This weekend, I paid a visit to my mom. She was keeping her grandsons, my nephews; for the night and I thought it would be a good time to catch up with her and to see these two vibrant, VERY ACTIVE, intelligent young men. As we were all watching Scooby-Do the Movie, I realized the importance of me being in their lives. After the movie, my mom and I bathed them and got them ready for bed. Before we turned the lights off, however, we showed them a picture collage of our family and friends. They ate it up! They love to see their mom and dad, photos of themselves, of my father and brother, and people they do and don’t recognize. When we stopped, they were sad. Trey and Logan wanted more, wanted to learn more about their family, wanted to see themselves one more time on the electric picture frame.
It was then I realized something. It was a strange feeling. They don’t need me to be their father as I thought initially… they have one in my brother-in-law. They don’t need me to support them financially, either. They just need me to be there; a black man who is driven, intelligent, who wants to succeed professionally, and love his family unconditionally. What’s funny is that my sister Natalie has been asking me (bugging) to be in their lives more. Why? I’m not a father… I don’t even know how to change a diaper. I see them enough… Whenever I’m on the phone with Nat I make sure you tell them I love them and I try to see them at every possible function, but I never fully understood why she thought I wasn’t spending enough time with them.
The fact is kids are not like adults. They need nurturing. They are very observant, and absorb everything in their environment. They don’t fully understand when their mom or dad is away because they need to work to pay the bills and support their lifestyle; they just know they don’t see them, and they are sad. They want a sense of order and community; two qualities that will help them excel as adults. Just as Marian Wright Edelman said in her book, “The Sea is So Wide and My Boat is So Small”, that children are our future. We need to make sure they are fed physically, socially, spiritually, and academically.
To Kenedi, Triniti, Trey, and Thomas Logan: I love you all and I will try my best to be the Uncle Matt you deserve, for I want you to succeed in life.