What If I Had A Father?

Growing up without a father in Baltimore was quite the norm.  I really only noticed a few times that I didn’t have one.   My mother dated a few guys who were temporary father fixes but even at an early age I knew they were too lame to be called father.  Except for one,  Reggie, he was different. But even as I fell in love with the idea of having a father figure, his lifestyle temporarily removed him from my life.  Then of course I went back to living life like fathers were rare commodities.

The realization that I was fatherless hit me during my early twenties when I sat in a doctor’s office filling out new patient paperwork.  It asked questions about my mother and my father.  I sat back in my chair in a daze.

How’s his health?  What about his parents?  Does he drink?  Smoke?  I looked around as if someone were waiting to give me the answers.

I spent years thinking that I didn’t need someone in my life who didn’t want me in there’s.  I was OK with that. But this questionnaire changed everything.

I thought about my unborn children.  What will I tell them? It was the only time in my life where “I don’t know” wasn’t good enough.  For a moment I felt responsible for exhausting all outlets to discover who this guy was. For my sake.  For my unborn children’s sake.

Of course, I’ve seen him a few times.  We had lunch a couple times.  He took me on a tour of his extravagant home once.  He even brought me a bike.  I won’t highlight that the brakes didn’t work and after discovering that I spent the summer on crutches.  He tried, I guess.

But it was obviously not enough because I hadn’t spoken to him for about eight years.  For the next year, whenever I was bored, I’d do quick Internet searches looking for him.

I found a few numbers and put them away until one day I decided to call.  It was the wrong number.  I gave up for a few months and finally decided to try the other numbers.  He answered.

My throat closed and my mouth immediately became dry.  My nerves soon faded at the discovery that he didn’t recognize my voice and even after saying my name I had to follow-up with…it’s your daughter.

It was a ten-minute conversation that ended with one conclusion; he simply doesn’t want to be my father.   He spent much of the conversation surprised that I didn’t have children yet, wasn’t married and that not only had I graduated from college, I had a fairly good job.  He spent the rest of the conversation talking about his son, the brother I never met, and how great he was.  He ended the conversation by taking my number and saying, “we’ll meet up one day soon.”

That was two years ago.  No calls.  No meeting.  But I have no regrets about reaching out.

So this morning I woke and as I was getting for work I wondered about the impact that having a full-time father in my life could have had.

Would I love and trust men differently?  Would I be less career focused and more family oriented?  Would relationships be incredible experiences instead of scary commitments?

Would I be different?

It’s too late for me to know that.  I’ve lived a full-time life without a full-time father.  But what I take from this is a desire to give my unborn children the love of a father that I never knew.  That even if my love with my future mate doesn’t last, his love for his children will go beyond his relationship with me.

That’s a start to what I pray for as I look to build a family.

Until then, I will be spending father’s day with a man who truly is not only one of my closet friends, he’s the father I never had.  While God temporarily took Reggie out of my life, he returned years later a much better man and example.  He’s probably one of the best decisions my mother ever made.

He is a true example of a man who can change and a man who was brave enough to father a girl like me. LOL

So for those without blood fathers, look back and thank those who stepped in at times and gave you what you needed when you needed it most.

Happy Father’s day fellas!

-Ashley Charisma is the author of School of Black Love.  For more info on Ashley Charisma and the novel visit www.ashleycharisma.com.

You can also follow Ashley Charisma on:
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  1. wow, it is amazing how God works. how he puts you in the right place at the right time to see something… i am in the same shoes, almost 21 and have grown up completely without my father. he left when i was 3. i watched him beat the nonsense out of my mother and he drove out, and never came back. throughout my life, and as much as i will never admit this in person, i have wondered what it would have been like if he were here, amongst other things. its funny cuz he is still alive and breathing back in Nigeria, and even before we left, 13 years of my life were spent there…i now know that he does not want us. its painful to think, but that is the way it is. i got in contact with one of his brothers through facebook who apparently has been trying relentlessly to find us and create some contact with us…my Father doesn’t care. i got his number, but i cant bring myself to call him. i mean this is a man who left me when i needed him most.
    anyway I’m getting older and when it comes to relationships i find myself in this pull of wanting to have a close relationship and be open with a man, and wanting my distance. i have sleepless nights thinking exactly the same thing.”Would I love and trust men differently? Would I be less career focused and more family oriented? Would relationships be incredible experiences instead of scary commitments?” i have not been here a while, and i came here and saw this. now im gonna go and cry. urghhhh! sorry for the dang novel y’all.

  2. Great post! Happy fathers day to the men that are taking care of their responsibilities!

  3. This story kind of hits me hard. See i know who my father is,have is phone number, and stay in the same state with him. Hell he even walked me down the isle on my wedding day. Our relationship is so distant though. I’m always the one reaching out to call him, and try to let him know whats going on in my life. It is rare that i get a surprise phone call from him, unless i’m the one who contacted him first. Everybody makes excuses for him “oh some men just don’t know how to communicate” or “girl swallow your pride and call him”, but when is he going to swallow his pride. And why the hell wouldn’t he know how to communicate with his 23 year old daughter. I’m about to give birth to a baby boy, his first grandchild, and you would think letting him know that would make him want to try to reach out to me a little bit more, but nope, nothing has happened. He claimed he would try to come visit me before my baby shower which was on May 22, but I haven’t heard from him since before then. I just get tired of being the only one who tries to give a sh!t when it comes to our relationship. When I was younger I wrote him letters telling him how I felt, but he never really even gave a response to that. All he did was tell my mother how he felt about. I don’t know what else to do, sometimes it just feels like he really doesn’t give a damn

  4. Thanks for sharing such an incredible story. Its a story that, sadly, too many of us share.
    Stay Blessed!

  5. Happy fathers day, Having a dad saved me from falling into the nothingness of this generation, it prevented me from thinking that being hhalf naked in front of strangers is okay, it made me realize the beauty of manhood, and taught me how to celebrate it,I love my dad I;m glad he was there for me, Thanks to him, I will never be another stereotypical “chasing pavements”, idolizing material things Black woman..
    I love you Daddy!!!!!!

  6. As for the rest of you, I’ve been mostly a reader on here for over a year, and came across almost all of your posts, and now , I understand more where you all are coming from,

  7. I think alot of black women suffers from this. I think that is why it keeps going on because we keep making and picking bad decisions and the wrong man because so many of us have daddy issues. For me I started to realize about 5 years ago that I was dating the same guy over and over. Distant and self absorbed because my stepfther was like that and obviously my real father had to been like that because if he weren’t he would have been there.

    I suspect my mother had/has issues as well because she picked to distant and self absorbed men. I think it is time black women we come to grips and deal with our daddy issues so that maybe future black women won’t have them.

  8. Thanks for sharing the feeling emptiness so many of us share. I remember growing up, I had one friend who had her mother and father, she lived this fantasy life in my head. I was so jealous of her. I remember questioning GOD as to why she deserved a father and I didn’t.Looking back I also remember quite a few friends living w/grandmothers and other family member because their parents were on “crack”, neglected or abused them. I realize how blessed I was to have a loving mother.She was a strong black woman which is something I never wanted to be. No one helps a strong black woman she is considered asexual, works slave hours and and only good for cooking, cleaning and sex she will never be a wife. Her self- esteem is low and she is defeated and tired. She often becomes overweight and ill. She never finds a man who will love her like the queen she was born to be. Hopefully in death her strong faith in GOD and all the money she donated to the “good” church where she was also preyed upon, her loneliness being extorted…may the strong black woman find peace and may she become extinct on this earth…that never valued her presence anyhow…I never was her but i hope she knows how much i love her…I found a man a real one…and from very beginning i made sure he opened any door i entered i set the foundation for what i expected and that was a man w/more than a dick in his hand…he was going to have to give me more than that and when i was ready a ring on my finger. Its been 10 years and I hate being the only married friend w/no baby daddy drama…if we could all learn from our strong black mommas that is not a life that is actually lived its just reproducing and somewhat surviving

  9. I enjoyed reading this. Great post!
    I’m very thankful to have father in my life. Even though I hate the way he treated my mom, he never turned his back on me and was always there.

    And I agree with Bee. Dont be bitter and make bad decisions ladies. Forgive your father and love yourself. Too many cycles are being repeated as we type. Just forgive.

  10. too too beautiful. God does truly work in mysterious ways. My nephew has five kids and he treats his girls to getting their hair and nails done, their hair and doing things that women enjoy doing and his hope is that when she meets a man, and he starts telling her he can give her the world, then he hopes her response will be my dad already did that, come better. thanks for the article. really enjoyed it sis. keep up the great work.

  11. I’m late on this post, but I’m glad to put my 2 piece in.
    Growing up fatherless is a impact that will effect you as a child and well into your adulthood. I co-sign on the story 100% cause I lived it as well. The difference was my father DIDN’T want me in his life period, all because he hated my mother for placing him on child support 🙁 I was 8 yrs old when I sent my DONOR a school picture and card, he forwarded it back along with telling me not to write or call him as long as my mother was alive, can you believe that! After that my dreams of a father was out the window, later in my teen years he decide to reach out to me reasons: cause he was on his death bed and needed closure :loser: I wasn’t impressed the least, even when he passed and I attended the funeral I couldn’t bring myself to grieve like my mom (not sure why) I just started at this man like “so this is him WOW” and left it at that. It took years to get past my anger even after meeting his family and still I can’t fully forget.

    Now that I’m married w/3 beautiful kids, as I watch him interact and support, teach and watch them grow. I feel envy inside for them, but I know I’m blessed to have a man like him, so Happy Fathers Day to my boo and to others that are there…..

  12. I am saddened by this article…it breaks my heart to know that some people did not grow up with their fathers. My parents have been married for 38 yrs and I can not imagine life without my daddy. I am now blessed with a wonderful husband who loves being a dad to our daughter. Happy Fathers day to my wonderful daddy and a great husband.


  14. Great post, I refuse to be a dead beat dad. But DO NOT 4get about the women that leave children on their families doorsteps.

  15. Great Article, very eye opening; however while I can identify with growing up without a father. I had the same concerns as author of the article; accept my concerns were distorted with lies and untruths about my father; he adored me, and having my brother’s father knocking on each door down a residential street until he found my aunt, who in turned passed me on to another aunt, and finally having a dream that I saw my father riding a moped, I realised my vision God sent me was true, I met my father when I was twenty-five, now in my forties God has blessed me with a great father. Is he perfect…not…but he loves me. Ladies be careful what you tell your babies…and please do not tell them lies…as those lies will come back and haunt you when you least expect it. I would tell you about my sister who was given up for adoption before my birth, but there is not enough time.

    God asked you…I gave you my child/children..and what did you do?..Lord, she cried, I did, I did; he the father did nothing. You are the mother and I blessed your womb…and you gave my child/children nothing!

  16. This post really hit home. I used to ask myself these same questions when I was younger, but I had to realize that it wasn’t my fault that he acted that way. I decided to be the best possible person I could be no matter how that fatherless childhood may have influenced my outlook on some parts of my life like future relationships among other things. I believe you learn from examples so what happens when you don’t have one to learn from? I guess you have to seek other strong POSITIVE male figures to make up for the one that you didn’t quite have.

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