Around this time of year two years ago we found out Dwyane Wade had become a father again. The scandal was that the mother of the child wasn’t the girlfriend he had just proposed to, Gabrielle Union, but a woman in which he had an intimate relationship with while he and Gabby were on a break. Hence the sad moniker Dwyane’s youngest son has been given of “break baby.”
As much as I detest that label, I’m not surprised it’s stuck. It’s the only thing we know to call the two-year old (whose name is Xavier, by the way) because since Dwyane made mention of the “blessing” born out of the pain and hurt he and his now wife were going through at the time, we haven’t heard about the toddler, much less seen him in the presence of his father and step-mother.
What we have seen, time and time again, however, is this image of the Wade-Unions as a quintet made up of Dwyane, Gabrielle, Zion, Zaire, and Dahveon, Dwayne’s nephew who he’s taken in like a son. On one hand I get it, the circumstances under which this child were born were awkward, and considering how long it took for people to stop looking at Gabby like a homewrecker under the cloud of the Shiovaughn Funches-Wade drama that hung over their relationship for so long, I can see how they don’t want to be haunted by yet another scandal. However, a baby isn’t like a rumor you can deny. Obviously you can pretend like it doesn’t exist, which these two are doing a fine job of, but that doesn’t mean the child goes away in actuality. And as Xavier grows and starts to witness some of these family moments he’s so obviously excluded from, I can guarantee he’s going to have some questions and the emotions surrounding that inquisition are not going to be pretty.
Now I don’t know what sort of arrangement Dwyane and Xavier’s mother, Aja, have about their child being in the public eye, but there’s a difference between maintaining a child’s privacy and not acknowledging their existence in any way, shape, or form. There seems to be an intentional emphasis on Dwyane, Gabby, and the three boys as a party of five. Take for instance, the holiday photo shoot the couple put out of “The Wade 5.” Now sure, it’s a play on The Jackson 5 so the name makes sense, but when you’re actually a family of six you either pic a new theme or someone has to be Randy, the unofficial sixth member of The Jacksons.
This isn’t the first time the newlywed’s familial math didn’t quite add up. This summer, Gabby appeared in a #HowWeFamily campaign for Tylenol and within the first second of the video she states proudly, “There are five of us Wade-Unions: Zion, Zaire, Dahveon, Dwyane, and Gabrielle,” and goes on to talk about being a step-parent to three boys. So one might conclude how the Wade-Unions family is by putting up a façade of perfection and sending a clear message to the youngest Wade: you can’t sit with us. Or be in our wedding pictures (if he was at the wedding at all), or appear in our family Christmas card, or participate in any other activity under the umbrella of family because we don’t acknowledge you as such.
Now again, what goes on behind closed doors is a mystery to the general public, but what goes on on social media and in ad campaigns thus far has been unsettling. I can’t imagine how Gabby must’ve felt when she learned Dwyane had impregnated another woman on the side, particularly as a woman without biological children of her own. But if the anger, resentment, disillusionment — whatever — is so ripe two years later that neither she nor Dwyane can even utter Xavier’s name in public then she had no business marrying that man because, though it may not be obvious to her, or us for that matter, the “break baby” and all the hurt he was born out of come with the ring.
During the one and only time Dwyane spoke on Xavier to the Sun-Sentinal he said:
“I’ve got a chance to see him. You know me. I’m involved in my kids’ lives. When my kids were living at home with me, or wasn’t living at home with me, I tried to do everything I could to see them. Obviously I got custody of them for different reasons, but nothing changes with my life.”
Perhaps that last statement is the problem because once Xavier came into existence Dwyane’s life should have changed — his wife’s most certainly did. She even had to answer for him and defend his actions during an ill-timed media circuit when, instead, she should’ve been talking about her hit TV show. The pro athlete has always had a strong reputation as a stand-up father — he even wrote a book about it — and taking in a nephew and raising him as his own speaks volumes about his character. But so does the way in which Xavier is omitted from his public family narrative. And no, Dwyane and Gabby don’t have to answer to us, although transparency would be much appreciated since they’re pretty hellbent on shoving this image of a family of five down our throats. More important, however, is the little boy who’s going to grow up and wonder where’s his number, why wasn’t he in these photos, where’s the mention of his name, where is his picture under #TheWades hashtag? How is Dwyane going to answer to that?