Confessions of a Fatherless Child

Like many of my friends growing up in Philadelphia, I raised by my mother. As I recall, during my childhood I had little to no contact with my biological father. You know what’s weird… It didn’t bother me one bit. I do not recall asking “Where is my father?” or saying “I want to meet my dad.” To me the situation was the situation, and I was happy as can be.

Truth be told, now that I think about it, it is quite sad. It’s sad that a kid would think it’s normal that his or her father isn’t around and that mom was the only parent needed. Fast forward to late April 2012, and I finally get to meet my father at the legendary Penn Relays.

One thing I do know about my father is that he was a runner just like me and my mother. My father is about 2-3 inches shorter than me, 5 shades lighter in complexion and 30 lbs lighter. I must admit that meeting him for the first time I had 0 feelings for him. Afterall, he was a stranger to me.  He, on the other hand, came off as nervous and very apologetic. We talked for about 5 minutes, exchanged phone numbers then he rushed off to prepare for his race later that day.

“So how did it feel to meet your father?” a friend asked.

All I said was he looks nothing like me, and it was okay. However, what I was thinking was “Why now?”

Fast forward several more conversations and fact finding missions later, I get down to the bottom of why he was not present in my life. He was heavy into narcotics, using and selling. He chose drug addiction, and my mother wanted no part of that so she ended it but kept lines of communication open just in case he ever wanted to come around.

At this point, I realized that I was lucky on two fronts. First, I had a mother who did everything in her power to shield me from the dangers of my environment. Second, I was one of the lucky fatherless children who was able to ask their father …. why?

However, even knowing “Why?” I still didn’t care…

Then my daughter Olivia Madison Brown was born, and then it hit me. I did care, I cared a whole lot. See, when you’re caring for an infant you realize that the kid is innocent and 100% dependent on your for survival. To turn your back on your child is a cowardly move.

I remember being in the hospital having to do a lot of the heavy lifting because my wife just went through 18 hours of labor and had limited mobility. I recall asking her, “How do single mothers do this?” The nurse chimed in “With a lot of help.”

I remember thinking… damn he is fucked up! Then I thought of my mom, and I got angry. I remember writing my article, “Can I survive at the Poverty Line?” As a child I remember all the fun, the traveling and just the good ol’ times. She told me… (paraphrasing)

“I shielded all the bad stuff from you. There were times when you ate and I didn’t, there were times we had no lights in the house. I went to school during the day and worked at night, so I could provide for you.”

What man would let his “family” go through this? I thought. Then the answer hit me… not a real one. Come to find out I wasn’t the only child. I have about 6 or 7 brothers and sisters on my father’s side. I ended up meeting all but three of them face to face.

After meeting them and having conversations with them I can tell you this, I was the lucky one. However, that is solely due to my mother and the value of hard work that she instilled in me. My life is as different as night and day when compared to my brothers’ and sisters’ lives. Part of me is mad that my father was not there for my mother, but a part of me is happy he wasn’t. If my past changed in the slightest, there is a chance my life would not be what it is now.

I say that to say this my father taught me something through his absence and that one thing is to be present for those you love. Since, I didn’t have a father, I feel obligated to be the best one possible for my daughter. I’m not talking just financially, I’m talking emotionally. I’ve seen the effects of a fatherless daughter via my sisters, and I would never wish the same fate on anyone.

Thanks Dad for teaching me one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned. Love, your son!

When reading this please keep in mind that I’m an ENTJ. I focus on solutions to problems rather than dwell on them. Hence, the reason for the gem I found from such a terrible situation. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and you learn more from failure or the failure of others than you do from success.


  • My father is an over-the-road truck driver. My mother liked to tell people that she was a single mother for all but three days per month.
    Because of this, my relationship with my father is somewhat complex. As much as it pains me to admit it, I do not love my father. I respect him as a man for the sacrifices he made for his family. But considering we’ve spent only two months total together over the last 20 years, I don’t feel any emotional bond with him.

  • Thanks for sharing Ed, I can see how the relationship with your father could be strained. Do you talk to him?

  • […] Finances Simplified with Confessions of a Fatherless Child  Yay for having a strong mother!  Solid single parents truly do make it feel like nothing is […]

  • Very good post, great to share and bring light to this topic with your own story.

    It can be eye opening to learn about people having very different life experiences. For me, my father was very involved – just as much as my mom. He’s old now, but there’s nobody in the world I respect more. I’ve been lucky. But again, if someone didn’t have this experience, they might not know they missed anything. We all adapt to our life structure.

    As a father, this is a reminder to me of how our presence matters. Kids notice, and if you’re not there, they might care as much. Or not care at all. Just being there is critical in itself fo r the kid as well as for the quality of the future relationship.

  • Yes I do. But it’s really more of an afterthought. When I call home for the holidays and he answers the phone (he always made sure he was home for the important holidays, I will give him that), it’s like, “oh, I should talk to him too.” But when I dialed the number, the entire thought was to wish my mother a happy holiday.

  • Unfortunately, too many families have absent fathers! My father and mother were very busy and never had time for me. I know it affected me because I constantly tried to get their attention. The good news was it was with accomplishments versus bad behavior.

    I broke the cycle and never missed one event my kids were in and have an excellent relationship with them. They are successful adults and we talk almost every day. Use your experience to give your children the best you can. It will affect the next generation!

  • Vasu Adiga /

    I came across your website by accident. Read through 10+ posts on real estate and personal finance and then came across this one. I love the way you write and reveal your thoughts without any reservation. As a father to young daughter, this post affirms my belief: the best gift that any parent can give their children is their TIME. Peace and more success to you.

  • Thank you! You’re 100% correct.. Time and attention are the best things you can give a child.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Teach me how to improve my finances, 

so that I can buy a home

and stop wasting my money on rent