Ask Agatha, Featured

Ask Agatha: “I’ll Be A Dad Soon, And I’m Worried About What Type Of Dad I’ll Be”

Kahlil from Richmond, VA asks:

I’m going to be a dad soon. It wasn’t planned and I feel unprepared but mostly I’m worried about the type of dad I’ll be.

Every dad that has ever existed or will ever exist can be categorized into one of two groups.

As a dad you can be present or absent. Dassit. Those are all of your choices.

And every dad chooses.

Your dad chose.

And now so will you.

For some men, these two categories aren’t black or white. In 1964, a young man, with a great sense of duty (and that’s what it must’ve been), was faced with deciding between his child and his country. And no matter what we think of his decision, it must’ve have been made with a heavy heart. Yet, as an educated man and a patriot and an idealist, he must’ve felt the weight of his responsibility to help guide his newly emancipated motherland into a new era. He knew he was meant to be one of the leaders of his people, and rightly so. And he must’ve had great plans.

But who plans for love to end?

And how do you weigh a child against a nation?

Well, in 1964, that young man let his divorce go uncontested and in so doing, he gave up all custodial rights to his son.

That absent father was Barack Obama, Sr.

And he never became the great man he felt he was destined to be but his son did.

Other famously absent fathers include; the deceased, felons, rolling stones, men on a quest, 50 Cent, Zeus, gamblers, addicts, all men named Slick, most rock stars and Penny Hardaway (probably).

A Sub-category of the absent dad is the present but somehow still absent dad. Famous present but absent dads includes; ghosts, Mr. Duggar, Peter Gunz (because they can see him on Mondays at 8), Homer Simpson and every dad trying to bring his city a championship.

So Mr. Obama made his choice.

And at some point so did my dad.

My dad was present. But being present starts right away and this can sometimes be hard for Geminis because most of them are low-key not interested in their kids until they can talk. So although my dad was present, very present—my first memory is of his absence.

I may have been two or three and it was my birthday. And in my memory of it, I’m sitting in front of my birthday cake feeling anxious. I really want to blow out my candle but I’ve been told I can’t, not yet, because we’re waiting on my dad. And I remember the fidgeting kids around me, and the even more impatient adults. And I remember feeling my anxiety grow along with my embarrassment.

And in my memories, I’m always at that table, sitting in front of that cake. Waiting.

And yet my mom assures me that my dad was at that party. That he must’ve just stepped out for something we were running low on.

But my memory doesn’t extend past that anxious moment.

And I’d have to imagine it’s shaped me in a lot of ways.

So much so that twenty-fours years of him being very present didn’t prepare me for his voluntary absence after their separation.

And I felt like You *clap* Made *clap* Your *clap* Choice! You can’t take it back.

But he did.

Because although you don’t have a wide variety of choices. You’re allowed to keep choosing.

Other famously present fathers include; helicopter dads, coaches, Mrs. Doubtfire, Mr. Tanner, the unemployed, writers (for the material), activists, actors and teachers (because of the downtime) and preachers.

A Sub-category of the present dad is the presently absent dad. Famous presently absent dads includes; men who work nights, felons, men in the military, politicians, business owners, doctors, rappers, lawyers and for a time, Ned Stark.

No pressure though. It’s clearly a crapshoot.

Obama’s father’s absence helped drive him but clearly my dad’s absence didn’t take, maybe because it happened too late. That must be why I’m not running the free world. Or maybe he wasn’t aggressively present enough. Like Jordan and Tiger and Serena’s dads clearly were.

All this to say, I’m not worried about the type of father you’ll be Kahlil because your worry is enough.

Agatha Guilluame

Agatha is a figment of the collective VSB imagination.

  • Skegeeaces

    That was actually kind of a sweet breakdown. And thank you for throwing 50 Cent’s name in with the absent dads. I needed that laugh this morning.

  • TJ

    Khalil, Agatha is right—you can be present or absent. Hopefully, you’ll chose present. We’re rooting fo you!

    I’m not a parent, but I think parenthood is one of those things that no one is truly prepared for. At least that what other parents tell me.

    • Guest

      Unless you’ve been raising children your whole life. Like an older child or a child with a disabled parent that had to do most of the child rearing.

    • Even after you already have a child, you’re never prepared per se. Each child is a new miracle to be figured out.

  • KB

    If/when I become a dad my hope is that I do not f**k up my child’s life so that they become a normal, well adjusted, highly functioning adult to the best of their ability.

    SN: Agatha, do you have any relation to the actor Robert Guillaume? (I’m sure this has been asked before)

    • Breezy

      1. I always thought you were a girl.
      2. No she’s not.

      • KB

        Wait…what? How?

        • Kas

          Same here.

          • KB

            I don’t know how to process this.

            • Kas

              Sorry. That’s why I use a male super hero for my avatar/

              • KB

                No offense taken, I’m just, shocked for lack of a better term.

                • -h.h.h.-

                  i actually…”know why/how”…but…i have to finish my readings

                  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/24/6a/ea/246aead0892cfdd2fcb754a1dbc2a495.jpg

                  • KB

                    please share.

                    • -h.h.h.-

                      ask me and i’ll answer another time;
                      tho i shan’t stop anyone else from speaking their mind

                    • KB

                      I will more than likely forget about it after today, to be honest.

                    • Really random. But I always thought you were a dude. In the south. Maybe Charlotte. er something. But now in Phoenix or Tucson.

                    • KB

                      I was in Atlanta/Birmingham before I moved out here.

            • -h.h.h.-

              i know; i really thought she was related to Benson.

        • Breezy

          Your comments mostly and then your avi…

    • fxd8424

      I’m sure you’ll do the best you can, but keep in mind also that although they have our DNA, they are not us. They are their own person.

  • DBoySlim

    This was beautiful.

  • YeaSoh

    Well done, Ag… I gotta concur.

  • Here’s the fun part about being a dad. There aren’t any written rules (unless you get a divorce) and no one is doing it correctly. So listen Khalil (I won’t use your real name even though it appears) just relax and fly by the seat of your pants like the rest of us.

    • Guest

      No there’s plenty of written rules. Especially when they become teenagers. There’s alot of key moments you can ruin if you don’t react properly.

      • Even when moments are ruined, kids grow from that. The only bad move is checking out of what’s going on with your kid.

        • Guest

          The worst thing you can do is hope a child will eventually forget or shed the bad experiences. Formative years are the most important. How you treat your children is key in how the operate in the outside world. Some can overcome, many cannot. But why put them in that position? It’s a gamble to break someone sit back and hope they have the tools to fix themselves. Most people who were broken by their parents go into adulthood hurting themselves and others.

          • That is the risk you take the second that child pops out. I mean, Hitler had two patents…

            • Guest

              Hitler’s father resented being Adolf’s parent, beat his wife and his siblings and when they defied him he told them he refused to give them any inheritance. Adolf hated him. I don’t know why we brought up Hitler. It’s a sad story.

              • Because parenting fails.

                • Guest

                  It doesn’t have to Cogito.

                  • Of course not but the best you can do is give it that old college try. That’s all I’m saying.

      • Where is the book you bought? Available on Amazon or nah?

        • Guest

          Take an Early Education course if you need to. Do you really need me to tell you how to educate yourself?

          • I don’t need anything. I asked where is this publication where the “rules” for raising children are. Seeing as how rearing is a very personal experience that is unique to each family, I’m wondering where you found the comprehensive text that guarantees productive, well rounded humans.

            • Guest

              Hey don’t take your snarky aggression out on me, I’m not your child. Go punch one of them Supermom.

              • I just want you to show some receipts.

                • Guest

                  You want me to show you the Rule book that tells you exactly what to do to raise perfect children every time? Would you like me to pick it up from the lion when I go through the wardrobe on my next trip to Narnia to find out where you abandoned your logic? Look, slap your little black azz kids around if you want to. As you can see it’s done wonders for us as a people.

  • Breezy

    I remember my Dad being present until he was not. My dad was a rolling stone but it didn’t matter to me because I loved the dirt he walked on. He could disappear for years literally and I would be right there waiting with my little heart on a silver platter for him.

    The only memory of disappointment I have of my Dad is him promising to buy me a pair of LA Gears. I really wanted a crisp white pair with the neon pink and lime green lace. I waited for weeks and when I asked him when he would purchase them he said “Money don’t grow on trees.” In that moment it felt like the biggest let down but all it took was him ending the conversation with “I love you” to win me all over again.

    • TheCollinB

      ive seen some mom’s that pull all the weight grow deep resentment regarding this type of love a kid has for an absent father. i understand where it comes from but i also can’t really comprehend how a child isn’t supposed to love their parent. Unless the absent parent is an all around douche of a human kids just want to love and be loved back.

      • Breezy

        My Mom loved the s hit out of my Dad. Whenever he would make an appearance it was like he never left. Never heard her say one bad thing about him. At his funeral it was just her and us kids. Not his most recent ex wife but my Mom and us kids.

        • TheCollinB

          Dope on a multitude of levels.

        • Guest

          Welcome to your future, a woman who thinks it’s okay to be an afterthought instead of a priority.

          • Lea Thrace

            The he!! is your problem in here today?!

            • PhlyyPhree

              You haven’t seen her stories/comments?
              Hurt people hurt people. Just pray for her and let it go.

              • Lea Thrace

                I know. I’m getting shades of a certain she who must not be named. I’m out.

            • Guest

              I feel great. Is it weird to think that a man who shows up every so often to take care of his children is unacceptable? Well I guess that’s just the benefits of having a d*ck.

            • Guest

              Black women won’t even let Black women tell them they deserve the best. Pathetic and sad.

            • Guest

              Somebody excited that the listless negro shows up here and there, while mom took the time to be there everyday? Why encourage this behavior? You were robbed of what you deserved. White kids everywhere know they are going to see their daddy every day all day while black girls look back at the joy of being her own fathers every so often afterthought. An American Tragedy.

              • Asiyah

                “White kids everywhere know they are going to see their daddy every day
                all day while black girls look back at the joy of being her own fathers
                every so often afterthought. An American Tragedy.”

                UNTRUE. Lots of White kids with absentee fathers. Stop acting like you’re looking out for Black women while spewing racist beliefs at the same time.

      • charisma_supreme

        It’s likely anger at having to repeatedly pull your child back together after recurrent let down. Or at least, this is what my mom shared with me. At one point she had to coach me how to stop asking, bc unfortunately i was just too hopeful as a youth. Lol.

    • Guest

      My dad is a whorre. He doesn’t have much of a personality and he’s anxiety ridden and childish, so I don’t expect him to be anything but himself. Daddy is just daddy. A giant 15 year old. I can’t be mad because he’s *made wrong*. He was probably ill raised.

  • I would like to be a present dad. The idea of being an open and nurturing to a tiny human seems daunting though.

    • Dougie

      The feeling of the responsibility is daunting. The practice of it isn’t. It’s awesome.

    • TheCollinB

      Bruh….

    • Daunting task but kids don’t judge anything. Just bring the juice and the cookies and all is well.

      • Word. It’s amazing how kids can just love you for being there.

        • Quirlygirly

          I think back to when I was younger and I was always happy to see my father. He cam through fed us, he was the one who gave me my nickname, and I was fine. My love of jazz came from him.

        • And then still love you as much when you mess up or disappoint them or yell at them. Sometimes I feel I don’t deserve them.

    • Guest

      It would make sense to be open to your own child, especially since they aren’t going to shame you for it.

  • Ess Tee

    The writer shade, tho? lol

    (Only present for the material it brings.)

    • TheCollinB

      Super petty right?

      • Ess Tee

        Ha! Petty LaBelle.

  • Dougie

    This was cute. And my assumption, like Agatha’s, is that you’ll be a present dad. But the only thing that’s certain for present dad’s is that you’ll be an awake dad. Good luck with the sleep patterns.

    My son just turned 1 on Sunday and he had cake for the first time. He hasn’t slept since.

    • Ess Tee

      Your son looks like the happiest baby on earth!

      • Dougie

        He’s incredibly happy so very often. I attribute it to his village. My wife and I have so much support and loving people around him all the time. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e40a04f403f84bf423dd94177a49062c8c45bfb1a282a3d0d72d7bdfdecd0adc.jpg

        • Breezy

          He’s adorable. Reminds me of Eps son.

          • Epsilonicus

            He does look like my child. I had to do a double take lol

        • OMG so adorable

        • Ess Tee

          Awwww! He’s adorable, and that bowtie is poppin’!

          • Dougie

            haha thanks! He ran for president this weekend at his birthday party. We had a Donald Trump pinata that everyone got to take a whack at!

            • TheCollinB

              Parents of the year.

        • miss t-lee

          He looks like he’s ready for more cake…lol

        • Tambra

          Total adorable…

    • Oluseyi

      But the only thing that’s certain for present dad’s is that you’ll be an awake dad. Good luck with the sleep patterns.

      Heh. I can sleep at the drop of a dime, so our arrangement was that any cries that interrupt sleep, I handle them. I get up, change/feed/burp/cuddle him, put him back to sleep, and go back like nothing happened. If he’s extra fussy and uninterested in sleep, I place him on my chest, let him play and basically doze off. Eventually he’d fall asleep too.

      And… I got that from my dad, who is The Greatest Dad of All Time™.

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