43rd Birthday and My Dad

My 43rd birthday

August 1, 2021 was my 43rd birthday.  I wrote this piece a couple of days later.  It is no secret of my love for and relationship with my mother if you know me.  I am 100%, a mama’s boy, and before my grandmother passed, I was equally a grandmother’s boy.  Not many know of my dad or relationship with him, but he is a part of my life.

My 5th birthday memory

I didn’t grow up knowing my dad and met him in 1998 just a few months before turning 20.  It is almost crazy that I can remember this.  The only memory I had of him prior to then was on my fifth birthday.  He asked me if I knew who he was, sat me on his car, and gave me five dollars.  There are a lot of memories I have lost (primarily from surgery in 1994), but I still recall that one.  I recall it vividly as if it just took place today and it was 1983.

Time with and without

Over the years my dad and I have seen each other, spent time together, and done plenty of outside work.  I’d see him as I wanted to see him which could be frequent.  But, when I wanted to pull back, I may go months or a couple of years and didn’t.  Wanting my alone time was something he had to accept and adjust to.  It didn’t mean there was an issue or tension between, but I grew up in a house with a mom and two sisters.  I learned to be individualistic and very much to myself.  I also grew up not popular and didn’t always fit in.

Ignored closeness

My dad and I have never had contention or a relationship full of friction.  There was never hate or disdain, but there wasn’t a cemented closeness either.  As with any relationship there was distance that needed to be improved.  In early 2021, God told me to get closer to my dad.  I heard Him clearly but ignored Him too because I didn’t make progress.  I told my mom I would never want her to feel as if I was giving my dad more than her.  She’s rock solid; been there from the beginning.  Not that she ever thought that way, but I did because I am protective of our bond.

Spoken loud and clear

On Father’s Day 2021 my Pastor said something in his message.  He said, “Some of you are going to have to tell you father you forgive him because he never will ask!”  I knew without thought he was talking to me regardless of how many others heard it.  When I went to have the conversation with my dad, in my mind it was for his benefit.  To me it was my way of releasing him, not realizing it was needed for me too.

Correct  and see different

Distance is easy.  Association is a choice.  We choose to grow.  Whoever your person is, let it be the person who was.  Go to them and correct it.  Stop procrastinating, making excuses why, and saying they should do it.  Stop remembering and boiling in anger over everything bad they did.  Furthermore, stop feeling you are too big to approach them and be who creates a better connection.  Since you are reading this, it’s on you now.  Your one thousand reasons you are hesitating are not good enough.  Your peace will still be interrupted, and your feet will not move as far as they should.  Regardless of their reaction when you do, be okay with it.  Just don’t allow yourself to be stuck by refusing.  They may not respond the way you expect, but that is not the point.  The goal is for you to extend yourself to catapult the difference.

Be open to learn

I do not say this without a mix of emotions, challenges from the beginning and still ahead.  I had to prepare to put forth more effort.  Over the years I’ve had to learn my dad and his ways just as he’s had to learn mine.  I’ve had to learn what I like about him and what I don’t.  I’ve had to recognize areas he could have been beneficial in raising me and acknowledge areas I’m glad he didn’t.  Then, I had to be at peace with the decision to move forward.  I am fortunate to have a mother who let me get to know and learn him for myself.  She did it without attempting to persuade me to see him a certain way.  As I encourage you I do so from knowing that it takes work and wisdom.  They teach what to hold onto and what is not worth it.

Picture on my birthday

The featured picture is from my 43rd birthday.  This was only the second time my dad and I had ever posed and taken a photo by ourselves.  The first was in 2010.  I specifically invited him to eat with me, picked him up, and returned him so he didn’t have to drive.  In 2020 when I began celebrating my birthday, I chose not to include him.  To whom may be struggling with what to do or whether you should do, make the effort.  Stop tormenting yourself even if you do not feel you are.  You’ll know you were when you take those steps you need to.



– The Life Teacher, Author and Mental Fitness Coach, Mr. Watkins 3.0 the Global One

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