From the time I can remember my parents have always been hard workers. When I was young they opened up Hair Bizzz Barber & Beauty Salon together and ran the business along with my aunt. My mother and Aunt were the main hair stylists and my father did the managing. I didn't realize it then but they were molding my idea of what greatness is. I would watch them spend long nights in that salon working and building relationships with their clients. My father would make bank runs, keep the salon stocked with everything from the latest hair products to snacks that held the customers over while they spent half the day there (you know how hair salons have you there all day). Those were the days..
After my parents decided to close down the business my mother continued to work in local salons and my father picked up work elsewhere to continue earning for our family. It's funny but if you sit down and have a conversation with my dad it seems like he's worked for every company under the sun. I'm not sure there's nothing this man can't do and if there is he'll master it after you give him the manual.
For a few years my dad was working for an up and coming computer company. He would come home and tell us all about the funny stories from the office and how my sister and I should never end up like those people. One day my mom fixed dad lunch and drove to his job to drop it off. After 10 minutes of him not answering his cellphone (In true John Rutledge fashion) she asked me to run it inside. I walked in and asked a woman "Do you know where John is?" She replied "John? Who is John?" I replied "John Rutledge. Brown skin man. Glasses. About this height" She then said "OHHH!! John the Janitor! Follow me!" As we walked through the room full of cubicles she led me to the back door where my dad's car was parked outside. If anyone knows him you know this man can sleep anywhere.. especially in that van he has lol. I then found my dad sleep with his smock on and cleaning supplies. I was confused because I had no idea my dad was a janitor but I also felt my heart break..
You see.. I'm not ashamed that my father was a janitor. Not by any means. He did what was necessary to provide for my family. Even if that meant humbling himself to clean up after others just to keep a roof over our heads, he did just that. The reason my heart broke was because at that time my dad should have been retired. He should've been in the sun on a beach in Florida with a drink in his hand. Although that day was difficult it was a pivotal moment for me. That day gave me purpose. When I started modeling I had my ideas of what I wanted to do for myself and of course I had a plan to get my mom that Cadillac she always said she wanted.. but this day changed it all. This day showed me that I had to grind so hard that my family no longer had to work. My parents worked their butts off to make sure that we were provided for and the least I could do was make sure that they had nothing to worry about.
I say all this to say that I am PROUD of my father. He did his best to be the man that our family needed. By no means is he perfect but he damn sure is perfect to me. I applaud him and all of his sacrifices. The nights he worked overnight. The days he stayed out in the cold cutting wood in the backyard so my family could be warm during the winter. The rides to school he gave my sister and I everyday even though he didn't have to. My daddy is the man and I love him. I just hope that I can repay him at least 1/2 of what he's done for me and continue to make him as proud as he's made me.
Mommy I know you're reading this... I'm SO proud of you too. You have made me into the woman that I am... but this isn't your post. You're next I promise lol *muah*