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Split Traditions

The worst part about co-parenting, is trying to raise a child two ways. Somethings that maybe allowed at one house may not be at the other, or what's seen at one house isn't at the other. Both sides might not have negative impacts on the child but I figure it can get confusion. They are expecting to get the same treatment regardless of who they are with.

For fathers, it's hard making the adjustment of not picking her up too much even though I may only be getting her for a weekend. When it's my time with her, all I want to do is hold her and show her love. I want her to walk as well, but when she reaches out for me it's almost impossible not to reach down and bring her face level unleashing a torrent of kisses on the way.

Even in a two parent household where is that balance in sharing the bed and letting them sleep on their own, or deciding whether to buy them that new car on their 16th birthday. We have so much love for our children that we want them to have what their heart desires, especially if you couldn't have it yourself as a kid.

We do take the good with the bad with our own parents and their styles of parenting, creating our own style like a basketball player turning coach. In perfect scenarios where the atmosphere surrounding the child is good their will still be instances where opinions differ. Not being in the same house, the communication on such issues won't always be consistent.

This isn't a dissertation or a recent revelation but as I'm sitting on the floor Christmas morning waiting for the first NBA game to come on I'm watching Amara play with her new piano. Amelia was absent as well as both of their mothers, not the ideal Christmas I had for when I had kids.

Switching between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year splitting traditions missing out on the other each year. I look at this and see this same picture for many others in my community and I see the ramifications. The era of mass incarceration has caused a lot of children to grow up fatherless, hurt, and sometimes poverty. Hurt people hurt people, and not to mention all the sexual trauma and other ACES that cause ceaseless cycles.

I see this and try my hardest with the knowledge I have to come up with a solution to the problem, how can we fix this? How can I fix my own situation and create a narrative contrary to the current norm.

Amara got tired of the piano and went for her favorite plant to dig in and play with the dirt. Sometimes she tries to eat it or she'll feed it to the dogs who follow her everywhere she goes hoping that she'll leave a trail a bread crumbs in her wake.

It's my fault that Onyx, the family dog, loves human food. I used to feed him off my plate every summer I'd come home from school letting him taste my delicious cooking. Now, every time I sit to eat he is at my feet or on his hind legs expecting to get something. My sister's dog, Bella, is at the house and she does the same thing as I feed her too. Bella spent about 3 months with us when my sister went out of country and, of course, I spoiled her with human food too.

When Amara is in her high chair she drops so much food feeding herself, the dogs feast like it's Thanksgiving every weekend. It comes with a price though, as soon as Amara feels them at her feet she starts kicking. They get their food but they come away with a couple licks, it doesn't seem to faze them since they keep going back each time. I do think dogs have a really high pain tolerance noticing them shake off hits other than their paws.

I have a high pain tolerance as well, my mom always tells a story of when I had something similar to strep throat and I didn't complain at all. The doctors were ready to ring the bell of neglect until my mom, in front of all the staff, asked me if my throat was bothering me and I told her that it didn't.

Case closed.

I've always been one to accept physical pain rather than run from it, when I would get hurt I would try to flex the injured muscle so that I would have a wider range of motion. It would hurt no doubt, but I accepted it like popping a blood clot under my nail and using hand sanitizer to clean it out. I've never cut myself or cause self harm but banging in the paint and pushing my body past its limits have always sufficed.

Christmas was great overall, we had a family breakfast with grits, eggs, turkey bacon, and biscuits. It's kind of our families go-to breakfast when we all congregate and take in the serenity of the back porch or stay inside. My dad makes the best grits, I've been watching him and trying to mimic the way he makes it but they never come out as good as his.

I do make good grits though, I make a lot of good things. I enjoy to cook, I remember first time being behind the stove I was nine years old. My older brother taught me how to make an omelette because he was tired of cooking them for me, I think I made omelettes for two or three weeks straight.

One time, for his birthday, my younger brother an I cooked a whole spread for the family in his honor. I think we made, pancakes, eggs, bacon, biscuits, we learned that day not to make two types of breads for a meal. I'm trying to recollect on whose idea who it was, me or Sl1m's, but it was successful.

I catch myself wondering about my daughter's future, what kind of people they will be. WIll they be the community service type or entrepreneur, an athlete or mathematician. So many possibilities and it's up to me, and their mothers, to point them on direct paths to success, hoping that they'll cling on to my every word.

As the game plays I'm contemplating what I should do about this split household, co-parenting thing. Amelia's mother is a lost cause but Amara's isn't, it's still up in the air but I've been fancying the idea. I look at how Amara reacts around us and remember the days Amelia would do the same thing, kids understand.

I had a basketball workout today and brought Amara since everybody else was working and I kept her for an extended weekend due to the holidays. I gave her my phone and noticed she would look up and watch us put up shots, after awhile she started to get fussy and wanted her freedom. I kept her in the car seat and put her in between two chairs off to the side but where she can still see me.

Keeping an ear out, I could hear a song was playing that she usually doesn't like and I took a second to put something familiar on the screen for her. The trainer who I have regular communication with regarding the team offered to watch her while I worked out. He eventually had to pick her up and let her see me because she heard my voice and started fussing again.

Everybody was commenting on how they could tell how much she loved me, the whole time she was screaming "Dada." She says it really good for a kid that just turned one, which they all made remarks in awe. Proud of my baby, and I love showing her off. It makes me happy the way she treats me and loves to be around me and just constantly says my name, it'll never get old.

Being a father is one of the single greatest accomplishments I will ever make as a man and a person.

Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.

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