Monday, July 21, 2008
Sweat fell off my face like rain. My heart pounded and hands shook as I stared down at the blood in the seat of my panties. A few minutes later I was showing them to my mother. "Oh that", she said with a wave of her hand. "You see, the egg and blah blah and you are a woman now, more blah blah and here are two safety pins and this pad". What the ..... I thought as mom left the bathroom .Not understanding a word she said I searched desperately for a place to get rid of the offending panties. I was ten years old. The next month, same scenario this time I went to my father. Where as mom sugar coated everything, dad was straight to the point. "Every month for the rest of my life", I wailed as dad tried to explain the dreaded "period". "Dad what did I do wrong", I sobbed into his shoulder. "Every girl goes through this even your mother", he said patting my back. "My stomach hurts, dad you have got to do something", I pleaded. "I've got just the thing", he said . He left the room and came back with a bottle and a tablespoon. "Take this and you will feel much better", his voice was so soothing I really began to feel better already. After the third tablespoon, he asked me how I felt. "I feel good dad real good", I said noticing a slight slowing of my words. "What is that stuff"?, I asked feeling good but sleepy. "It's peach brandy" my dad said with a wink, and it'll be our secret. "Whatever you do don't tell your mom" he said gleefully as he returned the bottle to it's hidden place. From that day on I looked forward to getting my period long after my cramps went away. It was a bonding thing. A father child moment that lasted way past the time when I could legally purchase my own bottle and pour it into a glass. The three tablespoons of brandy became a prelude to other things that I needed to share with dad when I didn't know how to get the conversations started. Sex, marriage, money, college, boys, marijuana, whatever I needed to discuss just flowed after that last tablespoon. What's my point? Seven out of ten black children are being born out of wedlock. Groups of white teens are making pregnancy pacts to bring babies into this world without thought to the male parent. Being a boyfriend's baby's mama is not the same as my child has a mother and father. Fathers are so important in a child's life I think it is atrocious to have a baby without one. My mother nurtured and loved me but it was my dad that drilled into me my "worth" in this world. "Know your worth in every situation with a man", he use to preach. "I'm a man and men want a woman that demands respect, know your worth little girl", he use to say. I couldn't have gotten that perspective from my mother. Children need both perspectives if they are to function successfully in society. What is missing in the lives of young women today is that no one has told them what their worth is. No one has told them having a kid without the father around is not worth it. How important was having a dad around to you? Is a two parent household an idea that has come and gone? Who pays the price when children have children? Make it a point to tell a young lady how important she is.