The Parent Trap

By Christian Joy Clark

Y’all pray for my dad. Ain’t nothing wrong with him… he just forgot he had children. My parents divorced when I was 3 and I guess my dad thought that he was divorcing me and my sister too. Growing up, it was hard to come to terms with going from having an active father the first 3 years of my life to maybe getting a text once every 6 months.

I just didn’t understand how someone could up and leave their family alone to struggle. I couldn’t fathom how someone could leave children ages 5 and 3 to be raised without a father. And to this day, that is something I still, cannot comprehend.

Being raised by a single parent is a concept only people raised by single parents can truly grasp. It’s a predicament like no other. Struggle takes on a whole new meaning when there is only one source of income, and very little income at that.

My mom has always done the very best she could to provide for my sister and I, but as a young minded child who’s surrounded by upper middle class children with both parents at home, her efforts never seemed like enough.

I was the kid with the not-so-new shoes and the hand-me-down clothes. I had just learned to stop asking for new things because I grew tired of hearing, “I can’t do it right now,” or “Not this time Christian.”

I also can’t forget to mention not being able to go on school trips that required payments. “Not having” was just something that I became very familiar with. Going through several different periods of not having a car because my mom couldn’t keep up with the payments was just part of the struggle. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, my mom lost her job and following this, we had to foreclose our house.

As I grew older, I began to realize that not having a father in my life affected me in ways that were way deeper than just financially. I began to realize that I have completely missed out on a whole other side of parenting. I have lived basically my whole life without a male in the house, showing and teaching me things that only a father can do.

I look at my group of friends and notice that just about every single one of their parents are still married. Sleepovers were always eye openers for me in seeing that father daughter relationship transpiring in their lives. Seeing my friends joking around with their dads and listening to the wisdom that they gave, made me realize what I was missing and what I couldn’t get back.

Moving forward hasn’t been the easiest and it’s something that I am still taking strides towards overcoming. As I look back on all I’ve gone through, I can’t do anything but thank God for bringing me and my family out of those adversities.

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We’re doing a WHOLE lot better financially, but I have to say, struggling growing up made me very appreciative of all of the things that I have now. It also helped me to have an extremely humble spirit. Many people use the whole, “Well I didn’t have a dad growing up” excuse as to why they’re this and why they’re that.

But that’s just something I can’t do. Being that I have made it this far, I know that I cannot give up. I also have come to be just fine with my immediate family, the people who have been there for me every single day of my life. I have something to prove, and I’m going to do it with or without him.

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