When Janelle was born it was “the most beautifullest thing in this world” (Keith Murray). “I was there, cut the chord / seventeen hours never bored / cause I knew you was comin for sure.” That is a line to a verse I wrote after she was born. I was there for the whole nine, the progression of the labor pains to birth. Seeing all of that puts in you in a whole nutha state of mind. Like about two hours before she was born, I went into the bathroom, looked in the mirror and started crying. I guess I was crying because I was about to be a father, and also because Victoria was going through so much pain. When it was all over, I was filled with love, especially for my baby girl. I had only a little for Victoria. I went and paid like $75 for a bear and some flowers and gave them to Victoria that night. I tried to spend the night at the hospital that night, but at 1 A.M. a nurse came in and told me I had to go.
I went to where I was the night before, over Lauren’s house. Lauren and I hadn’t talked for like a year at this time and like two or three weeks before, I went and knocked on her door, and as always she let me in. Lauren was still involved with Jamelle at the time too. I visited the hospital all three days that Victoria was in there. When she took the baby home, I was over there every day after work. I couldn’t wait to get there and hold my baby in my arms. Victoria told me that her dad didn’t want me coming over his house every day and that we’d have to limit my visits.
One night while over there, I asked her when could I take the baby to my house, and she looked at me like, “never”. I told her that I knew she was not going to have any couth; a word I had picked up from her when talking about everybody being ghetto, about the situation of me taking my daughter out to see my people once she was a couple of weeks old and had been to her first doctor’s visit. She asked me to step outside, and when we got out there I started telling her that she was not gonna be treating me like an irresponsible fuck when it came to our daughter, that I was a grown man taking care of his life responsibilities. I had everything that she one day hoped to have: a college degree, a job and a car of my own. I got in my car and left. She came over to my house and I screamed at her some more telling her the same thing. She left telling me that her father said for me not to come and see the baby anymore. I said fine and I didn’t see her.
I was going to get me a lawyer and get proper visitation. About a month later, Victoria’s friend and my friend’s sister, Analise called and told me to go see my daughter. Now that I think about it, Victoria probably told her to call me. I don’t think Victoria knows how to drop shit or say sorry and let things begin again to take their natural course. So I called Victoria and told her that I wanted to start seeing Janelle again. She said that she’d have to check with her father like it was his baby or something.
I went over there one night after work and seen Janelle. I can’t recall if I talked with Victoria or not. I do know that in my lifetime, I had planned on the mother of my child being my wife. Victoria fit the bill; she was not fat, she could be freaky when in the right place at the right time, and she wanted something out of life, still does. But she still hasn’t yet to this day accomplished anything visible to my eye. The next day that I went to see Janelle I proposed to Victoria that I wanted to be there for her and Janelle, and for us to not be apart. I had told myself that “yeah, Victoria and I have some differences, but they can be worked on or put aside for the moment.” I offered to take her shopping since all while she was pregnant she complained that she had no clothes to wear. She accepted us getting back together, but was skeptical of my reasons. She told me we weren’t gonna have sex. I told this store before, but to sum it up, I didn’t want sex at the time.
We got back together, she moved into her apartment in the Fairview Gardens. I would go over there every night after work and spend the night. I had plans on doing this for one year, and then proposing to marry Victoria. After a month and a half, probably about two or three weeks after her six week check-up, I started getting horny. She wasn’t hearing me, and never talked to me about the situation kind of like she tells me NO now when I want to spend some extra time with my daughter or take my daughter out of town. After about two weeks of no, I told her it was over. That on top of the other problems I had with her about calling everybody ghetto, she wasn’t gonna move to NY with me, and other personality and attitude differences led me to quit. Now that I think about it, she probably didn’t want to get pregnant again, but whatever the reason, she never gave me a reason, so that was that.
We set up a visitation schedule, and I continued to buy all pampers and formula, etc, whatever I thought the baby needed. She went in for child support, which I had no problem with; my mind was prepared for that while she was pregnant. At the little hearing, I opted for a blood test. In their language, they said “you can deny that this is your child and have a blood test done.” I said, “I am not denying that the child is mine, but I would like to have a blood test.” I told Victoria when she was three months pregnant that I was getting a blood test done one way of the other. Too many fathers found out they weren’t really fathers too late after the fact, and in some states you can’t even back out after you find out; you still have to take care of the child through child support.
I didn’t have any doubt that she was mine, but just in case Victoria was pulling the wool over my eyes; if I was to be paying $300 plus for the next 18 years, best believe I ain’t paying on faith and word of mouth alone, and neither should you. So when court was over she stormed out saying I denied the baby. I told her father that I would still like to see my child because we had a little meeting a couple nights before about visitation because Victoria was complaining that she didn’t want Janelle over my house because my mom smoked up the house pretty bad with cigarette smoke. I assured her that my mom would smoke in her room with the door closed, as opposed to previously when Victoria would visit, the door was cracked open and smoke would seep all through the house. And when I didn’t have company, my mom would smoke in the living room, and to walk through, you would smell like smoke; therefore, every time I visited Victoria, I would smell like smoke. Her father said, it was up to her, and she said, “you denied her, you don’t see her.”
Once we went back to court like three months later, she let me pick my daughter up and bring her to my house but she wouldn’t let her spend the night. After like nine month of that and her fucking me out of visits from time to time; like when they weren’t sending her the child support money, she said I couldn’t see her. When she found out I had a girlfriend who lived in a housing project; she said I couldn’t see her. I got me a lawyer, who fucked me also by not acknowledging that he had received my payment until three months after the fact and a grievance letter. After that he filed the case and I got overnight visitation every other weekend and four hours after work one day a week.
After one year of that and my daughter knowing me very well, I decided to move to New York. Victoria had told me on the phone the night before Janelle was born that she would not let me bring my daughter to stay with me for more than two weeks during the summer. I had other visitation in mind like two weeks every other month until Janelle went to elementary school.
When I moved I paid the same law office, different lawyer though, that fucked me before. I sent $500 to his office with a letter of instruction to file for out of state visitation. He never acknowledged getting the money. Me thinking I’m trying to be a good paying customer to this law office, and them taking my money and never filing my case. About nine months after no response from the law office, and repeated visits by my mom to the office, I was in town on a Friday and went to the office demanding my money back. They told me they had no receipt of it, and that if I would produce a copy of the money order, they would refund my money. They must thought a nigga was stupid and irresponsible to lose or throw away my receipt. But I had my receipt and got a copy, and about two weeks later my mom went down there and got my money. I had also tried to talk with Victoria that weekend about me bringing Janelle to New York with me for two weeks every other month. She said no, that I could continue driving there every other weekend, six hours to see her, or once a month to cut down on my driving. I said fuck it, I won’t see Janelle no more, won’t bring you any more money, and won’t bother you, and you don’t bother me. She said, “fine,” that her daddy will take care of Janelle. She even told her friend Analise that I was not going to be taking care of Janelle anymore.
After about two weeks, I found another lawyer to file the case for me. After five months, we were downtown in the little room again. She filed for back child support of $3,000. The Magistrate kept visitation the same, which means I have to drive there once or twice a month to see Janelle. He appointed a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate me to see if I was fit to have Janelle out of state with me, and that could take 3 to 6 months for him to complete his report or rather, get started. It doesn’t take six months to talk with me and make a determination if I’m fit to take care of my daughter for two weeks while she is with me.
Victoria says she doesn’t want my mother watching Janelle because “she couldn’t take care of her own, so what makes you think she can take care of mine.” When my little brother Peter was born, due to medication that my mom was taking while carrying him, he was born with no collar bone, a huge soft spot on his head, and heart and breathing problems. He was on a heart monitor that beeped often. She wasn’t able to handle him in his condition because she had a nervous condition, which I believe was mis-diagnosed, and she actually has Asperger’s Syndrome. She gave him up for adoption. We got back in contact with him through the will of god I guess, and we have seen him and been his second family all his life. Victoria passed judgement on my mother because she knew my brother was given up for adoption, but I don’t think she knows all the detail behind it. My brother came close to dying a couple of times because of his condition when he was little.
I don’t think Victoria could handle that situation herself. I heard she had a nervous breakdown when she lost a child that she was pregnant with and when wedding plans fell through the floor. Janelle would not have been given up for adoption because her sister and father and other family would have prevented that. My family, as I just found out; the reason for none of my mother’s five sister’s adopting my brother was because the whole family from my grandmother’s mother to my grandmother’s sister, to my aunts had a hand in raising me. They said they wouldn’t do it again. My mom had an accident that prevented her from taking care of me until I was five years old. Maybe that’s why I’m such a beautiful child and successful in most people’s eyes, especially my family’s eyes. They say the more love you get from family and others, the better your life and you as person will be. But in my eyes, I got a long way to go on the successful part. I’ve for some time now had confidence in my beauty.
I’d tell Victoria that sometimes. I kind of adopted the “I’m beautiful” attitude when girls started going crazy over Tupac, Mase and Puff Daddy. These successful rappers were average looking guys in my eyes, but yet women swore they were so cute and fine. So I said to myself, “if Puff Daddy is cute, fuck it, I’m cute too.” Now I can see why women just love some celebrities like Tyson Beckford. Now I’m completely in tune with my sexuality, so I’m not feeling funny or shame about saying this. Tyson is cool. Like Eddie Murphy said to Halle Berry in the movie Boomerang. He said, “Billy Dee Williams in Lady Sings The Blues, I thought he was cool, but I didn’t want to get witt him.” But women say some celebrities are fine when they look no better or worse than me; puts me in the frame of mind to think I must be the bomb and if I was a star they would be crazy over me too. Maybe one day.
I’ve had a few girls crazy for me in my lifetime; maybe Victoria was too, but never really showed it. Some say that is why she gives me all this shit about spending time with my daughter. Whatever the reason, I don’t care. I’ll have nice happy times with my daughter one day. If I never do, no one can say I never tried to spend good quality time with her. Maybe Victoria thinks I am arrogant because of my confidence in myself, and the statement I made to her about her wanting in life what I have now. It’s true, I feel good about myself, but do I think I am better than anybody else? NO! I am the most down to earth brother my friends and she will probably ever know. I don’t speak bad or shun others for not having what I have, or not accomplishing in life what I have so far.
I’ve heard Victoria speak bad about many people because they didn’t act the way she acted or lived and grew up in her nice little semi-mixed neighborhood. To this date, all the white people are moving off her street and the houses are being rented to blacks, but yet her family still remains. She walks around with her head up looking down on others like she has the world in her hands, but she ain’t got shit. I heard she and her sister used to talk about my girlfriend; they even work at the same place now. But I guess Victoria’s sister is better somehow. I can’t understand that.
I grew up in the ghettos of Warren, Ohio. I can from where most people in the town came from, so I can’t talk about their upbringing or the way they act or act like I’m better than them. But if you try to disrespect my character like I felt Victoria was when telling me what was gonna be what with our daughter, I had to let her know that what I’ve done in my lifetime, and the responsibilities I’ve accepted as a man to be a father to his child, deserves more respect that what she was trying to give me. To this day she still has the same attitude, but it will all blow over. She knows I’m right, and I know I’m right. If she wants to continue treating me wrong in this situation, that’s her lif; maybe one reason why she is still trying to accomplish the same thing she was when I met her four years ago; to graduate from a college or school with some kind of degree. It doesn’t pay to do wrong. One day she’ll figure that out. Until then, as I’ve always said to her, “I’ll always be beautiful”