Mornings with My Son
Hall, Arsenio, Newsweek
Byline: Arsenio Hall
Why I chose fatherhood over fame.
Though it's hard for me to believe now, as Father's Day approaches, there was a period when I actually thought I'd never become a dad. At one point in my career, while still hosting The Arsenio Hall Show, I was told by my doctor that it might not be physically possible for me to have children. The idea of not becoming a dad saddened me big time. So many of my close friends, like Magic Johnson and George Lopez, had children and really seemed to enjoy fatherhood, and I enjoyed watching them enjoy fatherhood. At times it was difficult to remain hopeful. But that all changed a few years later, when my girlfriend at the time became pregnant. In September 1999, Arsenio Cheron Hall Jr. was born.
I would have been overjoyed for either a daughter or a son. Oh, who am I kidding? I was obsessed with having a son. I've been a sports fanatic for as long as I can remember, and for years all I'd wanted was for my dad to sit down and watch the games on TV with me, but it never happened. My father was a no-nonsense, dedicated, and focused minister, and there was usually a sermon he needed to prepare for or a Scripture he needed to study, and that always came first. As much as I loved my Dad and knew he loved me, I promised myself that if I had a child and if he were a boy, I'd always watch the games with him.
Unfortunately my relationship with my son's mother ended early in his life, but she understood the strong bond I wanted to have with him because of my own childhood. I was determined to be there for my son's first walk, talk, boo-boo, and whatever else. I didn't want to miss a thing.
I knew going in that being a single parent would be one of the toughest jobs I'd ever have. I'd been a talk-show host, actor, comic, and on and on, but this gig was going to be my defining moment. So I made a decision to stop working and put my career on hold. I did a few projects here and there, like voice-overs for cartoons such as Scooby-Doo and The Proud Family, anything I thought my son would enjoy. But that was it.
Instead, for the past 12 years I've spent mornings making my son turkey bacon (his favorite) and evenings double-checking his homework and getting him ready for bed. …