Being Raised By A Single Parent

I Was Raised By My White Mother Because My Black Father Wasn't There

I'm finally at that age where I don't blame anyone, but that didn't make growing up easy.

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I don't remember what age I was specifically when I finally came to the realization that growing up without a father is OK. For years, I would wonder what I did, what my mom did, what my mom's side of the family did. However, I was a child and I didn't understand the complexities about grown-up relationships. Even more, I had no comprehension of race relations and how they would affect my family.

I am 22 years old and I am half white and half black. For 18 years of my life, I questioned why I wasn't good enough, why I wasn't worthy of having two parents who loved me equally. At some point though, and I have no idea how, but one day I stopped caring completely. I reflected on my life at the time. I was getting ready to go to college. I was healthy. I was happy in the sense that I knew who I was finally.

My mom is a warrior and a queen. In my opinion, she did a phenomenal job raising me. I grew up in a community where the majority of the population is white or Latino. I was one of the few black kids at my school, and I was probably the lightest. Sometimes I felt like I belonged nowhere because I was too dark to hang out with the white kids but too light to hang out with the minority children because the family I knew was white, I ultimately adopted their culture and their life, limiting me from learning about the other half of where I came from.

Culture is learned and shared from a young age. I was robbed of a culture I could have belonged to. It wasn't until college that I began to understand what it means to be black in America. Now, I am proud to represent both my African and Caucasian heritage, because before, I didn't even know where I came from.

Growing up fatherless is something no child should have to experience. I'm sure my mom didn't want that for me and I will not allow that to happen to my children. Everything about me, with the exception of my DNA, stems from my mom, her personality, and her energy. I am who I am because of my mom and as much as any young girl wants to grow up and be like her mom, a child needs her father too.

I was a tough kid, probably tougher than I am now even but I had to teach myself to be that way. In elementary school, every year we would celebrate holidays and my least favorite was Father's Day. When all the other children were sitting in a circle making Father's Day cards, I asked myself why my father didn't want to be a father to me. When I would go to events where it would be hard to see the action, I would be saddened when I would see the girl next to me on her father's shoulders, knowing I would never get that experience. I will never have my father walk me down the aisle to get married and that's OK. As I said, I've come to accept things as they are.

I never really asked my mom about why things were the way they were for many reasons. One, I wouldn't want my child asking me why their father isn't present in their life. Two, I didn't really want to know the truth because, in the end, the truth didn't justify anything and it meant nothing. My father knew I was alive and throughout my entire childhood, I met him twice. The final reason I didn't ask my mom about my dad much as a child is because I didn't want to make things harder than they already were. Raising a biracial child on your own is something no woman should have to struggle through.

At some age, my sadness about the situation turned to curiosity. When I was 18, my mom allowed me to reach out to my dad's side of the family. I knew I had siblings and I wanted to know if they were like me. Long story short, I'm unique. Of all my siblings, I'm the only one who is mixed race and I am the youngest. Learning about my family gave me a new perspective. I cherish the relationships I've developed with my brothers and I finally feel grounded in myself as an individual with multiple identities.

As for my father, I figure I made it this far in life without him. I experienced grave disappointment when it came to our relationship as a kid. Maybe one day, I'll be ready to let him into my life as more than an acquaintance. Maybe one day, I'll want to hear what happened years ago and what went south between him and my mom.

I hold no animosity towards anyone in this situation. Life is complicated and relationships can be sticky. I have healed from the pain and I have grown past those feeling of emptiness that lingered inside me for years. For years, my dad knew who I was and didn't want me. And maybe this will change in the future, but right now in my life, that feeling is mutual.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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My Parents Deserve To Be Celebrated 365 Days A Year, Not Just On Mother's And Father's Day

One day a year is not enough to express how thankful I am for my mother and father. I don't think 365 days will do it justice, either.

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Mother's and Father's Day. Days of the year where everyone is expected to focus all their attention on the mothers and fathers of the world. They do so many things that are never recognized, just expected of them. It's their duties as mothers and fathers to take care of, protect, love, and do all means necessary to make their children happy. That's what they signed up for, right?

We use Mother's and Father's Day to step back and thank our parents for all the little things they've done over the past years. For 24 hours, we end up showering them in attention, gifts, and love. It's our turn to spoil them back.

After those 24 hours are gone though, what happens? All the sappy social media posts fade away. The handwritten cards get tossed out. The festivities end. Everyone goes back to their daily routines.

I always found it funny how on these days every year, everyone in the world is all hands on deck, spoiling our moms and dads in any way possible. My siblings and I would always get our parents cards, small gifts, and maybe have a special dinner together that day.

As I grow older, I'm starting to understand how silly a day like Mother's and Father's Day really is. My parents are the greatest superheroes I have ever met, so they should be celebrated, appreciated, and taken care of not just one day, but every day of the damn year.

My parents have raised me from day one, supporting me through all the highs and lows. They picked me up when I fell down and scraped my knee on the concrete. They dealt with me through every temper tantrum and angry episode. They didn't kill me during my teenage years (I was the biggest brat).

They've spent God only knows how much money to support me in all of my endeavors. They sat and let me cry on their shoulders when I got my heart broken for the first time. They continue to pick up the phone in the late hours of the night when I'm having a panic attack about something silly.

They stood by me as I graduated from middle school, high school, and college. They'll continue to support me as I move out and on, getting married and having a family of my own.

My mom and dad have been there for me 365 days a year, every year. I think it's my turn to be there for them 365 days a year, not just on Mother's and Father's Day.

I know it's hard to do so right now as I am at an unstable time of my life, but one day I will be able to give back everything they have given to me, and more.

So, to my wonderful parents, my role models, and my heroes:

Thank you for taking care of me, protecting me, loving me, and doing all things necessary to make me happy. I don't think any amount of words, hugs, or kisses will be able to truly show how blessed I am to have parents like you. I love you both so much, and I promise to celebrate you every day, 365 days a year.

You mean the world to me, and I hope you know that you've done an amazing job raising my siblings and I. I hope to one day be half the parent that you are. Thank you for being you. I love you so much.

Happy Mother's and Father's Day to all the parents out there. Although those holidays are absolutely your days to shine, I hope you get showered in love 365 days a year, too.

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