Sins of the Father This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 12, 2012
I am one of those kids who lives life without a father, but my father did not flee his family. Out of rage and jealousy, he stabbed a man in front of my seven-year-old eyes, killing him. The image of my father with blood on his hands and tears in his eyes has remained with me my whole life. Charged with first degree murder, he was deported to Cape Verde, and I’ve never seen him again. The day he was sent away my mother cried, not knowing how she would support my brother and me. Raising two boys into manhood was a heavy anvil on her back. A strong, persevering woman, my mother took three jobs to support us. She hardly saw her boys because she never came home, going from one shift to another without rest.

I did not have a father to teach me to be a man. My mother had to do that job, and it is a good thing she did because I became a father myself in the ninth grade. When I found out my girlfriend was pregnant, I was afraid life was over for me. I dreaded the thought of telling my mother, who already had so many burdens to carry. When I finally told her, she was very supportive and advised me about how to be a responsible father.

“You know what you need to do, right?” she said, “You need to get a job and offer all your love and assistance to your girlfriend. Don’t be like your father. Be a real man.”

Since ninth grade I have tried to be the father and the real man my mother believed I could be. I have worked two jobs in order to buy everything my baby needs – food, a crib, clothes and nursery. At the same time, I’ve stayed in school, playing varsity football and running track. I also volunteer my services as a peer mediator. The reason I became a peer mediator is because I have learned that anger and violence can take a life, and place a heavy burden on families. I have mediated over 100 conflicts during my four years in high school. Also, I have been rowing with the Mandela crew for two years. Even though I struggle, I stay on top of my school work.

Most teenage fathers do not stick around, but I am going to stick like cement. I have no other choice but to be a part of my daughter’s life, to support her, to provide for her, and to give her nothing but love. People sometimes say that a mother is the most important parent in a child’s life, but without a father, a child’s life is not complete. My father made a decision not to be there for his boy, who now is a man and a proud father himself. Every child in the world has dreams, and most are for both parents to be a part of their life. My daughter does not have to worry about my leaving because I will never do anything to hurt her.

I will never forget the day my daughter was born. It was 9 pm when I received the phone call saying, “It’s time.” Because of the long hours of labor my girlfriend suffered, the doctors decided to perform a Caesarean section. I was holding my girlfriend’s hand when I heard a loud cry. I saw the doctor slowly lift out a bloody little girl. When the doctor gave her to me, I said, “Hush, little baby, Daddy is here.” She opened her eyes and looked at me, wrapped her tiny little hand around my finger, and stopped crying. At that moment my heart melted, and I knew from her tight grip that we were going to be very close.

My daughter gives me strength every time I look into her eyes. If I feel down or lazy, all I have to do is picture how her life would be if I am not successful. My future is held in the tiny palms of my daughter’s hands. I am determined to succeed and study engineering in college. My daughter is my sun, moon and stars – my motivation, and the love of my life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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FULLSTOP said...
May 3, 2012 at 6:29 am
omg no offence but i really couldn't imagine being a parent at fifteen!!!!!!!!!
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