My Life with D

You know that commercial with the lady looking through the window at the man doing all these crazy dances; then they pan down and you see his 6-year-old twirling around to some music video; and its about fatherhood? That's one of my favorite commercials.

Because it reminds me of my dad. I'm convinced that having a father that spends time with you is one of the most important things that you can have. So important that I've already started writing my book about it. I'm living with my dad (who I call "D") for the first time since I was 13. My father is not perfect. No one is. But I'm really having fun living with him. He makes me laugh.

We speak our limited French to each other. And I didn't even realize that we do it, which is hilarious. We were at his cousin's funeral in Baltimore a couple of years ago and I said, "Bonjour Papa, comment allez-vous?" He said, "Tres bien, merci, et tu?" I said, "Ah, c'est bon ca. Je vais bien. Merci beaucoup." And my (closet ghetto country) cousin interrupts to say, "Girl, what you talkin bout? You know you don't speak French." Oh that's right. That whole 3 years of straight As in French and tour of Europe thing was probably just me lyin. You know how we do. (I'm rollin my eyes right now). Anyway, when I spoke French to my mom (I used to answer all her questions in French) she would get annoyed, but D never did. That was our bond. Especially since no one else in the family can understand it.

He used to travel a lot for his job (like weeks and sometimes months at a time) when I was younger. So most of the time he only around sporadically, even though my parents were together, except the 6 weeks of vacation in the summer. I swear that was the most fun! My dad makes the best breakfast. And he would play with me and my sister. He was like our toy. He would let us braid his inch of hair and act like he was asleep, paint our toenails, take us to dinner, teach us how to fix the car, watch whatever we wanted with us. And since me and D are both night owls, when my parents got divorced, we would stay up all night talking- til like 3 in the morning when I went to his house. And then he would wake me up at like 8 to go running.

Ok let's talk about how before my sophomore year at Hampton, I did not run unless I was being chased. And even then, I knew you could catch me so I would just stop and say quit it, you play too much. Lol. Sophomore year I started running a lot but you could probably still catch me. Anyway. I say all that to say, nah dog, I don't run and you had me up until 3 or 4 in the a.m. Leave me alone. So then he would go by himself, come back and ask me if I want breakfast. YES! Of course. I always want breakfast. Its my favorite meal. You know this. But in like 2 hours. Go away! I am not a morning person. Hence the term "night owl." Please, D, work with me!

My dad's thing is to annoy the shit out of you until you crack. He'll find the one or eight things that piss you off and bring them up all the time. Now that I've gotten that, I understand that, and it makes it a lot easier to get along with him. I just let it roll off my back. And I really think its made me a stronger person. But it used to drive me crazy!! Right now, his favorite thing is to tell me what a good manager I'll make because I'm so hard on people and mean (not completely true, I'm just a realist). I say, "Thanks, Dad! That's exactly what I'm going for!" He just looks at me incredulous and laughs. Its great.

One of the funniest things about my dad? He has NO rhythm and can't dance, but he will do it all the time. It cracks me up! And I mean no rhythm. Tonight he took me to dinner. On the way back we're listening to my Trey Songz cd (love it, go buy it) and he starts clapping. He says, "Hey! I'm on the beat." I said, "Uh-oh! Look at you!" He's usually on the off beat-- beat (clap), beat (clap). Hilarious. So then he says, "Yeah, but it feels weird." Hahahaha. I don't ever want rhythm to feel weird to you. That's classic.

But seriously, if you're a man and you have a daughter now, or you ever have one, listen up. You have to do stuff with them. This goes for all children, but I'm convinced that all strippers and promiscuous women are that way because their daddy didn't pay them any attention. So now they will spend the rest of their lives trying to get some man to pay attention, and most of all to stay around.

When I first graduated from HU, my dad asked me to move up here with him. I was like oh hell no! It's collllllld in Pittsburgh. I can't do that! But then I spent a year in Charlotte feeling stagnated, and four months ago Monday, I finally gave in. And I'm glad I did. I love living with my dad. Its fun. Yes he gets on my nerves, but for the most part, he's a sweet person. Which is a funny thing to say about your dad. But I feel like now for the first time I'm really getting to know him. And I like it.

I have a tendency to be hard on people. I can't help it. But I'm working on it. The other day I was taking a nap and I had a dream he died. I woke up hysterical. So now I'm trying hard to let the people in my life know they're not allowed to die. Lol. I've been telling my mom this for years, but I told my dad for the first time this week. I think he liked it. He laughed anyway. Why does it take a dream to wake you up?


Lost In Translation said...

As interesting as you sound, I'm going to need you to not call your school HU. Nuh uh. HI baby, HI.

Jameil said...

The hatred!

Anonymous said...

This is CNEL just passing through:

I love the story about you and your Dad, it was so sweet and touching. Having grown up with a single mom I've never known what it means to have a father, so I watch a lot of my friends relationships with the fathers from afar, and more often than not the relationships are touching :-).

If I ever planned to get married or have kids I'd want two little girls, maybe because I have two little girl cousins who though sassy are fantastic.

Hmm I hardly remember my dreams, it's so sad, and the ones which wake me up are nightmares about something happening to someone I love.

Chris said...

you can always look at it like this...I lost my father when I was 19, and I regret never sitting down with him and trying to work out the issues I had with him because he wasn't in my life. You have that chance now, I encourage you to take full advantage of it.

Anonymous said...

so.. i ain't read all dat shit, but i love that you speak french and that you answered your mom in french -- i did that too.. she would act like she could understand, and sometimes she could figure it out..

random question - can i ask if and why you pledged sigma gamma rho and your thoughts on the role of BGLO's in revitalizing black america?

Jameil said...

Because altho I think BGLOs have a long way to go, the best work anyone can do to change an organization is from the inside.

I saw the most opportunity for positive change in Sigma Gamma Rho. Membership does not preclude common sense. Not in my case anyway. Its common sense that none of the BGLOs are consistently living up to the standards that our founders have set. You have to be able to see an organization for what it is, including its short comings in order to bring about any sort of change.

Jameil said...

BGLOs have the opportunity to transform the world. But too often we ignore that responsibility to the detriment of our community. This makes it even easier to divide and conquer, hence the elitism inherent in making people feel privileged as a result of affirmative action also known to me as "tokenism" or the "good black" syndrome. You know the "you're not like the others."

I'll focus. Basically BGLOs need to step up our game. We can continue to transform the world like so many of our past and current members, but we're not consistently doing enough to make that happen.