I am a half time daddy!
Nothing can prepare you for parenthood. Nothing can prepare you for the joy, the effort, the fear, the nightmares, the wonder, the excitement, the moments, the memories. And nothing can prepare you for the fight just to keep that.
It's not easy being a daddy. The courts are geared for mom's and the courts see no harm in taking your fatherhood away. Two unproven parents have a child, two unproven parents split, two unproven parents go to court, two unproven parents fight for their DUTY to carve facets in to the raw diamond they have brought in to this world. The judge will always favour the mother, even though the father has just as much to give.
"We are a generation raised by women. I'm wondering if another woman is the answer." ~Tyler Durden
The importance of father figures has been undermined completely, and, specifically, NOT by women. Pregnancy is too easy to achieve, but only the woman MUST pay for it until birth. It's the egg and bacon breakfast analogy everyone hates, "The chicken participated, but the pig was committed!" Men can't prove their commitment at birth, and without this proof, going to court is an uphill battle. It's only natural that most men in my situation would run. Were I a lesser man, I'd chicken out, too. The error in the courts is the assumption that because fathers don't have to be committed to bring a child to term, then obviously a mother who brings a child to term IS committed, and thus, the easy way out is to give the child over to the mother and forget about whatever the father has to offer.
Add to this a nation of people seeking perfection in their mate. When our mate doesn't achive this lofty goal we smother them in expectations until divorce is the only answer. Divorce is FAR better than a toxic relationship, especially for the minds of children in their formative years, but now it is a weapon used by those unwilling to change to threaten their LOVED ONE until they change!
The consequence of these societal failings is an entire nation of children - especially for boys, for whom it is NOMINALLY important - raised with no male role models.
Isn't it bad enough that the archetypical male role model for thousands of years has been the vacant bread winner? Isn't it bad enough that now BOTH parents fit this description? Isn't it bad enough that those unwilling to love a child exist? Isn't it bad enough that those willing to love a child must toil instead? Must we exclude fathers by default?
I know what comes next..."But there are so many deadbeat dads!" Yes, there are a number of sperm donor dads who are supposed to pay child support, but who do not. Would you be surprised to know that the percentage of egg donor mom's who skip out of child support is even higher?
We are talking percentages, here. Obviously there is more opportunity to become a deadbeat dad, and thus, more of them, and I do not discount the plight that is the single mother. Regardless, how many dad's required to pay child support, deadbeat or otherwise, are simply casualties of a broken legal system?
As much as I wanted to avoid this battle, I have becomes a seasoned veteran from a war of psyche, and I fight with tenacity, and the war will rage on for years, and I will be constantly tested, and I will constantly defend my duty. But I am not just a dutiful fighter, I am blessed by a tireless stability, an effortless affinity for raising my child, and above all else, a love for my child that no other being can give him. These qualities, alone, are not enough to win me the opportunity to fulfil my obligation as a parent. Were this all I had going for me, I, too, would be shelling out money, paying another parent to do my duty as a proxy, watching my child grow up without me, longing every day to redeem myself for a lifetime of missed opportunities simply because I'm not a mom.
How did I luck out? My child's mother has a history of mental instability and I have a stack of evidence a mile high that proves she's not the most fit mother on the planet. That is the trump card I have in my hand that allows me to get SOME of what I want.
Being a great parent isn't good enough...mom has to be an especially bad parent, too.
If I wanted to, I could probably chase his mother away. I could become a true single parent and have my child all to myself. I might even get child support from her. I could, if I wanted to...
But it isn't about what I want, it is about what my child needs. It's uncanny how parenting - nature and nurture, heredity and culture - all serve the same function; taking what is best of two people and forming these qualities in to one being, whether the qualities be genes or ideas. A child with only one parent will model after the good and bad qualities of that parent. Like heredity, what is the point of procreating if there is no change? Children with two parents get more of the good qualities, and less of the bad, from BOTH of their parents. We are ever evolving, genetically and culturally, in to better and better beings and it is BECAUSE of having two parents. And it is a parent's duty to uphold this, too.
My duty, as a father, did not end the moment my child inherited my physical characteristics at conception. My duty did not end when I decided that the relationship I was in was too toxic to be conducive to raising a child. My duty did not end in court. My duty hasn't ended now that an agreement was reached. My duty will not end when I die. My duty will not end, should my line of decent disappear. My duty will not end when every trace of me and my family is erased from historical record. My duty is now a part of this universe, forever. I will honour my duty and I will fulfil it to the best of my ability.
And, court system be damned, my child will be a better person for it.