Fathers day is always hard for me. Not, because my father passed, not because he’s away doing something noble like fighting for our country. My father lives in close proximity and I haven’t talked to him in years. In fact the last time I saw him, he was in a T.G.I Fridays and I was with my mother. She said ” Is that your father” and whispered his name. His bionic ear heard her way across the loud bar. He slowly walked over to us with a look of confusion and fear. My wig might have thrown him off, who knows. He hadn’t seen my mother in other 10 years, and the last time I saw him before this current encounter was when my aunt passed away in 2007. I promise this story gets better and it doesn’t bash him too much.
I grew up without my father being a strong fixture in my life. Like a lot of young girls in my area, we were fatherless. We grew up to be strong ladies I must say, through the “fatherless jokes” from peers, to assumptions by others that I must be broken because I didn’t have a dad. I lived and survived the wishy washy behavior of this man. My mom was sure to make sure I knew I was loved by her and my family, and provided me with countless male role models, but nothing could mirror the love I wanted from my father, my own flesh. I’d soon learn that life has a way of making you see that you can make a compromise and see the blessings right in front of you.
Fast forward to 2007, my father showed me another side of him. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. I felt hopeless when it came to him, and one day I prayed to God to help me not let this turn me into a bitter woman. My grandfather called me the next day. He said he had a dream that I needed him. I instantly started crying, freaking my roommate out. I excused myself to the hallway and down to the lobby. “What’s on your mind, funny” he would echo into the phone. I poured it all out, it was a few days after my birthday and a few days after talking to my dad who called once a year to wish me a happy birthday. I spent about 3 hours on the phone with him. I knew that my prayers had be answered.
It’s now 2015, and my grandfather has been there for me in more ways that one can imagine. He’s always there to take my calls, always asking “How are your pockets” …code for “do you need cash”. I always sayI’m fine, but he slips me 20 anyway when I’m not looking. He lugs his barely touched laptop over so I can give him unwanted computer lessons, which usually turns into us talking and never getting the lesson done. We shoot the shit, drink beers together and take the best naps. He’s always assuming I’m “at some dudes house” and swears all of my friends “want him”. He makes me laugh daily, and while I cried for my dad as a child, my grandfather was always there, silently standing in as I grew up, I was too blind to see it. Showing up for grandparents day, fathers day, birthday parties, taking me away on trips that are too blurry to remember. Everyone at his jobs knows about his baby Michelle, it’s crazy when I call, these people are asking me questions about school, work and anything else he’s sharing. I get super emotional when he’s sleeping on the couch and then it’s broken by him waking up and asking “Who let gas?, Was it you Michelle?”
Even though my papa calls is “boogle” and I know he’ll never see this. I just wanted to share my story of how much I love this man and to let folks know to love those who love you unconditionally.