Apologies for the no postage earlier today, bellas. I had to go pick my parents, brother, sister in law, and little afrobella up from the airport around noon, and I spent the afternoon and evening driving around the city of Doral. It’s 1 in the morning and I literally just got home for the day. Over Memorial Day weekend, and all of next week, I’ll be playing tour guide to my family of nine Trinis. Best believe we’re going to South Beach, and the zoo, and lots of places in between!

I love having visitors, it makes you rediscover the place you live in. A good tour guide vacation experience reminds you of why you live there in the first place. I may do a few posts next week, but balancing my family fun with a full time job and a full time blog just seems impossible. I’m not a superwoman, I am only human. So before I disappear, let’s give away some fabulous gifts! Lisa, Latarra, Tysha, Ms Stella, and Dominique, congratulations! I’ll be e mailing you for your addresses over the weekend, and will send your packages out next week. And stay tuned, bellas, the next giveaway will be my biggest yet!

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that my dad loves to comment on my site. He’s come to really love reading it and he respects the community we’ve got here. For Father’s Day, he’s been invited to give the sermon at our church, and it’s kind of a big deal. So he’s asked me to ask all of you a question on his behalf.

I have been invited to give the Father’s day sermon at All Saints this year at the 7.30 a.m., 9.30a.m. and 6.00 p.m. services. The Prime Minister will be giving the 6.00. a.m. one and I am trying to find out what, in the minds of people, makes a good father. We know all the ills, but what do children really think? I know that almost any male could father a child, but how many really know what is expected or what it takes to be a “father”? Do you think your readership may want to answer that question?

It’s kind of funny that he brought that up. I’ve been thinking a lot about fatherhood these days, Father’s Day is rapidly approaching (June 17, start your shopping soon), and I’ve been working on a very unique Lost One post that hinges on fatherhood. In my opinion, a good father is always available. And not in a sitting-on-the-couch-drinkin-beer kind of way. A father should be a positive contributor to the household who deserves healthy respect. A good dad can be both strict and silly. If you’re a little scared of your dad, that should be because you don’t want to let him down. A good father will be there for you no matter what. And it’s important to appreciate the good fathers that are out there, because it seems that they can be hard to find. I’m very aware that I am lucky to have the dad that I have, and I try to never take him for granted. It makes me really sad that I won’t be able to be there to watch him give the sermon.

What do you think makes a man a real father, bellas and fellas?

Before I go AWOL for a couple of days, here’s a musical teaser for that upcoming Lost One post that connects to the theme of fatherhood, and also ties into the meaning of this Memorial Day weekend. It takes a real, lasting musical icon to remake the national anthem and make it work. And this version is silky smooth, in my opinion. Enjoy!

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Anne says:
May 26, 2007, 7:25 am
nooooooooooooooooo!! you can't go AWOL!! okay.. so I am just a reader and you have a life BUT.. I been reading u for months now.. trying to work up the nerve to go natural... I had very long and lovely [if i dare say so myself] hair but it was relaxed from about age 14 and I was recently fantasiing about my natural curls.. so yesterday I made the big cut! I am SCARED. I have seen about 5 men since and they all hate it :( Quite frankly I don't care who hates it.. i LOVE my new natural locks.. I been playing in them every second since they been set free!! I am off to buy silk head bands and funky earrings to work my look.. but i am still a little apprehensive.. I am very used to being the hot chick with the long hair.. :S A wise word from AfroBella? please? :) ps. what makes a good father is knowing the he loves you and will be there for you no matter what stupid thing you did today [or yesterday!] .. to this day when I get a flat the first thing i do is pick up my phone to call my dad.. who lives in another country! Love you Pops! :)
Mlle. Mitchell says:
May 26, 2007, 8:55 am
You're right, there is nothing like a great dad! I especially think what you said about being there is a biggy. I know that is the main aspect about my father that I love and appreciate. He always let me know that I could depend on him. For example, when I was in highschool and all of my friends were beginning to drive, he let me know that I should never stay in the car if my friends were speeding and wouldn't slow down. He told me that if I didn't want to ask them to slow down (because I didn't want to seem "uncool"), just ask them to drop me off somewhere, call him, and he would come to get me. Gotta love him :)
N.V. says:
May 26, 2007, 10:03 am
I am definitely a Daddy's girl. I am over 30 and I still want to just be with my dad. My mom often says that I love him more than I love her. I hope she's joking, but sometimes I think she really means it. I think that a dad should always have time to have a conversation. I can talk to my dad about ANYTHING. He always answers my questions. It doesn't matter what the topic is, he always makes me feel like what I want to find out or discuss is the most important thing at that moment. Quality time is very important. For example last weekend we watched a pay-per-view fight. We made a big deal out of it. Cooked a bunch of snacks and made it a real event. It doesn't matter where you go, or what you do as long as you spend time together.
Jennifer says:
May 26, 2007, 10:24 am
To answer your father's question, I believe the most valuable things a father can give his children is love and his time. I say this because although I grew up in a two parent house, I still felt slighted. I uderstood my parents did the best they knew how in raising me because they came from dysfunctional families. Therefore, they repeated these problems in our family. I was never told by my father how much he loved me, how precious I was to him, nor did I ever occupy his time. I wanted this from both my father and my mother, although she was a little bit better than my dad in this area. As a result, I have a lot of built up anger and hate in my heart towards them that is taking more energy than I want to give too eradicate it. It has caused endless arguments and conflicts with my parents when I was growing up, and I didn't discover this was the problem until recently. I received endless toys and presents as a child in replace of love and time, which I wanted the most. Money doesn't mean anything, a parent's love and time is way more precious. A person can grow up in a poor family, but receive the love, nurturing and time from their parents. As a result, they grow up to be awesome people. However, I grew up in a middle class family and was miserable!
AndSoThen says:
May 26, 2007, 12:40 pm
I think it applies to both sexes but for little girls, I think a good father sets the bar for his little girl. He teaches her thru example what a real man is and how a real good man behaves with those he loves. As I grew up I saw my dad's complete and utter love for my mom and us. How protected and cared for we felt. He would give me little tidbits my whole life....as a chubby bella...worried about my budding body..he always said you are beautiful...no one wants a bone but a dog...(I have never forgot that)..and he buried it..lol. He gave me my confidence to love me in my sizes. A good Father teaches his children good love by example so they can have it in their lives. So they know which fruit to pick...a good dad teaches by example...
LBellatrix says:
May 26, 2007, 1:09 pm
Afrobella: Have a wonderful time with your family! Jennifer: Without going into a lot of detail...I hear you loud and clear, sis. Demonstrated love (not just through things, whether it be through spoiling or simply "I put food on the table so you should be happy") and lots of quality time are what children need from both parents. However, some fathers think that their just being around is enough, and it's NOT. My father and I only developed a relationship when I moved out as an adult. What's interesting is that, as I've gotten older, I've found myself quoting things he said when I was a kid. So obviously something stuck. I wish we'd had a better relationship when I was younger but I've gotten to a point where I've learned to accept him for all his flaws. One more thing: Fathers MUST teach their daughters how to be able to stand up to some of these overgrown boys out here. Of course, that means the father needs to not be an overgrown boy himself. I sometimes wonder how a man can call himself a man when his daughters are out here getting taken advantage of by every Tom, Dick and Tyrone walking. It saddens me to no end when I think of how many black men in particular have basically abandoned their responsibilities to future generations. And the ones who ARE doing the right thing need to lean more on the ones who AREN'T. So maybe that's something else a father can do: Be there for other fathers who are struggling with the right thing.
Erin says:
May 26, 2007, 3:47 pm
In my opinion, A good father is the one who will always be behind you when you look back, from the time you are unsure when you first learn to ride your bike, your first base hit looking back for approval in your summer softball league, to the day he gives you away on your wedding day and you look back to make sure he'll always be there. He is always his daughters first love and every man who enters her life will be compared to him. I am extrermely greatful to the man who walked into my life at the impressionable age of 8. My step-father is the epitome of fatherhood to me and I love him dearly, he knows when I need a smile, hug, kiss, or just an ear to listen. I am 25 years old married and have a career and home of my own, but when I need it his arms are one of the safest places I could be. Happy Father's Day to all...
Ms Stella says:
May 26, 2007, 4:33 pm
Afrobella, thank you for choosing me as one of your winners! I know it was difficult to chose only a few. I read all of the wonderful comments that your readers left about their little afrobellas and they all warmed my heart. I'll miss visiting your blog while you're awol but hey, it's for a good cause. Enjoy your much deserved time off with your loved ones. Looking forward to your next post, Ms Stella
Liz says:
May 26, 2007, 5:27 pm
Father's Day always makes me sad. I guess it's because of the lack of a relationship between my father and I. I am a young woman, I turned 19 in February, and I grew up in a lower middle class home in NYC. My parents spoiled me, I'm an only child, but their constant fighting really left a lasting impression. My Dad and I have been at odds ever since I was a little girl. I was never Daddy's little girl. For as long as I can remember, we've been fighting. Now I'm in college, and things still haven't changed much. I'm in a top liberal arts school on a full tuition scholarship and that still isn't enough for him to be proud of me. I don't think I'll ever amount to much in his eyes. I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive him for all the physical, verbal and emotional abuse he caused my mother and I. I actually haven't spoken to him since March because of a disupute over financial stuff. I dunno if by Father's Day we'll be speaking. I doubt it.
Jerseybred says:
May 26, 2007, 9:57 pm
I believe a father should possess and teach: Love, tolerance, patience, respect, pride, protect and know when to let go, spirit and good moral character... Enjoy the holiday, Bella!
suburbanbushbabe says:
May 27, 2007, 12:50 am
Best to your father in his sermon. My church is also called All Saints, in Massachusetts. What a great post; What makes a good father? Bottom line? The love of his children. More tangibly - long-term commitment to being a provider and care-giver; being there for his kids. Encouraging them to be all that they can be. Being able to let go when his children need to stand on their two feet. Respecting the boundaries of body, mind and spirit. I haven't spoken to my father in many years because of hurtful things from the past that I needed distance from him in order to heal and become whole. But reading you post made me remember that although he wasn't a perfect father, and although he could be quite abusive, he was still there for us. Making us breakfast, taking us to school, making money so we could have extras like piano lessons. Did he hurt me? Yes, deeply. But he still needs to be acknowledged as a good father.
MzNikki says:
May 27, 2007, 4:31 am
Hey Bella! I am a newly natural gurl, and I can't believe how much I have changed spiritually, mentally and emotionally since chopping the relaxed ends out of my hair. I love it and I don't think I can ever go back to being fire creamed again! Now, as to what makes a good father, I think that the one thing I can say I have always received from my stepfather is unconditional love. I was pretty much abandoned by by biological father when I was about 3, so my only father figures were my grandfather and my stepdad. I introduced him to my mom and the rest, as they say, is history. He might aggravate me on occasion, and the good Lord knows we disagree on many things, but I know that no matter what, he will be there for me just like he has been since I was 6 years old.
mochachoc says:
May 27, 2007, 9:23 am
I wish I knew what made a good father. My biological father was a drunk and never took on the role and my step-father abused us and laid after him a poisonous trail. However, I would say they need to be a parent first and not mistake their elevated role to dominate the family with the rod of correction. I like what others have said about a father protecting and providing. It's hard not to think of the Cosby Show when thinking of a good father. How unfortunate that my reference point for a good father is a fictional one.
Niki says:
May 27, 2007, 2:02 pm
A great father is always your (as Oprah puts it) "soft place to land". He leads by example, and although he may hot be the New-Age touchy-feely type of dad, you know that he has your back and loves you dearly. Just because I was a girl, my father did not exclude me from fishing trips, baseball games, or just watching him fiddle around with ynder the hood of a car when I was a little girl. My father is the only man I know that actually enjoys "browsing" around in stores like Home Depot, Sears, and Target. I always used to like going on errands with my dad, because as the baby girl, I could put my favorite toy or candy into the shopping cart and he would get it for me, despite my mom's protests. LOL My parents have been married over 40 years and I believe that I am fortunate to continue to witness the meaning of a true partnership.
crystal says:
May 27, 2007, 6:00 pm
A great father is someone who is there when you are born,and when he holds you for the first time you know he will always be there.A great father is someone who is there with your mom on your first day of school. A great father is someone who is there for your first date to make sure that you are not taken advatage of.A great father is someone who is there to walk you down the isle on your wedding day.A great fatheris someone who you think of on fathers day.My father has never been there for me ,but he would have been a great father to me if he was ther for these things.
lola gets says:
May 27, 2007, 9:51 pm
I think a great father is one who listens, truly, actively listens, and asks follow up questions. Thats one good way to know whats on your childs mind and whats going on in their lives! L
afrobello says:
May 28, 2007, 12:23 pm
I hate to answer a question with a question, but what is being implied about fundametal differences between mothers and fathers? They should provide the same nurturing, if you ask me. It's interesting how the women who respond have definite responsibilities in mind for their fathers. I never viewed my mother that way.
jen says:
May 28, 2007, 7:12 pm
hello! love your site! I was really inspired to go natural and just a few days ago i literally took scissors to my hair and chopped it off. so now my mom and i are going to get it cut properly (it's all uneven) but i know i won't have to stress with the relaxer and burning it straight (i'm not against people who choose that routine tho!). anyway/ unrealted: KIRI DAVIS IS ON OPRAH today! yes!
Dj says:
May 28, 2007, 11:09 pm
A real father does not abandon his children.
1969 says:
May 29, 2007, 7:47 am
A great Dad is there for his children. He answers questions, he disciplines them, he teaches lessons, he admits mistakes, he gives advice, he holds their hands, he leads by example and he offers strength and unconditional love. He shows sons how to be a man and shows daughters what a man should be.
star says:
May 29, 2007, 9:09 am
Bella, I hope you and your family have "tons" of fun you deserve it! Every Father's Day, is kind of sad for me I lost my father when I was four. I never knew what it meant to have a father or what made them so great. When I was younger, I saw the way my uncle was w/his children and I longed to have a father. He was always there for them..he provided everything for them and to this day he's still there for them. Now, don't get me wrong my uncle has done things for me as well....it's just not the same. I wanted to be a daddy's girl and show him off...just never got the chance. I always hear...boys need their father's....well so do girls. Girls, need their father's because this will be the first relationship she will have with a male. I believe that's one reason so many women choose the wrong men...either the father wasn't in the home or he wasn't a good role model if he was there. Once, I gave birth to my child....I then realized she would be in the same boat as me and I would have to work extra hard to keep her grounded. Her father is not the father he should be and I'm sick of fighting for him to do better. When I look at her, I see myself and what I longed for so many days. Any male can make a baby, but can he be there 100%? A good man is going to be there to provide for his child/children and be a teacher to them. Let them know it's ok to make a mistake, but learn from it and keep striving to do better. Show them their loved and talk to them..keep the lines of communication open (even if you don't always agree w/what they have to say). Instill values in them, that will last a life time. Just give it everything you have and that should be 100%. I know there are good "fathers" out there and they do for their child/children and I'm proud of you for that...really. However, if you are a father and your not given 100%....do try. Pain carries over from childhood to adulthood...if your not ready to give a 100%....just wait...
Tysha says:
May 29, 2007, 10:23 am
Thanks bella for the gift! I am estatic for my daughter. It's awesome that your dad is speaking and I'm glad you chose to go. I too went to hear my father speak at his church last August, it was his initial sermon. I didn't want to miss it for the world. I felt so proud, a good proud of him and wanted to hear my hero speak. So I took the flight from TX to VA. It was a special time for him because it was something he wanted for so long. However we saw it coming for a long while. So in saying that, good fathers are examples to the children. Even though I am grown, I still feel my father's protection and guidance. And I let him know that he is needed still in my life. He is my hero.
Tysha says:
May 29, 2007, 10:39 am
Also would like to add it's great when a father not only can provide financially for his family but also is "a man with a plan" for his family with God's help and strength.
tiara says:
May 29, 2007, 2:44 pm
As a young women who didn't really have a father i would say just being there for your kids and having a relationship makes a great father i know thats what i envy and wish that i had with my father the most
Lynsey says:
May 29, 2007, 8:06 pm
A father is someone who, aside from all the obvious, loves his kids and isn't afraid to show it. My parents got divorced when I was 13 and I never really had a relationship with my father. The only way he "fathered" me was biologically and by telling me to do as he said and not as he did... To me, he was only someone I disliked for breaking up my family, someone who thought he deserved respect when he did nothing worth respecting, and, when asked what made him a good father, said that he put food in mine and my brother's and sister's bellies and a roof over our heads. Now, 13 years later, my relationship with him is minimal (which is sad), but it somehow works for us both. I accepted him for who he is and he has made efforts to be in me and my siblings' lives. It's VERY late for him to do that, seeing as how I am the youngest of us three, but at least he has made some kind of effort. It kind of weirded me out when he first told me he loved me because that wasn't something I was used to hearing from him and I wasn't used to saying it to him either. That is not an example of a good father, but it is an example of a man who tried to make a change. With all that being said, I think a good father loves his kids whole-heartedly and not on a sometimey basis and doesn't hide how he feels about his kids. He tells them when they're wrong, shows them understanding and approval, and gives them a point of reference for what kind of man a son should aspire to be and for what kind of man a daughter should want her husband to be to her kids.
Imla says:
May 29, 2007, 10:39 pm
What makes a man a real father to me is having the ability to not only be a strong head of the family, provider, disciplinarian, but at the same time loving enough to see mistakes he may make from time to time in raising his children, and man enough to admit it and say I'm sorry.
Bebroma says:
May 30, 2007, 9:16 am
I agree with what AndSoThen said about showing love and care for not just the children, but also the mother! Children learn from example and what they see. I think that if a father treats the mother of his children with love, respect, and honor, this teaches a son how to treat the women in his life and a daughter that this is how she should expect to be treated by men in her life, and not to settle for less. If the father is no longer with the mother of his children because of divorce or whatever, he should still treat her with respect and honor for the position she has as the mother of his children. Even if the mother is leading a life characterized by bad choices that have gotten her involved in drugs, jail, whatever, a father can still make it clear that while she may not be capable of inciting deep respect and love in her children, they should just give basic respect for the fact that she gave them life. It takes a very strong man to do this. I have a wonderful mother. My father...well, he had/has his own demons, from the way HIS father affected his life. I am almost 40, it took me until my 30s to truly forgive and let go of things that he did, said, etc., and to appreciate the good things that he did do, which was provide financial support and to expect me to behave in a manner that would bring honor to myself. Also, to appreciate the things that he did NOT do, such as physically, sexually abuse us children, nor abandon us completely, though he did leave. I still don't have a super close relationship with him, but I do talk with him and now I mostly feel sorry for him and what he has missed and misses with his children and grandchildren. It is so important, I think, to let their children know they are loved and valued. Like it's been stated, a father is the first man in a girl's life, and it can have a lasting effect. My father made me feel ugly and I did not value myself, and I made a DISASTROUS choice when I got married, and I think part of it had to do with I didn't feel I deserved any better, that it was okay to settle. I have since gotten out of that terrible relationship, but now my children don't have a father....I just think a good father needs to love and value the people in his family, let them know it and show it, because he WILL leave a legacy, either of pain and a struggle to not make bad choices, or a legacy of love and value and strength.
designdiva says:
May 30, 2007, 1:53 pm
A good father gives his love and his time. My father never told me that he loved me, or he thought I was special or anything like that. He was kind of emotionally distant and growing up we didn't get along all that well (we were just alike..haha). Plus my father was in his 50's when I came along. Now that he's deceased, I regret that we didn't have a better relationship. However my father provided me with whatever I needed, drove me to music lessons, recitals, the mall, downtown etc. He was there everyday when I came home from school (he retired when I was 9)and he treated my sisters and my mother with respect. My father could barely read but was very intelligent and shrewd. I couldn't ask for a better dad.
firewriter says:
May 30, 2007, 2:26 pm
The best father is one who actually wants his child and loves that child because he wants to, not because the child's existence mandates it. My mother has been gone for years but I welled up to tears when I found out 2 years ago how excited my mother was to be pregnant with me, how happy my father was to be having another child. It has formed my life. Both my parents are deceased now, I wish I'd known them closer but still, I know that I was their desire and they loved me because they wanted to.
CLEM says:
June 2, 2007, 11:39 am
My father was the most gentle and compassionate human being I have ever met. He was a constant source of light and encouragement in my life. He accepted and loved me as I was and never tried to turn me into something I wasn't. He was such a softie. He wasn't afraid to cry. He constantly doted on me and made me feel like I was the most special girl in all the world. Because of him, I know how any men in my future are supposed to treat me and that violence and verbal abuse are completely unacceptable. Basically, he set the standard.
pets says:
June 2, 2007, 10:02 pm
Saw where Glamour has your blog listed as one of their favourite blogs!Congrats!
gabrielle from NJ says:
June 3, 2007, 3:49 pm
i know you need family time...but i miss you!!! peace & blessings gab


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