Butterfly's Birthday

Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


My father the other day with my daughter. You know how one asks a child if this is for x? no. for y? no. is it for child? yes! Well he was asking her about the swing and started with daddy. He immediately said oops, we mustn't say that word. Why??? Is she supposed to grow with the secret of not knowing there is such a thing as a father, in fact that most people have one? She also doesn't have a sister. I doubt if he considers the word "sister" a taboo regarding my daughter. There is no shame in how my daughter came to be, and there is no shame in her not having a father, a daddy.

Then last night [very weird as I was having two parallel conversations on FB] this guy I knew from about 20 years ago wanted to tell me he's getting divorced and on the way asked if my daughter has contact with her father, if he sees her. He didn't know otherwise because beyond a short hello and I have a daughter when we became friends, nothing much was said, and I don't post about my SMC status on my wall (not because I'm hiding it but because it has no interest*). So anyway he asks and I say that she does not have a father and that she is from a sperm donation. To which he replied that that's sad, and that a child should have a father figure. Why is it sad? She would not have been living if I had not conceived her the way I did (any other way or time then it would have been another child, another soul..). There is a void but it is completely mine! I'm the one who knows what a father is so can feel sad (or whatever) about not having one. My daughter? She doesn't know anything else!
[I will mention it was especially annoying because between the lines of his tale I could understand he cheated on his wife. So who are you to critique others?]

Moving on to my daughter herself. Two songs she very much likes. One she doesn't specifically ask for, but if she sees the image for it on youtube, she will ask for it. It is of fingers in the hand, each being a family member (don't know the name if the song, but is goes - daddy finger, daddy finger where are you.  here I am, here I am how do you do. etc with other family members). The other one - a lullaby about how a father went to work and will come back when the moon rises and will bring the child a present - she loves it and asks for it a lot. And I can't help but wonder if this is her way of dealing with the daddy issue? [I do talk to her and she does know she doesn't have a daddy]. Or maybe no meaning, she just happens to like those songs?

* same as I'm not talking about the elections we just had. No interest to my blog. That does not mean I didn't vote (I did!) or that I don't have political views..


Tiara said...

Great post...I always have the daddy question in the back of my mind...you make a good point about using the term daddy in the same way as sister. I hadn't thought of it like that but you're so right. I think I'm so concerned about her not feeling like she's missing out that I'm forgetting that she doesn't know anything else so why would she feel something is missing, at least not yet.

Rachael said...

There's a chance when she is older she may feel a sort of wistful feeling or wonder what she might have missed out on, like she would for a sister or brother. I feel that way once in awhile about what it would've been like to have a brother (or to have known my paternal grandfather), but it's a fleeting moment--it lasts the same amount of time as wishing I would've chosen the beef for lunch instead of the chicken!

And you're right-if you had not chosen the SMC route any child you ended up with at another time would've been a different child! You wouldn't love them differently of course, but they would be different little people :)

I think you're doing a wonderful job with your daughter.

Laraf123 said...

I share many of these thoughts. Sometimes I do find myself tripping over the word 'Daddy' in a storybook because I don't want my sons to feel bad that they don't have a dad and the character in the book does. But that is me, tired at the end of a long day. In reality, they know they don't have a dad. And they are okay. One day they will think longer and harder about it, but even then it won't define them.

Little One said...

I actually just spoke to SRs daycare teachers about a similar issue. SR has been singing The Wheels on the Bus lately with the "Mommy on the bus says shhh shhh shh" and then "The Daddy on the bus says I Love You" and she makes these adorable actions. I've tried at home to also have her say that the mommy says I Love You but she corrects me that the mommy says shhh shhh shh. I explained to her teachers that I am perfectly fine with them singing about a daddy and saying I love you. We talk about Daddies all the time - her friends have daddies and there are daddies in books. But I did ask if they could sometimes change it up a bit so the mommy says I love you also. Apparently they change it up all the time, but SR is stuck on this way. That is fine with me.

Like Lara said, I sometimes will skip over "daddy said" in a book - SR isn't old enough to realize it's there. But we do talk about Daddy quite a bit and she knows I have a daddy.

tireegal68 said...

Lots in common here!! Isobel likes that song with the fingers and talks about daddies because she hears about them all the time. She even agreed when I asked her if she wanted a daddy. We just talk about it and acknowledge it and let her talk about it if she wants to. No way is it taboo or forbidden!
Would love the link to the lullabies - I think we may be watching similar ones!

Billy said...

tireegal, I didn't mention, but the lullaby I was talking about is in Hebrew (though the finger song is indeed in English).

Navigating The Rapids said...

You are so right about his judgement. The absolute last thing I would want for my daughter is a father who cheats on her mother. Interestingly enough, L does not ask about a dad. When someone asks about her family she says mom and me and sometimes grandma. She is also comfortable talking about the other kids and that's there dad. We do have a book by Todd Parr about different families, and I think that's been a great help. That being said, I still have trouble working out the daddy converstaion in my head.

Lily said...

As an adult who never knew my biological father, I can only say that it *is* possible to miss something we've never had. I have questioned so much as a result of not knowing anything significant about my biological father - my cultural heritage, his awareness of my existence, even whether I have ever unknowingly met any half-siblings (I actually know someone who found out, after a couple of months of dating, that their girlfriend was actually a previously-unknown half-sibling).

Sadly, the issue of being fatherless is not as straight forward as some would have it.

This is especially true if one ever hits health issues - oh the burden of unanswered questions about one's biological heritage. Even now, I wonder whether my baby losses were connected to a condition that possibly has genetic factors.

Of course, none of this makes for easy consideration and I don't wish to be alarmist - but please, be aware your child will wonder and maybe even hope... do not make the sharing of such thoughts impossible by sending them the message that you think fatherlessn ess is a non-issue. Stay open to the potential for grief of what might have been, be compassionate about your child/ren lacking that which so many take for granted. That way, your life choices may be understood compassionately in return.