By SHAWN TAYLOR
When my daughter was born, I didn’t experience the love at first sight that so many parents talk about. In fact, I felt nothing. As I cut her cord, I descended into thinking that it was this absence of feeling that caused my father to leave me when I was less than a day old. As I held her swaddled nine-pound body, I descended further into wondering if there was going to be something wrong with me. Did I have an anti-child gene? Was I an absent father sleeper agent—as soon as the baby arrived, I’d activate and get as far away from it as I possibly could? Would I stay around?
It took about four hours for the wave of love to damn near knock me off my feet. It was so all-consuming that I couldn’t imagine a time that I was not her father, and she not my daughter. The love I had for her was absolute. But this isn’t the case for so many of our children. Their fathers leave, some never to be seen or heard from again.
Fathers were a myth where I grew up; a legend, kind of like the boogeyman. Some folks swore they saw some, but I could never verify their accounts. Believe me, I looked. And looked. And looked.
There are so many reasons provided why men leave their children fatherless, but it’s really time to stop making excuses for this abhorrent behavior. We don’t make excuses for cancer, so we need to stop explaining away why men refuse to be fathers to the kids they help create. I would argue that fatherlessness is just as much a health crisis as anything else affecting the Black community…
Read the rest of Shawn Taylor’s [Father/Hood] post, “Absentee Black Fathers,” on Ebony.com.
1. Ice Cream Promises: A Son Yearns For True Love From & Connection With His Father
2. A Special MyBrownBaby Love Letter To Black Fathers Getting It Right
3. On Black Fathers, the African American Image and MyBrownBaby Etiquette
4. Fatherhood: NBA Veteran Derrick Coleman Talks Fatherlessness, Anger In New Book On Dads