Joseph Scialabba is a single father from the Chicago area who unexpectedly lost the mother of his child several years ago. This blog post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the 21st century.
Graduation season is officially upon us. All across the country parents and children are celebrating this milestone, a checkpoint on the path of life. My daughter’s only graduating from preschool, but this is still, none the less, an epic milestone. This occasion marks the first time her accomplishments are categorized and also the first time she’s been publicly recognized for her achievements. It’s also going to be her first major life and educational milestone since her mother passed away. In that sense, it will be a milestone with a hint of sadness. The first of many we will experience.
It took me awhile to realize that she’s growing up much faster than I ever realized, and that's both very rewarding and insanely frightening at the same time. While I swell with pride looking at her class pictures in her cap and gown, it also fills me with a dreadful feeling. How does a man who has always fashioned himself a man’s man raise a little girl to become a woman?
I had to watch YouTube videos just to learn how to style her hair. To say I have been lost wouldn't quite give the experience the justice it deserves. It sounds dramatic I'm sure, but for me its the truth. If one were to say, for example, that I have grown to appreciate the female half of our gender more and more each day, that would be an understatement. From learning to dress her fashionably to acting out princess tea party adventures, each and every day with her is a new challenge for me.
All of this brings me to a question I've had roaming through my mind for several years.
Since she was very young I have struggled with how I will one day explain a world to her that, even at 33 years of age, I barely understand myself. In all truth, it’s why I avoided having children for such a long time. There are days that I still struggle with it; how do you explain war, or a school shooting to a little girl? Or how do I teach her to keep herself safe on a date without sounding completely crazy. These are questions a single father will struggle with.
I’m lucky enough to have women around me that have stepped in to fill the void that her mother left in our lives. But I know. at the end of the day. that may be a fleeting circumstance.
Luckily enough, I still have time before I get to the hard questions.
God willing, by then maybe I’ll have the answers.
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