I dedicate this Father’s Day piece to my husband of over 17 years, Kevin Arthur.
Being married or in a relationship does not always display rose petals on silk sheets and fireworks above huddled hearts. There are times when times are inexplicably tough. Be it external trauma, a security breach or self inflicted damage, the longevity of exclusivity remains under constant threat. In an ideal world, relationship challenges would not impact parenting, but often does. As a strong woman, I’m not a fan of male bashing and I take great issue with generalizations. “All men are this and all men are that.” It pangs me when children are kept from their father and reduced to pawns of leverage when connections of intimacy deteriorate. Don’t blur the issues. He may not be the best husband or mate, but if he’s a great father, don’t keep him from seeing his children. That’s a shred of evil that ought not be.
I’ve nominated my husband for every “Super Dad” award you can think of. From church to TV shows, you name it. I seized any and every opportunity there was to sing his praises as a father. Though he has never been selected to win (his never knowing of the nominations) his parenting has remained steadfast. He’s an incredible father who deserves an award. Incredible is not a relative term and awards are not extended to those who govern themselves as they should. It’s when the extraordinary abounds that one becomes a candidate for acknowledgement. In the category of fatherhood, Kevin Arthur shines.
My husband never had the pleasure of meeting my father. A man of faith and integrity that far exceeded his 6’4″ 1/2 frame; Dad was a Commodities Broker by day and Harlem Renaissance man via Bushwick, Brooklyn NY by night. He was known for his voice. He sang all the time and was often featured in full concert. He loved music. Mom often spoke of one of the saddest days of Dad’s life. It was the day John Coltrane died. “He was in mourning for a week” she said. When Dad died at 34 years old, I was young and my brother was two years younger. There are still moments of mourning decades later.
Newly widowed after being a newlywed for 15 years of marriage… I still remember the day my mother sat my brother and I down to tell us Dad wasn’t coming home from the hospital this time. With children not being permitted to visit patients in ICU, I remember us going to visit my Dad but having to wait outside. Mommy would park the car on the side of the hospital where his room was. Without fail, Dad would carefully come to the window, attached to cords and tubes but determined to faintly wave to my brother and I with each visit. I recall the last time Dad waved from the hospital window; I didn’t know it’d be the last.
Memories. Just as you remember your favorite Holiday present or your first kiss. Memories. Some linger while others hover as clouds. Some days white in clear skies. Others dark on stormy nights. Memories of my Dad always make me smile and if I cry, their tears of joy and wishing he were still here.
I married a musician…. who I wish could’ve sat down and heard stories firsthand from his father-in-law; a NYC music connoisseur and vocalist. I wish they could’ve spoken face to face about that Miles Davis concert he took Mom to where Miles played with his back to the audience the entire night. Would love to have seen them together on Thanksgiving Day, in deep discussion about the Black Diaspora and day to day life. Just one Thanksgiving. Just one…
But since that’s a sound I will never hear or a series of conversations I will never overhear, I can’t imagine ever robbing our son and daughter of the gift of being fathered by their father should a strain ever foster division. Never…since I so desperately still miss mine.
Don’t blur the issues.
Happy Father’s Day Dad. I’d like you to meet my husband, Kevin Arthur.
I married a man who loves music, just like you. He’s a musician Dad and a Grammy nominated, Stellar Award winning producer. He plays all styles of music just as you sang and taught me to embrace all genres. I wish you could’ve met him. He asked Mommy, Grandma, Pop Pop and my brother, your only son, for my hand in marriage. Though my brother walked me down the aisle on our wedding day, and I’m grateful that he did, I always thought it’d be you.
Barren for the first 4 years of our marriage, it was amazing to not only witness Psalm 113:9 unfold before my eyes but my husband’s fatherly instincts as well. You would’ve been proud Dad.
Though he works primarily nights and weekends as a full time musician, Kevin is an invaluable and ceaseless presence in our home. Regardless of how little sleep he may have gotten the night before, he consistently leads us in family devotion before he walks the kids to the bus stop. He covers us in prayer before he leaves for every gig no matter our marital climate. There were times when he had to travel for work, just like you Dad. No matter the time zone, he would use this feature called FaceTime to wake the kids up for school and/or pray with us before we turned in for the night.
You may not ever be recognized publicly in the manner that I’ve envisioned but rest assured in knowing, your seed and I see you.
© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee, 2015
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Photo Credit Ericka Arthur