I Don’t Have a Dad (Nor Do I Need One)

I Don't Have a Dad (Nor Do I Need One)

McKenna Vaughn, Staff writer

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I would very much like to be able to tell a sad, dramatic story about a poor girl whose dad was never in the picture and has multiple misfortunes as a result, but the truth of the matter is that I can’t. That’s simply not the way it is. Growing up without an active father figure is nowhere near as awful as Hollywood seems to believe it is, at least from my personal experience. I’m not a juvenile delinquent, nor am I a suicidal teenage girl who can’t go a day without smoking a joint. I’m a just normal kid with one strong, independent, and extremely clever mother.

Growing up, I was oblivious to the irregularity of my family unit. I truly believed that every child lived in a house with just their mother and their grandmother. It wasn’t until I was five, when my preschool held a “Daddy- Daughter Dance” and I was the only daughter there without a daddy, that the peculiarity of my situation dawned on me for the first time. Did every little girl my age have a grown man at home with them? The concept was foreign to me, and naturally, I soon found myself wanting to know everything there was to know about fathers.

Following that fateful night, my mother was bombarded with questions such as, “Mommy, where’s MY daddy? All of my friends have one,” “Mommy, do you think my daddy loves me?”,  and the classic, “Mommy, is my daddy dead?”  I was fascinated with the idea of having a father, and equally concerned about the whereabouts of mine. Not many people are capable of explaining such mature content to a child; however, just like the miracle worker she is, my mother came up with a response that simultaneously maintained my innocence and shut me up for a while:

“I have a headache. Go play in your room.”

Throughout the following years, my poor mother had to deal with a little girl who asked her questions about her absent father every day, ran around supermarkets asking every middle- aged man she saw if they were her daddy, and periodically threw temper tantrums in the car when she was told that no, she could not call her daddy on the phone and tell him she loved him. I have absolutely no idea how she managed. I cannot imagine raising a child whose father neither knows that she exists nor cares, much less as flawlessly and lovingly as she has raised me. I’ve never felt that a part of my family is missing, and I have my mother to thank for that. She brought me up to believe that I am an independent, reliable young lady because of my situation, not in spite of it. When I have children of my own one day, I only hope i can raise them with just a fraction of the grace and dignity with which my mother has raised me.  

A word of advice for the people who think that single mothers are weak, vulnerable women who need all the charity and assistance they can get: don’t. These ladies are some of the toughest creatures this good green earth has to offer, and I am humbled and honored to be able to say that my mother is one of them.