This is truly a year of firsts for me and for my beloved family. My name is Kimathi Thompson. My wife Melissa, also known as Meli, and I are coming up on our first wedding anniversary this July. We went on our first family vacation to the beach a few weeks back with both of our boys. (In the past they’ve all gone with her girlfriends and another of my oldest son’s friends.) I stay back because my work schedule usually doesn’t permit me to be away for a number of days consecutively. My biological son, Journey, (almost 2 ½ years old), Meli and I have been to the beach a couple of times without my oldest son, Jyson (9 years old), because he was away visiting his biological father.
As I write this, we are all in Columbia, SC attending Meli’s father’s family reunion. This is not only a first for me and the boys, but also for Meli. Family reunions are very few and far between for many families, including ours. (The last time Meli’s dad’s family had a reunion was 30 years ago until this weekend!) Meli never attended that reunion because she was living with her mother (now deceased from cancer 27 years) in New York at the time. We are actually pretty excited to get to meet everyone and learn more about her dad’s side of the family. It will be fun seeing the boys meet and interact with all of their cousins and great aunts and uncles for the first time.
This will actually be the first Father’s Day that I recognize Meli’s dad as my dad as well. During the goodbye part of a recent phone conversation with her dad, Meli told me he said that he loved me too, after telling her he loved her and the boys. Needless to say, that was a first as well! It really touched my heart to hear that he said that. Yesterday I bought him a Father’s Day card and I will give it to him the day before Father’s Day at the family reunion. We are going to head back home Saturday night to get ready for the week and relax at home as a family on Father’s Day. It will be one of the rare days that we all get to be together without a ton of activities or me having to work.
The picture of all of us is from the first wedding that we all attended together. It was the first time Journey ever wore a tuxedo as he was the ring bearer! He was so cute and handsome and grown looking all at the same time. I was, and am, so proud to be his father (as well as Jyson’s) and I am so blessed to be received so well by Jyson as a father figure—despite the fact that he has a very good relationship with his biological father (Jise). I have never been in a relationship with the unique dynamics of sharing the role of fatherhood with someone else, being that I just had my first biological son not too long ago. However, it really helps that Jise and I actually get along rather well. When he comes down from NY to visit Jyson, he stays at our house. Jise actually loves Journey as if he was his, and it is all very confusing for anyone outside of our family. But the fact is, there is absolutely no animosity or jealousy to be found. Jise and I communicate openly about the raising of Jyson and his development as best as anyone could imagine. I know this may be hard for some to understand, but it’s critical we all get along for our boys.
Of all of the aforementioned firsts, one of the most memorable mile markers in my life is the fact that this year is my first Father’s Day as a married man. I am so blessed to have such a beautiful, smart, and loving wife with whom I can share my marriage and boys. All of the experiences that have recently been firsts for me have been due to the fact that I am now finally married, and my wife challenges me to explore and experience things that I’m sure I would not do on my own. Getting married to someone whom I will share the rest of my life with and raise a family with has been a lifelong dream of mine that has now finally come true! Something that I realized while writing this blog is that all of the firsts that were mentioned would not have happened if I wasn’t married. I’m a sentimental guy, and I now have the family that I have always wanted to help me create and share sentimental memories.
To me, marriage brings a sense of permanence and dedication to the table that is only a concept if you aren’t actually in a marriage where both people have that mutual intent. As a married father, the challenges are big, but they require me to grow and stand for things that I would normally run from if I weren’t married. Some men aren’t ready for all of the challenges, and I think the difference for me is that I rely on prayer and my faith in Yahweh to get me through the most challenging times. I also grew up with a dedicated mother and a father.
That is, up until my mother’s illness spiraled. When my mother committed suicide from bi-polar/manic depression (I was 15), for a time it felt like my dad and I were all each other had. Although my grandparents were helping out a great deal behind the scenes, my father and I were adrift, together. That has always stuck with me, and if nothing else, has fueled me to be there for Meli and the boys. What I’m trying to say is that my father’s presence in my life was magnified that much more once my mother passed.
I want my boys to grow up with the same example and sense of love of family and dedication as I grew up with. There was always a feeling of stability that came with my family because the family unit was intact up to the point where my mother died. Even after she passed, my grandparents really stepped up to give me a sense of stability that I eventually grew to know I could always turn to. That’s not to say that they were always there to bail me out of some tough situations that I created for myself, but I always knew where to go to find love, and I always had people to answer to when I was doing wrong. That’s important when a child or young adult goes running amuck, like I once did. It always brought the reality of things back to the forefront of my life and made me realize that in order to have the family that I always wanted, I had to get myself back on track.
All of that being said, the sacrifices of raising my boys are well worth it! Truthfully, they are investments that I am making in their future and in Meli’s and mine as well. Jyson sees our sacrifices and soon, Journey will begin to as well. My hopes and prayers are that I am passing on and instilling in them, the same foundation of love, dedication, and stability that I grew up knowing and drawing from when I need inspiration. This first Father’s Day as a married man signifies the beginning of my dreams come true. Now I have so many more awesome experiences and firsts to come, due to the fact that I am a happily married man and a proud father of two beautiful young men!