NeTeah Hatchett addresses the sensitive topic of what it feels like for a child when a father isn’t present.
From the moment I entered this world, the only face I’ve ever seen is my moms. Where were you at the hospital? Were you there and I just didn’t know? Or was my arrival not important enough for you to be present? I look back over the memories I’ve built and experienced and I realized….you weren’t there for any of them. My first steps. The first time I went potty. My first words. My first birthday. My first day of school. You weren’t there. Why?
Is it that my mom was too much for you to deal with? Or was it that you just don’t love me? Is it my fault that you’re not here? I’ve never had the chance to see your face or ask you these questions. Was I too much of a burden for you to not want to be around? Were you just not ready for the responsibility of having a child? How come you’re not here Daddy?
I talk to my friends at school and they tell stories about their dads and everything they do with them and I wish I had stories to tell. I wish I could talk about how you’re my first hero; my first true love. I wish I could tell stories of how you lift me up on your shoulders to let me see the world. I wish I could tell them how you helped teach me to ride my bike without training wheels, or how you took me to my first soccer game or ballet recital. I wish you were proud of me Dad. I wish I could talk about how much of a daddy’s girl I am and how much I have you wrapped around my finger….but I can’t. I just wish you were here Dad.
Mommy does the best she can, but it’s not fair. How come some people have a mommy and a daddy and I don’t? How come I can’t even see you sometimes on the weekends? On my birthday? On Christmas? How come you don’t want to be there Dad? How come you’re not in my life?
Your father wasn’t around when you were growing up, so how come you did the same thing to me Dad? If that made you sad and unwanted…how could that not make you want to be there for me? How come it couldn’t be different? You try to ignore the fact that I exist, but that doesn’t make me go away Dad, I’m still here. I know being a parent isn’t easy, but the least you could do is try.
I know you’re somewhere out there Dad, and maybe one day I’ll get to meet you. Maybe one day you will love me for the awesome child that I am. And you’ll see the greatness in me that everyone else around me sees. Although I’ve never seen you, I miss you Dad. I wonder what you look like or what you like to do. Do you have a scruffy beard that would tickle my face with every kiss? Are your eyes the same as mine? I wonder. All I have are the thoughts of what it could/would be like to have a dad. One day, I want to experience it firsthand. It’s never too late Dad. It’s never too late.
Love, Your Daughter
All too many times, I don’t think that absent fathers truly recognize the impact that their absence can have on a child’s life. Many people think that kids don’t notice or pick up on things, and that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Kids are probably more observant than adults, and while they may not speak on things they’ve seen or comprehend, don’t for one second underestimate their ability to know their surroundings and their environment and what is lacking. Don’t leave their mom to answer the question “Where is my dad?” or “How come he doesn’t want me?“. It takes two people to make a child and it takes two people to also raise that child. Regardless of the circumstances or the situation, no child should be forced to live without the love of both parents, because after all, that child didn’t ask to be here. Whether your lack of participation is due to irreconcilable differences with the mother, or your child being the result of a one-night stand…rise to the occasion and be the man that your child NEEDS you to be. Too many sons are being raised without fathers and only perpetuating the cycle of absentee dads. And too many daughters are being raised without the guidance and love from a father, and try to seek those fatherly characteristics from a mate.
While it’s not at all impossible to raise a child on your own, what woman should have to? You may not be the best parent, but anything can be changed with a little time, effort, experience and practice. It’s never too late to be there. It’s never too late to make your presence known and create a lasting impact in your child’s life that could change them forever. It’s never too late to be a parent. It’s never too late to be a dad.
You can’t force a man to be a father; he has to want to be that on his own. I just ask that to the men out there who may be absent fathers or aren’t apart of their child’s life as much as they should be….to change. Realize that it’s bigger than you. It’s bigger than the child’s mother. You have the opportunity to make a difference and help mold your child for the future, so why not take advantage of it? What is holding you back?
Photo: Flickr/Walt Stoneburner