To My Single Mother on Father’s Day

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Let me start off by saying this, even though I had a single mother, I did have a father. My father didn’t live with us. In fact, he lived two states away. Due to the distance, there would be extensive periods of time that my father and I wouldn’t see each other. Despite of this, he was always a big presence in my life. Even though he didn’t see me everyday, he knew me. He knew what grades I made in school, he knew when I sang a solo at church, he knew when I had my first boyfriend but most importantly, he knew when I was acting out of character. He knew his daughter, and a lot of father-daughter relationships don’t have that, even when they see each other everyday. But since my father couldn’t always be there, my mother had to pick up the slack.

I remember the first time I tried to tell my mother happy Father’s Day. It was about a year after my father had passed away and I was still suffering from grief in a major way. I’ve never been good at displaying my emotions so to everyone around me, I appeared to be ok. Only I knew how much pain I felt. I was jealous that other people still had their father, whereas I had to learn how to live without mine. In an attempt to make myself feel better about the holiday, I decided to make Father’s Day about my single mother. When I woke up that morning to go to church, I went in my mother’s room and screamed “Happy Father’s Day Mommy!” She was noticeably confused. It took her a moment to reply but once she did, her response was simple. She said, “Thank you, but I’m not your father.” I immediately understood what she meant.

Although my mother broke her neck to take care of me, she could never be who my father was to me. The two relationships were completely different. My mother was always stern with me, but my father was like water in my hands. He would do anything just to put a smile on my face. He spoiled me rotten, treated me like royalty, and made it his mission to teach me that no man should treat me otherwise. He always told me how smart and beautiful I was and although I didn’t realize it at the time, his daily affirmations completely shaped my self-esteem. My Daddy played a major role in my life and my mother wanted to make sure that I knew no one could ever take his place, not even her.

In the black community, it is not foreign to come across a child with a single mother. Some of us have relationships with our fathers, and some of us don’t know them at all. I think a common theme with children of single mothers is convincing ourselves that we don’t need our fathers. That is the biggest lie that we could ever tell ourselves; we need our fathers. A child growing up without a father is definitely missing out and we, as a whole, need to stop allowing children to believe that they are not. There are countless lessons that a child receives from their father that a mother could never teach.

It is not a single mother’s job to be both a father and a mother to her child. That is a standard that she will never live up to. Rather than trying to play both roles, teach your children all that you can. If their father isn’t in their life, take the time out to find them a father figure: a grand-father, an uncle, an older cousin, or if God willing a step-father. To a fatherless child, a father figure is the next best thing. I once heard someone say, “only a man can show a boy how to be a man and only a man can show a girl how a woman should be treated.”

I have to thank my mother for teaching me this valuable lesson. There are so many children who have grown up harboring resentment for the absence of their fathers instead of showing gratitude to the father figures in their lives. It’s important that we honor those that step-up for our children when they don’t have to. If you have a fatherless child this Father’s Day, take a moment to honor the father figures in your child’s life. After all, they are the next best thing.

Happy Father’s Day!

Darshay K. Lampley is a Broadcast Journalism major and Creative Writing minor at Jacksonville State University. Upon graduating, she anticipates a lucrative career in the entertainment industry. Darshay is an entertainment journalist, on-air radio personality, and is currently writing her first book. Darshay believes that her ambition along with her strong faith in God will lead her down the pathway to success. "God is within her, she will not fail." Psalm 46:5

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