Comedian Ali Siddiq warms my heart every time he talks about fatherhood in one of his routines. Even when he jokes about how Father’s Day is WAY down on the list of important holidays, I find myself smiling and cheering him on. Mr. Siddiq loves being a father and he expresses dismay that society devalues fathers and their role in their children’s lives. In “Being a Father,” from “Talking Loud Saying Something, Live at the Improv” Mr. Siddiq states:
“One of the best things in my life is to be a father….I really encourage men to be men and take care of your kids no matter what and I do encourage women to let us take care of our kids.” Mr. Siddiq goes on to talk about how animosity between parents, especially those who are no longer in a relationship with each other, can damage children. “Don’t try to hold my baby hostage against me, you know, that’s stupid. If you hate me that’s fine, but you’re ruining the kid’s life with your drama.”
When my father took ill in my early childhood and had to leave our home, my mother could have stirred up a great deal of drama. She was overwhelmed and lonely. She had three young children to care for and not a whole lot of resources. But at no time in our lives did my mother ever discourage us from having a relationship with our father. But to be honest, we did not seem to want one with him. When he would call, we were reluctant to speak to him. We also did not wish to see him much. That must have hurt him terribly.
As I got older though, I tried harder to include my father in my life. I realized that his illness was not his fault. He was not a bad person for being ill. I visited him regularly and even had him over for holidays. Having a relationship with him was challenging at times. But I knew that my father loved me, no matter what difficulties we faced in the relationship.
I am certain that it pained my father that he could not be in the home with us as we grew up. I remember once he told me that he wanted to have a large family with my mother. Both he and my mother grew up with both parents in the home and lots of siblings. He wanted what he knew and experienced as a child. My father is quite family oriented.
Illness disrupted my relationship with my father. But he was still my father. And it saddens me that he was denied the opportunity to play a bigger role in my life. Because as a father, he has an important role.
Thank you Ali Siddiq for talking about the vital role of fathers. I appreciate your humor, but please keep talking about fathers too. We need them in our lives.
Happy Father’s Day!