Sunday, April 20, 2008

Daddy's Little Girl

As a writer I take a lot of pride in listening to peoples stories. I can't front like I don't have some of my own, but when writer/authors Joan Morgan and Mitzi Miller called me to write a photo essay for this magazine they were working with, I knew I had to take the assignment. Our collective history together is long, and quietly deserves its own blog. I love how 6 degrees of separation is really like 2 or 3. Anyhoo, Sports and Entertainment Today Magazine (SET) is a new sports/lifestyle mag created by Danisha Rolle. All I know is, JM made contact and MM gave me the assignment - interview athletes and their mothers about their relationship. WHOA!

They say their is something special about that bond between mothers and sons. I've witnessed it myself with my said boyfriends and their mothers. I see it with my sister and my nephew, but I could never quite pinpoint what that thing was. I can't front like I'm heavy in the sports game either these days, but once I spoke to my five star, stunna football and b-ball players and their moms I was so inspired. I've been without my mom for almost 15 years now, so I anticipated I would be hella sappy about the whole endeavor. Quiet as it is kept, it got me to thinking about a few things. One, the blessing they have with their moms being present in their adulthood. Two, I was T.R.O.Ying my mom missing her, but thankful for the time we spent. And three, I started really getting a hardy laugh on that special bond between father and daughters.

I had to pause and scan the mental rolodex about me and my DUDE. He too went to his final resting place 10 years ago this year, but man we had some special connection that I really hadn't thought about for a good long while.

Gettin our dance on in Harlem

High School Graduation

Pop was always focused

My Pop was a man's man. Really stern, super funny and very straight no chaser. I had spent two weeks talking to these superstars and their moms about funny times and serious moments and it took me to a place where I started thinking about some of my own. Like how my Dad always did the food shopping and relied on me for the coupon cutting...especially when it was time to purchase those "monthly" utilities. I was embarrassed to make the purchase, so he always made it for me.

Always a little shy mixed with a little boldness, when I came home from a date with David in high school and Pop opened his bedroom door and saw us watching TV with our faces pressed together, I got called into the kitchen for a little talking to. I wonder if he ever knew about my visitors during the summer when mom was in the hospital and he was working weekends? I know he wasn't pleased when BK, Reggie and Rashid called after 12a asking to speak with me. "Dad, they're different." "Yea, I'll bet," was his response. "Tell them to call before your time or they don't have to call at all."

I was tickled a very bright pink when I recalled my first time I headed to the GYN for an appointment at 17. Who took me? Dad! Who was my doctor? The doctor that delivered me, Dr. Antonio Cavalli. Little did I know then that Dr. Cavalli was the "family doctor." I never recalled him looking super old, but I later found out he also delivered my mom and clearly was my grandma's GYN at that time. Pop made the appointment and waited in the lounge for me to go in and out. "Everything ok?" "Yes!" "Nuff said." Crazy!

I smirked when my pop called me out in college about the pictures he saw from a game called "smarties." You know those tastie candies that are as good as Pez. Well, always the photographer, I had Pop send me some photos I left at home on a weekend I visited. "Dad, could you pick these up from the shop and send them to me?" When I received the flicks in the mail, my Detective father kindly attached a note, "I understand you are a young woman now, but I don't send you to school to play these games. Love, Dad." I was always careful to eliminate evidence to incriminate myself, but clearly he deduced I was the someone who had to be taking the pics since it was on my camera!

Let's not even discuss how Pop shut me down with the silent treatment for a week when he picked me up from the airport on a weekend trip to Atlanta to visit my BFF Marc at the tender age of 19. "Hey Dad, we got tattoos," as I roll up my left arm sleeve and show him my branded, symbolic lady playing a G-clef...All to bear witness for my deep love of music and my commitment to the music business. His response, "what happens when you get older and you stop liking it?" My retort, "I won't." His response, silence!

Had to love it when at 16 I was pretty well developed physically, young in the face, but the body had a few grown men stuck on stupid! Pop and Uncle Raymond managed to get me and my Harlem School of the Arts homie LaToya, backstage passes to the hottest ticket in town, the Budwiser Superfest, where my fav BBD was performing along with After 7, Troop and Keith Sweat. I was my own paparazzi and my father couldn't care less...until someone gave me and my homegirl LaToya passes to Kilamanjaro's for the after party the next night. I must have BEGGED my folks to go. All I recall is my mom dressing me up and throwing some make up on as we headed to the club that night. My mom was my chaperon and I saw pop finagle with the bouncer outside, flash his badge and me, Latoya and our mom's were in the spot. I went to my first club with my mom, and my Dad was waiting outside in the car... When I look at the flicks from that night with me and Ronnie Devoe, D-Nice and LL Cool J, it's hella crazy how it went down.

I cringe at the time I met my pops new boo after my mom died. I was home from college for my Uncle Raymond's wedding. We were on our way, so I thought, when Pop said he had to make a stop to pick up his "girlfriend." I was fit to be tied. Tight couldn't even describe it. I swore I had asked my Pop about women. I even saw some of the vultures in our apartment building swarm once my mom was out the picture, but the spring up with no prior info...I was not havin it. I couldn't even speak. What made matters worse, when we got to the reception, she knew the family by first name. I sure did give him a piece of my mind when I asked to speak with him 20 minutes into it. I never recalled us arguing, but I felt so played being the last to know and his response was, "who's the parent and who's the child? I don't owe you any explanation for what I do or who I do it with." Ooooh that stung! My reply was, "I can't stay here. Can I have the keys to the car so I can go home," which he kindly gave. I jetted uptown from the Hyatt on 42nd Street and cried my eyes out over quite a few shots of Absolut Vodka and conversation with my junior high homegirl Shanique.

Lots of memories like these flooded my mental when I started thinking about me and Pop. I had no idea that this story could open me up to such a happy place. They were always real times. Dad absolutely was the protector, but once mom died he kinda transitioned into friend. Always the consummate provider...I had a $200 allowance all four years of college while I had 2 work study jobs and no expenses. He was a fighter - stubborn as all get out too. But that was my Dude. What he represented to me in my life echos exactly what I got talking to these amazing athletes and their mothers. Sacrifice, unconditional love and a whole lot of support really lay the foundation in a child's life. I was so blessed to have it from both my folks. And that bond that I shared with my Dad was unbreakable. :)


Marcos Costa said...

Hi! I'm from Brazil. I like your thought... but i don't speak very good in english...



THISISME said...

Your connection with your father is what I aim to have with my unborn duaghter. Daddy's girls are selective when it comes to the men in their lives. Keep it that way.

- Black Family Man(you know who it is!)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful blog Kim! You really take your readers on your journey with you :-)

Dimitri said...

To let you know, Dr. Cavalli passed away. See