My 10-year old daughter’s friend came over, asking if she could come outside to play basketball. Here is what the conversation consisted of:
My 10-year-old: “I thought you were going with your dad?”
10-year-old neighbor: “He said he’s sick. So we can’t go.” (her and her older brother)
My 10yo: “Oh, okay. Are you going to go later?”
10yo neighbor: “No. Because he was supposed to get us two weeks ago, but forgot. And the time before that he couldn’t get us because he had no food. And now he says he’s sick. And that he had us 2 weeks ago. But he didn’t cause we have been at Grandma’s during every weekend for the past month. And Grandma said we are never going over there again. So the only time I will ever see my dad again is if I see him at the store.”
I do not find this amusing, and that is not why I am mentioning it. I find it very sad. I find it sad that this young girl is going to be telling this story to anyone and everyone who will listen, because she wants others to think it doesn’t hurt her. I find it sad that she likely thinks there is something wrong with her because she has a father who is completely useless. I find it sad that my daughter completely understands, because her own father will not pick her or her sisters up, ever.
When did it become so hard for parents to be parents? Not their children’s best friend, but their parent. The one who will support and encourage, teach values and virtues, and discipline not because they enjoy it, but because it is a necessary part of parenting.
It has not been easy on me being a single parent by any means, and for quite a while I was succeeding very well at failing my girls. It took awhile for me to let go of the hurt and anger I had, and focus on what was important. That my girls have a mother who loves them more than anything, and will do everything possible to ensure they are cared for, know they are loved, and encouraged to be themselves. Thank goodness they do not need a father for that.