This Sunday is Father’s Day, but we have no father. By we, I mean the millions upon millions of boys and girls, men and women, who don’t have a fraction of a clue who their father is. We are the fatherless.
Is it because no one knows? Well, unless things have changed scientifically, it still takes a male AND a female to produce a new life. So…someone HAS to know who our fathers are, or at least have an idea.
We don’t need Maury to open a brown envelope and reveal the identity, shocking a crowd of onlookers clueless to the affects of the answer. Nor do we need a private investigator to dig through the lives of our families to reveal all the dark secrets and skeleton filled closets only to come up empty…but richer. We just need our mothers to tell us the truth.
Do you, the mothers, think about our fathers on Father’s Day? Do you look back and suppress the tiniest smiles or do you turn away your face each time we enter the room so we won’t see the tears you pretend aren’t there?
It sounds so sad, so dramatic…but honestly, we don’t give a damn. And that’s the truth. There are many of us, and I do mean many, who wish you would for once, think about us.
Was he someone else’s husband or boyfriend? Was it a one night stand to him and a hopeful relationship for you? Or were you dragged kicking and screaming into the back of a van and assaulted by man after man till you couldn’t even cry anymore? Or did you simply sleep around so much, you really have no clue who the father could be? Oh, I know. You took it upon yourself to decide that, for whatever reason, we would be better off never knowing who he was? Wait…you weren’t one of those who thought having a baby would keep him, did you? And then got angry or vindictive when he chose to leave? Not allowing him to be around us? To know us? I guess maybe he could have belonged to another; a girlfriend, fiancé or wife, maybe your best friend. Well, I guess it could have been because YOU didn’t have a father around, you thought it was okay for us not to have one. And of course, he was someone you loved, someone you wanted to spend the rest of your life with, but he had other plans. So, the child created from your union was just better off…right?
You were wrong. Dead wrong.
We are aware that there are those men, or rather those boys, who chose to walk away. Who chose to ignore our existence. There are those who chose to take a woman against her will and then disappear. There are those who could care less about whether or not their child ever knows anything about them. And to them we simply say……..you reap what you sow.
But to our mommies, we’re sorry. We all are. But it happened to you…not us. Whatever pain you endured, we’re sorry. For all the heartache he must have caused you, we’re sorry. For the shame and degradation you must have suffered, nothing can ever be said to erase what that must have been like…for you. But mommies, it happened to you…..not us.
Who is he? Was he tall or short? Was he well built and sexy, or pudgy with thick glasses and a lisp? Did you like the way he said your name and held your hand? Or was it that he paid your rent, took you shopping, made you feel “taken care of”? Did you date in high school, or was it a blind date set up by nosey friends?
Do we have his eyes? his nose? his laugh? Do we sometimes remind you of him…too much? Have you erased him and any thought of him from your mind….from your heart?
Mommies, these are just a few of the questions we have for you. But they are nothing compared to the questions we have for ourselves.
What you may or may not have experienced with the man who fathered us happened maybe five, ten, twenty years ago. But you and our father created a life….you created a being composed of both of you. Maybe his personality and your curiosity. Perhaps his drive for life and your ability to not take life so seriously. We may possess his bad temper and inability to commit and your hopeless dream to find true love. We make decisions like you, but think them through like him. We laugh at a good joke like he did but fail to see the humor in the chicken crossing the road like you.
Our eyes match the color of yours, but our smile definitely matches his face. Our complexion is a perfect blend of both, but our stubby fingers or long legs belong to the man who we will never know.
Sunday is Father’s Day. Every year, over and over and over, a special day reminds us all of what we may have missed. Each year, many of us try to pretend that we don’t care, that it doesn’t matter, that we have or will turn out to be just fine without him. But the truth of the matter is, it matters. Day after day, for some of us, it matters.
Would our lives have turned out differently? Would we have been stronger…or weaker? Would our father have added spice and fulfillment to our lives, or would knowing him have taken away from who we are today? Would we scurry to the store and spend hours pondering over just the right Father’s Day card, or would we choose to spend the day talking about how awful a person he was? Or would we be standing in line, waiting for the prison guard to search our pockets and scan our bodies for weapons, just to spend a few hours a month with him?
Guess we’ll never know. We’ll never know. We’ll never know what it’s like to sit on daddy’s lap while he reads the back of an album cover to us. We’ll never have the pleasure of hearing his laugh or being swooped up in his arms. We’ll never understand why he spends so much time working on a car, or sitting in front of a football game, and so little time with us. We’ll never want to date because he’ll scare them away before they even get inside the house. We’ll never get mad because he missed our big game. Our kindergarten graduations, high school celebrations, and weddings won’t be the same.
But at least you, our mothers, did what you thought was best. At least, that’s what some of you believe, and want us to believe as well.
So, to our fathers, wherever you are, and for whatever reason you are a stranger to us, here’s wishing you a Happy Father’s Day. We may not know you, but trust and believe, we think of you often and wonder if you’re thinking of us. Some of us have stopped crying and some of us have just begun. We love you and we hate you. We miss you and are angered by the thought of you.
Hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day.
A Fatherless Child