Growing up, I was the only one without a father. My mom didn’t talk about him, nobody talked about him. He wasn’t there when my mom gave birth, when I said my first words, or when I took my first steps. He wasn’t in my life at all. I always remember thinking about who my father was. He would never try to call me, text me, or visit me until I was seven. Then, my mom asked me if I wanted to meet my dad and I was ecstatic. I re- member the first time he came to my house I asked him, “Are you, my dad?” He responded with a serious face, “Yea, I am your dad.” I was nervous and shy, so I jumped on the couch and hid behind the pillows. While he was there he didn’t pay attention to me. He was mostly on his phone. At one point he sat me on his lap and let me play on his phone. My mom was on the other side of the couch taking pictures of us. When my bedtime arrived, he put me in my bed and he went into my mom’s room. He didn’t bother saying goodnight or I love you, he just went in the room and went to bed. When I woke up, I looked for my dad but I couldn’t find him. I went to the kitchen and asked my mom, “Is my dad still here?” With a bitter look on her face she told me, “He went to work.” Curious, I looked at her and asked, “When will he be back?” She looked at me with a sorrowful look, “I’m not sure.” I was confused about why he left without saying anything to me. No “good- bye,” no “it was nice meeting you”, no “I’ll be back soon.” He left without saying anything to me and I wondered if I did something wrong. I did not see him again until I was eleven and I thought he would finally be in my life. When I arrived at his place, I was disappointed to discover that I had four other siblings-three sisters and one brother. He had an entire family he never told me about and had probably forgotten about me. I thought I was his oldest daughter but my half-sister is ten months older than me. Within the five days I was there I didn’t see him much. He was in his room most of the time so I stayed with my sisters. At the moment, it felt like my siblings cared about me more than my own father did. It felt like he just brought me there out of pity. After the second time meeting him, I only saw him once more. I thought I was a failure as a daughter, that I could never do anything to get him to stay, and that it was my fault he wasn’t there. My mom was the only person who cared, who wanted to be in my life, who loved me. She was there when I had my first fight with my best friend, when I lost my best friend, and whenever I fought with my sister. My mother has filled in all the gaps left by my father, and then some. As I have become older, I learned that my dad didn’t care about my well-be- ing, how I felt, or about me in general. I want to be able to say I don’t care about him or that his absence means nothing to me, but the reality is I care. I care so much that every time I think about it, I burst into tears. I know I can’t rely on someone who doesn’t care for me, but I want him to be in my life and I want him to care about me. Unfortunately, I have lived fourteen years of my life barely knowing anything about him. I know I can live with- out him, and I know I’ll be fine without him because I’m absolutely fantastic now.
© Makaila Price. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.