A word for fa­thers at Christ­mas


AT this time of year, much cel­e­bra­tion is made of mother and child and the re­la­tion­ship therein; fa­ther­hood on the other hand can be a much more muted af­fair. A re­cent night of fes­tiv­i­ties saw my mother re­cite a poem of her own com­po­si­tion. It is a piece that is cen­tered around a re­la­tion­ship that should be talked about more. Her words re­minded me just how pow­er­fully in­her­ent a fa­ther’s pres­ence is in the life of his child but equally it re­minded me how very lone­some the void is, left be­hind by his ab­sence.

My mother lost her own fa­ther at a very young age and though she says the poem is not strictly auto-bi­o­graph­i­cal I trust her in­sight is pure. Fa­ther Christ­mas has played a blinder in re­cent days and so too I imag­ine have Dad­dies ev­ery­where. So for all the fa­thers out there, alive or dead, present or ab­sent, this is for you:


“Four years old, no daddy bold to throw her in the air, to buy her dolls and spin­ning tops and rib­bons for her hair; No Daddy’s knee to climb upon When tears come tum­bling down No manly smile to cheer her up

And take away her frown. A silent se­cret long­ing Keeps its vigil in her heart And no one knows the sad­ness That’s be­hind her lit­tle laugh; All lit­tle kids have fa­thers That’s as plain as it could be Though some are grumpy, some are cross Any kind would do you see To meet her after school some day So all the girls would know She has a daddy just like them But that can­not be so. He won’t be there as she grows up All through the teenage years To tell about her ro­mance And lis­ten to his jeal­ous fears To wear his best pullover When some night his back is turned To wea­dle money with a smile Joke with, with toast is burned; And when her big day comes along In cloud of white and pearl She misses him then most of all Though she’s never been his girl

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