The DNA you Left Behind:
The support that was never support:
My name is Clare and I am 12 years old.
6 minutes! That’s all it took for you to leave your DNA.
The idea of your baby growing inside her was about ego not about a life created.
It showed your virility, your capability of being able to father a child. It reassured you that you were capable, that you weren’t lacking in some way, that you were “one of the boys!”
It took longer than 6 minutes to enter this world. Where were you when I was struggling to enter this world? Did you not care that a part of your DNA now lived and breathed?
Did you try to establish if the person who birthed me was worthy of me or was it assumed in that 6 minutes that this was a good mother?
Did you know it took longer than 6 minutes for me to cut my first tooth?
Longer than 6 minutes the time I was immunized and in pain?
In the 6 minutes you took to leave your DNA did you care what happened in the 17 280 minutes it took from 0 to 12 years to feed me? Did you care that I was being fed or was it your stomach you had to fill first? You couldn’t share your plate with me?
When you denied my existence as I walked past you, a mirror image of you, did you realize that your denial also lost me family I could have known from your side?
In your DNA denial of me did you not think that going to school for the first time was scary and that I needed to be brave because my mother had to work?
Do you know that child support means supporting a child so the child doesn’t have to take on adult financial responsibilities? Did you ensure your support was not a stipend? A tip? Something that doesn’t cost you your creature comforts?
In those 6 minutes it took for you to plant your DNA, did you have an idea of where I would live? The 6 minutes lasted so much longer for me than you? My 6 minutes lasted a lifetime of feelings of worthlessness, of not being enough, of not knowing my family history, of making bad choices, of not knowing you.
I was a part of you that remained at a distance. A distance you were relieved to have the moment those 6 minutes were done.
It never was about the certainty of paternity and blood tests, it was always about the potential of being a father. It was never about a one night stand, a relationship, a marriage to another person. It was always about you establishing a relationship with me.
A relationship that lasted longer than the 6 minutes you took to make me.
Does your employer have to push you to work or do you take responsibility to work because it’s your job and you’re getting paid to do it to the best of your ability? Fatherhood is a job too!
Fatherhood is not bragging about how many children you’ve sired but about how many of them you’ve nurtured and loved?
According to Statistics SA data of 2016, 62.2% of fathers are absent from their children’s lives excluding the ones who have passed away. I am included in that data. With your DNA you’ve made me a statistic. I never chose that label.
Father’s Day is around the corner and it’s meant for Fathers to be acknowledged because of course there are great fathers out there, you’re just not one of them.
In the 17 280 minutes since I’ve been here, how many more times have you left your DNA behind?