My First Father’s Day

by Chanel Smith


           What’s going on y’all? It has been a long time since I’ve been on my blog and I can’t even blame it on time or the baby. I’ve simply been lazy the past few months but now I’m back just in time for my first Father’s Day! On April 4th my wife and I welcomed our baby boy into this world. I can truly say it has changed my life. Being a father is something that I take a lot of pride in for various reasons. I love the responsibility that comes with taking care of a new life that I helped create.

My wife and I share equal responsibility when it comes to raising our gift from God. WE ARE A TEAM. We may play separate roles, but neither is greater than the other. Torrey is going to need his mother’s caring and nurturing love. She will be there for him in a way that only a mother can be. He will need my unconditional love as well, even tough love at times. It is my job to protect and provide for him. I will be the example of what it is to be a man, husband, and father. Together we will support him while we continue to take care of each other and work towards being the best man and woman role models he could possibly have. From my life experiences I believe that this way of thinking will help us raise him to be the best man that he can be.

Everyone knows I grew up with my mother and younger siblings but no one ever mentions my father. Why? My mother and father never lived under the same roof. He was a military man down in North Carolina and it made it tough to be there and have a strong father son relationship. There is only so much a phone call or occasional visit can do. I didn’t realize until I was older that I built up defense mechanisms to avoid dealing with my feelings. So even if I didn’t think it bothered me, subconsciously it did.

Something as little as having support at a football games as a child changed my entire way of thinking. When I was younger NO ONE came to any of my games. My mom was either working or disinterested because she didn’t understand football until 8th grade (or later haha), and my father was obviously down in North Carolina or overseas. I would call other relatives and tell them to come to the games but NO ONE ever came. (Random Fact: My Grandma Lulu, Big Torrey, My Mom, and Dad (2x he was at war) were the only ones to ever see me play in high school). I used to look up into the stands when I did something good and 90% of the time I didn’t have a relative there. I grew older and just stopped looking into the stands and stopped picking up the phone to let people know I had a game.

It wasn’t until my wife started to get upset with me when I didn’t tell her about events that honored my accomplishments, that I started to think about it. I didn’t tell her because in my mind it wasn’t important. We argued many times because she felt that I didn’t want her there. In my mind I appreciated her support, but again in my mind “I didn’t need anyone there”. In college and now in the NFL she gets upset because all of my friends look up and wave to their family and I NEVER do it. As I sat back and thought about this, MY MIND WAS BLOWN. I thought I didn’t do it because I was focused on the game but all along I was fooling myself. It was because I was used to the disappointment of looking up and seeing no one there. What does all of this have to do with my son?

I now understand the importance of being there. I will be there for every doctor’s appointment, band recital, spelling bee, sporting event, school banquet, or whatever he will be a part of…because YES everything he does is important. I want him to know his dad will be there for everything so it’s the norm and expected by him. I don’t want it to be this big deal because I support him once every blue moon. I just want him to know that his dad loves him and truly cares for him.

My heart turned cold over the years but thanks to my wife and now my son I’m emotionally where I want to be. I tell my son I love him so he knows how to give and receive love. I always knew the people around me loved me but it wasn’t said, it was just actions. When they did say “I love you” it was flat out weird and I felt like an uncomfortable little kid. He will know that it’s ok to tell your family and friends how you feel about them. He will know that you can be tough and loving at the same time. He will also know that he changed my life.

My son has opened it up for my father and me to communicate on a different level. I think he will help us build our bond. At the end of the day I’m grown and I wouldn’t be the man that I am without the experiences I encountered in the past. I wouldn’t change a thing and I have no regrets. My biggest goal in life now is to make things right in the future, not only for me, but for my family as well. Even though my father wasn’t around for me he can now be there for his grandson (and other grandchildren when they come lol). He is very excited about being a grandfather and I know he will be a great one. Everything happens for a reason and TJ has been a blessing in more ways than one. I thank God for my son and my beautiful wife every day. They are my world! As I finish this blog post my son is currently waking up smiling ear to ear as always. I live for that. I live for him. I pray that you all have a Happy Father’s Day. If your father has passed on I hope that you cherish the times you had with him. If you are in the same boat as me, just remember it’s not too late to start over. All you need to do is pick up the phone and give it a try. Life is too short! Try to mend your relationships with your father (Mother). You may have had 99 bad years but maybe this next one will make it all worth it.