I Am Not Her Father by Karen Braswell

It’s almost June... thirty days filled with celebrations of graduations, new marriages, and a huge one in "Widow World"- Father's Day. How do you celebrate Father's Day with your kids when their father is a memory? How do you celebrate a father who is isn't well-remembered because she was five when he died? When well-meaning people say "Happy Father's Day" to you and congratulate you for being a mother and a father, how do you feel? I appreciate the sentiment, but it magnifies my feeling of insufficiency. It reminds me of yet something else I am absolutely unable to give my “Young Miss”. I can't teach her anything about men from a man's perspective. Even though I know how much her father loved her, I can't show her that love or do the things he did like he did them. Father's Day reminds me of all of that. I don't know how Young Miss feels on Father's Day. We talk about him almost daily to keep him in her memory and on her mind. She remembers him as boisterous, funny, and a fun daddy. Gone are the days for sending him cards through the "Magic Mailbox", but we acknowledge the day. Many of her friends live with their mothers only. She has friends who live with both parents. I imagine she sees herself in a space between the two. I'll ask her when she's older. Regardless of how much I feel like I fail her by not giving her a "balanced" parenting experience, the truth is that she has all she needs for this part of her life. As angry as I feel about her being fatherless at five years-old and having to raise her without him (this child born from grace and second chances) the truth is that Charles (my late husband) completed his purpose in her life. The greatest but hardest truth to accept is that God already knew what path Young Miss would walk. He made provision for this moment at the beginning of the world. She is full and complete, lacking nothing. As she is, so am I, as her only parent. When she needs a father figure, He (God) will provide the man who is uniquely fit for her. Until that happens, if it needs to happen, we're good. I am not her father, but I am enough.

Karen Braswell