Written By Crystal-Ann Roberts

I was raised by a single mom who sacrificed plenty so that her children never lacked, never went without, never felt shorthanded in comparison to the many that she knew we would eventually have to compete with. I am forever grateful to my mom and I have come to appreciate her more now that I too am a mother. I honestly don’t know how she did it. I am also aware that when you become a mother somehow things you thought you could never accomplish you suddenly do. There is a warrior like strength that emerges from the depths of us that only God could create. It’s pretty amazing to behold. Because my mother was single for much of my childhood, I never got the chance to completely witness what it was like being raised by a dad that was very present. Unfortunately, black single moms seemed to be more the norm and my friends that had both mom and dad present were few and far between. Many of the fathers who were physically present seemed to have checked out emotionally. Now this is not a post bashing men, quite the opposite in fact. It is all about those who chose to remain in every sense of the way.

When I got married to my mahogany chocolate mousse I knew I was already breaking stereotypes, but it was the remaining part that would have the greatest influence. I never thought my marriage to be one that would make a difference necessarily I was a young 20 something simply in love. I hoped we would make it, I had fears because I grew up seeing divorce and absentee fathers all around. Now I believe the reasons behind this have many roots from slavery, economic hardships and the cycle of poverty, even to mental instability you name it. It all influenced how black families see themselves and how society sees them, this definitely affects the foundation or the lack thereof.

With all these influences it is even more important that the foundation of fatherhood be stronger than ever. I cannot speak for all families but for those dads and husbands out there that get up each day and remain present physically, mentally, emotionally for their spouses and their children I salute you. My husband once told me that if you keep giving yourself options you will never be content in any one thing. He applies this to family. Choosing to love, choosing to give of yourself, choosing to invest the time and effort to grow what you have been given will cause your home to flourish. Instead of constantly wondering why the grass is greener on the other side, water, fertilize and tend to your own lawn. I’m paraphrasing here but you get the idea. I’ve come to witness in my own husband the pure beauty of watching him raise our sons. I stand back and I’m aw stuck; I’ve never seen strength become so delicate. To the dads out there tilling their own garden, don’t stop, harvest is coming. This will not fix the many problems we see in our society, it may even be just a drop in the bucket. But I do belive its a start to something beautiful.

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