Thank you for your willingness to share a bit about yourself and your experiences with the [FriendsOfCoachD.com] audience! Please tell us a little about your background including your childhood.
No problem…thanks for the platform. I was born in Washington state…Tacoma. My dad was in the military, so we (Mom Dukes and my brother Adrian) stayed in various locations like Germany, Texas and Tennessee. Later on, me, Mom Dukes and brother moved to Jacksonville, Florida in ‘85. I’ve been here since (with the exception of when I went to college). My childhood life was pretty cool…I had everything that was needed for a typical child to flourish so it was…pretty cool. Outside of not having a full time father figure, I have no complaints. It still was all good.
Give us an idea of where you currently are in life and how that came to be?
I’m at a cool place. Still workin’ out some things to tighten me and my life up but overall, things are rockin’ well.
Going a little deeper, what types of challenges have you faced over the years prior to arriving where you currently find yourself?
It’s been plenty of challenges but one that sticks out to me is gettin’ over things. I hold on to things/situations/people and that isn’t healthy. It’s still a challenge, but the way I deal with it now is totally different from how I’ve dealt with it before.
On Being a Single Father…
Tell us about your relationship with your son’s mother. How did the relationship come to be?
It was on that ‘high school sweetheart’ tip. We started datin’ my junior year (’95-’96) up until my freshman year in college (’97-98). To be cliché, we were SO young and (thinkin’ we were) in love…to where a lot of factors that you would pay attention to when bein’ involved with someone got overlooked totally, which grew us apart majorly.
Does she provide support for your son? Is there any co-parenting involved? If so, how does that work out?
It’s been more co-parentin’ within the past 2 years or so. The communication is not at a level that I would like to have it but some is better than none…that’s what they say right (said and thought sarcastically)? When you’re so use to not havin’ that full co-parent aspect of it, and it comes in from time to time, it’s difficult to gravitate…or receive it…’cause you’ve built this routine of things and your mind automatically shifts to handlin’ things on your own…so when it does happen…when she does call and show interest…I take it for what it is. If I took it any other way, I would lose my brain.
Have you ever struggled with the idea of raising your son without a mother in the home? Does any part of you concerned that he is at a disadvantage because of it?
Lately I have. I’ve been too busy tryin’ to stay afloat the past years to where I didn’t have time to think about the fact that DeJuan is at a disadvantage because of the situation. He’s 15 so he’s more self-sufficient and he’s able to do SOME things on his own…so with that…SOME time is freed up and boy…the thoughts I been havin’…?? *laughs*…them LIFE thoughts…and a main thought was definitely the fact that there isn’t a woman in our home.
How does your son seem to cope with being raised in a single parent household?
I asked him that (after I read the questions 50-leven times *laughs*)…he didn’t have a definite answer. He did say he doesn’t try to think about it. Understand…me and DeJuan routine is ‘get up…go to work/school…come home…make do with what we have…be THANKFUL for what we do have…go to sleep…repeat cycle’. To be clear, I didn’t allow myself to be idle when it came to raisin’ him, especially when he moved with me. It was all about makin’ sure I have food for him to eat, money for him to be clothed and do extra activities, etc…so havin’ time to think about what could be better for him (for the long run) wasn’t always in the picture. We was on that ‘day by day’ flow…now though…things have smoothed out to where I can play catch up…but again…we in that routine of makin’ it happen and livin’ day by day. In result…he has that same pattern I have…ONLY ‘cause that’s what I laid out. It isn’t right or wrong…it’s just the situation we was/are in.
Explain some of the challenges you face in your personal/daily life that result from being a single father.
Bein’ the nurturer and the provider at the same time…or all in one. Prime example: he went out for the basketball team at his school and he came home and was mopin’ and bein’ doubtful. Of course I knew somethin’ was wrong. He said he didn’t do good at tryouts and he didn’t think he’d make the team. Now…I got called for a job at the last minute and had to be there to set up and entertain a crowd. I wanted to talk to him and show him that I’m with him on this journey but…I had to be at this gig to DJ so I could get paid so he can be good/look fly/be comfortable/etc. SO…we talked a good minute, I left to work (the whole time, I’m thinkin’ ‘bout him and his feelings…on the flip…keepin’ folks at the bar happy), I get paid, he’ll get rewarded, and that’s that. I can’t say he talked to his mom ‘bout the situation but I know for me, it hurt that I was in that situation where I had to leave him in his state to go work…so he can be good still…but when you see your kid down like that, the world stops and it’s all about them…but on the flip…the grind don’t stop. We can’t be cryin’ and mopin’ with no lights on…right?
Do you have a personal/social life at all? How does that work out?
I been dabbin’ in the personal/social life more. The balance it gives is really dope…but I can’t say that I fully have one. I work too much *laughs*…only ‘cause I don’t know when it’s gonna be a ‘last dollar’ situation…so the personal things…I feel like I’ll come to it when I can and if I choose. ‘Til then…work and make sure I don’t be broke again.
Provide examples of sacrifice that you have made for the sake of your son?
Stayin’ in Jacksonville. I LOVE my city a lot…but for the things I would like to accomplish…I need to be venturin’ out. My brother and others always tell me to just move and (of course) take DeJuan with me but I didn’t want him to be far away from his mom and her/my family. I should have done it before he got of age but I wanted him to be close to the families…and lookin’ back on it now…I should have just left ‘cause there isn’t a benefit for us stayin’ here…at all…but ‘ey. One of the many sacrifices.
What is the best aspect of being a single father? What is the worst?
There isn’t a best aspect…it actually sucks *laughs*! I’m not proud of it…like folks think I should be. Single parentin’…I see no good in that. It’s one of them situations where you have some water and a lemon. You find a way to make it sweet…and accept the way you made/make it. Simple as that…to me.
How would you say that being a single father has positively impacted your life?
It got me more in touch w/ my man side. Me and DeJuan just be goin’ through life learnin’ and growin’ together. When I experience things from a male’s perspective…I quickly let him know *laughs*. As I stated earlier…I didn’t have a full time father figure ‘round me so it was just Mom Dukes and Granny (RIP) teachin’ me. In hindsight, the only thing I knew about bein’ a man was that I had the organs of such *laughs*…and I had to work and provide…but even then, that was taught to me by women. So most of the decisions I made wasn’t on a ‘this is what men supposed to do’ tip…and the more I was involved with DeJuan’s life and seein’ him go through the typical ‘male’ stuff…yeah…that had me lookin’ at my side like ‘I need to tighten up too’…or simply pay it more attention. So dealin’ with these man feelings plus havin’ that perspective from Mom Dukes and Granny growin’ up…I feel bionic *laughs*…like I know what I want out of life. I know how to be nurturin’ and carin’ and still be able to provide and actually be the rock of the situation.
What was/has been the biggest learning experience for you during this time?
Learnin’ how to forgive his mom and folks…even myself. The ‘forgettin’ part is another challenge. Some days, all of that past comes up and it makes me not want to go down that path EVER again but holdin’ on to all that hatred does me nor DeJuan any good. It’s a daily challenge but I handle it, especially where I’m at in life now.
If you could share a word of advice or tip with other single fathers, what would you share?
Don’t let anyone treat you like you’re cripple ‘cause of your single status and don’t use it as a crutch for you to advance…’cause at the end of the day, you’re no better than everyone else out here tryin’ to get it and live…plus it’s selfish thinkin’.
Document EVERYTHIN’ and get it notarized when it’s pertainin’ to your kid(s).
Finally, knowing where you are now and all you have experienced up until this point, what words of advice would you share with your younger self?
Think about yourself more Wayne. I see you give yourself to a good bit of folks that don’t care nothin’ about you and your being. Go with your gut feelings. I don’t see too much in the future but from what I see, it’s nothin’ for you to design yourself and be DOPE…jump on that NOW so in the future, things will move and be so much easier for you…and listen to Mom Dukes (insider) *laughs*! She knows best Wayne.
Lastly, what would you like to say to your child’s mother? What would you want her to know?
All is good…we rockin’.
What do you have in store for your future?
Music work…I’m tryin’ to go into hibernation and get back on creatin’ music and dabble in some other joints. I’ve been workin’ with MJ Baker and we’re completin’ her mixtape and beginnin’ on her album so both of us have been tryin’ to hit that hibernation tip UP so we can be inspired and be able to give of ourselves creatively and correctly to the world. I also have 2 videos I’ll be directin’ and a documentary I just got hired to work on so I’m excited ‘bout that. More checks to feed and take care of DeJuan with *laughs*…plus it’s peace on my end too ‘cause I’m workin’ on somethin’ I love to do.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
www.mralpete.com (of course)…just stay tuned to that site and updates on all the goodies will be displayed.
Thank you Peterson for the opportunity! You’ve been wonderful! Always.
“Don’t let anyone treat you like you’re cripple ‘cause of your single status and don’t use it as a crutch for you to advance…’cause at the end of the day, you’re no better than everyone else out here tryin’ to get it and live.”
– Wayne Peterson
To contact Mr Al Pete for services and appearances,
email email@example.com OR call 904-343-9163.