To continue Dark Skins story of how his incarceration has impacted his sons and his relationship with them.
I was surprised and relieved to learn that my eldest son was not yet a father, which taught me a lot about his frame of mind. After I questioned him about why he had not yet had children, his response was amazing, "I want to be there for my children, and right now I'm not ready!" Totally opposite of my mentality while I was running the streets. I was sort of like the man wherever he laid his hat was his home.
My son explained to me that he was assisting his mother with raising his younger brother, helping to pay the bills, walking him to school, and being there when he needed guidance of a particular matter.
My son confided in me why he hadn't written me out of his life, and I started crying because I was sooo emotional about his reasoning.
He, in brief, said, "I wanted to know why you were not a part of my life. I did not think it was proper for me to dismiss you, Dad, without finding out your story; Everyone has a story!"
Right then and there I realized my son is a very intelligent, compassionate and forgiving person.
I made it my business to reveal the most intimate details of how I grew up, about my criminal life style, and why I made a terrible decision to abandon him and his mother. You cannot imagine how painful, nerve-wrecking it was for me to fess up to my own irresponsibilities.
"Animals don't even abandon their cubs!"
Nevertheless, my son and I speak about the trying times we both experienced while being apart from each other. We discussed the experience he had with graduation from high school, which brought me to tears because I never imagined not being there for my childrens high school graduation. Now, here he is raising a child (beautiful Dominican boy) that is not his own. He spoke to me joyfully about his fiance, who is Domincan and very beautiful indeed. He stated, "I have been raising my step son since he was approximately two years old, taking him to school, purchasing his school clothes, caring for him when he was sick and nurturing him in terms of nuturing him in nutrition and manners.
All I can do while listening to this incredible revelation, is cry, because I had no idea my son is so versatile, kiind, and selfless. Who raises a child that is not their own, takes care of his fiance in many ways, and does not complain in the process? The meaning of manhood is written all over this story.
Our next visit where my son drove his own car with my twin sister in tow, was in 2013 when he was twenty five years old. Emotional is an understatement! It was like looking into a mirror because my son and I are identical, just about. I listened to my son tell me about how he was working for a company that contracts with the Freedom Tower, so he is a part of history rebuilding monuments which were destroyed by evil people.
Hearing this about my sons life was therapy, which is why I termed my organization "Fathers Against Abandoning Children Therapy Services" Because it is most certainly therapy for me to learn from my son many different aspects of life such as how to be compassionate and forgiving, and to have a work ethic.
Although he does not have to ,my son supports me financially by making sure I have funds in my account for commissary. I am ashamed of this part of the essay because I am almost fifty years old, receiving money from my eldest son, who has much more important affairs than to be sending his Dad money.
My son revealed, when life gets hectic, "Dad, the only thing missing is you, is that I cannot go to many people to get advice about certain matters. This is where I need you the most!" I try to assure him, that he has great intelligence to seek out people he can trust to get the answers to the problems he is facing. For example, his co-workers, supervisors at work, and teachers at his former high school. I advised him that all these people can help him or refer him to a trusted friend.
I will never forgive myself for not being present to support my children for some of the most important times in their lives. My son said, "Dad, I looked out into the crowd during my high school graduation, an your face was absent. This hurt me very bad!" What could I say? I was dub-founded, looking empty when my son revealed the deep pain he was feeling years ago, which I caused. I am the person who hurt my son; I am the parent who left him to fend for himself; I am the parent who chose to abandon my son, losing out on the chance to witness one of the his high school graduation.
I said to him, "Son, please forgive me. I am bettering myself so I'll never abandon you ever again, ever! To which he replied, "Dad, you don't have a second time to leave me alone. So think long and careful about the decisions you make in your life, which my affect me."
My advice to other fathers or mothers, who have, for whatever reasons abandoned theiir children, it is for you to reach out, if it's not too late, for the purpose of making things right for them. Do not be the parent who tries to overtalk your children, listen to their pain emotions, and try to understand the hurt we've caused them. Our children did not ask to be born into abandonment, or struggles without their parents. We owe our children everything, even when they are over twenty-one. We owe our children a life time of support. We decided to have children so it's our responsibility to take care of them as long as we both shall live, and one of us is returned back to the creator.