We know. We know before we are born who our mothers are. We rely on our mothers for our very existence, and from within the womb, babies can respond to their mothers’ voices. There is no doubt who a baby’s mother is.
Fathers are sometimes a whole ‘nother story. If you have’t seen them, there are countless numbers of Maury Povich shows and Jerry Springer shows and even now judge type shows that offer people the opportunity to take DNA tests to find out who a baby’s father is. There are women who parade – without shame – a group of 3, 4, 5 and even more men across the stage and into our American living rooms, trying to figure out who the lucky guy is that will be declared her child’s father.
As you well know, being a good parent goes beyond DNA. The bond of blood does not turn you into a terrific mother – or father. But it seems that many times, regardless of a mother’s qualities and abilities, she is given more rights and respect than a dad. Because she is the mom. Without a doubt.
Then we throw in modern complications. And it gets worse.
So what if a woman has a very young child, and she also has a live in boyfriend? And the live in boyfriend takes on the role of Daddy, and does it successfully, expertly, with love and dedication, raising the child as his own? And he relishes the idea of being a child’s father? And there is no chance a biological father will ever rear his ugly head?
You would be surprised – or at least I was – to find out that no matter how long a woman lives with a man and allows him to raise her children, unless at some point he becomes the child’s father legally (which is not an option in many cases), all too often, his role as Daddy ends when Mommy says it ends. That’s right folks, she gets to take her toys and go home, leaving him standing there with nothing – no rights, no recognition, and no say in the life of this child he has raised. What’s more, this child who has grown up surrounded by the love of this father-figure; thrived with his constant care; developed into a great kid with his support is now left not only without a father, but probably wondering what the hell happened to make him go away.
In this day and age, where people are disposable, and happily ever after often means until someone better comes along, we are doing our children a terrible injustice. We are telling them that parents may come and go; teaching them not to form deep attachments; and giving them the impression that the man of the hour, the day or the week is the one they are supposed to rely on.
It’s not fair – to the children, or to the fathers that raise them, with unconditional love and unwavering devotion, only to have them snatched away due to lack of blood ties. A father/child love affair goes way beyond biology. It’s time to recognize that.