2009: I remember laying in bed and listening to my parents argue. I was a nosey kid growing up, always wanting to be apart of the “adult conversations.” I liked knowing what was going on and being said around me. On this particular night, my parents were arguing in their room, like most everyone’s parents probably did at some point, but these arguments were becoming more and more frequent. One of those night I decided to leave my room and interrupt the conversation.
As I came out of room and walked down the hall to the master bed room, I saw a black trash bag on the chair, that was obviously out of place. As I continued into the room I found my parents in their closet and my Dad packing clothes into trash bags. Being a black child, it’s somewhat of a rarity to have my father in my life, and I was privy to the stereotype of black fathers leaving their families. These thoughts immediately flooded my mind as I saw my Dad, my hero, packing up and preparing to leave. The next thing I knew he was turning around, trash bags clenched in his fists, and approaching me. Vividly I remember him saying, “Me and your mom just can’t get along and I need to go. This isn’t permanent. I love you and I’ll be close by.” And like that he was gone.
In the immediate aftermath I felt traumatized by it all. I would consider myself a daddy’s boy for my entire life, and to actually see my Dad leave the house and know it was out of anger and frustration scared me. I remember through the tears, asking my mom why he was leaving, and where he was going, but at the age of 12 she didn’t want me that closely involved in their relationship, she was only worried about calming me down.
All this took place in the early morning hours of the new day, so that morning knowing I was a little tired, and not really feeling up to going to school she called me out of school and allowed me to join her and my little brother on his mission field trip. Whenever I recount this small day and a half in my life it always makes me think of the concept everything happens for a reason. I went to an elementary school in a ruff area in town, and on the day I was called out, there just happened to be a drive by shooting at the school. Although bullet shells had been found on campus, the assailants weren’t aiming for the school, but actually the apartment building next door. Luckily no one was hurt, but it always makes me think back to what if I was at school that day, on the basketball courts (which is where I normally was for recess) and something tragic happens. The what ifs to life are frightening to ponder, but the coincidence of me not being at school that day always makes me wonder.
Aside from my life potentially having potentially been in danger, the story of my father leaving has made me appreciate what a healthy functioning family looks like. I remember hearing about my parents genuine love for each other, but since I can remember there were constant disagreements. Of course there were a lot of good times, but my parents desire of lifestyle was very different, and with that came several arguments.
While all this was happening I had a very close friend, whose parents were the spitting image of what I wanted in my life. Now the grass is always greener, but whenever I spent time at his house his parents always seemed to be on the same page. And because of their communication their household and lifestyles seemed so much more refined than what I was experiencing at home. I heard from my Dad the next day, and he came home 3 days later, so it was never like he was truly gone, but that week in my life really made me realize how much I needed to appreciate having a family and loved ones around me, but also a very clear vision of the kind of household I want my children to grow up in.