87: Daddy

87: Daddy

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School

Daddy

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder
will remain with me forever.

~Author Unknown

I had just turned ten years old and I was celebrating my birthday. It was a great party. My friends, family, and the person who always made me laugh—my Daddy—were there to share this special day with me. Everything was going well until my mother took me aside and told me that she had two important things to tell me that would change my life. She sat me down as soon as everyone left the house—only my mother, my little sister and my Daddy remained.

She started by telling me how lucky I was to have such a loving family. She kept on telling me stories about when I was younger, how my Daddy always took care of me when she went to work, how happy she was when she found out she was pregnant and how she screamed her head off when she saw me for the very first time on the sonogram. She kept going on and on, and, at times, I joined in with memories of my Daddy too. I mentioned the day my friends started asking me about my unique hairstyle, which my Daddy always did. He used to create lots of ponytails with my hair using different color pins and the other girls thought it was cool. After my mother and I shared some unforgettable memories, my mother started crying. I was scared—I knew something wasn’t right.

My mother started talking and I felt like a child in need of a blanket for comfort. She told me that eleven years ago, she thought she was in love, but the person she was in love with was not my father. At least, not the man I always called Daddy. I told her that I didn’t want to hear anymore—I didn’t want to hear the truth. She kept talking anyway. She told me that when she was pregnant, the man she had married and loved for four years, my real father, had left her because he wanted freedom. He was six years younger than she was and wanted no responsibility; he was not ready to be a father. His family was happy about my being born, but even my biological grandmother couldn’t convince her son that he was ready to be a dad. It was worthless. My father only thought of hanging out with his friends and going out with other girls.

My mother went on with her story. She explained that she moved out of their house and back to her mother’s and eventually met her new husband, the person I always thought was my father—my Daddy. She told me about all the love, help, and support he gave her, how he helped her move into a new apartment, and how he was always there to make sure everything was all right.

When I was born, my biological father was there in the hospital with his family. Even though my mom asked him to stay, he left. My mother was scared and turned to her family for help. Eventually, she moved in with the man I call Daddy after my father moved out of the country. My mother finished her story with this, and at that moment I found myself confused. My birthday had ended up very differently from what I had expected.

Six months later, I spoke to my biological father on the phone. His voice was deep and hard and he sounded like he was holding something back. I didn’t know what to do, so I hung up. I couldn’t help it. I hated my mother for bringing me into this world and lying to me. My mother has always said, “A father is not the one who created you but the one who raised you,” but how could I believe a person who kept the truth from me? Soon, when anyone asked me about my dad, all I replied was, “I don’t have one.”

As days, months, and years passed by, I hated John, my biological father, and my life even more. My mother said not to hate him; he just didn’t know what he was missing. My mother had always been there for me through good times and bad, but I felt so distant from her, as if a huge wall separated her from me. I loved her so much but at the same time I blamed her for all of the confusion in my life.

Now, I’m thirteen and I’ve learned that it wasn’t my mother’s fault or my fault. All my hurt and anger are finally starting to heal. I learned that things happen for a reason, although I’m still not really sure what that reason is just yet. I know I will find out in time. The person I was so angry with, my stepfather, was just trying to protect me and I was too mad to look past that fact. I still ask my mother why she told me, why she decided I needed to know the truth. She said I was bound to know. I guess I just have to trust her.

My father who raised me, my Daddy, will always be my number one, even though my birth certificate says otherwise. I sometimes am amazed by how one little thing can change the balance in your life. But then again, I know that my Daddy will always be my Daddy.

~Sharendalle Murga

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