In predominantly African American culture, the mothers reign supreme, and the fathers (if he is present) is more along the periphery. The matriarchs are the ones who are the family leaders. My family is structured the same way.
When my grandmother was younger, she loved her mens. Six children with three different dads should stand as testament to that. Plus a couple other fellas that she never produced offspring with. I'm not going to bag on my late grandmother for her lifestyle, such a thing is common today, but probably considered extremely scandalous back in the 50's. But she was Queen Bee, who loved her children and provided for them in times men would not. My grandmother was a great lady, I have some hilarious memories of her, and I still miss her to this day.
But this post isn't really about my grandmother.
My aunt recently travelled to Louisiana to be reunited with her father, whom she hadn't seen since she was an infant. It was one of those cases that the new wife after my grandmother made certain that he never had a life before her, that included any children he previously had. Yes, this guy should have told the New Hotness to take a hike because his children came before a piece of ass. But that didn't happen, and my aunt, like my mother, grew up not knowing a father.
Anyway, with the help of Facebook, my aunt was able to reconnect with half-sisters, and then in turn reconnected with her father. And after almost 50 years, was able to see him again. She's sent my mother pictures of this reunion. An old man, and two middle-aged women, all smiling the same smiles for the camera.
I know what my mother is thinking.
My grandfather, my mom's sperm donor, his name is Jack. Jack Reed. I don't know much about him, but I know he was Navy man, and I know he was a colossal prick. Stories from my mom's older sister reveal to me that he was a hard man, almost abusive. He liked his clothes ironed a certain way, and if one shirt didn't meet his standards, he made my grandmother iron everything all over again.
When my grandmother found out she was pregnant with my mother, Jack left her. There may have been an ultimatum involved: me or the baby.
So, Asshole Jack abandons the woman who is carrying his child. She goes on and has my mother, who turns out to be a pretty spiffy lady in her own right. After all, only a truly magnificent person could have produced such awesome offspring as the one who writes this blog to you now.
So, Asshole Jack never comes looking for the child he didn't have the balls to stay and take care of. As far as I know, he went on to have another family with someone else. Or maybe he fell off a Navy destroyer and was eaten by a shark. One can only hope.
With the events surrounding her sister's reunion, I know what my mother is thinking...he own father. She wonders if she should look for him. There is an infinite number of resources to do it, companies who's only job is locate lost people. Even with a name as common as Jack Reed, it could be done.
I can understand the need to know your past, but I also fear it. I'm afraid that if she were to go looking for him, he would be alive and still be as disinterested as he was when she was the size of brine shrimp floating around in her mother's womb. I'm afraid of her disappointment that not all parents are happy and waiting for their children to find them. I don't understand why she's not angry. If I were her, I'd want to kick him in the nuts.
Best case scenario: he's taking a dirt nap, having died a bitter, lonely, old man because Karma is a bitch and that's what happens when you abandon children.