Friday, June 19, 2009

More Man Than Ever Before

TGIF!!

So I couldn't think of a better way to kick off Father's Day weekend than with a guest blog by a man who's an expert at this by now. After all, his blog Makes Me Wanna Holler is dedicated all things Man, Husband and Father - so all my men AND fathers reading this, please subscribe to his blog...cuz he's just THAT good. He's been my guest before, and it's my honor to have him close out the week leading into Father's Day weekend. He makes fatherhood look fly - give it up for E. Payne!



More Man Than Ever Before

by Eric Payne


This past Mother’s Day, the plans were set weeks in advance. I made reservations at Brasserie Les Halles downtown in NYC’s Flatiron District for thirteen people. Were it not for the day, it definitely would’ve looked like we were in town for a Black people convention as we had the largest and definitely one of the loudest tables in the place. Gifts and kisses were doled out to all the moms in attendance and none of them paid for anything --- not the twenty-five dollar steaks, not the top shelf bourbon, not the rack of lamb, not the nine dollar desserts. And it was all good. Everyone left happy, well fed and tipsy.

Last week, Saturday, my mother-in-law asked me when Father’s Day was because she thought it had already come and gone. I laughed. In actuality, my son’s birthday is the day before; his graduation from eighth grade is four days after and my mother is coming into town around the same time to take my daughter home with her to Chicago next month. Not one of those twelve people I ate with on Mother’s Day has even suggested the idea of eating anywhere this coming Sunday.

I’m preparing myself mentally in advance so I won’t be upset this weekend as I pop open the little white cardboard box containing my Quarter Pounder with Cheese. I really want my smile to be genuine when I take the wrapping paper off the gallon-sized box of Jovan Musk my wife and kids will most likely give me.

But it’s cool. It’s just the way things are sometimes when you’re Dad. Being misunderstood also comes with the territory, and at least once in your life as a father, one if not all the members of your family just won’t get you. And unless you’re a card carrying member of the fatherhood club, you’ll never truly know or accept this with every fiber of your being.

Fatherhood is a process --- the movement from single to plural, from self to everybody but you. As a man without kids, I relished in my free time. As a father, I fight for quality time with my kids and become very agitated when I feel my time is being wasted by anyone other than my immediate family. As a man without kids, I entertained foolishness --- that of others and especially my own. Now, I simply don’t have the time and I have several fewer friends to show for it.

But that’s cool, too. Why? My kids are the best thing that ever happened to me because they require the best from me. I give it to them unthinkingly, and unflinchingly. This is something that as a man without kids, I would’ve considered ridiculous. No one had the right to demand anything of me back then other than God, Himself. But this was more tough talk than anything else.

As I child, I had an idea cooking in my head of what ultimate manhood should be: courage under fire, bravery in the face of fear, and whoopin’ ass and taking names when necessary - All while having the decisiveness of a king, the compassion of a priest and the love of a god inside me to guide me. Looking back on things, I had the right notion, but not a clue as to how to get there. Reality taught me getting bitten by a radioactive spider would’ve most likely landed me in a hospital or a morgue and not swinging from skyscrapers and sticking to walls. And chasing skirts through most of my twenties most times had me chasing my own tail.

People often learn who they are in places and situations they never, ever considered. I definitely did. Without my noticing, nine years into raising my overgrown, teenage son and three years into raising my very determined baby girl, I’ve become more the man of my dreams than I ever could’ve dreamed by simply being a father. All of the above, and then some, is required all of the time when it comes to giving your all to those you’ve given life to. And for me, I get it all back through their love and laughter, watching them grow and learn, and hearing what I never dreamed would sound so good: “Daaaad!”

Have a Happy Father’s Day this weekend to all my fellow Dads and to the people who plan on celebrating them.

It’s this weekend, for real.

E.

28 comments:

Brooke said...

Okay, I’ll go first so Annamaria doesn’t have to tase anyone else for beating Monica...and it’s MY BLOG so... :-)

E, I read your blog daily, even though I don’t always comment, and what’s apparent to me about your daily adventures as a husband and father is that you TRULY enjoy being both. You can tell you want so much for your family – to provide for them, to guide them, to lead, to protect, to be the best father and husband you can be while juggling everything else at the same time. Trying to work, write, spend time with your wife, with your kids and take time for yourself all require hard work, patience and dedication. It’s a delicate balance, but you make it look easy. Marriage and parenthood remain a mystery for so many – even years into it. There’s no script, no crystal ball – yet everyday you stress that you love your family more than anything and are willing to put in the work necessary to make it all come together beautifully. I realize that a lot of time those efforts appear to go unnoticed. But, I’m sure your love and devotion are apparent to all of those around you, even if they don’t take you out to dinner to show their appreciation. It’s inspiring to me and I applaud you on the man, husband and father that you are.

Keefe said...

second!!!!

Keefe said...

E,

Thanks for the words and I hope you (and everyone else) have blessed father's day.

As a son, husband, and father (who is still adjusting to the process) I understand your words and share your sentiment.

E.Payne said...

Brooke - thank you, thank you. It ain't easy, but it gets easier with time. I'm not in it for any kind of recognition so I don't really care about going by quietly. I've come to realize I blog first to sort things out for myself and then if or whoever's reading can take a good word or change an opinion about what they might think black men are or are not then it's all good.

Thanks for always giving me blog love and just being generally real cool. Have a great weekend!

Keefe - keep it movin' brother, offline I'm sure we could compare battle scars and war stories, but online what I'll say is after a little bit of time passes (as it has for me) and you can actually look back just as much as you can look forward things get manageable and the ride starts to become automatic.

Serena W. said...

E. Payne and to all of the brothers who blogged this week I take my hat off to you! You've inspired me a lot fellas and I thank you!

As I said Father's Day is somewhat hard, but I celebrate the life of my Papa this weekend and reuniting with my fathers side of the fam.

E.Payne I need to start reading your blog more often. Your insight is genuine and I know it ain't easy! As an elder once told me...if anything you love to do is too easy or it comes that way then there is something wrong and beware. She was talking about relationships in general. But I can also relate it to parenthood as I can tell from your stories and others that it's not quite as simple of some people say it is...

In other words you'll be faced with challenges and obstacles but as time goes on it becomes automatic as you stated.

I remember the look on Papa's face when I would give him a bag of after dinner mints (he loved those things), cashew peanuts that I would later dog out with him, some English Leather and Soap on a Rope (what y'all know about that)! The smile and hugs were priceless.

Mind you when mothers day just hit my mother and grandmother got cards, flowers, brunch, etc.

You could tell though that he was so happy, to see the smile on my face and later on his other grandchildren made his day :)

Happy Father's Day to All the Brothers on Here!!!!! Thanks for helping a sista get through this weekend and be inspired to know so many great men that are wonderful husbands and fathers!

annamaria said...

Brooke I don't care if it is ur blog I will still tase u!
And just in case I'll leave it at Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads that read this blog! Hope u have a great weekend.

Brooke said...

You can't tase me Annamaria, you LOVE ME! LOL!!

Rameer said...

I liked this blog a lot. But I have always noticed and thought it was f'd up how women and children make a HUGE deal about Mother's Day, but Father's Day is just like "ehhh". Like get Dad a bottle of cologne and keep it moving. I just have never liked it.

The most important person to me growing up as a man in a family full of women was my grandfather. He meant the world to me, and I've never been able to fill the void that appeared after he passed on. So Father's Day has always been uber-important to me, cuz HE was my Dad. That's our relationship.

Writing it here won't and can't change the way everyone thinks and acts. But I wish that women and children could recognize and give the just due to all of the good fathers out there as much as they do the mothers. They are just as deserving.

Brooke said...

Rameer, I agree. I feel that most of the mothers I know who get showered on are single mothers. The women I know who have men like E in their lives, great fathers and husbands, spoil the man just as much as they're spoiled...so at least that's been great for me to see.

The men in my family never really wanted all of that. We'd ask to take them to dinner or what they wanted, and they all said they just wanted a day of peace and quiet. They were hard working men, so just being able to be lazy and not have to DO anything was enough for them. I think the women got catered to because the women EXPECTED to. Maybe if the men made more of a deal of it in my family, the women would have definitely responded.

But you're right, we should show more love than we do, even though mothers and fathers don't decide to be great parents just for the accolades. Men are definitely just as deserving.

Austin "Powerz" said...

As a father of 2, what lives in my heart is when my kids smile knowing it's me they are thinking of. Or when my son (age 6) walks up to hold my hand and says "I love you daddy" for no reason at all. The commercialization of Mother's Day and Father's Day has put a stereotypical spin on how it should be spent. Mother's are thought to be nurturers and caregivers which should be honored. Father's are thought of as protectors. Both of which are equally important but as society has noticed, its hard to get a reservation 2 weeks in advance for a Mother's Day dinner but you can almost walk into any restaurant the day of and be seated in minutes.

Here's to all the Father's raising, teaching, protecting.....Don't ever stop because our input is just as important and don't let society change this for you because one day out the year it appears miniscule compared to it's Mother's Day counterpart.....

E. Payne...thanks for the insight

Annamaria said...

For those of you that haven't put 2+2 together Austin POWERZ is my baby daddy!!! lol and the looooveee of my life.. BUT HE IS GETTING NOTHING BUT A BIG TASE in his left arm on Sunday!!!! LMAO

All jokes aside. Austin is first & foremost an EXCELLENT and outstanding father!!!!!! Jada, Aaron & Sophia are lucky to have him. And I don't know about the other women out there but fathers day is just as important as mother's day so I intend to make my boo feel extra special this weekend.

I love you babe!

Brooke said...

Austin!!

I hear ALL THE TIME what an awesome father you are...and are going to be to new baby girl. Congratulations, and Happy Father's Day!

Austin '"Powers" said...

Thanks babe! The day you actually get a taser, we will have to sit down and talk! lol

Thanks Brooke! I don't understand how a man can go through life knowing he has a child in this world and not want to be a part of thier lives.

NYCity Mama said...

Ah, E. You're a rock star I see...lol! love the blog...happy to see it gets the praise it deserves. love the entry my brother. Happy Father's Day.

Annamaria said...

Brooke u still buying me that taser?????? lol

Brooke said...

uh...so you can tase ME with it? NOT!!! Did you JUST threaten me on IM like an hour or so ago telling me that you were gonna tase me AFTER your baby shower (so she can get the gift y'all)!

Yeah...that's a negative on the taser :)

Annamaria said...

If you buy it I won't tase u!!!! I promise!

Brooke said...

Famous last words as I'm wiggling around on the ground :)

And you threatened to tast Austin, your baby daddy of all people! What kind of Father's Day gift is THAT?! :)

I know you already carved out a shank, just rock with that :)

Latinegro said...

E - I feel like you and I have many things in common. I don't post comments as much as I used to, but I am still a fan. You definately the dad I hope to be one day

Annamaria said...

Carved out a shank...This is 2009 I got 2 sets of knives in the kitchen..... I DON'T PLAY..LOL..

Brooke said...

and she wonders why I won't buy her a taser...

Ant you will make a great dad one day, we've discussed this already ;)

The Cable Guy said...

Back to the blog (all this violence!) E, your blog was on point. As a father myself, I can relate. I DO feel sometimes like folks just don't get me, and I question myself and wonder if I'm the best father I can be. While I'm not with my son's mother, I'm definitely there for him. It's hard not to feel guilty about that, but I try to make up for it. All I can do is do my best - thanks for sharing your insights.

Annamaria said...

Cable DUDE & all you dads out there. You don't have to be with the child's mother to be a good father. Sometimes the distance makes you a better father. Because you can stop thinking of the drama & focus on your kid. Austin has been apart from the kids mom for a while now & I see how he focuses on the kids & how being away from the situation makes things easier for him. And he is definitely an active parent. Guilt is UNNECESSARY. As long as you are a part of your childs life there is no reason to feel guilty. Just do what you gotta do & stay focused.
Happy Dad's day

DMurray said...

E,

Wow! Awesome blog! First of all father to father.... dad to dad; happy father's day. Don't forget about the first tie, or the art work that you get from summer camp! That was my father's day present this year. I will proudly stick it to the icebox until it cannot hang up there any longer.

As fathers we are truly awesome. We hold it down for our kids, give them good examples to emulate and set the tone for the future success. It's thankless and underappreciated at times with the one reward being the honor of the title dad!

I love it everyday and want more kids!

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey there!

What a great guest post!

I'll link to him for my Father's Day shout-outs!!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

Brooke said...

Hey Lisa, great site!

E.Payne said...

DMurray, based on the last pic from your post we have more in common than fatherhood "First of All".

Lisa, thanks.

Brooke, thanks again for having me and I'm digging the new, simplified layout. They say that's the best way to go. That's why I did it.

Thanks everyone for the cool comments and observations.

Peace

Brooke said...

Yeah, my sister said my old layout was "dry." :-)

Thanks again for being my guest, loved it!

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