I am about to turn 17 years old in two weeks. My father left my brother, mom, and I when I was 4 years old and my brother was 10. It has always bothered me and I have so many unanswered questions about what caused him to leave us. Over the years I have mostly been sad about it because I don’t really remember him. Lately, however, I am so angry at him. How could he leave us? What did we do that made him leave? Did he not love us? So many of these questions have been filling my mind.
My mother doesn’t say much about him when we ask about him, and I am even starting to feel jealousy towards my brother because he had more time with our dad than I did. It seems like everyone had more time with him but me. It’s not fair. I need a dad right now more than anything. I’m starting to date and I don’t have my father around to scare my dates away. All of my friends have their fathers except me. All I have is one picture of him with me when I was about 3. Why did this happen to me?!
— Missing my Father
Dear Missing my Father,
I am truly sorry about your situation. I can only imagine how you must feel because everyone needs and deserves to have both a mother and a father in their life. The fact that you are only 16 years old and are writing into this column shows me that you are one tough kid. Not only have you gone through a tough situation such as growing up without your father, but are brave enough to tell the community what you are feeling and going through, which makes you a very strong young lady — don’t ever forget that about yourself.
There is one important thing that I need you to be aware of. Your father left because there was something wrong with your father, not something wrong with you. Unless he was right there in front of you to ask, you may never find out the real reason for his actions. Although this may be hard to accept, it is best to make peace with it, and the sooner the better.
It is normal to feel left out and to think that you are the only person out there going through this situation, but I promise you, sadly you are not. There are many households where a father has left his family, some even where a mother has left her family, and in some cases where one or both parents have even passed away.
It is also normal that you are having different emotions about it all from time to time. For example, you are probably going to feel a little sad when you see your friends going to a father-daughter dance and you think that you cannot go because your father is not present. You also might feel a little angry at times. Although these are the two feelings that you will quite often feel towards the absence of your father, why not try something different?
Instead of feeling left out that you cannot go to a father-daughter dance, why not see if you can get your uncle to go with you instead? Or ask one of your friends if you can share their dad at the dance? Surely it’s not the same and no one will ever replace your father, but still going to the events that mean something to you and doing little things like I mentioned can help your healing process.
In life, we are all dealt a unique hand of cards. Some may feel that other people are more fortunate, but that is the wrong mindset to have. What truly matters in life is how you play the cards you are dealt.
We can’t change the cards we are dealt in life, but we can change how we play them. Always remember this and you will be able to handle any kind of obstacle that comes your way in life.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at www.myaskmikey.com or email@example.com.