Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The saddest thing is knowing that some men abandon their children...regularly. But the cycle of pain doesn't have to continue - it can be broken - as this heart-wrenching letter proves.

Happy Father's Day...To My Mother - by Rickey Brown







Dear Dad,

I want to begin this letter by acknowledging you as my father. We will spare the semantics and the embarrassment of trying to recount your contributions as either. I would love to tell you that you had no direct influence over my life in any capacity; unfortunately it is not the case.

In spite of my mother’s claims that you weren’t shit, I tried to love you with reckless abandon. The more my mother told me about you and the fact that you never attempted to contact me, somehow the angrier I became inside and yearned to be near you. Eventually, I realized that you were who you were, and at 16 or 17 I certainly could not expect that you would be in my life. However, I saw past your shortcomings because I inherited such a rich family to whom I am eternally grateful for the familial ties they’ve helped me to establish.

Because you were not around and my life inexperience, I was doomed to repeat some of the same mistakes that you had made. My mom is not perfect, but she was certainly in my life to impart upon me her lessons from her past mistakes. I would never need to touch a hot stove to know it burns had I seen your scar. Reminds me of when Jay Z said, “ Like I told you to sell drugs, nah Hov did that so hopefully you don’t have to go through that.”

I am now 38 years old with a family of my own. I buried my anger and resentment towards you to try to establish a father-son relationship. I attempted to do so by allowing you to be a part of the lives of my children - your grandchildren. We will never recover from the disappointment my sons felt after you promised to have them stay the night...only for you to not keep your promise.

You are a piece of shit. I am finally man enough to admit it even if you are not. You deserve this biting criticism for running away from your responsibilities. You are truly a coward. Of this I am resolute: I WILL NEVER BE LIKE YOU. In fact, I have spent my adult life ensuring that is the case. Here is what your cowardice gave birth to:

As I stated, I now have a family of my own. I only recently discovered I am the father of a biological daughter that is 18 years old and I did not have the honor or the privilege of being in her life. Although, her mother and I may never agree the decisions that were made, the fact remains she is my daughter. I did not exemplify the cowardice you displayed upon discovering this, but opened my arms and my heart to share in a life I feel so wonderful about. The connection to my children is a bond that will never, ever be broken. And that is your only legacy here.

Here’s how your absence affected me: Without you I have simply graduated from college, (the first in my family), own my own home (also a first in my family), have produced one step child and two biological children, and have a successful career. My daughter is now the first grandchild to attend college as well. This is actually the best father’s day present I could have ever received. Maybe if you had stuck around you would have something to be proud of as well.

Rest in Peace.

P.S. Since you have never taken the time to tell my mother "Thank You" for doing your job, it is only appropriate that my children and I celebrate Father’s Day with my Mother. Happy Father’s Day Mom! I love you...and sadly, you were right.


-Rickey Brown

37 comments:

Latinegro said...

First...B*tches. HI STEF!

Latinegro said...

Wow. This is powerful. Happy Father's Day to your mom.

Sillouette said...

Hey ALL!!


Yes Happy Fathers Day to you and your mother!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Whoaw!!! ...I thought these blogs were geared to 'CELEBRATING" Fathers?
We are aware of the dead-beat dads. Can we once celebrate those Fathers that are there and mattered?

Stef said...

Wow, this WAS powerful (hi Ant!)

@Anonymous,

I think the author was trying to show that because his father wasn't there, HE has now turned into a great father...so we can celebrate HIM. Sometimes who we grow up and our experiences determine who we will become, so all this letter does for me is give us some background into why HE is such a good dad and won't repeat his father's mistakes.

Stef said...

*how we grow up....typo.

The Cable Guy said...

I think there are so many people who can relate to this blog, especially young men. I know I can. And while this letter seems negative, it also shows how one can turn a negative into a positive, and that being a deadbeat doesn't have to be hereditary. I feel that I'm a good father mainly because my father wasn't, and by breaking the cycle, hopefully my example will determine what kind of father MY son will become one day.

You can celebrate, even in pain.

Midnight said...

Wow...I do think that a deadbeat needs to be told off. Better that than getting their ass beat which I know alot of my friends would do to their so-called fathers. The only point I disagree with is celebrating moms on Father's Day. She may be a SUPER mom but there is a big difference between a mom and a dad. Especially when the child in question is a boy. Which is why he has the right to be as pissed as he is.

Latinegro said...

As some who has been raised mostly by my father, all I can say is that Father's Day is never as big as Mother's day.

There is a joke between my dad and I where I call him for Mother's day. I do agree that we tend to not celebrate Fathers the way we should.

Courtney said...

I agree with Midnight, I'm not sure a woman can raise a boy to be a man, but unfortunately, some women have no choice.

BUT good for you for getting what you needed to say off your chest. Keeping it bottled up isn't good, and by acknowledging his shortcomings, you can reverse that behavior and make it a postiive, which is what you've done. Good for you for not repeating the cycle, and whoa about your daughter! Make up for lost time and just be there for her going forward...as I'm sure you're already doing. Thank you for sharing that.

Stef said...

I know I'm nosey, and I don't know any of the guest bloggers so far - but I have to ask...how does a woman keep a man's child from him as a secret for 18 years??!! And why now!?!?! I'm sorry, that just pisses me off. I'm glad he decided to put that aside to focus on getting to know his daughter, but damn if I wouldn't be so resentful! Especially if I had other children who were also deprived of getting to know her. That's just so selfish. Who knows what influence they would have had on each other if they had a chance to be in each other's lives. I hate hearing stories like that.

Ant, do you have any sisters?

Latinegro said...

I do not have any sisters, just one brother. Sorry, I would have hooked it up. :)

Stef said...

I wasn't asking for that reason man, I'm not Dominatricks!

I was just wondering if your father raised any girls.

Do we think men can't raise girls, just like we don't think women can raise men?

Latinegro said...

Yes, I think men can be effective single parents just like women.

Ms. Penn said...

I think men and women can be equally good parents, and there are bad mothers out here just like there are bad dads. And part of being a good parent is providing other people in the child's life to make sure they get positive influences from all over. A man can raise a young girl, while having his mother, sister, a good girlfriend help mentor her. A woman can raise a young boy if she shows him positive examples of good men to look up to. It really takes a village, and I think all parents regardless of gender can raise great children if they commit to it.

Mr. Nice Guy said...

I must say, I was taken back by this letter. After the first two blogs, this had a negative slant to it and it was sad.

But after reading it again, I can see how having to release the past can free us and help us to be better than those who came before us. My dad wasn't much of a dad, but I love him anyway. He has shown me how NOT to be, and there is a lesson in there. These blogs don't have to be all "happy" if we can take something from a person's experience and learn and grow from it.

I was gonna chastise Brooke a lil bit for taking a negative turn on the blogs, but thought better for it. Not all of us have a perfect childhood, perfect parents or perfect kids for that matter, so giving us a different take on how someone's negative past can show what a great parent HE can become shows courage. Thank you to Rickey and Brooke for posting it.

Stephanie said...

Wow. Powerful and I'm sure liberating for the blog writer.
Sometimes we hide behind the errors of our parents and use them as an excuse for our own bad behavior.Don't get me wrong we all have childhood issues but there comes a time when we must take responsibility for our own lives.Kudos to you for not following in your dad's footsteps and becoming a better father and man due to his error.Your mother raised a wonderful man. So Happy Fathers Day to all the single mothers who had to be both parents to there children.

Rickey said...

Hello all, I am the author of this letter. Thank you all for your wonderful feedback. While I certainly would not recommend anyone to raise a child alone, I completely disagree that a woman can not raise a man. Many of my mothers lessons I did not fully grasp until I became an adult, and then realized how well she had prepared me for this world. My mom did not allow me to feel sorry for myself nor did she shiled me from lifes harsh realities. The most profound things i have learned have come from her. It's who shaped me in spite of my fathers absence. her direction had way more influence on me than his absence. Yes, I am angry and the mother of my daughter, but I can not alter the circumstances at all. She now is a shinig example for her younger siblings. We literally have established a family tradition within my unit. I spent the past 38 father's days with my mother. She deserves one Happy Fathers day.

Tony said...

Wow!

This was very deep and I am sure very liberating. I grew up in very much the same circumstances and while I may not know all of the feelings the Rickey felt; I can assure you I felt most of them. That pain serves as a great motivator to be better in at least one area than our "Fathers."

I celebrate my mother on Father's day as well.

I live to be a better father than he was. I hated him for years until I had children and realized what he missed and then I simply felt sorry for him. He died alone from Cancer one month before my own daughter was born. I am not proud of this fact but I admit that I cried no tears for him whatsoever.

My children are my life, they can bring me to tears with a simple "I love you Daddy," or "I missed you while you were at work Daddy." Why? because I never got to say those things...He denied me the love that it is my privilege to give to my own children. I don't see how any man can turn his back on his children but it happens far too often. I definitely feel you on the "piece of shit" statement.

I kiss my children (both sons and daughters) at every opportunity. I hug them so tightly that they can't breathe sometimes. I protect them all fiercely and I love them with my entire being.

The Cable Guy said...

@Tony,

I totally feel you, cuz I had the same feelings about my dad. But I have to say, if it wasn't for his lack of being a father, I might not be the father I am today. And actually, he's trying to be a better dad now because he sees how I am NOT him. He's now proud of the father I have now become, even if he had nothing to do with it - and it's encouraged him to be a good grandparent, better than he was to me. Sometimes sons teach their fatehrs...and I don't think it's ever too late to be a better parent if you really want to be one.

Rickey said...

@Tony wow, powerful sentiments that I definitely identify with. i have never known love like my children. Absolutely smootheed with hugs and kisses because I am not promised tomorrow. If the pain that I had to endure emotionally produced the realtionship that I have with my children, then yes I have learned something form my father as well. The reason for the letter is him not maturing and becoming at least a good Granddad.
@Cable Guy- thanks.....

Hayden said...

I know how Rickey feels about the his father. I have carefully crafted my life and parenting to be diametrically opposite to my father.

Fortunately for me, I don't have to interact with my father. He lives in England or Trinidad or whether the wind blows him but not here. Nowhere near me or my daughter to make promises he can't keep. He has NEVER met his granddaughter and he is her only grandfather of note (my wife has an absentee father as well). I don't know what I would do if I had to navigate the disappointment that my daughter would feel if someone else hurt her with broken promises (refer to yesterday's post).

Lastly, I believe the women can raise good men but MY mom definitely made sure I had some men in my life. It has to come from somewhere and better my mom's friends than the neighborhood peers.

Tony said...

@ Hayden...I agree that a man is needed at least at some point in a boys life and I will say that I believe that a woman is needed at some point in a girls life. I had a strong Grandfather and Uncles there with me throughout my life. As I grow older I identify with them and have adopted too many of their traits and mannerisms (lol..Brooke understands that point)

Brooke said...

yes, I you adopted the good mannerisms from what I can tell - despite blowing up houses and whatnot :)

Poppop (our grandfather) was the perfect strong role model, so you definitely didn't miss out on having a father, he just wasn't your biological one.

Tony said...

I DID NOT THREATEN TO BLOW THAT DUDES HOUSE UP! LOL!

Pop-Pop was a great male role model but he was NOT MY Dad. See the difference? I knew that MY father was out there and I KNEW he didn't give a shit that I was.....out there.

One time I called him, I guess I was 14 or 15 and I felt like I needed him. We never lived together and I never saw him so I asked him if we could hang out together, go to a game or something. That cat went to hemming and hawing about having time and shit that I just hung up and never called again....I saw him at my Grand Mother's funeral a few years later after I was in the Navy. I was in my Dress Blues and he started talking about how proud he was that I was in.....The Coast Guard.....

Brooke I loved Pop-Pop like he was my father and most importantly i respected AS my father but he wasn't. I NEVER want my kids to know that feeling.

Brooke said...

Yes, I see your point...and you're right. There IS a difference. I miss him all the time.

...and I think you DID threaten Antwine cuz he even gave me my bike back! LOL!

Jaz said...

There was alot of anger in this post, but sometimes you need to see that in order to understand where he has come from, and where he is now. So many men use not having a father as an excuse to be terrible fathers themselves. And while it may contribute to why there are so many absentee fathers now, there is still no excuse to not help raise a life you create. This blog shows that despite odds, statistics or whatever, a man can take responsibility, not make excuses and break the curse. You have my respect Rickey, Tony, Cable Guy and Hayden for being great dads despite not having a present father of your own.

Tony said...

Thanks Jaz! I appreciate that.

Brooke.....I think Brian did that not me! Then again if he had your bike that was TWO reasons to chase him off!

Tony said...

And what the hell kind of name is Antwine? sounds like rope or some shit!

Stef said...

Damn Brooke, you had 2 guys chasing boys off? LOL!

Yeah, who spells their name like "Antwine"? LOL!

Domina*Tricks said...

I bet Ant would have a gorgeous sister if she looked like him ;) I peeped that comment Stef!

Life isn't always pretty, and sometimse you have to go thru pain in order to grow. This letter shows where Rickey came from, and how he's utilizing and channeling his pian and anger into something positive. That's reason to celebrate...and we celebrate him and other men who have similar stories. Don't let the negative tone of his letter fool you - there is PLENTY to celebrate from this post...because he could have just as easily continued the cycle. I'm glad you posted this letter Brooke, and thank you Rickey for sharing your feelings with us.

Brooke said...

I always thought "Antwine" spelled his name in an unusal way, but hey - blame the parents. Who am I to say anything, but I think that's the only reason why I remembered how to spell it :)

@Stef, yes, if it wasn't Tony threatening boys, it was Brian acting up - one of my other male cousins. And everyone in my neighborhood knew who my cousins and uncles were...so it didn't leave much room for me to get into any boy trouble. We lived in a tight knit community, and everyone knew everyone and had no problem telling your business to your parents or any relative of yours. My mom knew I got asked to the prom in 8th greade before I even got home to ask her if I could go (thanks to Tony, LOL) and she promptly told me "HELL NO" before I could even form the question.

So yeah, I went to school, piano lessons, choir rehearsal, practice for whatever sport I was playing and then took my ass home. No boys :)

and if I ever have a kid, I'd want my kid to be raised the same way :)

Jaz said...

This isn't Brian of throwback fame is it? LOL!

Serena W. said...

I used to buy my mother "fathers day cards" Mahogonany makes them. She always cried because she was moved.

Cheers to the men that are true fathers to their children :) God bless them!

Tony said...

@ Brooke.....Honestly I felt it was my job to watch the boys. I was a couple of years older and knew what they were about. Brian followed suit. I was the crazy one in the family when it came to fighting so I think some of them, like this Antwine dude, used me as an excuse. Tim Duckett? Yeah I stepped to him! LOL!

Brooke said...

@Jaz,

No..not the same Brian. My cousin Brian used to try and be like Tony - and he (Brian) has all daughters now (poor souls!)

@Tony,

maybe Antwine DID use you as an excuse to not speak to me anymore - but it could also be that my dad called him a "sissy" when he met him at the mall cuz he had a weak handshake. Not to his face of course, but he could tell my dad didn't like him :) Apparently nobody liked Antwine :) Even my mom didn't like him. I hope he's not reading this blog - he's my friend on FB! LOL!

Jaz said...

I hope he's not reading either!

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