"Please don't worry, I am doing fine. You're much too busy to even find the time, so use your chemicals and take this to your grave, the boys you left are men you didn't raise."
The story of true love. That is what everyone thought of when they'd see my mom, Cheryl, and my dad, David. He was the football player with so much charisma and finesse. Smooth as silk. Pure as gold. Women wanted him and men envied him. David was a Greek god. This man could have any woman he wanted. Right across from that huge, crowded football field, stood a quiet, timid, petite woman who would soon be known as my mother. David walked up to Cheryl. She's dressed from head to toe, flaunting a modish garment that cinches at the waist(so as to flatter her womanly figure the best) and heels that displayed her stallion-like stride. She stood there as her knight in shining armor made a love connection. David looked into Cheryl's big eyes and glimpsed downward to see her sparkly, pearly-white teeth that were encased in that absolutely gorgeous smile. From that day on, they were high school sweethearts.
First came love. Then came marriage. Fourteen and a half years of marriage to be exact. The beginning of the marriage was wonderful. However, after a couple of years, Cheryl realized that Langston Hughes' poem was absolutely right, "Life ain’t no crystal stair." Even then, she continued to try to keep the marriage afloat. Eight years later, I was born. One year after that, the family had a new addition- my sister, Japera.
That's enough background. That is not what we're here for. 1996. The year my father packed up his things, told my mother that there was someone else, took the cars, and cleaned out the joint bank account and safe with contents worth more than half a million dollars. All in one day. Boy, that man was busy! With no car, no father, and absolutely no income, we wondered how we were going to eat, let alone survive. This is where all of the challenges began.
We lost the house. Couldn't make the payments. Off to grandma's house we went. This was real. No more vacations, no more Hyatt Regency, no more plans for Yale University. This was it. This was life. And even though my sister was two and I was three, we knew that something was off. We knew something was going on. We stopped asking for things we wanted and only focused on things we needed. And we've been that way ever since.
One thing is absolutely clear. My mom is a strong woman. She woke up every day to go to work, knowing that the nights before consisted of infidelity and heartbreak. This woman worked her butt off and still managed to come home, cook meals, help us with our homework, and provide my sister and me with plenty of love and affection. My mother made me realize that the money was not as important as the love, unity, and strength that you get from family. Real family. Japera, mommy, and me: that's family.
When I think of my father, I get this horrid, sinking feeling in my heart and one word immediately comes to mind: coward. Because of him, at the age of thirteen, I picked up a pencil and just started to write about everything under the sun. My very first piece was a poem, covered in tears, titled, "I'm wondering now."
I'm wondering now,
Where are you,
Where are you now,
Where would you ever be?
We are supposed to be a family.
I know you're sick,
And I really don't want to know why,
I just wonder.
All of the things you've put us through,
Had the whole thing planned,
I used to believe in you,
That you weren't as bad as I'd thought,
But now I don't wonder,
Because now I see the truth.
How can you wake up every day,
Knowing that you have a family to raise?
You had a responsibility,
And you still do,
But it's okay now,
Because I see the real you.
I just want to know WHY!?
When I look back at this poem, I see a lot of questions; questions that I know have answers. It is just that I was never given the opportunity to have those questions answered. But, nevertheless, him leaving was a blessing in disguise. Him leaving made me stronger and my mother more independent. I think if he would have left later on, we would have been more devastated because we would have had a lot more memories and we would have been used to the lavish lifestyle we once had. For those of you who wonder what has become of our relationship, I am sad to say that there isn't one. He told my sister and me to never contact him again. And a couple of months ago, David Bern Li died of complications related to his ulcerative colitis. Some things you never really get answers to. Some things remain a mystery. Why his decided to disown his children in the first place? I don't know. I'll never know. That only thing I can do is build a bridge and get over it. Look to the horizon and see the glass half full, rather than half empty. And even though I will never know why my superhero went M.I.A, I at least know why I've kept my sanity and my strength: because my mom kept hers.
Absent Fathers In Connection With Your Romantic Relationships
We all know that there have been many reports, studies, articles, and interviews on the affects that absentee fathers have on their children s overall growth and development. However, I am going to address this on a more personal basis/observation. Overall, young adults with absentee fathers usually exhibit these characteristics/traits:
-Increase in violence
-Lack of self esteem
-Sex at early ages because of lack of self esteem
-Feeling unwanted and unloved and searches for a father figure within their romantic relationships
-Becoming involved with abusive partners
-Lack of committed relationships
-Coming on to someone unusually strong; desperation
-Child will be more dependent on others
-Lack of self-control
-Fall victim to peer pressure
-More likely to be a victim of sexual abuse, as abusers can pinpoint vulnerability in these young adults
-Lack of education which ultimately leads to poverty
Do you get the point now? The list goes on and on. My father was an absentee father. And at first I played the victim, and therefore exhibited a lot of these characteristics. But when I stopped feeling sorry for myself and lived- I mean truly, truly lived, everything else fell into place, including my relationship. I am now happily devoted to my girlfriend of 4 years, and at 19 years of age, that isn't too shabby, huh?