Name: Joey Foster | City: Salt Lake City, UT | IG: @Guiseppe.x
What does being a father mean to you?
Being a father means being any and everything my family needs me to be whenever they need it. There isn’t a thing I wouldn’t do for my family no matter where we are in life. I don’t care if I’m old and my daughter is an adult, she will always be my baby and I will always be her dad. It is both a great privilege and responsibility to be awarded such a title. As long as there is breath in my body it is my job to do the best I can to live up to that despite whatever’s going on in life.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
Growing up I didn’t have a Dad until the age of 17. My father Was incarcerated at the time of my birth so I took the last name of my brothers father (Foster) which turned out to be my lifestyle. From age 3 to age 20 I was in and out of state custody going from home to home or group homes to homes. I didn’t know what it was like to be taught how to play catch, learn how to drive, or even shave with my father. These were all things I had picked up from older male figures I hung around or my moms partner at the time who is part of the LGBT community, so I never really had consistency in anything, which meant I had to learn quick because it may have been my only opportunity.
I picked up what I could here and there about being a man and much more a father. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I was moved to the place I call home and met my Dad, Steve. Steve showed me (with much patience and frustration I’m sure) how to budget, how my habits and choices effect not just myself but those around me. Those we lessons I had heard In the past, but never been taught long enough for it to stick so I always went back to what was comfortable for me. Eventually through Steve and many of the positive influences around me I grew to understand these things not just in my mind, but in my heart and I’m so glad they were taught to me before my baby girl arrived or I wouldn’t be writing this. I would’ve followed after my father who I didn’t see until the age of 18 and treated me more like a friend than a son. Sometimes I get upset and very angry at my parents, but then I have to acknowledge that it was God that he allowed me to cross through everything I went through and not be the statistic I should’ve been.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
The thing I took from my experience growing up was to resolve things with my kids. Till this day my dad still doesn’t want to truly address the elephant in the room which is the fact that him and my mother chose a lifestyle they thought was more important than me or my siblings and though I struggle in my heart most days, deep down I just want them to acknowledge it and have a conversation with me about it. For that reason I will NEVER allow my baby to be hurt by me without picking up theses I made or at least attempt to heal the pain I’ve caused. I know how it makes me feel that my parents don’t and won’t do that & I don’t want her to EVER feel like this. She’s my world and if feels as though she can’t even come to me for the pain potentially caused then there’s an issue and that’s what I’ll bring with me into fatherhood. I will NOT allow anything between my baby and I whether it was her fault, my fault, or no one’s. I won’t allow anything to make my relationship as awkward as the ones I have with my birth parents.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
One of the biggest obstacles i face during this journey was being in the Dugouts! What I mean by that is when your baby is born and even up to a year after, most of the baby’s needs and wants come from mom and grandmas pitch in a lot, so you almost feel like there’s no room for you, but you just have to get creative when you’re up to bat! Until then, cheering my girl and my daughter’s grandparents on is about all I can do while I’m at work and they’re at home.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
•Watch who you have kids with
•Be patient with your spouse or co-parent
•Help take care of the mom while she takes care of the baby
•Get some sleep
•Read up on parenting
•Don’t expect perfection
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
What’s up pops? Been a long time coming.. hope everything is working out for you in life, but I’d like to get something off my chest.
First off I hate the fact that I’m just like you in so many ways because you make me angry. You create an unimaginable amount of excuses and can never take any sort of responsibility for your action. This whole time I told you I was mad at mom because of her drug addiction, but at least I can say she tried. You chose the life you chose and paid for it. You got out and treated me like a friend rather than a son which I secretly longed for.. I never told you because I didn’t think you’d do anything about it.
Thinking about it, I’m not even sure you know how to be a dad as you were gone for most of Whitney and my life. I know relationships are a two-way street and for a while there it seemed as if I only called when I needed something which was true, but you know what else is true?? Maybe I needed more than I was asking for. Maybe subconsciously I needed you and not what you had but was too scared to ask. I admit my child and selfish ways and despite how angry I get at you, I’ll always love you… sometimes I hate that fact because you were the were to me but you didn’t do shit for me and had nothing to say for it.
Not even an apology over dinner. 18 years and you pick up where we left off like we’re buddy buddy. Instead of being man enough to tell you how I really felt I accepted it because somehow I felt as if this would be the only side of you that you would ever offer me. I see the way you treat yourself and those around you and have to wonder what fate our relationship will suffer…
Anyway, I love you dad but I also hate you at the same time for showing me what not to be. It’s bittersweet when it comes to you and that’s really all I can say.
I hope you find whatever you’re looking for because it sure wasn’t me.
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