“Christina’s here!” were the best words Kevin Parker had ever heard. It was the happiest day of his life. On October 29, 1983, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kevin had just come in from outside when his cousin told him that he was a father.
After his cousin Shae broke the news to him, Kevin felt like he was about to have a heart attack. He began pacing the floor back-and-forth. Several thoughts raced through his 14-year old brain. “You have a daughter. You’re a father now, Kevin.” was what he repeated aloud. He was overwhelmed.
At first Shae didn’t know what to say or do. “Are you going to the hospital or what?” she abruptly asked. Kevin quickly regained his composure and focused on the matter at hand – he needed to go see his daughter.
The moment Kevin stepped out on the porch, he realized that he didn’t have any money. Unable to pay for a cab or bus fair, he had to figure out how he was going to get to the hospital. He walked around the neighborhood, and he asked a couple of his relatives and friends for a ride; unfortunately, no one expressed interest without gas money. “Darn! I have to walk,” he said aloud. So he walked thirty blocks to the hospital.
When Kevin walked inside the hospital room, he immediately went to his daughter’s mother’s bedside. Laid back fatigued with disheveled hair, his highschool sweetheart, Laura, who was African-American and Hispanic, safely cupped their new born baby. “Your daddy’s here,” Laura whispered. Admiring his beautiful daughter, Kevin never blinked.
Before he could utter one word, Laura placed their first child into his arms. It was the day Kevin knew his life would change forever. He was speechless. Kevin looked at his daughter, who was resting peacefully, and he smiled. Wanting to pass on his mother’s name, he named his daughter Christina. Caught by surprise, Christina woke up and began crying. It was then Kevin felt a new sense of responsibility. He was a father and he had to grow up fast. He had protect and take care of Christina. And to be honest, it frightened him.
Despite his fear, Kevin directed all of his attention to his daughter. That same day after he left the hospital, it was no longer about himself; he only thought of his daughter’s well-being which wasn’t easy. There were a lot of mistakes on the way. From stealing out of stores to selling drugs, Kevin provided for his daughter the best way he knew how.
Consequently, he spent several stints in jail; however, he did what he had to do, and for him, that’s what had mattered the most. Although he went away during his incarceration periods, he always reflected on how to be an honest, working father. In the process, Kevin’s lessons helped him learn how to be the father that his daughter – and his next five children – needed him to be.
Today, 38 years later, Christina is a gorgeous, loving, wife and mother who’s still her daddy’s little girl. Kevin and his first child share one of the greatest father/daughter relationships. No one could ask for a better bond.
“Babies making babies” is a commonality in minority and urban communities. Transitioning from childhood to adult hood has its challenges, but becoming a father is all the more difficult. “Learning how to be a loving parent is one of the greatest lessons one can learn.” – Latif Torres-Robinson And at 14 (relatively still a child), Kevin was inducted into adulthood as a father.
How do you feel about babies making babies?