Posts Tagged ‘kinship’

To my daughter: It would seem that an open letter is the only way that we can communicate. This is very very personal, but I don;t care. You have falsely led yourself to believe that we are not to have any relationship at all. And so I take to social media to talk to you. I don’t know if you will ever read this. But hopefully someone will see it, share it with you, and you will have the opportunity to read the pain that I feel. Perhaps you will even recognize that  tremendous pain. I am aware of the snide and sometimes hurtful posts about me that you have made on past Father’s Days. You have created this less than truthful truth in your mind. Nonetheless, you are hurt and you feel that I have not been there for you. I want to address that with this letter.

No. I was not there in your childhood. Being the honorable man that I am, I am very sorry for this.  I divorced your mother when you were very young. There is no way in this earth that she and I could have stayed together. I’m sorry that you had to deal with life without your father because of it. However, you and I both know that you can never truthfully claim that you did not know your dad.

You are a grown woman now. twice married, with four beautiful children. Yet, you have completely abandoned your kids. And I am left to raise two of them while your brother raises the other two. This comes at great sacrifice. Our own families have suffered. Our lives have been paused, re-arranged and altered just so we can take care of your children. And not even once, have you reached out to them., tried to participate in raising them, nor even uttered a thank you to us for stepping in and taking care of your kids.

While you hide behind claims that I wasn’t there for you, please note I was there to counsel you when you met Robert who told you he was going to join the Army and take care of you and your first-born. Of course you did not listen and married him anyway. But you quickly found out why I counseled against it. You’d just had the twins when he left you with no food in the house and no way to buy some while he went on a military exercise. You had to approach the Red Cross to get assistance. Then he assaulted a superior officer, got locked up and subsequently kicked out of the Army. You had no place to go. But I was there for you- opening my home to you and three children. A complete and sudden about face in my life.

We could not take your irresponsibility. I labored to find assistance for you.. support.. guidance. But you lied about going to appointments. Refused to do anything around the house…Not only did you turn our household upside down, you gave me a very hard time with disobedience, irresponsibility and general trifling behavior. You and your kids – a two newborns and a toddler. And so I took you back to your husband where you promptly had another child although your life was topsy turvy.

I was there for you when he got arrested the first time. And this is when you again refused my advice and counsel and even stopped returning my calls. Robert is now doing a life term for murder. I said it then and I’ll say it now. That could have been you. I don’t believe he did not abuse you. Not one bit.

The next time we would see each other is when I had to track you down in the city to tell you that your grandfather was gravely ill. That’s when i learned that you had gotten married a second time. To Akeem. Now, I don’t know what kind of young man this is. I do know that you and he led a very unholy lifestyle. One that deeply harmed your children in thier formative years. And as I came to observe your life at this time, I tried to counsel you again.. I was there for you.

Yes. I was there for you. As you and he lead a sordid lifestyle that I will never ever understand, I began to observe how neglected you left the children. Colicky, filthy… wild. I stepped in gradually. When you started relying heavily on your mom’s parents to raise them (they were in thier 80’s!!!) I was there for you – participating in the school activities because you and your mom refused to do so. Keeping up with thier progress. and while doing so I began to learn about the mental effects from that which you had been exposing them to. I was there for you when the authorities removed them from your care.

Yes. I was there for you. I went to the hearing to get them out of the childrens shelter. I was there. Your mother was there. and you elderly grandparents were there. The authorities asked your mother if she would continue to care for the boys. She said no. They would not allow your grandparents to continue and rightfully so. But then they asked you about your caring for the children. You sat there and said absolutely nothing. Not one word. Not a groan, an utterance… NOTHING! But I was there. and so i signed to take custody of the boys. And that was the ONLY reason they were not permanently removed, I was there for you.

I did not take the boys because I wanted to work with you to create a situation where the authorities would see you were trying to be a responsbile mother and therefor would allow the boys back into your care. We went to the mandatory guardianship orientation. You were late. I observed you in the parking lot sitting in your car. And then, to my bewilderment, you just drove off. Not only did you drive off you lied to me about being there. wow. I was there for you.

Each week thereafter I learned more and more about the neglect you were imposing on your children. I observed them at their school with shoes in serious disrepair. Dirty and oversized clothing, unwashed faces, hungry, just general neglect. On my way to my daily commute I would stop by the school and groom them. I was there for you.

And then the school meeting….. I drove down to San Diego for this meeting with the authorities. You mother was there. You were there. There were some deep seated and serious emotional issues. Issues of abuse. Your new boyfriend had taken the abuse to a whole other level. In attendance at that meeting was also the Child authorities. Again, you mother refused to care for the children but because i had already promised to take the boys in, I had to take them back with me to Los Angeles. And so I have them now. I was there for you.

Since they have been here we have learned of the tremendous abuse you have imposed on your children. Since they have been here, my family life has been strained, changed. My career path has been altered. The children exhibit very serious and sometimes dangerous mental health issues. All stemming from the lifestyle you led around them. There is unspeakable trauma while under your care. There is crazy CRAZY behavior that is beyond my comprehension. There is violent, emotional distress. There is long term mental health evaluation because of overtly violent behavior. This all stems from what you did to them – what you exposed them to. And yet. I am here for you.

I am here for you, daughter. In a way that is so much deeper than you could imagine. I am sacrificing all for the life of your children. My family life is damaged and strained. My stress level is increased. I have to be vigilant because something could happen at anytime. That phone could ring. We have had to deal with multiple hospitalizations(mental hospitals), encounters with law enforcement, therapists, social workers and so many more intense and uncomfortable situations. Yeah. I am there for you.

Meanwhile you go about your days, enjoying your life. It’s as if you haven’t a care in the world. Your great job, so you say. Your happy hours, going out with your friends… yeah. you are living it up. You have NEVER reached out to your kids. You have never thanked us for raising your children. You have never expressed any emotion, opinion, input about the situation with your children… crickets. But yet, you will post some sort of cryptic message about your father and how he was never there for you.

There is so much more I could write in this blog – but In the end, we are doing the best that we can for your children. We are all that they have. When you formally gave up your rights, you effectually ended your relationship with them. And so, we raise them and we love them.

Yes Daughter. I am there for you.

Advertisements

As I sit here at the end of the week, I am a little surprised… perplexed… even vexed….. for you see I am caught up in the labyrinth of the child welfare system. I had no clue what I was doing when I stepped up to take my grandsons into my custody. I had no idea how deep this situation could get. And although I could see the possibility of an emotional powder keg, I had no idea of the magnitude of it’s explosive nature. And yet… I stand in the gap. Being a grandfather.. no – a dad to these boys.

It’s important. Especially in these days and time, that  a  real man stand up and be a father to these young boys. A man to teach them about their God. A man to teach them about their self worth. A man to teach them about what it is to be a black man in America. A man in their lives….. Nonetheless, I remain vexed…..

In this journey I find the system to be flawed on so many levels. Yes, the county system has its issues no doubt,  but the flaws that I speak of are of a much more more personal perspective. The very circumstance in which I got the boys exposes me to certain administrative hassles. That indeed in and of itself is worth a whole blog. But that is not the perspective that I am sharing here. It is the sociological experience as I move through the community that has got me vexed.

As a man, I am stepping up to do the right thing. My grandsons were in trouble and with that trouble comes a plethora of issues. But as a man, I step up to help. To exert a strong black male image into the boys consciousness. But yet, everywhere I turn there is a woman who has say in my circumstance. I am not trying to be misogynistic at all here. I am just stating fact from my perspective. Women have a lot to say in how and what I am teaching these boys.

From the start, I have encountered women who show that neck twisting, eye rolling, smart ass attitude when dealing with me and these boys. But to what end??? I am in need of assistance and all that attitude is not helping me.

What is all the extra questioning about when I come to the office? What is all this attitude when I seek assistance? What the heck is wrong with you?

I got female strangers stopping me on the street and in church telling me how to dress the boys. Women administrators telling me what to say and how to say it to the boys. Ladies everywhere telling me what to do and how to do it with these young men. And in a LOT of cases, they are so out of line, so disrespectful, it is mind boggling.

Now, let me be perfectly clear… There are some women in this scenario that are the complete and utter BOMB!!!! These women I hold close to my heart as I move about dealing with this situation. They are so close, that I don’t think they realize how close and how high I esteem them…. They are AWESOME!!!!

But, in contrast, there are a LOT of females in this that need to take a flying leap….. What the heck is up with all that attitude y’all be givin when I need your assistance???? And who are you to tell me how to raise these boys???? In my opinion, perhaps that’s why there are so many effeminate men in our community. I am not trying to be homophobic, but I am just sayin’….

And so, as I travel the kinship road… I see many angry women in positions of administrative authority who wield undue and unprofessional attitudes in cases where they need compassion…. Whatever your issue is, my sista… I didn’t do it to you…..

Kinship. Not just a job, it’s an adventure….

And so here I am at the 6 month mark of raising my grandsons. It is indeed an adventure as old folkways and mores had to be broken and new consciousness instilled. It has not been the walk in the park that some may think….

For one thing, even as a married man, For a very long time, I have lived a life free of babysitters, parent teacher meetings, school lunch, activities and sunday school…. My child, my stepchildren are all grown…. their children can come, visit, kick it with PaPa and Babi and go home… never in my mature active lifestyle did I expect to have to parent all over again. Fact is, my life as I have built and lived it has been fundamentally changed.

I am profoundly concerned about these young black boys’ consciousness. I want them to know where they came from. I want them to aspire to be the best they can be. I want them to have values about life….. I want them to have the moxie to navigate the prejudices and concerns of this society so that they can stand up, in spite of… I want them to have the light of God in thier heart. This is a fundamental change in the boys’ life program…

I got these boys at an age where they are majorly impressionable . To date, their life experience, their life lessons are from a profoundly weak of mind, mostly goofy, irresponsible mindset. The record of behavior speaks volumes and never ceases to amaze.

Some behavior is precisely that which I left quick fast and in a hurry more than thirty years ago. For the life of me, I just cannot understand why and how I must endure this…

That said, this is a world that even as there are whispers of this “post racial society”, we are still living in a world where we have to teach the young people from whence they came…. We have to teach them how to stand up in a world that may judge them for the color of their skin, not by the content of their character..

Yet, I am not their father (don’t ask)…. Neither I nor my wife are a substitute for thier Mother…. a fact made more than difficult because their mom just has not cared enough to reach out….. 

And so, we are forced to impress our consciousness… our dna…. our folkways and mores into young boys who have experienced so much degradation, who have never been taught that they could do whatever in life that they wanted to achieve…. 

The system does not help.. in fact, it makes things more difficult. They act like I am the one who is wrong…. The system is not for the grandparents and in fact they are not for the man… A brotha walking into the offices of assistance surely must be someone trying to get over…. and so the neck twisting sista gives me attitude while making me jump through hoops to get some assistance and guidance in this already stressful situation…

Raising Black Boys…. instilling consciousness… remodeling behaviors… enduring stereotypes of African American men…

A Paradigm of Change…. for real.