Welcome to the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge! Throughout the 28 days of February, my posts will not (necessarily) be about HR, Leadership or Management topics.
I have been dreading this day.
From the moment we setup the challenge calendar, I’ve been dreading this day.
You see, I lost my father 8 months and 2 days ago. Then I lost my grandfather 4 months after him … And I can’t talk about love for fathers without thinking of them. I’m still grieving and I miss the both. Every single day.
My father was an amazing dad. In my elementary school years when he was a stay-at-home dad. He did my hair in the mornings and made my lunch. He walked me to school and returned to walk me home after. He gave me snacks and did homework with me. He didn’t cook dinner tho — he left that for my mom when she returned home.
As an adult, I now know that he was laid off and unable to find permanent work during that time. While I was in school, he was searching for jobs — sometimes working day and short term labor positions; other times spending time in long bureaucratic lines at the unemployment office. It was difficult financially for my family. It was taxing on my parents’ relationship. My dad was often depressed during those times.
I never knew the difference.
My grandfather was just as amazing. By the time I was old enough to have memories, he was already retired. He devoted himself to helping his children raise their children and keep balance in their lives. He gave us rides to wherever we needed to go. He played with us. He came to all our events and recitals. He bragged about us to everyone who would listen.
As an adult, I now know my grandfather left school before high school began. He was drafted into the military and faced harsh discrimination and mistreatment after he was mistaken for White and corrected the error. Yes, that’s right. He was punished for choosing to be Black when he had the opportunity to be otherwise. Yet he loved his country and his status as a veteran until his death. We are waiting now for his final internment at Arlington National Cemetery.
My grandfather taught himself to be an electrician by reading and practice. He eventually worked and retired for Ford Motor Company. He was well into his 80s before he stopped doing electrician work for friends, family and his church. He was into his 90s before he stopped driving. He was 99 years 10 months and 5 days old when he passed away.
I had shining examples of Black Fatherhood in both of them. Two men who loved and gave the very best of themselves to make life safe and stable for their children and their wives. They sacrificed and suffered along the way. But they never stopped giving.
And in the midst of my loss and grief, I found joy with a shining example of Black Fatherhood all my own.
You see, I also got married last year.
And my husband is an amazing father. He holds down the household for our combined 5 children. He cooks. He cleans. He does hair. He does homework. He runs errands. He keeps the calendar. He takes them to rehearsals and practices and games and competitions. And he works 2 jobs.
He gives the best of himself to make life safe and stable for us. He sacrifices and suffers for us. He never stops giving. And he never lets us give up.
I know my story is a beautiful story. I know I am incredibly fortunate to have so many wonderful examples of Black Fatherhood in my life and in my children’s lives.
And I know that I’m not alone in this. Not even close.
There are wonderful Black Fathers all around us.
Active, giving, loving, amazing Black Fathers.
They are not the exception. They are the rule.
We must recognize and honor them. We must tell their stories. Or no one will hear ever hear them.
Tune in tomorrow for Day 17 – Young Gifted and Black
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