One day, she was just gone. No goodbye. Absolutely nothing left.
My mother left me when I was nine years old. I only saw her on Tuesdays and Thursdays before she decided to leave, so I don’t remember too much about her.
It’s only my dad who I can remember filling my childhood up with smiles, laughter and ice cream on a bad day. It’s only my dad who brings his phone with him to work meetings so he can answer my calls. It’s only my dad who has shown me the greatest 80’s movies ever made and he’s the only one I’d want to pick on in the grocery store. Without a doubt, my dad is my best friend.
It may seem like growing up without a mother would be difficult but my dad has always filled both roles. Maybe he didn’t go with me to get my nails painted or get my hair done but I never felt different than anyone else who had both of their parents. To me, just having my dad was the most normal thing in the world.
He did everything that other parents do, there was no reason to feel different. He came to my sports games, helped me pick out my prom dress, gave me the biggest hug after I graduated high school and he always listened to me and let me cry on his shoulder when my heart was broken. My dad is a mom and dad rolled in one and I wouldn’t have had my life any other way.
I have to admit, though, this scenario has caused me to have such a deeper appreciation for my dad. He is the one who raised me and made me the person I am today.
Words can’t even describe how grateful I am for my father sticking by my side through absolutely everything. He never makes me question how much he loves me and I know I can count on him for anything. He’s shown me how to be there for one another and how to not abandon the ones you love. He’s shown me what love truly is and because of that, I’m okay without my mom.
If you’re living in a one-parent household like me, you’re not alone. Jennifer Wolf, a PCI Certified Parent Coach and a strong advocate for single moms and dads, found that “there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today.” According to InstituteforFamilyStudies.org, “the share of children living with a single father has increased from about 1% of all children in the 1960s to 4.35% in 2017.”
I’ve never realized there are so many people in the same situation as me. Gretchen Livingston, a senior researcher at Pew Research Center and expert on fertility and family demographics found that “the share of U.S. children living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled since 1968, jumping from 13% to 32% in 2017.” Statistics like this make me feel more normal than I already did.
If you’re still struggling to come to terms with accepting a single parent as your primary caregiver, the advice I would give to you is to take a second and appreciate what your parent does for you. This situation probably isn’t one that your parents would consider ideal but they’ve made it work for you. Your parents want nothing but the best for you. Don’t take them for granted and try not to give them too much of a hard time. They’re doing their best and they’re doing it by themselves.