She wonders who will actually be around to see her walk across the stage to receive her diploma after she earns her college degree. Thinking about it, she doubts her mother will be willing to give up one of her many lazy days of lying in her bed to attend the ceremony. Her father will more than likely be incarcerated, yet again. As much as she tries to pretend that her parents
Her dad’s lawyer informs her that the judge would appreciate seeing someone in the courtroom supporting her dad. The fact that some kind of support is present in a courtroom full of criminals would more than likely benefit her dad’s case. Desperate to keep her dad out of the state's custody, she misses school to attend his hearings. When returning to school, she claims she was absent due to “family issues.” The school secretary writes “funeral” for the reason for the absence because a funeral is more practical than court.
She recalls Christmas when she was in fifth grade. Her daddy was incarcerated at the time. Her mommy promised her that she would be there Christmas morning. She was disappointed when she entered the living room to find that her mommy had not kept her word. Her grandma tried to avoid the fact that her mommy was not there, insisting that she begin opening presents. The only present she remembers getting that year was one that was signed “Daddy’O,” that was how her father signed his letters. She quickly opened the gift; it was two Hannah Montana shirts. Although elated, she was confused, she looked to her grandmother for clarity; she just smiled. She took her daddy’s gift and went to her room, where she cried as she wrote him a letter.
When she visited her daddy in prison, she hated saying goodbye. He could only hug her when he stood inside a small area that was marked with tape, up by the guard's desk. The sign on the wall that stated the rules read that only one “brief hug” was allowed. If her daddy hugged her too long, the guards would give him a look. The look was a clear warning to release his daughter or the guard would take action. If she wanted another hug, the guards would pull her daddy away. After each visit, she rode home in silence.
She never recollects a time in her life when her dad was not in trouble. After losing his license, everyone had to drive the two around. They always joked about who would receive their license first. When a chauffeur was unavailable, he would drive without a license creating a frantic daughter. She feared her daddy getting pulled over and being taken to jail, again. She remembers having to blow into his breathalyzer in order to start his truck after they would leave the bar. When her daddy’s friends came over to his house, they always went in the forbidden back room. She always wondered why she was not allowed back there, but she never asked.
She has lived with her grandma since she was in first grade. She visited with her daddy every other weekend when he was home. When he was not, she went to see him at the prison. She rarely saw her mommy. She blamed her grandma for not allowing visits; as a child, she did not want to believe that her mommy caused the absence. Each holiday, she was promised that her mommy would come see her, but seldom did that ever happen. At family gatherings, everyone would ask where her mother was. She would politely inform them that she was just late, that she was still coming. She did not understand why everyone doubted what her mommy had told her. She also never understood why her mommy always had something more important to do.
When she did get to see her mommy, she was always thrilled. She completely forgave her for not being present in her life, she was simply happy to have a mommy like everyone else. She was devastated each time her mommy would leave her. She would scream at her grandma, telling her that she did not want to live with her, that she only wanted her mommy. Her grandma feared she would develop emotional issues from the removal of her parents in her life, so she went to counseling each week. After a couple visits, her counselor simply asked if she thought her mommy acted like a mommy should. This question upset her, and she refused to continue counseling.
She wonders what it would be like to have a real family, to have a mom to take her prom dress shopping or a dad who taught her to ride a bike or drive. Her mother would never have the time or have the money, unless she got it from one of her boyfriends. Her father would not have the patience; he is so strung out on all the drugs and alcohol to compose himself long enough to teach her anything, especially something as strenuous as driving. They both mean well; by no means are her parents bad people, just irresponsible parents. A mom is supposed to spend time with her daughter. She should be there to talk about girl problems and boys. A dad is supposed to put his daughter before himself. Before he uses drugs or drinks while driving; he should think about how greatly his actions impact his daughter.
Uninvolved parents produce children who trust no one. They crave an authority figure in their life, clinging to those who fill the blank spaces. Their ability to mask their emotions leads none to believe that they sometimes cry themselves to sleep, wondering why they have grown up without parents who cared about them. She is the effect of uninvolved parents.