I remember being faced with a huge decision. Stay in California – a place I’ve known all of my life. My comfort zone, my base, the place where my family is. Or move more than 3000 miles away on something of a whim. This was a major decision for me. I honestly had no idea – my pros and cons list was equal. The same number of pros as the number of cons. I talked to everyone about it – my mother, my best friend, my brother, my friends, my family. Everyone presented valid arguments for either side. Which left me in no better position than before I asked. I asked my Daddy. As strange as his answer was, I knew exactly what to do. His response – “What else do you have to do?” And as strange as that may seem as an answer, I knew exactly what to do. After days of antagonizing, my choice was clear.
My Daddy is my biggest supporter. One of em, no shade to my Momma. But I can’t really imagine where I would be without him. I went from being terrified of him to being dang near inseparable from him. Funny how life does that to you. I grew up in a household with both parents. Momma was the nurturer and Daddy was the disciplinarian. We would push Momma’s buttons as far as we could – but if she really wanted to get us, all she had to say was, “I’m going to tell your father.” That’s ALL it took for us to get it together IMMEDIATELY. Life happened and we were faced with a choice. Move with Momma and end up in a new city, new school, new friends. Or stay with Daddy, who you rarely truly interact with, and remain where you are. It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make as a high school sophomore.
Fast forward to now. I can look back on my high school years and remember how extremely frustrating they were. I’m living with a man who, from my perspective, can’t possibly understand what I’m going through. He’s not flexible, not lenient – he’s not making things easy for me. He’s got two kids, a full time job, and working on a doctorate degree. Let’s just say, things weren’t easy nor were they fun. As I look back now, I’m soooooo grateful. He sacrificed so much for us. He taught me how to cook – not because I need to do it to get a man. But because when I live on my own, I’m gonna need to be able to, as he would say, feed my face. He taught me to always keep some beans and rice in the pantry. Cause if nothing else, when you’re broke, beans and rice will get you through. And yes, they most definitely will! He taught me how to clean up behind others – not because you’re their maid, but because you don’t wanna live in filth and you do it for you. And I dwell on that every time I consider wringing my roommate’s neck… which is quite frequently these days.
I’m in tears as I type this because my Daddy means so much to me because of what he’s taught me and how I get it now. I didn’t get it as a child, I didn’t understand it as a teenager. But as a pseudo-adult, it makes all of the sense in the world. I say pseudo-adult, because I would give the world to just sit down on the stair in the den at 448, my childhood home, and listen to him play the bass or tell some silly joke that no one finds funny but him. But I’m 3000 miles away. All because he answered a question.
I love you Daddy – whether you ever read this or not. I pray that I can become just a quarter, maybe a third of the person you are. You know I’ve gotta aim high! I hope that I find someone kinda like you – less a lot of the Cooper crazy, who can be a tenth of the father you are to my future children.