If I had a penny for every time someone discussed how "strong" I was, I would be a billionnaire, as would a great majority of the women with whom I have had the privilege of meeting in this life. Sisters, wives, mothers, friends, we are the ribcage that protects the heart of our community. The bones therein are fortified and some of the most resilient in the body...but let one break. Even something as simple as breathing can become increasingly difficult when the bones that we as women are encounter fracture or cracking.
Try as we might, we can only be who we are. Anatomically, we do not have the equipment to enact the duties of the backbone. It takes some testicular fortitude to create the very movement--walking, running, dancing, jumping--that carries a family from point A to point B...to be the visionary of destination. If one of these bones breaks, the result is just as detrimental as a break within the ribcage, only instead of breathing being affected, the very purpose and future of a community can become paralyzed.
Either way, we need each other.
I rarely hear men speak of not needing or wanting women. The motivations behind their need may not always be upstanding, but let someone say something bad about a mama. Even the most mature man would have fisticuffs be his knee jerk reaction. However, the more I ruminate about the fact that I'm a single mother now, the more I find myself wanting to play both the ribcage and backbone to my son, as if there is no need for a father in his life. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I can do many things for my child, but there are BACKBONE skills that I don't have the ability to teach him. No matter how much I flip grown men in my martial arts class, how much bacon I bring home and cook, how many prayers I render and skills I impart for my children (present and future) to develop emotional intelligence, like Jill Scott said, some things don't change.
I may not be with the "man" I created this beautiful son with, but the fact is, I need men on many levels. I need my brother, whose presence is felt in my son's life even from a long distance away. I need my martial arts instructor and his assistants who respect me implicitly, and thus have singlehandedly reversed the negative influence of one man who taught my son to disrespect me through his harsh treatment of me. I need my buddies who my son sees me interact with on a strictly platonic level to teach him humor and healthy man/woman relationships.
Bottom line to fathers and father figures out there. I cannot speak for everyone, but as for my son and I, WE NEED YOU. If we don't have you, we can function because of our Heavenly Father, who covers the most vulnerable of society (the fatherless), but it is much easier to move towards purpose with you in our lives.
So although I appreciate some of the messages I received telling me "Happy Father's Day" as a single mother, I cannot accept them in good conscience. I am a woman...a rib bone that does not have the capability to create the kind of movement that a FATHER affords to us. As stated, anatomically it is not my role. If I try to fill that role, the major organs that protect the respiration of my family will become asthmatic.
My respect and love goes out to all the fathers--whether in figure or fact--who have helped my community move from difficulty to destiny. THANK YOU for accepting your role so I can work mine effectively. We are both strong, and like it or not, we need each other.
HAPPY FATHERS' DAY!!!