Sunday 17th June is Father’s day in the UK. Happy Father’s Day to all those great fathers out there! The thing is, I’m a single mum. I’ve raised my son on my own. His father has never been involved. So what do I do about Father’s Day?
I’ve always loved Father’s Day. I had an amazing father. He and my mother gave me the most beautiful childhood. Being the youngest of my siblings, I was a pure daddy’s girl. I was placed in his arms when I was born, and he took his last breath in mine, on the worst day of my life. So believe me, I know how well earned a Father’s Day treat is.
My ex and I separated when I was very early in my pregnancy. That was the last he was involved with us. We don’t see him or hear from him. My son only knows of me as a parent. But that isn’t tragic at all. I believe I’m a brilliant mother. Anyone who knows my son or has met him for just a few moments would tell you the same. He’s happy, he’s healthy, he’s polite, he’s kind and he’s safe. I created that stable foundation for him. Me. His mother.
The definition of a broken family is where the parents are separated or divorced and living apart. Some definitions even go on to say that children in such homes are more likely to suffer from social and emotional problems. What a load of rubbish!! There is no lack of male role models in my son’s life. He had my father, he has my brother, my brother-in-law, my nephews who are grown men, and his cousins. My son is surrounded by love, joy and happiness. There is no broken home here. Had I remained in my marriage, my son would have been exposed to the same pain, fear and abuse I went through. That would have been a broken home.
For the first few years of his life I have successfully ignored Father’s Day for my son. But this year, in his nursery they had a Father’s Day party. The children were asked to make cards for their father’s. His nursery know that I am a single parent, so when his teacher handed me his card, she looked very uncomfortable. She said ’he had to make one as all the other children were doing it’. On the front of the card it said ‘dad’ and inside it read, ‘Happy Father’s Day’. So I said, ’that’s ok, I’ll have it. I am his mum AND dad’. It’s true, I am. But I realised, I will have to face those questions about his father. Next year when he understands a little more, or when he starts realising that there is no father around, I will have to find an answer to those questions.
What do I say? A friend said I should lie and say he’s dead. That just sounds awful to me. Do I say he chose not to be a part of our lives? Won’t that hurt him? Or should I hope that by that time, I’m in a stable enough relationship for him to build a bond with someone else. Not a new daddy. That feels wrong. But someone who can be a friend, someone who will love and respect him and vice versa. Yet that just seems like an inconvenient solution to a difficult problem!
What I know is, until then, I will enjoy the days of innocence we still have. The days where mummy is the centre of his world. I will continue to shower him with love, keep him safe and make sure he knows he is the centre of my world.
And I will wait for Mother’s Day!