Don’t Talk About My Father
A close to my heart subject; and one I want to beyond all, to do justice to it. However, this is only a blog and all I can offer is my best effort. This is dedicated to all the fathers, dads and daddies. I also have to give a resounding shout to the single moms who had to be both, mom and dad.
The title is an excerpt from a Marvin Gaye” song from the What‘s Going On album . My father, my dear “play” father , and two wonderful ladies who served as mother and father instantly come to mind when I hear this song. The images of four very special people come to me and images of them are fresh in my mind and deep in my heart. I feel so very blessed by God for having each of them in my life.
Growing up in a time when divorce was on the rise;I had my dad Albert J. Cates Sr., with me through the formative years, my early adulthood, and my children were able to see and experience their grandfather. I am a better person because he was in my life, but I can only hope I am a slight reflection of the goodness that existed within him. Upon his passing there stood another man, not to replace but to help fill a void. Without missing a beat he was there; Theodore’s entrance into my life was virtually unremarkable, because he had been around since I was a small child. He taught me what it was to be truly kind to people and his love was felt by all who were fortunate enough to meet him. He did all of this without saying a word, it was demonstrated through his deeds. And what of the ladies? First there was Shirley; she impacted my life tremendously, though she departed this life before either of the men, I knew her as a strong wonderful influence. Last but not least would be my dear bubbly-yet-no-nonsense Elaine . Ms. Elaine was/is a friend you could confide in, but without missing a beat she would put you in your place. Both of the ladies shared a common characteristic, and that was a presence that made you know given a choice you might want to challenge a man instead. I could speak volumes on each of these people and still be at a loss for words.
I have to stop and think of how marvelous it is to have your father in your life, because I always had mine. I know, I took this particular aspect for granted. This also has to bring to light how unbelievably resilient and amazing a single woman is that takes on the role of both parents.
Fatherhood is no easy undertaking. The strong stoic individual has to go against his very nature to be soft and approachable. He must always maintain our view of what manhood is. Down to the most miniscule part of him such as his voice he must imply and command respect, there are numerous times it must be done without saying a word. Having him in your life affords you the confidence of, “no matter what is going on, it will be alright because he is there and he will make it so”. I never gave this a conscious thought, because everyday of my entire life up until a little over a year ago I had that. I cannot fathom what a small helpless child feels without a someone like that in their life. I know how vulnerable I feel as an adult without this amazing being.
For the women who must assume this role she has the dual challenge of being the nurturer and disciplinarian. Her soft sweet voice has to take on the unnatural power of that missing piece. What is inside of her aching for the relief of his very presence can never be visible. Her success is seen through her children, but she pays a high price.
We have an obligation to our children, they all require and deserve to have the very basic, yet amazing love of a “father”. If you happen to fit into this particular role realize and remember how very special you are. If you do not, take care and consideration before you take it on. We have all been touched by an individual who does, one way or the other.
If you don’t believe anything else in this life, believe the Lord knows exactly what you need, when you need it, and he provides it. As Father’s Day approaches, approximately one month away, I am reminded of these four individuals. I cannot help feeling so very fortunate. Each of them holds a very special place in my heart. I ask myself what made me so special to have been blessed with all of their presence. I thank my Heavenly Father for these gifts he bestowed upon me.