I came across a video the other day of a young girl who wrote a song for her father. Heartbreaking to watch, she spells out the myriad of ways her father has hurt her through his absenteeism. It’s a heartbreaking reminder that we as a community have so much work to do in order to bridge the gap between our children and their indifferent and absent parents (father and mother).
It’s a painful subject to speak about because I once had to answer my then 15-year-old son who asked me “Why don’t my father want me?” I was driving at the time he asked me that question and I gripped the wheel in anger and pain. I explained to him that “I don’t believe that he doesn’t want you. We had you at a young age and he lacked the maturity and knowledge to be the type of father you need. I’m sorry that he’s hurt you by not being here for you.” My son sat quietly, wiped his eyes, and absorbed what I said. He stated that he understood what I said but he also vowed to never bring a child into the world that he was not financially or emotionally able to take care of.
I wanted to cry because no child should ever have to carry that question in their hearts. They shouldn’t have to stand in the window crying on Saturday morning for hours because dad promised to pick him up and is once again a no show. Coming from a two-parent home, I had a hard time dealing with this situation as my son grew up not knowing his father. He grew up remembering the lies and broken promises. Since the age of 13 he has called him “the sperm donor”. What a cringing testimony for a child to have regarding a parent!
There’s a study that states Black fathers surprisingly spend more time with their children than originally believed. In fact, this study states this is the case more than White fathers. That might be the case but try telling that to the child featured in this video, or mine for that matter.
The ax swings both ways. There are mothers out there –whom because they can’t let go of the failed relationship—are determined to keep the father away from the child. They speak negatively about the father to their children and poison their minds against him. Sure it hurts him greatly but it hurts the child more. Their anger is so great that it literally blinds them to reason and common sense.
My anger toward my son’s father knew no bounds. Weeks after the birth of my child he told me “I know you’re going to turn him against me.” I looked in his eyes and told him “I’ll tell you what… I will never speak negatively about you to him—ever. Because I want to make sure that if he ever ends up disliking you, it’ll be because of you.” I am proud to say that I kept that promise. Even as I drove down the I90 Expressway gripping that steering wheel, wanting to go into a foul-mouthed tirade, I kept my promise. I had to because my son’s well-being was always more important than my anger. That’s what moms do—they suck it up and protect their children.
Mother, your child is not a weapon. You cannot sling them in the face of his/her father to inflict pain. Look in the mirror and ask yourself why is it so important for you to hurt this man to the detriment of your own flesh and blood? If he’s not paying child support, take him to court. In the meantime, put him on the back burner and love on your child. Don’t bad mouth him. Half of that man’s DNA is in your kid too. Let it go. We can do better because we have to.
Father, if the mother of your child is keeping you away, you must fight. We live in a technological age. If you have time to spend on social media, you therefore have time to research the laws in your state regarding custody and visitation. You can find lawyers who won’t charge much, will probably do it pro bono, or, you can learn how to be your own Pro Se advocator. Your child must know that you are trying to be in their lives. Short of being six feet under, there are no excuses for not being there—none. They have to know that when they are with you, you are not spending time with your friends or your new lady. You have to be present. Your child is hurting and misses you. Your child is tortured with pain and rejection. Don’t believe me? Listen to this little girl because I guarantee you, that’s what is going on in the mind of your child.
Please share this (and anyone else’s similar) story because we’ve got to tell indifferent parents that it’s time to stop being selfish.