By Chad Milner
My two-year-old daughter Cydney is a little g. She doesn’t take naps, goes to bed late, has been to happy hours, and her favorite song is “Bugatti.” In her words, “Turn up! Bubububugatti!” She’s also a big flirt who tries to be my wingman and gain the attention of groups of women by herself. No exaggeration. Anyone who has met my daughter can attest to this being true.
My daughter has been through a lot in her twenty-eight months on earth. Her mother died before her first birthday. She’s lived in three different cities and moved four times all before she was sixteen months old. Children are resilient and while she will not remember any of this or her mother, it is all playing a major role in her cognitive development. I’m pretty sure she is seeking the attention from others to resemble the mother that is not present in her day-to-day life. Kids are intuitive and have no filter. They know when something is missing and I think that somewhere between being closer to God than adults and survival, instinct kicks in and makes up what we consider “acting out.”
I am a single father. Nothing in my genetic makeup says motherly instincts, so I don’t even try. Do I think I am an awesome dad? Absolutely. And honestly, that is my only goal in being a father. One of the things I hate the most is how Mother’s Day is treated much differently than Father’s Day. In the social media focused times we live in, Mother’s Day consists of a myriad of posts, pictures, and 140 character statements about how awesome mom is. Father’s Day is treated as the day to lambast dad for not being there while rewarding mom for being dad as well.
I think that’s crap. Most people who do not have a physical father present have some kind of father figure. Like the old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and none of these people live in a remote tribe of all women. Like I stated previously, children find a way to fill whatever void is missing. My daughter hangs around my mother a lot, as well as my sister, and I have a few female friends who treat Cydney as a BFF and volunteer to be women of influence in her life. As much as my daughter hangs around me she is not a tomboy. She loves all things girly; she prefers dresses and skirts (princess dresses as she refers to sundresses), she always wants to play in lipstick, and after her hair is done, she wants to look in the mirror and say how cute she is all while fishing for compliments and approval from her father.
The best mom in the world cannot be daddy. On Mother’s Day I am sometimes told Happy Mother’s Day. I know it’s a nice gesture to acknowledge me being a single parent, but I can’t be a mother. My day to receive props is in June. I know single mothers who try to be dad and that’s nice in sentiment, but I think it’s flawed. Maybe it’s male ego, but I don’t know any single fathers who try to be mom. I am happy raising my daughter and letting her do her thing while sitting in one place and just listening out for silence as Kevin Hart joked in “Seriously Funny.”
I take my role of raising a little girl into a woman very seriously and there is a method to my madness. She has gone with me on dates so she can see how a man should treat a woman. While this will all be a part of her inactive memory, it is the bedrock that will be built upon as she gets older and we have conversations about boys, how “the game” goes, and the dates she will remember once they become a part of her active memory and not just lodged up in her limbic system somewhere. Whether some young lady wants to marry me one day or not, Cydney’s self-worth will be infallible because her father taught her that if she has that, the world is hers.
Read more about Chad’s struggle to win custody of his daughter in The Root.
Chad Milner is a project manager in Long Island, New York who writes a blog about his (mis)adventures with his daughter, Cydney at www.singledadventures.com. He has written guest posts on parenting, dating, relationships, and music for various blogs since deciding he wanted to “try this writing thing out.” A Morehouse College graduate who wears many hats, he believes that his experiences can be helpful to others looking for someone to relate to or just for sheer entertainment value for those who cannot relate. As a single parent to a toddler, Chad no longer has free time. But when he isn’t writing and his daughter is asleep, his “expensive hobby” is music consulting and production while pretending one day he will put an album of his own out for fun.