From The Eyes Of Fathers: A Father's Day Roundtable

Father's Day is today, June 21st. There are many fathers who are being taken out to dinner today, receiving gifts and having the day focused on them. That's a beautiful thing. However, nothing about parenthood has ever been perfect and situations have their complications. Today, we spoke with a few fathers, each in different situations and positions, to get their stance on Father's Day, the importance of a father being in the child's life and describing how foul some of these situations can turn. A real, honest, and raw look at things through the eyes on fathers. Let us begin.

I knew from my teenage years that my first born child would be a boy. I just knew it. I didn’t know when, or with who, but there was never a doubt in my mind that I would have a son.

In May of 2009, my vision became a reality. And in the 6 years since he’s been on this earth, no one has brought more happiness to my life than my baby boy (don’t call him a baby). He’s exceeded every expectation I ever had for a child.

The one thing I never saw coming was being a divorced dad having to negotiate when and how much visitation I’m entitled to with my prince. I guess I had tunnel vision and only focused on the glory of fatherhood and lost sight of some of the issues and circumstances that ultimately led to the end of my marriage.

My son growing up without his father in the same house is one of the biggest burdens I’ll ever have to bear. What hurts the most is that I lived that life as a child and at a young age, I vowed to never put my own child through it. But life comes at you fast sometimes. And despite your best efforts and intentions, factors beyond your control can sometimes force you to break your promises.

But I’m a strong black man. Just like in so many other instances my brothers and I face in life, I took that punch, shook it off, and continued to move forward. As my son grows, this is one of the many life lessons I will teach him.

Some of the greatest plans ever conceived have been ruined by poor execution and sabotage. But despite your failures, you continue to get up and try again. Never quit.

Its not fair to blame my divorce as the sole factor that limits my physical access to my son. I work in various foreign countries so I’m away from the States for long periods of time. But I keep in touch with him regularly and support him financially and emotionally. Its hard to raise a boy through Skype, but I do what I can.

If I could give advice to any brothers who find themselves in my situation or similar, I’d say just keep calling. Keep Skyping. I still send my son handwritten letters sometimes (I know that’s beyond old school). If your money isn’t right, send what you can or help out in other ways. Just be there. It won’t be easy, trust me. But rarely is something worthwhile accomplished without some level of struggle. The next generation needs strong male fathers, father-figures, and role models. Be that.

My life changed the day I remember a father. Nothing in life is as genuine and real as your children. The love they show to you comes from an honest place and is full of life and innocence. My daughter really changed my mindset and her birth is the greatest day of my life.

I knew that I would have a daughter first. I just knew it. My music is essentially prophecy, and on my song "Must've Been Angels", I said that me and my ex would have a daughter soon. I recorded that song in September during the making of the album. We found out she was pregnant in November, two months later. It's funny how that works sometimes. I knew how life changing a child could be, so essentially, I tried to prepare as best I could and make my ex's pregnancy as smooth as possible. That's what I was supposed to do. I remember her birth like it was yesterday, I held her in my arms and felt like everything was going to be alright. It took me a few weeks to fully adjust as a new parent, but that's normal. It's all a learning process. The first year plus of her life, I would be the first sight she would see every morning and that literally kept me going despite all the other issues and problems surrounding me. She is my motivation and inspiration. Her smile, her warm hugs, her vibrance, just her presence can make the worst day seem brighter.

My situation now is essentially similar to JR's, but the mother of my child isn't cooperative. So, at the present time, I'm being kept from seeing my child and talking to her. It's literally the worst thing I've ever had to deal with because of how the system is set up. A lot of people who haven't dealt with it or have a different situation wouldn't understand and that's fine. There have been many changes in the last year and a half. I just had to readjust. As a father, you just attempt to do what you can when things go wrong and try to better suit the child. I personally hold no ill will towards my daughter's mother, I just want to be involved in my child's life. You send money and do your part to contribute there, but it is painful not being able to share the moments with your angel. Regardless, life hits you out of nowhere and you're forced to adjust. I have attempted numerous times to reach out to her mom, to no avail. I wish I understood how she thinks keeping me from being active in my child's life helps our daughter, but I don't. Every child needs their father. I live for my daughter. She becomes my purpose for getting up in the morning, because I know I'm on a path to get back to her. Otherwise, I would likely be depressed. But I would never give up. Never. I was just never a fan of courts determining visits, amounts and dictating something that we as adults and parents should be mature enough to do on our own. It just seems to be such a long drawn out and detailed process. I hate the court systems and how they are set up. But, I digress.

I vowed to never be like my father and to always be there for my child, but I never expected to have to fight for my parental rights. That is the unfortunate reality, but that's life. It doesn't always go how we planned it.

I know my child is a big burst of energy and personality. She's so full of life, has all this hair and warms my heart. Children are God's greatest blessing. You learn so much from raising them, guiding them, teaching them, and in the end, it will be your most rewarding experience ever. I miss my daughter every second of the day. Every day of the week. As a father, we just want to protect our children, but with a baby girl, that instinct is even greater. To guide her, to love her, to be everything for her as she grows, that instinct is there. We have to do what we can as fathers, even in the worst of times, to make sure our children are safe. In the end, things will work out for the best and all will be well. The setbacks and pain you go through are only temporary. I spoke my story because I know plenty of brothers going through the same and a lot going through even worse. Maintain your strength and do what you can to provide, money or otherwise.

The importance of being in my daughters lives is most evident in terms of establishing their value system, ability to communicate properly, and interaction with the opposite sex. Sometimes I think my daughters are more beneficial to me than I am to them. The world is filled with smiling faces with sinister objectives and handshakes that aren’t genuine. A daughter's love is something unconditional and unwavering. There are many times when a simple word from my child supersedes the callousness that surrounds me. For that, I'm forever grateful because I can’t get that from anyone else. Making things work with their mother really isn’t a priority, working to keep my relationship solid with them in spite of the mother is. See nobody cries foul when they parade your children in front of unknown suitors and disappear on a whim with your child. No judge, no sheriff and definitely not other women. I admit I haven’t always reacted to that well. The kids always bring me back off the ledge though. That is what I'm thankful for. That is the best feeling you get as a father. Your child’s love.

Becoming a father changed my life in so many ways. My little man is turning four this summer and seeing him grow up is very often the only thing that keeps me moving. I started dating his mom almost 7 years ago now, and while things have been VERY, VERY shakey at times, I'm still blessed enough to have been around my son his whole life.
Baby mama drama is a very real thing and not just some shit that rhymes. There was a point during our longest separation that I wasn't able to see my son for a few months and the pain was like 4,000 pounds on my chest constantly. My lowest point was crying on the phone... to my son's mother's mother! Just to see MY son who I've provided for since he was bumping Illmatic inside the womb. I don't judge any man who wasn't as lucky as I was. I was able to witness the birth and so many milestones up until now, and I say now because even the woman I basically sold my immortal soul to, has the capacity to change like the seasons. Personally, I wouldn't put it past any woman at this point, depending on the situation. Regardless, Happy Fathers Day!



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