What Makes a Person a Parent?
by Carol Fields
To me, one of the great mysteries of the universe is how men can disassociate themselves from their children after a divorce. Is it guilt because they aren’t there for the day to day routine of parenting? Or are they just totally irresponsible, heartless humans, or better said … inhuman?
During my marriage, I never questioned the love my spouse felt for his children. When home, he was there, not mind wandering about life outside the home. Sure, he worked long hours and much of the day-to-day parenting duties were my responsibility but that was not unusual for the times. He had a career and I only had a job, one I could call to tell them I had sick kids and wouldn’t be in.
When the big “D” happened and the kids and I returned to my hometown I felt although more difficult he would continue to see his children. Little did I imagine he wouldn’t see his children for fourteen years.
He missed school plays, T-Ball, Football and countless wrestling matches. He wasn’t there to see one son place first in district wrestling. He wasn’t there to see the other son take second in state. He couldn’t drive the 150 miles to see his son wrestle at Regionals. He couldn’t drive fifteen miles to watch football games where his sons were football heroes.
He wasn’t there when his stepdaughter, who thought of him as her father, drew her last breath after a vigilante battle with cancer. He wasn’t there when her casket was lowered into the ground while her brothers, tears streaming down their faces, said goodbye to their much loved sister.
He wasn’t there in the months and years to follow as they struggled with their grief. He didn’t call to console them. I don’t think he even thought about their loss.
What kind of man was he? I don’t know. I have thought and thought about what kind of man he is. He spent thirty years serving this country. He loves his sister, nieces and nephews, and was a devoted son. But he couldn’t put his children’s needs in front of his own.
I consider myself to be a bright woman but wonder how I could have been so stupid to think this man had the potential to be a father. It makes me question my ability to judge people. Maybe that is why I have never remarried.
What is even more amazing is that my story is not unique. I have heard so many sad stories from single Moms about the “lost” Dads. What causes this phenomenon? Is it a genetic flaw that only men carry? We know it is a character flaw, but could it be a genetic flaw?