The Daddy Cycle is the working title of the book that lurks in my head. As I attempt to get it out…occasionally I will run to this blog to jot down some notes and thoughts. Since the book isnt ready. This is the Mixtape.
So, I was randomly tweeting with Twittette extraordinaire @whymelawd on the subject of Tony Dungy commenting on Reggie Bush and what he should do with his Heisman Trophy.
The substance of what she said for the purposes of this particular post revolve around her assertion that most professional coaches’ fathering skills left something to be desired because of the Nature of those Fathers building long-standing relationships outside of the home.
This was in response to my assertion that there were many fields in which men sacrifice a more intimate fathering experience in exchange for more success at work.
This sent me down the rabbit hole of The Daddy Track
Sure there are articles like THIS one that discuss the paths certain men are taking to allow themselves time to spend with their children, but I am wondering if, in fact, Such a world really exists.
Is the Daddy Track REAL?
Or is it the Mommy Track for Humans with penises?
Is our culture REALLY expecting men to put family first…
not because they HAVE to, in the case of all of us Running our ass home to Grab Jr. or Janie from DayCare because our wives/SOs/CM are just as busy as the man is…
but because it is an ACTIVE choice.
They look in the mirror and say, “Yanno, you could REALLY bust your ass out here and make partner…or you could just do your job and be home by 6.”
Is anyone REALLY making this choice.
I’m asking. Because I really want to know.
Are a Daddy
Momma a child with a Daddy
Momma a child without a Daddy
There is wit and wisdom (and hilarity) to be found in this link.
Co-Parenting Matters is an invaluable resource for Divorced and single parents. I hope the show blesses you as much listening as it did for me being on it.
I am by my nature, a difficult person to scare. I am a father of three small to medium boys with a wife whos is as prone to shreiks of fear as she is feats of amazing mental and spiritual (and occasionally physical) strength.
As such, I dont let much shake me.
Except one thing.
The prospect of waking up at the Dawn of the Congressional Christmas break without National Health Care reform Scares the shit out of me.
But Why NOW? Health care in the US is the best in the world? (you. Shut up.)
Ok, maybe not the best but do you REALLY want the alternative?
The alternative to WHAT? ANOTHER decade of being shut out of the health care market because I have a job where I am largely paid by strangers?
Here is a secret, boys and girls…A deep, dark secret that I am taking this opportunity to share with all of you.
My youngest son has been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. This is a fact that my wife and I knew was a very real possibility when we got married, so we didn’t really plan to have children. TFMI also had the sickle cell trait (as do Mrs. Ink and Me), so after rolling the dice successfully twice before…I wasn’t really interested in having more children, for 1000 reasons. Mrs. Ink just plain didn’t want kids.
But alack and alas, here we are. with a child who has a serious hereditary disease (how serious? The boy qualifies for Make-a-wish) and Faces a LIFETIME of medical challenges in order for him to lead a normal life.
TODAY, He is under my wife’s insurance, who as a school teacher for a large urban district in Texas, has PRETTY good insuance which is only affordable provided SHE is the only one on it.
The notion of me joining her on her insurance apparently is unpalatable to the good taxpayers of Texas, because that would send her monthly premium up 600%. Adding the boy only raised it 400%, what a bargain.
Here is the hook, My wife would like NOTHING better than to step out of the Classroom and retire to run our family business full time.
Fat effin chance of that happening until Health Care reform passes. So we wait. and watch. and pray.
Pray with us and for us, please.
Author’s Note: forgive the tardiness, Labor, newborn babies, custodial parenting, stuff like that intruded and I ended up spending more time Living the story than writing about it. My bad. You won’t miss a detail, I promise.
In the aftermath of 9/11, there was enough flux in my life that I could pretend my family life was back to normal. I trudged through The fall of 2001 with my head down, saying very little verbally, but tackling my new found passion of writing. Writing at that time was like the therapy that I had never experienced.
I was participating on an anonymous group blog called Kindred with a bunch of established Bloggers. The rush I felt as a part of that immensely talented collective inspired me to creative heights I have NOT found since. I was BLOGGING with the Best Black Bloggers in the world way back in TWO THOUSAND ONE, SON!
I spent the autumn oblivious to my family, Engaging just enough to keep everyone quiet about the turmoil of the past and to focus on how I was going to survive eighteen years of Loveless marriage while raising my sons. Suffice it to say that it never occured to me that they might NOTICE that mommy and daddy didn’t really like each other all that much. That 3.0 ALREADY could tell that something wasn’t quite right even as he was concentrating on the wonders of Potty Training.
That 3.1 was a momma’s boy was inevitable. That he resembled TFMI was merely coincidence. For someone who spent the last 4 months in the womb of a woman whose husband only occasionally shielded his hopeless outlook on marital bliss and family, it is difficult to imagine that I could have built up a great deal of cool points in utero.
But none of that stopped me. I was a man who only vaguely remembered having a Father in the house. I told ANYONE who would listen to my digital rantings, that i Would NEVER be THAT father. Id Stick in through thick and thin. Wasn’t gonna make it until death did us part, but I would DEFINITELY make Graduation.
Famous Last words.
After reading the Interlude, you can get a sense of the cauldron of conflict that 3.1 was conceived and nurtured in. The picture looked fine, but story behind the picture was Toxic.
(This is why the thousand words a picture tells is never enough)
The physical picture maintained a sheen suitable for framing, but the reality was infecting all those involved.
By Labor Day weekend, the situation had devolved into a war-of-the-roses type thing where folk had retreated into their respective foxholes and the boy wandered back and forth between us like some special envoy in the safe zone. I had clearly moved on, I just hadn’t moved out. To say it was ugly engages in a form of understatement that I am personally uncomfortable
As with the country, the events of 9/11 changed everything. On the surface that is.
While I am confident EVERYONE has a “where were you on 9/11 story” those of us who could see the smoke in the air and engaged in the cinematic exodus out of lower manhattan and Inner Washington, DC have our own peculiar stories. The day brought me face to face with how fleeting life can be, how easily angry spouses can be transformed to grieving widows. For the first time in months, we sat as a family and bonded over the tragedy and how our family had been spared. All was well.
For a week.
After that, you may have well said that the Terrorists had won in my house, because it was business as usual at my house
There was a certain resignation to my life in April, 2001. To the outside world, the three of us were the ideal small family. We screamed out for a patronizing commercial extoling the wonders Wal-Mart could do for young Black Families. I was married but realized that it was going nowhere fast. As in most marriages, it had become a monster that two people each put a great deal of effort into constructing, but as is always the case, the history books will write that it was all my fault. We were great parents, but not very good spouses and I could see the end up ahead, even though I dreaded the effect it would have on Inkgnegro 3.0 who was the sole propelling force in my life. Rest assured, no piece of paper would have kept us together had he not been born.
I remember the fight clearly.
Her: Blah blah blah
Me: Blah blah blah (under my breath) With your dumb ass.
Her: *Leaps across the room and punches me in the jaw…hard*
Me: *takes punch: throws her on the bed to prevent more punches*
*large cat exits in a rush*
*small boy enters yelling and screaming*
*Her and Me realize that we have NO business carrying on like this, both stand up and glare like we were caught with our hands in the proverbial cookie jar*
It was at that moment that we calmed the hysterical boy and finished the argument in a less physical manner.
At that precise moment, as I drove to work on the night before Easter, I was done. All the arguments we had hidden from the boy were exposed in the most ugly format possible. He was 2 1/2, and I have been meaning to ask if he remembers it.
It was April 15, 2001 when TFMI told me that if I was going to go, I needed to go now and not keep her in suspense. I was on my way to work, literally. I stopped long enough to grab another tie, and a pair of boxers and I left. I left the money from my check in the account, opened up a new acct with the money I made from the second job and moved on in every way possible. By Friday I had a new place, and by May 1, life was starting to make sense for me.
It was the Friday before Mother’s day when I came by to drop off her Mother’s day gift from 3.0 and realized that TFMI wasn’t herself. Upon great interrogation, it was revealed that she was pregnant.
Just like that; I realized that Life wasn’t going to work with me around the corner living the “single” life like Cameo. On Mother’s Day night I moved back into the apartment and did my best to resurrect the monster I had slain with one quick decision. I succeeded to the extent that the Monster became a Zombie that would have made Romero proud.
Marriage the blessed sacrament had become Marriage the job. and I wanted to take that Job and shove it. It was in this atmosphere that Inkognegro 3.1 was nurtured and grew in utero.
All fathers have that moment where we look at our flesh and blood, our progeny, our namesakes, the Fruit of our proverbial loins and realize that we are saying EXACTLY what someone said to us and that they are the living embodiment of that longstanding unarguable curse of childhood:
We ultimately raise the very children we were.
When I met TFMI (The Former Mrs. Inkognegro) on our first date, I told her outright that there was one thing I was completely unwilling to compromise on. My first born son WOULD carry on my name. As a Junior myself, it was a non-negotiable condition of our relationship.
On October 14, 1998, as a result of the most smooth labor episode in the anecdotal history of Holy Cross Hospital (Labor began at 5:15am, water broke at 7:45am checked in the Pital at 9:22am, Time of Birth: 9:37am, all natural, no cuts)
It was almost as though I spit him out.
I vowed I would never leave him like my father did me. He was too much like me to have to go through life by himself. I knew his mother wouldn’t understand him. She didn’t understand ME…and I was GROWN. She loves him like her first born, because he is. But the same things about ME that made her crazy (and rightfully so) REEEEEALLY make her crazy when he does it.
But of course…Those who do not learn from their history are condemned to repeat it. I was already doomed; on the path to repeat the same mistakes my father made 27 yrs before:
- Find yourself parlaying your job into a plethora of unfulfilling relationships
- Realize that you actually want more than that
- Decide you want to settle down
- Meet, woo, court and marry the next woman you meet.
- Decide you don’t children right away and then IMMEDIATELY procreate
- suddenly find yourself married and parenting with someone who loves you, but doesn’t like the person you really are
- sabotage the marriage in an effort to chase down your own journey of self-discovery at the expense of growing your marriage.
So, Three years later, just on the heels of potty training and just after the birth of his little brother. Daddy left. Didn’t go far, but gone all the same.
My father didn’t go FAR. At first. First it was across town. then a few states away….then cross country. Chasing something. Anything. finding nothing but Distance and regret.
I did benefit from growing through those years with my father. I see 3.0 often enough to stay reminding him that Daddy knows what he’s going through. Sure as I sit here, I know what they future can hold for him. Good and bad. All about the choices. And not just the ones that HE makes, but the ones that I make too.
My father died when he was 51. I was the only child he had. Seven Wives. One child.
I was 29 when he passed away of an aneurysm on the side of the road in Southern California, his home for 20 years. I had spent 1992 and 93 with him…as his roommate and assistant. I believe it was one of his NON-wives that ultimately sabotaged our relationship at the time. This apparently was why she was a NON-wife. Ironically enough, my father told me (two wives later) that my presence could have MADE her a wife. Her jealousy of my presence made her a non-non wife.
My Uncle (on dad’s side) came to MD and flew with me to LA to Bury my father. It was the last time I ever saw my uncle. The last time I saw anyone on my father’s side. During that week I heard more about my father in death than I did when he was alive.
It was at THAT time that I started to put the pieces together of who my father was.
It was at THAT time that I realized the path I was on.
I vowed that I would NOT let my sons learn about me from strangers at my funeral.
Everyday that I wake up I get a chance to teach my sons more about me.
3.0 is ten now. His personality is taking shape. the shape of MY personality…good and bad.
This summer will be the most time we have spent together since I left in the still of a February Night, told by TFMI that she didn’t want him to wait until the boys grew up, that he should leave right now. She later said she didn’t REALLY mean it; that she was just mad.
I found out later that my mother said the same thing to my father. The night HE left.
My mission in life in regards to Mr. 3.0 is to prevent him from Following in ALL of my footsteps. Cause if I do nothing. He will.
Hell, if I do MANY things….he still might. But it won’t be my fault.
You have now met Inkognegro 3.0. Kinda.