Growing up without a Father

Sean Smith, Editor in Chief

“One day you’ll be alone and regret not being there. You’ll regret not watching me grow up and being in my life. You’ll regret everything and by than it will be too late.” This quote shows my feeling towards my father being absent from my life. One day in the future my father will look back and realize that not being there for me was a huge mistake.

I feel that I should share my experience without my father but I don’t want anyone reading this to feel bad for me.

As a child, not having my father led to several questions. The biggest one: “What did I do wrong?” However, my mom always told me the real reason my father had left had nothing to do with me. Some other questions I had:, “What does he look like?” or “Does he look like me?” To this day I haven’t seen a photo of my father and do not wish to see one.Other questions include, “What would it be like to live in a house coming home to a mom and dad?”

I believe that my life is the way it is for a reason and I was not meant to be raised with a father. My mother is a terrific single parent. I also know that having my father present in my life would change who I am as a person today dramatically and I knew my mom did the right thing. One day I hope to have my own children and I will be there for them because no child should have to wonder about an absentee parent like I, and so many others, have.

While I haven’t had a father, I have had many male role models, such as my uncles, teachers, and some of my close friends’ fathers. These people have showed me how to act. I also have found out that I don’t need my dad to be happy or successful in life. According to the fatherless generation, “boys raised without fathers are more likely to drop out of high school, end up in jail, impregnate a girls in his early life or die in a car crash.” My goal is to prove those stats wrong and show that I am no stereotypical son without a father. I have experienced that growing up without a father is tough, but my mother has made it easier and my experience has made me stronger and more mature and prepared for the future. I am very open about being raised with a father and I am not shy to speak to others about it anymore. I have also opened up to some of my campers at my summer job who have struggled with similar issues as I have and let them know they are not alone.

When I came to Wantagh in ninth grade I realized that my situation with my parents was different than many other Wantagh students. I also knew this was only one difference and it didn’t affect the friendships I have made in Wantagh. Many of my friends who know about the situation with my father are very understanding and supportive while others may forget and say things like, “Why can’t your dad just drive you?” Having an absentee father is rare in Wantagh and this is a great thing for our community.

Maybe people probably cannot imagine what it is like to have an absentee father while I am not ashamed that I was raised by a single mom, but rather proud. Growing up without a father may personally describe some pain I have experienced in the past, but also shows how lucky I am to overcome it and come to terms with the fact that I am a son without a father and I am proud of that.