academic development or an increase in productivity. The toys held in the hands are very effective at giving a calming influence and can keep a person more alert. A further benefit is the ability to improve the tactile awareness of the hands and fingers. The regular user of this type of toy can see an improvement in strength of the hands and fingers overtime.