Name: Kendall Donaker | City: Las Vegas, NV | IG: @KendallDonaker
What does being a father mean to you?
Being a father means every thing to me. From the first moment I held my daughter in my arms, I knew those tiny hands had such a big grip on my heart. It changed everything for me. To how fast that I drive, to the tone in my voice, to how I shop, what I eat, to the actions I take, and the choices I make, it all revolves around her. It’s like a like switch when off in my head. Not only as a father, but as a man. The example that I set as a man will show her what she should expect from someone else one day. I have a responsibility. To protect her from a fall, the monsters under the bed, or even a broken heart. I want to be a strong dad, and understanding father, a warm embrace, and a role model. I love her more than all the days and nights, and deeper than the ocean’s and the sky. Being a father means it’s my duty, and my honor, to give everything I have to my little girl.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
It would be dishonest to say that my relationship with my father was from a Hallmark movie
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
It would be dishonest for to say that my relationship with my father was made for a Hallmark movie. My father taught me a lot of things: entrepreneurship, the motivation to make something of myself, in the drive to make things happen. She taught me to be skilled and calculated, but it’s what he didn’t teach me that led me to search for a different path. My father was a very a very bold and direct man, not so much a passionate man. Perhaps it’s the Aquarius and me, or me being born on Valentine’s Day that has my heart so big, but the things I’ve learned about being a father, did not come from what I’ve learned from being a son. One of my favorite TV shows was Smallville, it was about Clark Kent‘s journey before he became Superman. One of my favorite things that I loved about the show was Clark’s relationship with his father. It was everything that I’ve ever wanted; support, reliability, trust, comfort, and most of all, unconditional love. And it’s that one thing, that one aspect that was missing in my childhood that I knew I would never let my child miss out on, unconditional love. There was no condition, or prerequisite for my love, it is just genuine and true. My journey of becoming a better father, started with my journey to become a better man.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
There are a lot of obstacles I faced over the course of my journey. One in particular, and probably most relevant, is coparenting. No one starts out expecting to raise a child 50-50 with someone you’re no longer living in the same household with, or no longer in love with, and yet it’s some thing that is a reality for many men and women out there. Something that I’ve deeply struggled with, the aspect of creating something so beautiful and not being able to see her every day is a pain that goes beyond words. I do so much enjoy being a father. And it is because of that joy that I had to put my own jealousies, and selfish tendencies aside and break bread with her mother after so many different disagreements. I can see now, proudly that her mother and I are excellent coparents. My mother and I both had parents who were divorced and it was hard on the both of us, and we both made a vow to each other that we would never share that hardship and put her through that. Therefore, I call her mother every night and ask how she’s doing as well as my daughter before bed. I send her mother flowers on her birthday, and friendly greetings when I pick up and drop our daughter off. However sincere or insincere it may be, it is my duty to put any obstacle aside that could hinge my ability to be a good father. Being a single father is no easy task, I watched 1 million YouTube videos and I still do not know how to properly braid my daughters hair, but I will watch 1 million more to get it right when she needs it. I don’t know anything about women’s products, so I subscribe to articles to help me be more informed. My house is a bit more pink than I’d like it to be, and at two years old my daughter has somehow already developed a passion for shoes, but I will tell you this, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
My advice is simple, do your best. I’ve read a dozen books are parenting and yet somehow you tend to always end up doing what works for you. In the end, I think it just matters if you’re doing your best. I’ve grown more tired, but I’ve also grown more patient. I’ve grown more gray hairs, but I’ve also grown as a man. People can tell you all the time what they think is the right thing to do, but in the end, you’ll know. Being a father doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, it just means you’re doing your best.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
I forgive you. I forgive you for the moments you didn’t know how to talk to me, for the moments sad I needed a hug but you felt it was more of a mother’s job. You had me at such a young age and I know it must’ve been hard. You were trying to put food on the table, and I know that you felt that that was your responsibility as a father. I want you to know that I needed you, I needed do through high school, and I needed you though college. Even after all the anger I would feel towards you, the moments where I felt like you were there for me, meant the world to me. I want you to know at 26 I still need you. I want you to know how sorry I am that it took this long for me to truly know you. I want you to know that I know it’s not your fault, you were just a byproduct of what your father taught you. I want you to know that even though it may be too late for some things, it’s never too late for us to grow. We may have different views on some things, but I’m happy I have you as my father. And even though sometimes I wish things worked out differently, I’m still a good man, and so are you. I love you dad.
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