People always say to me when they find out I was brought up in a single parent family ‘what’s it like to grow up without a father?’ Now if I’m honest when I get asked this question I get taken by surprise and I say ‘I don’t know’ and that is the truth as I don’t have any alternative to compare it against so the idea of what it would be like having a father is a vague one to me but here I want to try to explain, to get across what growing up in a single parent family can be like.
To me my father was never really a presence in my life, he’s someone I have hardly any memories of, if I think hard enough I maybe come up with one or two memories but sometimes I think maybe I invented these memories when I was younger to fill the void that my father should have filled. In a way I think growing up without a father for me has made me the person I am today. I always think if my father had been in my life I wouldn’t be who I am, as they say your life experiences define you and as odd as it may sound to some folks out there I think not having my father around was the best thing for me. Some of you may disagree and say that without a father figure you cannot sustain relationships when your older and you have a lack of self-worth, or that you will always try to over succeed to prove a point. In some ways these could be founded arguments but to me not having a father did not make me unable to form relationships and shouldn’t everyone be trying to over succeed. As I was growing up I saw other families that were 2 parent families and I knew that one-day even though my mum and dad hadn’t worked out that there was hope for me, hope for everyone. I saw other succesful relationships and knew the reason my father wasn’t around was his choice not my mum’s, not anyone elses and that there were men out there who are decent enough to stand by their children I Just have to pick the right one when I come to choose.
There were times growing up that I did look at friends fathers and wish that I had a father daughter relationship, more so when I was younger especially when at school fathers day came round and we all had to make a present but as time went by I just accepted the fact my dad wasn’t part of my life. That’s the funny thing about being a child you don’t generally over think situations you get on with the cards your dealt.
I think in life also the way a child feels within a fatherless situation is very much down to how the parent deals with it and all credit to my Mother, she always made me feel loved, she always worked twice as hard so we had the same things or at least similar to my friends who had 2 parents. I never missed a school trip that I can remember, I always can say I felt loved and my mum had people around her that filled the void that my father would have filled. I had my uncle Addy, I had Lilly a family friend and I had roman, Julie and Alfie. All these people treated me as I was growing up as I was part of their family and this love that I received from people who weren’t related to me really made me feel like I was the winner and my father was the loser. In my life I have tons of people who have shaped me to be who I am, I didn’t need my father really in the end as my mum did such a good job on her own.
Growing up in a single parent family doesn’t have to mean you start a step behind, it just means that person, that man who decided he couldn’t make the effort is a poor human being with little moral values. Having an absent father doesn’t have to be your downfall as if you own the cards you got dealt, except what life have given you, you will succeed.
Acceptance in life is key, not grieving for a past, not grieving for a father that you could have had will be the best thing to being the best you can be in life instead of wallowing and letting it bring you down.
In my life because my father was never really there I don’t love or miss his presence. When people say do you miss not having a father I think how can you miss what you never had. I would have had to have a father to miss him not being there. People say to me ‘do you love you father?’ how can I love something that I never had. It may sound harsh to some people but I don’t love my dad and I never will, I love my sisters dog nita more than I love my father.
Growing up in a single parent family just means tightening your belts, the mother working all hours god sends to make sure you get the best in life, and for that I have no end of respect for my mother. When people ask me who I admire I always say my mum because no matter what life has thrown at her she has held her head high. She is a role model to people who think that their children will be somewhat harmed by not having a father as I feel I turned out pretty darn well if I say so myself.
From my mum I learnt to give a good fight, treat others as you would want to be treated, fight for what you want and in life when you get a knock just get up again: What’s doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
So next time someone ask’s me what it’s ike growing up without a father I am going to say: The best thing that ever happened to me.