With Father's Day in our rearview, fatherhood has been the topic of recent conversations. There is the argument that single women can successfully raise children without the presence of their father. And while I agree that this is possible, I (a woman raised by a single mother) also disagree...
On Father's Day, I avoided FB. I logged on in the morning, saw the massive profile picture updates of FB friends with their fathers, statuses honoring fathers and... I had to log off for the day. I couldn't deal. I felt hurt, I felt a loss, and it made me sad. I'm no hater. I am happy for those people who have active, loving fathers, but it just reminds me of what I am lacking. And then I got to reflecting on life without an active father... I even tried to go back and post a status honoring my husband as a father to our children... I couldn't even muster that. I just didn't trust myself to type anything on FB. I would've got to typing and next thing I know *blackout* and all kind of words about my own father would've ended on there and before I could stop myself... SEND! POST! UPDATE! (whatever that button says) would've gotten hit. So, sorry boo no FB post for you. But it would've said...
To my husband and father to my children, Jerry, I love you. You are an amazing husband and even more amazing father. Seeing Mali in your arms brings my joy to my heart. Thank you for being present in his life daily. We love you, Happy Father's Day.
And truth, even that made me sad. Having a child did this to me... this recent sadness and feeling a loss of not having a real father. I see my son and I yearn to be with him, spend time with him, see how his day was. What does my father feel about me? Even seeing Jerry's face when Mali walks to him... he lifts him, smiles, holds him tight. There aren't many words, just actions. My father had words, I guess... but where were the actions? Watching Mali leave my arms and reach for his father... everyday I see this, and I smile because I am really genuinely happy. I am glad my son will have better than me. But also, I ache. Mali will have something I never had. Something I didn't even think I needed anymore... until now. After having a child of my own and being old enough, wise enough and affected enough to know the difference, to know better. And it sucks that knowing better means knowing I missed out, am still losing out.
I see adult women honoring their fathers for his roles in their lives. Knowing his active presence, love, guidance and support made them who they are... What more could I have been then?
Along with this topic of fatherhood, single motherhood gets brought up. People want to honor their mother on Father's Day and I get it. You want to give your mother credit for doing the best she could at filling that void for you, but...
She was just a kick ass mom, not a father. How can any woman be a father? Fatherhood (and I don't know too much about it, but I can imagine...) is more than the role, more than teaching manly lessons and coaching and being stern and silently supportive. It isn't something that can be emulated, then translated by a woman. It's more a subconscious role that can only be played by a man who cares for a child. It doesn't have to be biological and it isn't even something every man can carry out. If every man isn't even capable of it... how can a woman? It is gender specific. As much as any single mom out there wants to feel like she has it in the bag. I'm sorry, you are incapable of filling that role for your child. But it's ok, all hope is not lost.
I remember being a child with a half ass father and I was a fine child. It didn't affect me right away. I was missing something pertinent to my life, but it's lack wasn't being felt yet. I didn't know back then. I had a great mom and great family and I felt loved and cared for and confident. Then I hit puberty and it's effects started to show. "I am missing something I need..." and it wasn't even obvious on the outside, not even obvious to me at the time. I felt fine, performed fine, did well in school, behaved... but when you look down to the heart of it (and alot of 20/20 hindsight)... I was hurting even then. Hurt I can now pinpoint. Hurt that, quite possibly (but we'll never know will we?), could've been prevented. I can speculate all day and you don't have to believe me.. but I KNOW had my father actually fathered me, it could all be so different. Not that it didn't turn out just fine, but here I am, still hurting.
And I know my dad. He's always been nearby (I can't say close). I can, to this day, call him and he'd talk to me. I can invite him and he'll show up. But he'll never call me, never invite me, never just show up in case I need him. And I don't understand that. He'd be offended that I'm even discussing it. But I've done my share of reaching out... I've let him know how I felt. Told him what I needed. How he could make it better so that I didn't still feel like 12 year old Tamika when it came to him. I've played the grown up, the mature one... and it never ends up as planned. So after I've felt like I'm on the path to healing, I get pushed right back in that place. And my current solution was working... he's this really nice guy that I like, that I'll invite to events for my kids so that his grandchildren at least know what he looks like. But I'm not expecting him to be a father, or a grandfather for that matter. The excuse used to be, or that I made for him "he was young, he didn't know any better, he did the best he could." But how long can that be the answer? What's stopping you now? But I was "ok" before Mali, before Father's Day reminding me that it sucks to not have a father.
One year (and I'll try to go back and scroll FB... *I thought it was 2009-2011 sometime but I couldn't find it) I posted on Father's Day, something like...
Happy Father's Day to my dad who did the best he could. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for filling the void... blah blah. (or something)
And of course I am friends with my dad on FB... I called myself not saying anything mean, telling the truth, crediting him for his attempt. He didn't like that. He took real offense to... the truth? Could you have done better and didn't? Did you think you did good? Was I not supposed to tell people? What? What's the problem pop?
Does he realize there is still time to fix it? Or did he just accept that I think he sucked and he will continue to suck? I need answers! lol
but yea, I am a child of a single mom who did a good job and seriously, a Father in Heaven who loves me and cares for me. And I am a single mother and since I have all these "feeling fatherless" issues, I probably didn't do that great of a job. I'd like to hope my little Ki will be ok, I pray she will be better than ok... she's still a work in progress. BUT I am a single mother because I was raised by a single mother, fatherless, misguided, unprotected. So... take from that what you want.
I think children are resilient, I think LOVE covers a multitude of sin, failure, lack, hurt. I think mothers can love, pray, teach, and guide their children to productive, successful adults. But I think having a father makes the job 1000 times easier and I believe those fatherless children, no matter how amazing they are, still have a little hole in their heart where something was missing. They can turn that into triumph or it can be tragic. And that isn't something a mother can control.
And these conversations are only about the fatherless because it is much more common today, but.. those children without mothers, who are being raised by their fathers, are also hurting. Quite possibly even moreso than fatherless children. A mother's role... my goodness! It's everything to a child. Motherhood is not a job that can be replaced by a man, a father. Is that ok for us to say? ... without all the single dads having hissy fits about their role? lol, I think so.
Women, stop being so sensitive. Listen to the truth. Take steps to make sure your child's story is one of triumph.
I love you all. Love me back, ok? I'm hurting. :)
That's my peace... and I will find peace. I always do.
|see 4 year old Tam baby looks just fine...|
|this is how I survived being fatherless|
|and the peace I have today :)|
|my life, why I live... my motivation to be better|
|oh I love her, I love her|
|thankful for the love between Mali and his FATHER|
|how I survived, surviving, I will survive.|
|Mali knows his Pop Pop!|
...and then there's a whole Tam Team. Please don't feel left out. I am loved and I love you all. Just couldn't find more pictures. :)
I'm gonna try to get down to the heart of the matter...