This is the front of the card I made for my mom
On this father’s day, many children will be pulling out the new ties, bar-be-Que tools, and grilling aprons for their fathers. The fathers will hug their child and don the new apparel with broad smiles. They’ll walk out and fire up the grills and make their world-famous hamburgers.
But what about the kids who don’t have a father? What are they going to do on Father’s day? Treat it as another day and just go on with their lives? And when their friends ask them what they did for Father’s day, what will they say? “Oh, you know… Stuff.” Let’s end this epidemic now!
I have an absentee father. He is only around when it is convenient for him, he didn’t even come to my graduation because of work (that’s a whole other story that I won’t get in to). I don’t really call him my father anymore, he doesn’t deserve the title. Father, by definition, is a man who exercises paternal care over other persons; paternal protector or provider. My father, a.k.a. sperm donor, does not exercise his paternal care, and he is certainly not a protector of any kind to me or my sister (in fact, he puts us in harm’s way more often than trying to take us out of it), and he is only a “provider” because the court takes the child support out of his paycheck. He has never actually paid child support, he tries his hardest to get out of it.
So, I simply call him my sperm donor. But, I do have a dad. My dad is my mom.
There are hundreds of single moms out there, and there may even be thousands (I wouldn’t doubt it). And most of them are doing it really well! Women have proven time and again that we don’t need men. Sure, they can help, but they’re no longer a necessity. Women are stronger than ever, and my mom/dad has been proving that for 18 years.
Some people have told me that I need a male influence in my life, and I look at them and say “Well I do, but why do I need that? What can they teach me that my mom can’t?” Then they start stuttering because they can’t think of anything that a man can teach me that a woman can’t. But then, sometimes, you get the dumba**es who say, “Well do you know how to grill? What about golf?” And all of those typical “guy” things. I know how to grill, my mom taught me. I know how to golf, my mom used to golf occasionally.
But, I do agree that everyone needs some male influence, and I have that too! I have an amazing uncle who has been more of a dad to me than my sperm donor. Then there’s my grandpa, who has been my male influence all my life! And, let me tell you, my grandpa could not get any more male-like. He will tell you stories for hours about his fights, football career, working in the steel mill, and any other manly thing you can think of! Go look up the definition of a man in the dictionary, and you will see my grandpa’s face in the margin.
Now I want to talk about my mom. It’s hard to think of one word that describes her, because not a single word can capture how amazing she is… perhaps “strong”? But even that is not strong enough. Anyways, first off, she married my sperm donor because of me. Well, sort of. My mom loved my sperm donor, and I like to believe that my sperm donor loved my mom as well… though he had an awful way of showing it. They got married, and I was at their wedding, in my mother’s womb. It was a beautiful wedding, if I remember correctly, and they danced and laughed and had a great time.
My mom has often told me of the time I was born. She was terrified because she wanted to give me everything, but was afraid that she would provide nothing. But, the minute that I was put into her arms, she knew that this was what she was meant to do. She was meant to be a mother, and she was going to do it with all of her energy. And she did a dang good job!
Then she got pregnant again and was terrified once more, but for a new reason. She was afraid that she wasn’t going to be able to love this baby as much as she loved me. But, as soon as my sister was put into her arms, she knew that this was what she was meant to do. I, on the other hand, was not too thrilled at first. But I got over it and now I wouldn’t know what to do without my sister.
A couple of years later, tragedy struck. My mom was at a tournament umpiring (she had to work two jobs to support us), the tournament started on Friday and she would not be home until Sunday evening, and my sperm donor was “watching over us”… more like he was sitting on the couch in a minicoma and my sister and I were in their room messing around with my mom’s sewing equipment. I was doing my best to watch Lauren, but being as young as I was (about 4 years old) I got distracted by the sewing machine and started playing with the nobs. My sister was more fascinated with the scissors and wanted to create a new wardrobe using the fabric from their curtains and sheets.
The sperm donor came into the room, probably to sleep in the bed now, and saw what Lauren had done. There were gaping holes in the sheets and curtains now, and shards of fabric laying on the floor. He grabbed her abruptly by the arm and her face was fear-stricken. I too, was terrified for her life, but I was frozen in fear. He dragged the little girl into her room and roughly sat her down on the changing table face down. I was too afraid to go in the room, but I peeked around the door. Then I saw it… his hand came up and swiftly came into contact with her bottom. Tears ran down my face, for I knew that this was not the end. I don’t remember how many times he hit her, but it was enough to be too much.
My mom came home Sunday night, three days after this had taken place. She had called us every night to say hello and tell us that she loved us, my sperm donor never once told her what had happened. Monday morning she went to change Lauren’s diaper and gasped. I was sitting on the bed with her and said, “Daddy did it.” My sister’s bottom was black and blue and looked ghastly, even after three days of healing… That night, the sperm donor left.
After that, my mom, sister and I turned into the Trio. We stuck together and got through many obstacles on our own.
Then she met the Donkey (keep in mind, my grandma reads this, so I’m saying Donkey… but I think you know what I really mean). Mr. Donkey was the perfect man when they were dating. He was nice, caring, and I believe that he truly loved her. But then they got married, and everything went down hill. Something in him changed and all he wanted to do was possess her. He hated that she had a social life and friends and he did everything in his power to control her and turn her into something that she was not.
He was more verbally abusive than anything, but he did physical a couple of times. But my mom stuck it out for me and my sister. She desperately wanted us to have a father and was willing to take all of this abuse just so that we have a man in our life. I saw my mom turn into this person that was so lost. It was hard to watch her get dragged into this hole, and she had no ladder.
Lauren and I heard the fights, the screams, the fists hitting the walls. We never told Mom that we could hear them, because we knew that she was trying to hide it. Ten years of this… An entire decade we spent with the Donkey. It wasn’t until he verbally abused me that my mom finally decided that it was time to give him the boot.
Even though my sister and I had a step-father for ten years, it was still like my mom was a single parent. The Donkey tried to be a father, I think, but I feel that he was never truly committed to the role. He had two full-grown daughters that he had already raised, why would he want to do that again with two young kids? Later, I found out that my mom made sure that he didn’t discipline us or really treat us as his daughters to protect us.
Since 2009, when they divorced, the Trio has never been better. We all grew from our experiences and now have a new respect for each other that many people will never gain. My mom is the happiest I have ever seen her, and Lauren and I too are the happiest we have ever been. Who knows if she will remarry again, but I know that no matter what happens, we will always be together through thick and thin.
So, in honor of Father’s day, I want to say thank you to my mom. She has been my father for 18 years, and all of those people who say you can’t successfully grow up with one parent can shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, because I turned out to be just fine!
I wrote her this poem, I will be presenting it to her on Father’s day.
Some dad’s play golf,
But my dad dances
And her dress will swish.
She cooks and cleans
And makes a fine dish.
On this father’s day
I must say
Every morning I wake up
And greet the new day
To your smiling face
And I pray
That every day you realize
I don’t need a dad…
I only need you!
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