Name: Brandon Smith | City: Charlotte, NC | Instagram: @Sequence001
What does being a father mean to you?
Being a Father is everything to me. It’s an opportunity to mold the future. An opportunity to teach what’s right and what’s wrong. An opportunity to give back to a generation that has nothing but potential in them. An opportunity to offer attention and love instead of neglect and disappointment. Being a father means to be everything I missed as a child.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
I grew up in a town called Chesapeake, Virginia in the late 80’s through the 90’s. My mom was a single mother struggling to get by on her own but doing what she could make ends meet. There were years I would stay with my grandmother and i would see my mother a few times a year. Later We all went to the hospital with her and i was present when the doctor told her that she had Breast Cancer. I didn’t know what it was but i just knew from the mood in the room that it was bad. After that I bounced back and forth from my moms house to different family’s homes. But As a kid i never understood why my dad was not in the house. The only detail of him was that his name was “Kyle”. I never thought to ask “where is my dad”. I just knew he was out there somewhere and I’d see him soon. However, year after year would pass. Birthday after Birthday. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween…No Sign of him.
Then one cold day My mom randomly says, “Come on, get up. You’re going to see your father. I remember being so excited and curious on my way there. Thinking to myself, “Where does he live? What does he look like? What are we going to do?” Then we pull up to a small white house. A man comes out to the car and my mom greets him as “Chris”. I got out the car and gave him a hug and he says “hey nephew!, I’m your uncle Christopher!” ..I didn’t know that my dad had a brother. It was a very brief interaction but he gave us directions to my fathers house and we headed there. As we pulled up I remember having heavy adrenaline pumping as if I was going on a Roller Coaster. We walked up and he opened the door with a huge smile, picking me up saying “Hi Son! Guess what? You’re going to be spending the day with me today” and I couldn’t of been happier.
Throughout that day I learned that he was an Artist. He had his own business. And He loved to cook. I also learned that I had an older brother who i met briefly that day. The whole day felt surreal. It felt like time was moving in slow motion yet at the same time the moment couldn’t last long enough. I got to spend the night over. And After that day, my mom came back, picked me up and that was it. I never saw my dad again..
Fast forward to 2012. My world is completely different. My mom passed from the cancer a decade prior. My grandmother died shortly after. I was eventually adopted by my cousin and his wife. I had just started a new position at my job and was about to welcome a baby boy of my own. You could read that and say i had it rough, but when i look back, it all prepared me for fatherhood. I knew what NOT to do when my kid arrived.
I vowed from that moment forward to be everything i never had as a father. To serve as the best example of a MAN that I could be.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
I learned that just because you’re not there doesn’t mean you’re not needed. There’s a ton of mistakes i made growing up that could have been prevented with a simple conversation. I could have gone further as an athlete, but no one was there to guide me or push me to reach my full potential. It was always me. All me. And I partially resent my father for putting me through it. I carry a heavy load on my mind everyday. I’ve searched endlessly for answers of my fathers whereabouts and why my family knows very little about him.
I don’t wish this thick cloud of darkness on anyone. Especially my own kids. That’s why I try to do all i can to be the Sun for them.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey? If so, explain.
My biggest obstacles have been getting my son to understand that everyone’s life isn’t the same. He lives an amazing life that i could only dream of. I just want him to have appreciation for what he has and pass his knowledge and love to his kids one day.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
Patience. Learning is through Experience, Time, Repetition, and Perseverance. Give the learning process time for your child and yourself. It will all come full circle in time.
If you wanted to write a quick note to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would it be?
Dear Father, I missed you. Needed you. Loved You. I have a long journey ahead of me. We all have our own paths and I don’t know the obstacles that were in your way. But know that your absence opened a door of possibilities in my mind. Ironic but I found the meaning of fatherhood through your absence. And now my kids can tell their story differently because of it. Thank You.
Name 5 fathers you cosign.