4/14/2006

How Much Does a Father-Figure Figure?

In the past month, a lot of questions have come up regarding my background. Almost always the topic manages to make it's way to my parents, and how they raised me. To be completely honest, my "parents" never really raised me. In fact during my teenage years I referred to my mom as "my egg donor" and my dad as "my sperm donor", because it seemingly was the only real contribution they made in my life. I'm grateful I didn't wind up in a napkin somewhere, but at the same time someone needs to take accountability when it comes to raising a child.

Although my mom had her issues, and still does, she was around for the most part. My father on the other hand was a totally different story. I don't have many memories with my dad because we hardly spent time together. By the time I was born, he and my mother had broke up and he pretty much left us to fend for ourselves. My mom couldn't get child support because he didn't hold a job and whatever earnings he did make had to be divided up to his first four kids, leaving me- the baby of the bunch- without much. He tried to have contact with me off and on as I got older, but I was mostly left with disappointment.

He wasn't there for some of the most important and maybe not so important moments of my life. He was never there when I fell down and skinned my knees, never there to soothe my insecurities. Where was he the first time a boy broke my heart? I know where. He would be two avenues away on Broadway, washing cars to try to make ends meet. Which in essence means washing cars to support his drug habit.

Over the summer, I spent the most time with him than I ever had in the previous 21 years. He is currently living with his mother in The Bronx and I stayed with them for about a month. I realized that we have similar personalities, similar attitudes, similar characteristics when it comes to acting silly, you name it. At that point, I remembered a song by Fefe Dobson called "Unforgiven." It's about a strained relationship with her own father. At one point during the chorus, there's a line that always strikes a chord with me when I hear it. It goes "...Sorry is a word you like to say. Sorry won't erase the things you did yesterday."

He's trying now to build foundations that should've been in the development stages from the moment I was born. Does he realize, or better yet, will he ever realize that those years are gone and he can't get them back? Those were years when I needed him the most. I needed that "father-figure" influence in my life, but instead of finding it at home, I tried to find it in other places. The only influences I gained from that were negative ones. Luckily, I somewhat managed to make it. But there are plenty of others who don't.

The importance of a father has diminished over time. A lot of women think they can handle raising a child fine without the aid of a man. Sure you might be able to, but will the child be able to be raised just as well without that "father-figure?" Men need to realize that the ties that bind them to their children will never fray. So how much does a "father-figure" figure? I'd have to say a whole lot.

3 comments:

petey said...

kia.
again, good stuff. from any set a parents, past or present, absent or present, we learn the do's, don'ts, and won'ts of what we term good parenting, so i guess the most important thing to take it all in and make sure we are the best version of parent for our own progeny.

kia said...

it's funny that you mention that petey, because i've been thinking a lot about that. i've seen the mistakes my parents have made in terms of the way they raised me, and i know i don't want to make the same mistakes...and i won't. but i'm still worried that when it becomes time for me to start my own family, will i have the resources and the know-how to as you say "take it all in and make sure [i am] the best version of a parent."

Jessica said...

Kia,
I really enjoyed this post. I think everyone that is analytical thinker is a bit afraid of the mistakes they may make as a parent or as a human being in general. The key is to be aware that you need to be and can be better. I think your capacity to love and your driving desire to do what is right will make you a great parent.