Updated: Jul 28, 2022
Driving down 70 East I broke cruise control and coasted to the lower posted speed. Amara fell asleep 10 minutes prior, and I had a little over 30 minutes left as I was heading into work. An untimely car hauler carrying five cars slowly pulled out into the fast lane as I swerved right to avoid clipping the bumper. What felt like a usual close call turned into me losing control and t-boning the car hauler spinning out totaling my beloved Avalon.
I literally swerved into my summer.
It sent me into a tailspin of looking for transportation, scrolling through Facebook Marketplace, dealership websites, and sightseeing as I drove around town. My time with Amelia was the coming weekend, I felt the immense pressure the timetable produced. One thing that weighed heavier was having Amara in the car with me. There's nothing scarier than when your child is in danger, and you're helpless.
The crash constantly replays in my mind, it was like a movie as slow motion enveloped my world. As I started to skid, I immediately screamed Amara's name turning to reach for her. The broken middle console dug into my ribs while I tried to reach for my daughter, watching the manufactures handiwork as the car seat safely cradled my baby.
My initial thought mirrored a time when I slipped down the stairs holding Amara. "Not the baby I get to see!" Even though the times are different, that was still my thought, and I instantly regretted it. To me, it felt like I was playing favorites and the sentiment that followed was that of a bad father. Which is something that I've battled with since the commencement of my fatherhood journey.
Having Amara with me in the car as we ping ponged down the road didn't help my psyche either. Thankfully Amara wasn't hurt, and I only bruised my ribs. I couldn't imagine if it turned out worse. To add salt to the womb, the cop that took the report dismissed the witness that was in my favor and took the driver of the car hauler's word over mine.
I felt guilty before he even took my statement, another day as a black man.
The upcoming Sunday started my six-week summer stint with Amelia, it will be the longest I've ever had her at one time. I was nervous and excited. Nervous because I wanted her to have fun and want to come back, there was a time not too long ago she would cry for her mother every night. Very excited because I was about to have a "real dad" experience and I looked forward to every minute of it.
I thought about getting her and Amara ready every morning, dropping them off to their respective destinations and heading to work. Camp provided meals so I was deprived of the joy of making them lunch daily, but my pockets were more than happy. I had plenty of ideas and activities for the three of us to enjoy, to learn, and to grow a deeper love for each other. I pondered on what I might be able to teach them, wondered what they would retain. Would it be church? How I speak to them? My music? I rehearsed every scenario possible hoping to be ready when they come with their wild inquiries.
I love being a father.
My grandma came to town to spend time with her two sons, my uncle lives 40 minutes away in another city. One thing my mom pointed out is that we had four generations in the house. My grandma, my dad, me, and Amelia. We took a picture and spoke on different family members ascertaining how far the family tree reached.
The conversation took me to the crevices of my own brain. Mentally stepping back from my physical state and dove into the folds of memory and thought. How far will my tree reach? I already have two separate branches growing and an apparent third as I continue my search for a spouse. I thought about the family dynamic with already having kids and chuckled as I questioned if I will ever have a son. I wouldn't be mad if I was only a daughter dad honestly, the love and relationship is worth all it took to get to that point.
At work, I created an adult basketball league to bring life and a diverse group there. Of course, I played. Like I plan to do with all adult sports to try to increase competition and to have bragging rights. It took me a couple games to get back used to the leather and sprinting non-stop.
I relished in the beautiful art of the game, sizing up bigs and putting my head down on the guards. A two-way player guarding positions one through five and mid-range shooter and aggressive driver. A willing playmaker. I love the game and its pure bliss to be able to express myself on the court again.
The last time I played in a league it was before Corona, I've been itching to play. Next week is the championship game and I usually leave my kids at home, but that isn't an option when medals are on the line. Maybe they will pick up the passion that radiated off of me.
I love being a father.
Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.