4 days ago
“To be honest I didn’t think I’d make it past twenty-one. I was living day-to-day. Thinking I knew everything, thinking I was an adult. And I was angry. About a lot, like a lot. I was fifteen when I had my daughter. And she was four when I went to prison for the first time. I came out for a little while. My girlfriend and I had another child, then I went in again. But this time my daughter was grown enough to understand where I was going. And that hurt. That’s one of the reasons I never went back. That, and the conversations I had with older men. A lot of them made one mistake and were never getting out. I ‘d messed up twice, and I was getting one more chance. I served 4.5 years. The mother of my children never left my side. She’s a great woman. We met in foster care; we have similar stories. And I came home to a stable home. For a little while I didn’t have to worry about bills. I could just focus on being a father: taking the kids to school every day, making dinner some nights, cooking breakfast on Sunday. I ended up getting a job at a homeless shelter; and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I fell in love with it. The people, mainly. Their stories align with mine. When my mother brought us to the shelter, it was the first time I ever felt poor. I was only eight or nine, but I said: ‘I’m always going to have money of my own.’ And that’s what led me to the streets. My daughters are on a different path. The oldest is a junior in high school now. Her grades are excellent, better than mine ever were. She’s got a little baby sister, so we’ve got three girls now. And I’m just a great dad, honestly. A really great dad. Just, I love my kids. And they love me. I can see it. And that’s what I’m proudest of. Because growing up I never had a father; he did 27 years in prison. I never even knew him. So for me—to be a great father, that’s a thing.”