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Sunday, June 15, 2014


Single Mother on Father's Day

As a counselor, I have seen too many doughnut burns --

when a child is shoved into a tub of scalding water,

the anus tightens in response so that the burn is round with a ring of unburned skin in the center.

I have counseled too many daughters of sexually abusing fathers whose scars, though invisible, will never completely heal.

Single mother households are unfortunately becoming the new “norm.” There are a total of 15 million children living without a father in the US alone.

Inspite of that, many fatherless children are still succeeding with the help of their mothers.
Many of the hollow-eyed waitresses and sales clerks you meet will be heroic single mothers attempting what sometimes feels to be an impossible task.

According to the 2013 census, 84% of custodial parents are mothers whereas fathers are 15%.

It is my feeling that Single Mothers deserve presents on Father’s Day.
Ladies, you are a gift to society.

Without your courageous characteristics to take on the responsibilities of your own and others, where would many of us be?

 My last memory of my own father is his receding car speeding down the street Mother called Skid Row in Detroit

after he abandoned me there. I can still remember running after his car, screaming, "Daddy, Daddy!"

A street person, Maude, and her little dog, Tufts, took mercy on me for six weeks

until she conjured the courage to bring me to the Salvation Army outpost (she had a paranoid fear of uniforms.)

In FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE and END OF DAYS, you will find my tipping my Stetson to their memory.

My mother was a single mother, and she handled Father's Day creatively:

She pointed out the verse in Psalm 68:5 -
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

So I have always thought of Father's Day as Holy and God as The Father.

But what about other single mothers?

How do they handle Father's Day do you think?

Do they have a unique way of celebrating it? Does it make them sad? Angry?

Some mothers get mad at others thinking they should get a nod at Father's Day, saying "I am a woman not a man! I am a mother not a father!"

This extreme reaction says to me they obviously have unresolved issues concerning being a single mother. 

Or do you think differently?

The creator of Father's Day was a single man named Charles Berlitz, whose father, Howard Berlitz, died of cancer in 1867. Charles made the day up to remember him.

Mr. Berlitz unintentionally made a day that is often sour for struggling single mothers and lonely children.

And the questions come murmuring in the night:

“Why don’t my children have the loving father they deserve?”
“Why do I have to do everything and he does nothing?”

“Why must I struggle financially, because he chooses to pay no child support?”

What would you say to them?

Something to make you smile:


  1. Parenting isn't a question of gender - or of biology. It is a question of love and support. Those who provide it deserve whatever title they care to call their own. Mother's, father's, superheroes... And in my eyes the last is the closest to the mark.

  2. I admire single mothers, it's hard to be a lone parent. There can be more love in a home with a single mother (or father), than in a house with an unloving family.

    Happy Father's day to the Good Dads!

  3. What a well written and heartbreaking post. I just try not to think about Father's Day.


  4. I admire any single parent who works hard to raise a child on their own, and I don't see gender when it comes to this. One of my very good friends is a single parent and he's a man. He got custody because his now ex-wife has a severe mental illness and is unfit to raise their child. He's an awesome parent, and he definitely deserves to be celebrated on Father's Day, just as all of those single mothers get their day on Mother's Day.

  5. Elephant's Child:
    I couldn't have said it better!

    Yes, Happy Father's Day to all the good fathers out there -- and to all the struggling single parents, too!

    Me, too.

    Any good single parent deserves all the applause and credit we can give them. :-)