As an adult, as a Haitian-American raised by a pure Haitian father, and as a mother, I can look back on my childhood and see how my father was a human in being a dad. It’s easy for me now to forgive him for the slights that I harbored as a child growing up, and mend the relationship that we had. It’s easy for me NOW to rebuild and repair and have the father that I always wanted. Not many people can say this.
I can’t speak for American parents and how they raise their children, but I could probably write a book on being raised by a Haitian parent. It was not easy. Especially when your father is strict and can only see things his way. I was the first-born for both of my parents; technically, I should’ve been daddy’s little girl. I don’t ever remember having that relationship with my father. I do remember the beatings, the yelling, the name calling. I remember being scared of him. So, it’s easy for me now (and it was then also) to gravitate towards my mother and have that close relationship with her. She loved youth, children, and me. So she treated me with respect- she listened to me when I talked, explained things that I didn’t understand, and had lots of fun with me. She was the “fun” parent.
When I entered high school, my parents divorced, and my mother took my little brother and I; I really didn’t see my dad much. So it went from being scared of him to not ever really seeing him. I had a LOT of daddy issues that surfaced later on in life. When I met the father of my children, had my daughter, got pregnant with my son, and I decided to leave, I didn’t have anywhere to go. My dad’s house was my only option. He let me stay with him, but it was like living with a stranger. I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. At that time, I was fighting all the time with my children’s father and we had a lot of custody issues going on, so I was always angry or upset. That doesn’t leave for good communication, and I remember that one day I was angry because of something my kid’s dad did to me and I went into the house and I think my dad questioned me about what was wrong and I blew him off. Well, that didn’t sit well with a Haitian man who demands respect, so we argued and yelled at each other and he actually kicked me out (did I mention earlier that I had nowhere else to go and that I was pregnant at the time?). Don’t ask me where I went, I just know that I left. He called my mom and she explained everything to him; he called me and asked me to come back home. A little while later, I was arrested and sent to RCF pending the outcome of my trial.
Something happened when I was at RCF. I’m not sure if it was because my mother told him everything that was going on with me, or if it was because the judge denied my bail and I had no choice but to stay in jail and await the outcome of my trial, or if it was because I was pregnant, but my dad came to that jail every single week and visited me. He held my hand and prayed with (and for) me. We laughed, we joked- we just talked. And we got to know each other. We bonded- I became his baby girl and he became my protector. For those 8 months that I was away from my life and my family, he was my connection. When I was released (by then I had 2 children instead of 1), I moved back into my dad’s house. And this time, things were different. The kids loved him, and I saw his interaction with them. I cooked for him and he cooked for me. We talked. We went out to eat with the kids. We have, by no means, a perfect “father-daughter” relationship, but I now can turn to my father for stuff. I can talk to him. I want him to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. I don’t hate my father anymore; in fact, I actually like his old ass.
Now- I cannot talk about my relationship (or lack thereof) of my dad without acknowledging my stepfather, the guy my mother remarried. He was the dad that I wished I had growing up. I wasn’t his daughter, but he treated me like a princess (and still does today). He spoke to me, advised me, and treated me with respect. He adores my kids, and my son is his best friend. He actually told me that he wouldn’t walk me down the aisle when I was getting married unless my real father was on the other side of me. That’s respect. So, now I have 2 dads. And the love that I felt that I was lacking as a little girl growing up, I now have in abundance.
So now I have 2 children. And, although their father and I don’t always see eye to eye, my children adore him. I hate it! Lol. My daughter is a daddy’s girl to the T, and my son has a new-found love of calling on his father for everything. He’s stealing my babies from me!!!! But I am grateful, because my children don’t have to grow up feeling deprived of love like I did. And, my boyfriend has an amazing relationship with my kids. My son will wake up in the morning and ask to call my bf just to talk to him. He did it this morning. They have so many male figures in their lives to teach them, steer them, guide them, and love them unconditionally. My children are blessed, and I am more than elated about it.
My daddy-daughter relationship didn’t start off the way that I would’ve liked. But I love my father. And my step-father. And I wish them, my children’s father, my boyfriend, and all the fathers a Happy Father’s Day. And I hope that your family gifts you something other than a watch or a tie. Lol!
Be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!