How to be a dad

The title gave it away didn’t it? Seeing as I’d like to think were interfriends (internet friends) I thought it would be nice to write a more personal post.

Like many people around the world, I grew up without a dad. My mum left him when I was 3 because he wasn’t a nice guy. Having left things with him; she encouraged us to have a relationship – something he had no intention of committing to.

I last saw him when I was 3 but what strikes me the most is that I had no idea that the last time I saw him would be the last- but somehow my 3 year old brain must have sensed it because I can remember that day perfectly. I could recall the day in perfect detail; from what I was wearing, to where we ate and so on. Weird right?

I’m now 19 with no clue as to who he is or what his life is like. I may have over 100 half siblings for all I know.

Although I had a brilliant upbringing, the void was undeniable. The void was something my mum could see through my eyes, and I think it mutually broke our hearts. I was mourning for her and she was mourning for me, she always wanted me to have a father figure, just as I wanted the ‘picture perfect family’.

 

Like mother, like daughter

Like mother, like daughter

 

I remember one specific sports day, I must have been about six, my mum rushed over to me to tell me there was a surprise visitor waiting at the house, and I instantly thought it was my dad – stupid me. It turned out to just be some extended family. I’m pretty sure I cried after they left.

Being the creative girl I am, I told my primary school friends that my dad had died and was a sailor and was eaten by the ‘big’ fish in the sea. I was a funny girl even at a young age. It landed me into trouble at one point since one of the girls I told, told her mum who asked my mum if it was true. As funny as the lie may be, it also leaves a sad afterthought.

However my mum always made sure that I grew up with a positive image of my dad – but she couldn’t fool me. She used to tell me off for ripping up pictures with him in them, and told me that he loved me even if he didn’t show it. Liar liar pants on fire.

 

I told you I ripped up photosI told you I ripped up photos

I think that was the hardest thing to deal with, not knowing why he didn’t love me. I had a theory where I thought everyone I loved would leave me. Luckily that theory proved to not be true.

This all may seem a little sad but this is far from a sob story because I had a happy ending. The women in my life have given their lives for me; my mum is the strongest stubbornness lady I know but loves me unconditionally. She helped me through some of the darkest periods in my life; she was there every doctor’s appointment, every sleepless night and every success I’ve encountered. I have the most amazing support systems, my uncle Carlo who has acted like my dad throughout the years, my cousins who treat me like siblings and my friends who have loved me even with my weird tendencies.

The one thing I always wanted to do was learn how to ride a bike, but I spent years not trying because I craved having that ‘fatherly/man’ figure to teach me. Well alas last year me and a few friends took to Regents Park and in the space of two hours I learned how to ride a bike. Hooray. I guess I never needed him.

Relationships don’t always work out- that in itself is understandable but to not be a dad? There’s no excuse.

In the words of my mature self – GROW A DAMN PAIR and do what’s best by your child. It doesn’t matter what happened between you and your partner that doesn’t give you a free pass to neglect your child. You may just regret it one day and the damage will be done. Actions do leave emotional scars and thankfully I benefitted from not having my dad around but unfortunately some people suffer gravely. Honestly if there’s anything I’ve learned is that it’s their loss, not ours.

Friends have the ability to inspire and that’s exactly what my friend Kat or as I like to call her KATRINA has done since I met her. She reminds me a lot of my mum in the sense that she’s also a single mother trying to do the best by her daughter. Although she has the loving support of her family, friends and her boyfriend, her daughter Summer has no contact with her dad purely out of his own choice. How or why should she have to explain to Summer that her father just doesn’t want any contact with her?

Kat has turned her story into a blog which I also encourage you to read – http://vulturesandbutterflies.wordpress.com

There’s always been a stigma surrounding single mothers, but I admire them. They have such strength to be able to multi task and deserve more credit than they get. Having said that – this post isn’t meant to offend decent fathers out there, but it’s supposed to highlight the negative impact crappy fathers have on children.

Baby me, pointing at all the bad dads out there to make a change

Baby me, pointing at all the bad dads out there to make a change

At the end of the day it takes more than sperm to call yourself a dad.

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5 thoughts on “How to be a dad

  1. Neil says:

    I too, grow up with out a dad. I understand exactly how you feel. A lots of unanswered questions. Going to see him again this august after 10 years. May be I’ll get some answers then…

    • cokefour says:

      There’s nothing more important than that Neil. I lived the first part of my life dadless and the second part with him but still unhappy. I did get my closure when I had a heart to heart with him a couple of months before he died. I came away from that understanding for the first time that he was a human being, prone to error and under-equipped to be a dad. We’re meant to be heroes and infallible – no pressure then.

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