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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy Father’s Day……Mothers
               
                A few days ago that dreading “Father’s Day” hit town and as a “so called Father” I had mixed emotions. I wanted to hide from my roller coaster day, but stayed strong for those who wished me a Happy Father’s Day. I have become good at masking my fears, my hates, my sadness, and to be honest they’re not all that bad and I can handle it quite nicely now. It doesn’t take much of a man to conceive a child. A few seconds of work and 9 months later there you go you’re a father. For some they are great fathers and do what’s right and take care of “Business.” But for others the father part ends there.
                There are those like myself who got caught up in one thing or another and lost the Daddy membership card because of something stupid we did. Yes even in prison you can still be a daddy, but it is different. There are no bills to pay, no past due notices and cut off dates. There are no bedroom doors being opened at 3am by a sick child wanting to cuddle with daddy and mommy. There are no ball games to go to and no school activates to clap to. There are no homework to review and no good night prayers to be said. There are no meals to cook and lunches to prepare. I always thought I had it easy.
                Somewhere along the way I started to realize that it was the mothers out there who had become fathers too. Most of you didn’t even know it but you now wore the pants as well as the dresses in the family. You taught and nurtured, you punished with love and held with more love than anyone will realize. You are all different and went, and are still going through the double duty that was unfairly thrust upon you. Some knew this coming in and some of you were blindsided. Some didn’t say a word and met the challenge head on, while others need help and encouraging words.
                In both cases you are still hero’s that few know or recognize. Some will tell you “You knew about him, “or “you made your bed now lay in it.” Those empty hollow words don’t help much do they. Yes you knew and it is you who is laying in that empty bed now. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Some is said out of love, and some out of hate or even jealousy. But in the end it is you who are playing mommy and daddy not them. In my 10 years in prison there wasn’t a day go by I didn’t think or appreciate what their mommy was doing for my children. I hated myself for what I had done to her and turned her into. I felt I took the easy way out.
                In society today most people could care less about the plight of the family of inmates. Oh maybe they feel for the children and other family members, but for some reason it is the wives and girlfriends who get crapped on for being or staying with their “Man.” In some circles you are laughed at and called names, but love does that to us doesn’t it? I always wondered how those stone throwers would react if the shoe was on their foot. We on the inside think of you, on the outside often. There wasn’t a day go by that we wouldn’t talk about our loved ones and family members.
                Often we talked of what we put you through. I remember all too well the empty stares off into space wondering how you were making it and getting by. For some of you awaiting your loved ones release you have made many tough choices. You have been both Mother and Father, not a very enviable task for the strongest out there. Many run away and hid and give up, and I think I understand. Many more dig in and fight the battle, not only for themselves but for the little ones. We must never forget the true meaning of Father’s day or Mother’s day. It is not a celebration of you as much as comfort you give the children. You were there when they needed you.
                You bandaged cut knees and played catch. You tied shoes and made school lunches. You answered the “When is daddy coming home” with strength you didn’t know you had. Your answers were given with sadness in your heart that no doctor or computer could calculate or measure. You laid in bed alone and talked to whatever God you believe in and to family members of past. You may have asked yourself why over and over again, why me. Sadly no answers were given. You hoped for a better tomorrow, one that would give you courage and strength to fight another day playing mommy and now daddy.
                You are stronger than you think and if I could bottle up that strength I could move mountains or surely win a Super Bowl. Yes I like so many others are fathers, but it’s you that are truly a daddy today and tomorrow. Hopefully for many of you that job will be passed on soon to someone else. I have also found out the a true dad does not always have to be a biological one by one who acts as a true dad if that makes sense. Don’t ever give up, don’t ever stop hoping and dreaming. Don’t die on the inside. There is no shame or weakness in asking for help. I don’t have many answers and most of what I say is just plain thoughts of an ex-con who did his time inside, but continues to do time in the free world.
                It’s a struggle and battle, there’s no manual or Google has no answers either. The battle starts and finishes within each and every one of us. Some need outside help, some need to talk to others, some just need a phone call or letter to breath air in their over worked minds and hearts. So today my post is somewhat late for Father’s day, which was last Sunday, but my message needs no time frame or special day. You all are fathers 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, you need no special day to remind you of that. You don’t need me to remind you of how you are a hero to so many. You Rock.

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