Abandoned – Growing Up Father-Less

Black father
Children should only be born in wedlock

POETRY BY JENNIFER

DAD“ 

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER YOU WERE ALWAYS THERE…. BUT WHEN YOU LEFT IT WAS NOT THE SAME. EMPTY AND TOO OLD TO CRY IS HOW I FELT. YOU VISITED BUT NOT FOR LONG. OUR RELATIONSHIP NOW WAS NOT AS STRONG. WAS I LOST?…OR HAD I FORGOTTEN? I SEE YOU NOW. NOT THE SAME. TO ME ITS LIKE YOUR A STRANGER. THERE IS STILL A PAIN IN ME. MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. DAD

I was six years old when my mother left my siblings and I in the care of my grand-mother and my father to come to the United  States. I didn’t get it then, and even at six years old I knew it was un-natural for a mother to leave her kids to go to a foreign country. Equally un-natural is when a father leave or abandon his kids, but more specifically his daughter.  Sure, there are different form of abandonments, but in my opinion the one that is most profound and has a greater impact is the one when a daughter is abandon by her father.

This is a unique problem and I am pretty sure I am not the first to write on the subject, so I am not going to waste words by giving you statistics. However, I feel I have authority on the subject simply because I have two daughters who I have raised as a single parent. In fact fathers abandoning their kids is such an epidemic that even the President to the United States addressed it in his speech on Fathers day June 2008: Text of Obama’s fatherhood speech -…and he had this to say:

But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing — missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it. 

And he went on to say:

We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

Oh sure, ideally we all would love to have a loving partner who respectfully understand the magnitude of raising children. And understand that two is better than one.  For example, someone like my father who believe firmly that little girls grow better with a father. And my boyfriend who said, “you have to have heart and you have to be hard to raise kids, let alone a daughter.”  He believes one of the reason men abandoned their children is not only because raising kids is hard work, but also some think they can just make another one. He went as far as to equate it to leaving the scene of an accident after crashing your car. Indeed, and speaking personally that is exactly how it feels.

With that in mind my father knew that staying with my mother was an absolute must and to do otherwise would have grave consequences. So, he stayed with my mother no matter what because leaving us girls was something he was not willing to gamble with .  But in many cases we all know that’s not always true. Especially, and I don’t want to admit this, in the African American community. Sadly I fit perfectly into that profile. My sister fits into that profile. My cousins fit into that profile. In other words, I know too many people who fits into that absent-father profile.  Not by design. When I was young I did all the right things.

I married my high school sweetheart and gave birth to two beautiful daughters, but our marriage was flawed. We fought over everything. Money: the lack of it. Job: the fact that he could not keep one. Mostly, just living on the poverty line. And stupid things like his obsession with muscle magazines, and how he collects and pile them in my tiny closet. Then eventually our relationship turned physical. I remember keeping my hat on when I visited my parents because I was hiding bruises. In essence we didn’t stand a chance. We were too young and really did not know or fully understood the magnitude of the responsibility we were undertaking. In the end, he left and I was left at the scene of an accident.

Unfortunately my situation is one in a million and still today we have little girls growing up in a single parent household because some fathers decided they did not want to put in the hard work. As a result little girls are growing up feeling abandon. It is no wonder that research and studies have shown when children especially girls are abandoned by their fathers they tend to be more promiscuous, have low self- esteem and feel worthless.  Also they develop problems with intimacy,  sex, trust,  and commitment.  Even worse they feel shame,  and anger.

Oddly absent fathers is a problem deeply rooted in our community and in our way of life to the point that some have accepted as the norm. Take for example, the TV talk show The Maury Povich show, whose TV show is primarily finding “baby mammas” who are not sure or don’t’ even know who the father of their baby is. Showing fathers jumping for joy at a negative result of a DNA test is truly a sight to see. I am the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers, but I know something must be done. I imagine we can start by just being outraged! And eventually work our way to forming the “the million single mother march against fathers abandoning the home.”

Over the years I did my best, but as the saying goes, my best was not good enough.  I could not replace the bond and the attachment little girls develop with their fathers. Now my girls are teenagers and the afflictions of growing up in a father-less home are starting to emerge to the surface. It’s like watching a car crash and you can’t do anything about it. I took to my pen and wrote a piece on my blog: Mommy-in-chief, (MOMMY-IN-CHIEF) titled, The Kids Are Not Ok.   Here is a little of what I wrote:

For the first time in years I was not looking forward to hearing, ”Happy Father’s Day” from my family and friends.  Indeed after hearing what my eighteen year old daughter said about how the absence of her father had affected her, I no longer felt I deserve to hear those words which felt more like a slap in the face then a praise for a job well done. Of course it did not escape me that my feelings were hurt mainly because I could not understand that even after all I have done she still felt the way she did. After all, doing the job of two parent was not an easy task.

Certainly, I could not begin to tell them the truth about their father, their precious DADDY! Even now with their eyes wide open they still believe he is innocent until proven guilty. Even now they hesitate to believe that I begged him to spend more time with them and it broke my heart that I could not mend theirs. Also I fought on their behalf, and wrote many letters to him about what both needed to grow into well adjusted young ladies. More so, I made many phone calls, left several messages and sent many invitations for him to participate in their up-bringing. Yet, no amount of begging, pleading and explanation that children need love, hugs and kisses from both parents, nor that little girls need their daddy’s to teach them how a man should treat them had any impact to him.

As has been said, it is un-natural for a father to leave or abandon his kids, and especially his daughter and in my experience I have never met a daughter (and I am not saying there aren’t any) who felt they were better off.

 

By; Kency Desmangles