Name: Umen Taylor | City: El Sobrante, CA | IG: @UMeezy1500

What does being a father mean to you?

It means my very existence. I wouldn’t dare disrespect the sacrifices my mother and father made to insure I had a good life. But the decisions I made growing up weren’t always the best. And I would be heartbroken knowing that’s the memory I left people with about who I am. But becoming a father gave me a chance to rewrite my story. And now I know when I left this world. My legacy will be he was a damn good father.

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Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.

My biological father has always been in my life. Even till this day we keep in touch. Majority of my life he’s lived in Chicago, so we’ve mainly had to write, call or now FaceTime. But the man who raised me recently passed, he came into my life about 5 years old. And now knocking on 40’s door he’s been there every step of the way. He shared stories with me of the Vietnam war, he showed me how to box, he made sure we traveled and experienced things outside of our neighborhood hell he even let my homies roll with us. He taught me how to balance a check book, fix a flat. But most importantly he modeled how to live a woman based on how he displayed his love for my mother. Never raised his hand at her, rarely raised his voice, never cursed at her and if they ever had issues. The children never knew about it. And he definitely kept his family sacred. He told me house business is house business don’t let just anybody in your house. And even on his death bed one of the last things he said to me was “Take care of my wife”. So selfless

What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?

I learned that there’s no rule book on how to be a father. And having multiple children I’ve learned that didn’t children require different forms of parenting. My eldest son has always come to me with any issues and ask for advice, my second son is more to himself and tries to deal with things on his own. So I have to go to him and find out what’s wrong. My 3rd oldest son is a brainiac and a over thinker to the point where he worries himself so I have to get him to deescalate and my 4th child is my daughter. Yes the youngest is a princess and she’s all wrapped in one, but she wants all of daddies attention around the clock. If I’m out the house to long I’m getting a FT like “where are you” . So managing multiple personalities would be my biggest hurdle and I’m learning day by day. When things are sailing smooth with 3, 1 is having it rough. With things are smooth with 1, 3 are having it rough. And in the rare occasions I’m 4-4 I just enjoy the moment, because I know it could change at the drop of a hat.

Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?

The transition of becoming a man. Knowing that these young people now come before you, they are more important than you. They eat before you eat, they bathe before you bathe. Knowing that the wrong decision in the streets could now put my families safety in jeopardy. Was a eye opener! My happiness is secondary, matter of fact. My happiness is based upon knowing they’re happy lol. That rude awakening was a process to me but luckily I had brothers to open up to and offer insight. And the words that were consistent were “Family first” I got it tattooed on me and I live by those words. It what my father showed me so essentially that’s all I know.

What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?

Money comes and goes, material things will fade and break. One thing that you can always provide your children that don’t cost a dime is the most important thing of all and that’s “time” . When your child is 16 they won’t remember that pair of Jordans you bought them 10yrs ago or that ice cream you bought them at Disneyland but they will remember you “Being there” … Times may get hard your relationship with their mother may not be ideal but always remain present and accessible. It matters, you matter!

If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?

Dear Father, I thank you for never talking the talk but always walking the walk. You not only took care of your responsibilities, you said “hey add some more to my plate God” and took my brothers and I in, and treated us as your own. Learning after your passing that helicopter door gunners had a short life span in the war, statistics show that you shouldn’t have made it back alive or sane. Not only did you, you lived an amazing life, built a foundation for generations to come and were the best PawPaw my children have ever known. Driving from California to Reno to watch the boys play baseball, taking them to boxing classes when I had to work late or hopping on the grill to bbq just because. You’ll always be my shining example of what a real man is. And I thank you, because without you I would not be the father I am today.

List 5 fathers you cosign. (Add their IG names)
1 Los, Tay, Sed, Lamar, CP

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