Being Abandoned By One’s Father Isn’t the End…….
We all know how the circle of life works. Eventually, people will grow old or become ill and we will not see their physical forms anymore. From a young age, I knew that death was inevitable. I also assumed that death was the only way that a loved one was going to be out of my life. Without death, people just don’t vanish out of your life, right?
Well…I was wrong
Entering adult hood means that we must take on adult problems. From elementary to college, we are faced with confusion and changes. We watch our hormones alter and our love build to show care for someone outside of our family. We learn to love others, but, we also learn how to let others go. We learn how to deal with break-ups with a spouse, but what about family break-ups? We learn to accept that abandonment will happen, but do we learn it regarding our own homes?
Unfortunately…some of us do.
Most of those who are a part of the black community can identify with the stereotype of African-American fathers typically not being within their child’s life. Across the united states there are 24.7 million children who live without their biological father. Do you know how many of these children are black? You’re probably think 5 or 10 million? Yes? Well…there’s 14.2 million African-American children who are growing up without their father. 1 in about every 2 African-American children will grow up without a father. Crazy, isn’t it? The stereotype actually is prove to be true. For whatever reason, being fatherless has become the norm for African-American children; if we see a black father within his child’s life, it is a shock.
I had the shock, then the norm.
From what I can remember—and from photos—Danny was consistently in my life for the first 5 years; I emphasis consistently because he would pop-up ever so often. However, the first 5 years, he was there. All the birthdays, Christmases, first days of school, he was there. I could wake up and run into the next room and he was there.
However, at year 6, I noticed that me seeing Danny became slightly scattered. My mother and he were no longer together, so he no longer lived with us.
Then, he got a “new” family.
I called his “new” family because at the age of 9, that’s what it looked like to me. in 2001, Danny had a daughter with the woman he was dating at the time. Being young, the thought of a little sister excited me. I held her, played with her, even spent a lot of time at her home and with her mother.
This didn’t last long. Eventually, there were long periods of time in which Danny was nowhere to be found. Days turned into years and the abandonment started to get under my skin. I watched Danny not only have a new child and abandoned me to give his “new” family full attention, but I had to see him give his new daughter my middle name as her first. When I asked him why her first name was my middle name, he told me “I forgot I gave you that name first”; I was livid. But, instead of blaming him, I blamed myself.
I beat myself up emotionally and believed that it had been my fault for Danny being gone. I thought that maybe I wasn’t doing enough as a daughter. To all outsiders, I was a great daughter. But, I didn’t want the admiration from any outsider; I wanted it from Danny. No matter how hard I worked, he never came back. The last time I asked him why he wasn’t around, he told me it wasn’t convenient for him to be in my life.
So, I went off.
Mid-2014, after calling Danny for his birthday and Father’s Day and getting no response, I decided to reach out to my aunt to see if she had heard from her brother. To my surprise, she had just spoken to him about a week ago and when she asked about me, Danny told her I was doing great and that I was having a ball in Philadelphia…even though we hadn’t spoken nearly 2 years.
Though he had blatantly been ignoring my calls and texts, I still sent a message of my disappointment in him. I made it clear that I would no longer attempt to rebuild our relationship and that I will continue to do great without him. It was a long, painful message filed with hate, but this was the first time I was brave enough to tell him he sucked. And most importantly, I refused to let him speak of me as if he had any impact on the positive aspects of my life.
If you are fatherless, it’s okay.
It took me some years, but I discovered that it was not my responsibility to maintain contact; it was Danny’s. A child being fatherless is never the child’s fault. It is not that we aren’t “good” enough or that we ever did anything “wrong”; there’s no real answer. Just know, it’s not you. If you’ve tried connecting, you’ve gone beyond what you should even have to. We should never have to beg for a parent.
Of course, after Danny realized I had given up on him, he “reached out”. It took me saying “f*** you” for me to get a “hello”. But, I had closed that chapter of my life. I spent all these years without him and did fantastic, so I accepted cutting out Danny completely.
It felt amazing to be honest and to let go. For all the fatherless children who ever had doubt within themselves, I love you and understand your pain. You don’t need “Danny” to be prosperous; I mean, look at me. I strive higher every day and I don’t wish anything bad upon him, but he knows I will continue to succeed without him.
Though I wasn’t convenient for him, I became convenient for myself.