T/W C/N: links to post about reproductive coercion, brief mentions of r*pe, absent fathers
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Mother’s Day is always tough considering the circumstances of my pregnancy, but Father’s Day is just as bad. I can’t celebrate with my father. I don’t know where he is. I certainly do not want to celebrate my daughter’s father. Therein lies the problem. My daughter does want to celebrate him, and she has every right to. She’s already mentioned “papa’s day” to me a few times. She had a Father’s Day party at her school and the invitations asked if dad or a “special friend” is coming. I told TJ I would go. She said I couldn’t because I’m not a man. She had a another reminder invitation in her bag recently. This one was inviting “dads, uncles, grandpas or any special men in your life”. I find it curious that for the Mother’s Day party the invitations made no mention of aunts, grandmas or “special women”. The invitations simply said “mom and guests”. That’s another problem with these holidays. They tend to be heteronormative and cissexist.
She hasn’t seen her father in years. I don’t know where he is and I prefer it that way. TJ and I are much safer this way. She asks about him and I know she wants to see him. She’s too young to tell her what he did to me. I’ve simply told her that mami and daddy are no longer together and that we will not be getting back together.
Mother’s Day is hard on a lot of people because of the culturally pervasive idea that you must love your mom no matter how horrible she may have been. In my experience, there isn’t much of that when it comes to fathers . Fathers aren’t expected to do much anyway. There are countless memes and jokes about the incompetent dad. On the other hand, a father is often praised just for showing up; doing the bare minimum. How many times haven’t we seen articles or memes praising dads for “babysitting” their children?
Getting back to my daughter, as she gets older, she’ll have more questions about her father. My answers will become more detailed as time passes. As for the party, thanks to a friend’s advice I explained to TJ that mom and dad are just job titles and single parents do both jobs. I teach and protect her.
For her, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are fun because there’s always gifts and fun treats. To me, Mother’s Day reminds me of my rapes. Father’s day reminds me of the same but with the added pain of my own absent father. They’re not easy days.