‘Lessons I was never taught’: With son’s arrival, young Jamaican dad makes solemn vow on parenting

Travis Waisome holds his little bundle of joy, Kezahny. Despite not having a father figure growing up, Waisome is committed to supporting his son and providing him with a safe and nurturing home. (Photo contributed)

Travis Waisome met and fell hopelessly in love with Kezahny, a bouncing baby boy, seven pounds of joy, and the apple of his father’s eye on that fateful Tuesday, March 7.

For this 24-year-old St Andrew resident, the birth of his son was the highlight of his life, relegating to second place the moment he landed a coveted position as packaging operator at Red Stripe which was, up until that point, his proudest achievement.

The road to fatherhood was not embarked on lightly, Waisome explained.

In fact, it’s an assignment he consciously signed up for, with a plan to execute in a manner that would be different from his own experience.

“My father wasn’t a big factor in my life growing up. I felt left out. As a child, I always wondered what I did to deserve that,” reflected Waisome, who has vowed never to be absent in his own son’s life.

The Clarendon-born Waisome spent his first six years in Brandon Hill before making the move to Kingston to live with his mother in Duhaney Park.

With no financial support from his father, mother and son did their best to manage. While acknowledging the presence of a stepfather for much of his childhood, Waisome noted that the relationship was strained and didn’t deliver the kind of impact he needed.

“When I left Edith Dalton James (High School), I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. At first, I thought of being a soldier because of my background with cadets and scouts. But I was unsure of what I wanted, and that’s the kind of thing a father should discuss with his son and guide him,” Waisome contended.

He eventually took a job in a water factory back in Clarendon, which he credits for sparking an interest in the electrical field.

With a newfound fascination and a whiff of the possibilities, Waisome enrolled at the HEART Trust institute in Lluidas Vale to study electrical installation.

It was around this time that his father came back into his life, but their relationship did not improve.

Two years and three levels later, he graduated with a diploma and began the hunt for a position to test out his brand new skills.

“I didn’t get the kind of job I wanted right away. It so happens that I took a job as a security guard with a company that assigned me to work at Red Stripe. It was really a stroke of luck because I would always drive pass on Spanish Town Road and wish that I could work there. I was assigned to the construction site for the company’s new packaging line at the time and I was determined to join the team,” he shared, explaining that he first applied in early 2018 but did not make the cut until later that year.

Recalling how he hounded the HR department, Waisome said even as a security guard on site he saw himself as part of the team that was having an impact on the world.

“This job has allowed me to learn new things, to make a foundation and provide for my son in ways my father didn’t. But it’s more than that. The production team inspires me. It’s my dream to contribute something memorable in the company, to make a big impact,” he said.

Around a month-old, little Kezahny Waisome snoozes in the arms of his 24-year-old father Travis. The young father wants to set an example for his son and is determined nothing will stop him from giving Kezahny the life he never had. (Photo contributed)

For Waisome, impact is everything. He describes his mother as an inspiration and his biggest cheerleader who taught him many life lessons just by the example she set.

“As a man, now I see the gaps left by my father. But I don’t blame him. I learned to live without him and I’ve learned to let go,” he reflected. “When I look ahead, the future is bright for my son. I’m going to make sure that I’m around to teach him how to be a man. I want every father to be as committed to their children. Don’t leave them out. Always be there for them, no matter what.”