Perhaps the greatest love of my life is my daughter, Omoye. The love a parent has for a child is beyond measure. As she's grown older, the two of us have forged a bond of friendship to go along with that father-daughter love. We have fun going to the movies or going ice skating with her and her friends. Her friend just beat me in a little basketball video game. Omoye rubbed it in: "She said she would beat you again!" I love her spirit and her playfulness; it brings out the playfulness in me.
Talk about it with my youth so she'd understand
What it is to be loved by a man
- "Love Is..."
Ever since she was little, I'd play beats for her and ask her which beats she liked. And then she'd say, "Rap, Daddy! Rap!" I'd start rhyming, and I'd ask, "Did you like that?" Just the other day, she was helping me with a lyric. "Nah, keep saying it the way you did the first time. That one was good."
Recently, I asked Omoye, "What's the one thing that Daddy said, that he taught you, that you remember most?" "To be respect-ful," she said. She used to tell my mother that the reason she gives money to homeless people is that she's seen me do it all the time. I wanted to show her that it's good to give. To be able to give is a beautiful thing. As much as you're helping somebody else, you should find the joy in it too. I want her to know that. Omoye tells me I'm a good daddy. "You treat people nice." More than anything, she's learned from me that treating people with respect is important.
I fight with myself knowing that I haven't always been the dad I wanted to be for her. I haven't fought sometimes to be around her. Sometimes I took the passive route, avoiding conflict with her mother at the expense of seeing my daughter.
"Daddy, I want to come and see you," she'll tell me. That makes me feel good, but it also makes me feel sad because it reminds me that I'm not in her life every day. As her dad, I want her to know that she is loved to the utmost and that she has that love from a man -- the first man in her life. Knowing that, she can go into her future relationships and really be able to love in a healthy way. The love that I can give to Omoye and the ideals and values that I can teach her will be her foundation. They'll be qualities that she can use in her relationships. I know this because I've lived these truths myself. I know this because my mother gave this love to me.