Melanated Fathers of America Got an opportunity to speak to Jarrette Bourn about love, family and the importance of a two-parent home.
Tell us a little about where you grew up?
I grew up in Sacramento, Ca but I was born in San Jose, ca.
Ok, what was your home structure like?
Both parents were there. My dad worked as a garbage man, he was there but he was very distant. My mom was very hands-on, fun and very loving. She was a little crazy (laughs) but she was great.
Did you have any siblings?
Yeah. I’m the youngest of four. You have Josh, Mykal my sister and my oldest brother Jerome. There was six of us in the house.
How did having both parents in the home affect you as a child?
I felt kind of special growing up. My friends didn’t have that, I mean a lot of them didn’t. Even though my dad was distant his presence was still felt, anytime we did something too bad my mom would send us to our father who would straighten us up. Discipline was big in my house.
Do you have kids?
Yes. I have a son that is 15 years old and my daughter is 10 years old.
Ok, so let’s get into the situation with your son. Tell us a little about him.
His name is Jaiden. He is a beautiful black young man. He lives in San Diego, Ca. I’m in Portland, Oregon. Me and his mother separated some time ago. We were never married. I’ve tried to have a relationship with him but it’s difficult with us being in different states.
Being that you grew up in a household with two parents. How has not having your son in the same state affected you?
You know what man, that is a good question, and I have to be honest with you. It has affected me more than anything else that has happened in my life. I wanted to give my kids at least that, at least me around. I haven’t been able to do that, I haven’t achieved that. It’s one of the biggest failures I’ve ever felt.
I have to tell myself, as a man I hope to look out for their future, even if I can’t look out for their present. That gives me solitude, knowing I’m doing that. I do talk to my son but not being around him makes it difficult. Because of this, I have lashed out you know, drinking too much, staying out late. I feel good now. Before I felt like a log just floating in a river.
Where do you think the relationship with his mother went wrong?
One of the mistakes I made was letting my older brother come to live with us. We were on the rocks before that. There were things going on that made it hard for me to stay there. So, I had to go.
How is the relationship with her now?
You know what, we were on speaking terms for years. I took a trip out there for my son’s graduation. There was some alcohol involved, some arguments took place. Since that time, she has held a grudge against me. I’m sad that we have reverted to how we were in the past, not talking to each other about our child.
So, I’m a little disappointed in that. All I can do is continue reaching out the way I have been doing. I do wish she was a little more open to speaking with me. What happen during my visit shouldn’t affect how we parent, keeping the lines of communication open is more important to some parents than others.
If you could go back and do things differently, what would it be?
I would have established myself in San Diego, Ca where my son is. I would have looked more into family and not friends. Allowed my new-found fatherhood to help make me a man.
Ok. Great, thank you so much for sharing your story. Last question. If you could talk to a young man about fatherhood, what would you tell them?
I would say as a black man in America, as a parent, if you make a child it’s your obligation to take care of him/her. If you don’t want to have a baby, you need to wear a condom. Don’t bring children into the world that you’re not willing to take care of.