A Dad I Hardly Know

by LaMesha L. Craft

During the last eight months of my life I have begun to get to know a man that has been a small part of my life for the last eleven years.

Eleven years ago, when I was seven, my parents were legally separated. My brothers and I didn’t really understand what was going on, or why, but we just knew that daddy was leaving and now we would only see him on the weekends.

I don’t remember the day he packed all of his things and left; maybe I was absent--not in body, but in mind! From that day on it felt as if something was missing in our house and for that feeling of emptiness, I blamed my father.

It has taken me every bit of eleven years to forgive my father for committing adultery and making my life a little more rockier than it would have been. Every time my mother had to struggle to buy us what we wanted, I blamed my father. Every time a bill went unpaid, and my mother smoked twice as many cigarettes as usual, I blamed my father. When we had to move to Washington, D.C, I blamed my father. And when my grandfather died (my father’s father) and I was the only grandchild at the funeral that couldn’t cry for a stranger, I blamed my father!

When I was growing up I was very hateful towards my father. And although I only saw him four times out of a month, when I did see him I was too busy trying to make him feel guilty for not being there to enjoy our time together!

But during this year of my life I stopped feeling the pain and anger. I was able to forgive my father and understand that I was not the only one going through the pain. And for his birthday I decided to write him a poem expressing my love it reads:

When I think of you, days of watching the Cowboys shine through. You hoop and holler as “your boys” make a play. The sweet smell of pork rinds and beer pass my way. Daddy’s little girl…Yup! That’s what I was. Motorcycle rides on warm breezy days. “Don’t go to sleep puddin,” I’d hear you say. Present day…Several years have passed away. But I’m still your little girl, just in a grown-up type of way. Now I stop by just to say “Hey!” Now I admire your personality and spunk. You’re a little chubbier now, but still think you’re a hunk! We’re still learning one another, but I love you now more than ever before.
I worked two hours on framing that poem, and although my father goes to work at five o’clock in the morning, I eagerly knocked on his door at 11:40pm to deliver his birthday present. The look in his eyes after he read his poem told me that he too remembers the good times we had, and that he too is sorry that we didn’t have more!


This essay was written seven years ago when I was in my senior year of high school. I am now twenty-five years old. Unfortunately my father still hasn't done more to spend time with my siblings and I; yet I forgive him still.

A Dad I Hardly Know by LaMesha L. Craft

© Copyright 1997. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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