My days of independent thinking and living were over. The enormous task of providing a lifetime of care for this innocent child rested on my ability to make proper decisions regarding our futures. Her mother breast fed her and did the maternal things as only a mother can do . I watched in utter amazement at the bond that started from the moment of life between these two.The two of us spent many years trying to do the right things as parents to make her life meaningful and productive. As a young father I felt that children were a gift from the creator to be cherished and adored. We worked relentlessly to make sure that the poverty we grew up in would not be part of our children's lives.
My daughter DeVon and I had the usual compliment of father-daughter talks dealing with who's house and who' rules were to be followed. She has really only been guilty of one offense, that is being too much like her father. Strong willed and as smart as anyone, I knew she would become the leader that she is.
Most parents prepare their daughters to go out and get married by pushing the domesticated agenda in hopes that someone's unprepared son will view this as an attraction. I never ever pushed marriage on my daughter because I never wanted to GIVE her to some stranger that could sign a credit card for a piece of metal with some glass on top. Why is a ring such a defining moment with all that we have been through. We will actually settle on a guy based on that. Has poverty made us want things that glitter just because Europeans put them in the windows for us to buy like they do. We spend many years providing the right way to go but start jumping up and down the minute an offer is made. This is not an auction to get rid of unwanted items, this is your DAUGHTER. Get off the phone and check out this guy out please.
We think of nothing but wedding bells and how much it's all going to cost. We are more excited than the couple. Why? We love to dress up, maybe? I am outraged that we think so little of ourselves that we celebrate our daughters decision to marry people they barely know.
We spend enormous sums of money to give our daughters to someone that can't take care of themselves, much less a family. Our weddings here are so deeply rooted in the European tradition. How can we give away something so precious as a daughter to just anyone? I am proud of my daughters reluctance to get married just to get married. She has a family that loves her and will have a hard time accepting less for a husband. Folks raise their daughters to think they are incomplete until they find a husband and then wonder why they did such a bad job at it.
We need to prepare our daughters to be all that they can be and not make them feel bad for being single. Get them out of the kitchen and into feeling good about who they are as people. Let them know they are special and deserve nothing but the BEST. Don't raise them to be someone's maid.
I am so proud of my daughters zest for life without giving in to what society dictates. Most black women will look back and know that no one was watching the house when their future husband came knocking. How sad it must be to look back and know that a practical joker was allowed to walk away with your daughter. Stop saving for your daughters wedding. We are still following the Europeans and trying to outdo the neighbors and friends. The amount of money you spend has no connection to the quality of husband and only shows a disconnection from the common sense that God gave you.
We should as black fathers be committed to providing a sense of security so that our daughters don't feel rushed to make that choice. When DeVon comes to visit she still finds the guest room with all the furniture that she grew up with in place. I still refer to it as her room. She knows I am still the same Dad that puts the cover on her after she falls asleep, just like when she was a baby. When our children feel this security and sense of connection there is less of a need to fall for anyone and anything. She is out in the real world functioning as a whole person not as a half waiting on another half.
It is my hope that she enjoys her life the way she saw her parents enjoying theirs as she grew up. She is flying out of the country for her birthday next week and I want to wish her a Happy Birthday. She has been out of the country before but this time (DAD) won't be there to pick up the tab. I love the independence, don't you.