“I’m sorry,” they say. Sorry for what? I’m not a problem child. I don’t do drugs. I don’t drink, smoke, or stay out late. My last B was in middle school, and next year I hope to be a valedictorian. But I’m the single child of a single mother, and that sometimes seems to make the difference. People wonder who my daddy is, and why my mom and I live all alone. Sometimes I think I hear them whisper… “Bastard, bastard.”
It’s true, I never had a father and I’ll be the first to admit it. I do have a close male genetic relative, but he’s not my father. Most of my friends don’t know my “father” never wanted anything to do with me. My mother, against the advice of all her friends and family, had me even though she was simultaneously moving to another state to a new job where she knew no one and would be going up for tenure in a few short years. My mother has always loved me. He never knew me. And you know what, I think I turned out just fine. Perhaps you believe I’d be much better off if I had a father, no matter if he were constantly abusive, cruel, or absent for any reason not socially acceptable. Just so long as I had that male influence, the lack of which supposedly cripples me. Why is this so? I’ve heard it said to my face, by one of my best friends no less, that she knows it’s not my fault my mother’s all alone, but really I would be “infinitely” much better off, just as she was, with a mommy AND a daddy. I came home from school crying that day. Me, a junior in high school, crying on my wonderful dear (single) mother’s shoulder in the car as we sit in the driveway. She comforted me while I cried and told me that all people really meant by their comments was that our family was not proper. I guess I see their point of view. “I’m sorry,” they mean to say, “Because you’re the bastard child of an irresponsible mother, who couldn’t be bothered to provide you with an appropriate upbringing.” Very touching, especially when followed up with, “But you seem to have turned out well anyway.”
But though it stings, I say let them whisper whatever they want, because I believe in my mother. I believe in all single parents, male or female, who nurture good and healthy children even as many two parent families fail their own precious children. Moreover, I believe in the ability of all families, regardless of size or composition, to raise healthy and happy children. Because, contrary to popular thought, I believe in the inherent goodness and love between children and their TRUE parents. Or parent.
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