So let me be clear. I am not a man. I never have been one, and by the looks of how these things work, I probably will never be one. One thing I do know for sure however, my son’s father is ghost. He is out. He is totally and completely absent. I have not heard a word from him since May of 2014, and that was a year after he stopped paying a cent of child support.
He does not call to check on his son, he does not ask how he is doing, he does not inquire, he does not send a text, telegram or message pigeon. How could he do that? There are questions that I had years ago that I now have answers to, this is not one of those questions. After being born into a marriage, and being planned for, I do not understand how a man denies his child. Part of me has lost interest in trying to understand.
I am very clear that I cannot be a father to my son. I cannot teach him how to be a man. I do not fully know the challenges and conundrums of what it is to be born male. But I along with so many single mothers are caught in this target practice of still needing to fulfill dual roles, regardless of our inability to do so completely. And the shaming of women who have this insurmountable task, who cry out for acknowledgement of this insurmountable task on a painful day of reminder like today, is to me one of the sure ways that we live in the last days, where love in action is condemned and criticized, instead of applauded and admonished.
Just before tucking my baby boy into bed tonight, I brushed his teeth and rubbed his back, just like good Mommies do. That was just after disciplining him for pushing beyond his boundaries, just like good Daddies do. And tomorrow I will fix his breakfast and his dinner, just like good Mommies do. And I will take out his trash, and put oil in the car he rides in, just like good Daddies do. But not after I work all day, like good Mommies and Daddies do, I have to of course bring home that bacon AND fry it up in a pan. I have continual vertigo as I swing between roles in being all things for my son. No one can ever tell me different. This is real life. This is everyday.
Father’s Day is for fathers, men who are present. I don’t claim this day as my own, but I dare anyone to question my dual roles, beyond holidays, constant juggling act of raising a child that requires at least two people to raise, and maybe five if I’m including my son’s special needs.
So excuse me if today, Father’s Day, is tough for me. Do I claim it as my own day? Not really, they don’t have a Happy Single Mother to Child of Deadbeat Father’s Day. But I do know that each and every day, no matter the fall on the calendar, I play all roles to my son, the feminine and all the masculine I can muster.
So goodnight young prince, with my hand in the Lord’s I will lead you in all the ways within my reach. And I am willing to play as many roles as necessary to do so.