Today is Father’s Day, and I expect many of you guys and gals to be posting photos on social media of you and your dads, how much you love and appreciate them for taking you to your first little league game or Disneyland and what not. However, I did not have the privilege of growing up in a two-parent household or have two parents period. I am part of the 72 percent of Black children who are raised in a single parent household.
I remember last years Father’s Day, I broke down and cried. I had wished that I didn’t trigger this emotion by going onto the internet and social media that day and the next to see what I’ll never have the chance to experience or even relate to. I think at this point today future Father’s Days to come, a fire in me will be there no matter I do.
My father’s name was Kenneth Oliver Crowder Jr. He was born in August 1958 and raised Queens, New York (“where they listen to a bunch of Nas“). His mother Minnie and father Joseph moved to Queens sometime around the 40s or 50s from Alabama. My dad never went to college but did pursue trade school. He knew my mom from when they went to church as kids and ran into her again in the 1980s when she was working as a bartender in Queens, and he was delivering newspapers. I don’t know many fun facts about my dad except for that he was a fan of the New York Mets and that he loved hip-hop music. For those who don’t know. New York (particularly the Bronx) was the place that birthed hip-hop in the mid to late 1970s before reaching the masses in the 80s and 90s. I’m sure my father was into all the Golden Age/Old School Hip-Hop of that heyday. My dad married my mom who already had two kids of her own and had my brother in 1985 and me in 1996. For awhile he worked at the Marriott hotel and then worked in a deli at the hospital where I was born.
There was a time my dad and my mom were separated as he had some issues, like infidelity and “letting the streets tell him what to do.” Towards the end of the 90s, my father developed lung cancer which was caused by heavy cigarette smoking. There was nothing the doctors could do to help him succumbed to the disease on October 2, 1999.
I was only three years old, and my brother was 13. I literally have no memory of my dad while my brother does. So growing up with a single parent was normal to me. When people ask me about my brother I low-key cringe because I don’t think he’s really been the same (mentally and emotionally) every since my dad died. I’m not going to delve that much into it at this moment, but he and I have had a tumultuous relationship which is why I try to keep communication with him at a minimum as much as possible as I pray that he gets help for his issues.
I’ve always fantasized how different my life would be if my father were still around. Or even if I had a step-father or some type of father figure. Men aren’t really prevalent as parents in my family as much. Most of them, off the top of my head, either left, died or went to jail.
I remember as a kid watching sitcoms where if a child’s parent said “no you can’t do or that,” then he or she would to the other parent and ask the same thing. I imagine that would’ve been the situation if my dad was around. Maybe my dad and I would’ve gone fishing or play baseball or basketball together. Shoot then I would be in shape today.
My dad and I would’ve debated over rap music because we both share a love for it. He probably would be one of those black father’s who tries to tell me that Migos, 21 Savage or Drake doesn’t compare to his hip hop back in his day. (My mom who became an ordained minister four years ago, can’t stand rap music or anything that isn’t gospel, smooth jazz, or Sade period; she also hates music with profanity in it).
There are other things I do ponder about. Would our financial situation be better? Would, my dad, be supportive of me going to away to college? Would he have been accepting of my brother, older cousin (who’s basically like a brother to me) and I being gay? (Cause me trying to be heterosexual is like Snoop Dogg quitting the chief) Would my father have been able to tolerate his son’s uber-obsession with Beyonce and the Destiny’s Child/Knowles alumni? Would he have that birds and bees conversation with me? Would he have given me the best childhood as a loving, supportive co-parent? Sadly I’ll never truly know.
What I do know is there are times I get in my feelings because I wish he were here on earth with me. I already have trouble forming ace boon coon friendships with other black men (despite going to a mostly white campus) out of fear they will be intimidated by me being gay. I feel like parents are the first friends you have in life and my dad would’ve shown me the way in life.
Even though I’ll never a father in my life, I still want to be a father myself whether the blueprint is in hand or not. Though that’s subject to change as I have those days where I’m other people’s children and I think to myself: maybe this isn’t for me.
I’m still debating when I would have children post-college years. I’m thinking my late 30s and 40s. I pray that I’ll be married to a great husband by then and we’ll have the coins to have a surrogate mother carry our kids. At the minimum, I want two. From our sperms that we’re even.