Borrowed Father

4 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

I'm an observer, a writer. A wife and a mom. I notice people; I see families. In honor of Father's Day, I'd like to show you a glimpse of what I see. Of what I write. Of what I know. Of what you should see too. 

My name is Jana Craft and this is Borrowed Father. 

My husband draws my attention across the room. "See that?" he says. I search in the direction of his raised finger. I witness the beauty of a man holding a prized daughter and I am taken aback by my surprise. 

He holds the baby. Not really a baby now; she's on her way to being a little girl. She's just passed her first birthday. 

She's restless in his arms, but he is not a stranger. She, a beautiful mocha skinned girl, alternates between fidgety and calm. Wearing one of her pretty dresses and a sweater because it's a cold spring day. Colder, still, in the drafty sanctuary where we are gathered to worship on a chilly Sunday in April. 

Short in stature but big in heart, he bounces ever so slightly like all baby holders eventually do. His dark, straight hair is neatly trimmed. His collared shirt pressed for Sunday service. Her dark kinky hair is lovingly gathered into two puffs on either side of her dimpled cheeks.

I do not know puffs. How does hair stand on its own naturally? 
We are of the limp hair variety. 

Their skins do not match. They are two distinctly different shades of brown. Hers cocoa, his burnt umber. This I have not noticed until now. I represent the fair and freckled people; I have never noticed different shades among different races, different faces. All brown skin amazes me. I do not understand melanin.That is, I do not understand consistently distributed melanin; mine presents itself in spots. "Angel kisses" they are not. My parents beg to differ. 

My people are either white or red, raw or burnt. There is no in between. 

This little girl has both in her genes. She is of the fair and freckled matriarchy and dark cocoa patriarchy. Together, they have made a stunningly beautiful child. All of mine are light; I do not know this reality. We consume sunscreen like sugar and pray for cloudy August pool days.

I continue to watch, oblivious to others around me. 

He nestles her, this rare beauty in a land of mostly cream people. The music soars; the voices raise in unison. The band is large today, leading a special worship. Her restless nature succumbs to the rhythm of music. She has relented; she is tired. He sits now. 

She rests on his chest. He kisses the top of her neatly parted hair and touches his cheek to her spongy curls. I do not think she is sleeping but it will not be long now.

How does he know to do this? He is not her father. He is but a friend; his wife sits beside him. The child's parents are in the worship band. And yet, she knows him. He draws her closer and I see him draw a breath. A relaxed sigh of contentment.

He is not her father. 
He is not a father at all.  

Not yet, but soon. His own wife is due. She is showing now, pregnant with their first child. Their baby will be like this beautiful one; a stunning combination of light and dark. 

I pause and let the realization settle within me.
I stand corrected.
He is a father right now.

Dr. Jana Craft is a Christian, wife, mother, business professor, fake biker and terrible cook who writes about the struggle to balance these identities and the joy derived from them all. She writes daily on Holding True @ janacraft.blogspot.com

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