Donell swooned by his daughter’s love
Whether he's cruising to another parish, visiting family and friends, making a quick stop at the barber shop or just heading outside of the house, best believe you'll see Donell Marriott with his number one lady, his ride-or-die and the one that has his heart - his daughter Meiah.
An entrepreneur and a student reading for his first degree, Marriott admits that there were mixed emotions when he was told he would become a father, but parenting for him has never been an overbearing task.
"Parenting is only hard when you don't accept your responsibility. If I played a role in bringing a child into this world, then it is my responsibility to ensure that the child is loved and cared for, not just by me, but by everyone around her. Showing your child love goes way beyond their years of being a toddler. My daughter should know she has someone to turn to no matter what problem she faces."
On Sunday, August 4, 2013, he came to the understanding that his life would be changed forever.
"I remember it vividly. It was just about 1:00 in the morning. I was actually right next door to the hospital, but I was not allowed to go in due to hospital policy. My family and I were just so anxious. We all said a small prayer for a successful delivery as we waited patiently for the follow-up call. When I finally met Meiah for the first time, the feeling was surreal. It was a mixture of pride and joy, and what was weird to me is that instead of gaining masculinity, I felt a boyish feeling as to how precious and fragile life really is. She was so unbelievably small, and knowing that I took part in producing a life made me feel really sentimental in the hospital."
From seeing her face at that moment to watching her blossom beautifully, Marriott explained that a unique bond has been created and he lives for the daddy-daughter days.
"We act silly together. She is a cheerful child, and oftentimes I get down to her level so she can experience that joy with me no matter how tired I am. We have faces we make together, names we have for each other, and even quotes and games we made up together. I know how to make her laugh even when she is sad and crying. I get through to her better than anyone else can. Whenever she is being rude or challenging, all it requires is one phone call to me and she is back in order. Whenever she is mad with someone else, her first reaction is 'I am going to tell my Daddy!' because she sees me as her protector," he told Family and Religion.
"We hang out a lot. She has a knack for storytelling, so most days we are just laying around and she gets a kick out of telling me stories about school, her friends, and her dolls. We go to parks and to church. She loves to just be on the road with me driving out. She also enjoys playing games - both digitally and physically. She is very smart with gadgets and extremely active and friendly."
Acknowledging that many fathers have acknowledged the role of sperm donors and abandoned the responsibilities to their children, this young dad believes fatherlessness is the cause of many social ills.
"Abandoning your child puts more than a financial strain on their life. A child must see and understand what a man should be about. Children live what they learn, and what are they going to learn when a key factor is missing? The home is their first stage of socialisation. This is the most important institution in a child's life. This is where they learn first and where they will learn the most in terms of behaviour and relationships with peers. They need a father's guidance, protection, security, and love."
He added: "The best thing a father can do for his daughter is to be there. A daughter respects and fears her father more than anyone else in the family. She learns how to be treated by a man from her father, so a father should do his best to instill values, being stern but not forgetting to be gentle."
Believing that both parents are needed for nurturing, protecting, and grooming a child, Marriott is prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure her well-being.
"My wish is for my child to continue growing up being as happy and loving as she is now, knowing that she is a blessing to everyone around her. I am hopeful that Meiah will take the teachings we, as a family, have passed down to her and use it to pave her own path in this world."