Daddy Wasn’t there

Ever wonder the impact on family life imposed by absent fathers. It sounds so clinical; does it not? A very adult way of looking at an issue that clearly affects the children involved the most. No matter what age the children are there is always a consequence, stigma or best yet statistic to categorize them. Often enough you do not hear about the impact until they are in their adult years because some adult undermined their voice when it was pertinent or they made the evening news because a number of people turned up dead.

If you really wanted to know the impact would it not be wise to stop and ask those affected. I am a product of an absent father. We lived under the same roof for the first three years of my life. Next, I saw him only on the weekends. Then it was every other month or once or twice a year through the Department of Children and Family Services before we lost complete contact when I was age 15. He died two years after the birth of my son, whom he never met. Father did not just walk away. My father was absent because my mother made him stay away.

With my father gone the house was always tense for one reason or another. As time passed I was put in the middle between my love for my father and living with my mother who did not care for those kinds of feelings and a brother who could not relate and clung to his mothers every word. Father was just a title out there in the wind. My brother never really knew his father because he was gone when he was an infant. My mother struggled to raise my brother and me. Money was tight and even with welfare my mother had to have more than one job because she liked to live well too. My brother and I were shuffled back and forth from friend to family members while mother worked or drank away her pain and bitterness.

Today my brother tells me that he wants to have children of his own but that he worries about being a good father because he did not have an example of one growing up. He is 30 years old and never even had a scare of getting someone pregnant. I did not find out until later why my mother made my father leave. She had so many reasons. I know because I heard her count them out as she cursed him in the mirrors of the bathroom. One reason stood out and made more sense to me as I became of age and although she and I still have our differences about my father, today I understand and that is enough.

Currently, my child lives without his biological father. He has never seen him, received a hug from him, a spanking or tips on sports. Eleven years have gone by and no man has stepped up to be that figure in my son’s life. I do my best at being both mother and father and have had my doubts that I am doing it all right. I worry that he will be too sensitive, always sit down to urinate or have questions I cannot answer about puberty. No child wants to be known around the neighborhood as the bastard child. I have been blessed that he has not asked me where his father is.

The absence of a father is always destructive. Make no arguments to dispute that fact. The evidence of this can be quiet or more pronounced. The setup can be a mother with one child or a mother with twelve. This type of family structure is never fair. It truly affects the nuclear and extended family members who pick up the slack. Sadly it still happens more and more today.