Single Fatherhood - These Dreams I Fail

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
As we transition from old to new in 2015 we bring with us triumphs and tribulations, moments of pride and regret. For parents one of our greatest challenges and often times greatest source of angst, and sometimes sorrow, is not being the kind of supportive role model we had alway envisioned becoming to our children. Regardless of education, ambition, socio-economic status or profession, as parents we struggle with balancing family, career, relationships, personal health and growth amidst a societal framework of social media and often unrealistic expectations. We become overwhelmed and our mental health and energy suffer as a result, leaving us unable to fully deliver on the words and actions we want for our children. This brings regret, sometimes to the point of overshadowing all of the milestones and successes we achieve as parents throughout the year. Single-Fatherhood – These Dreams I Fail, is a letter to my young sons expressing what many of us as parents feel whether as fathers or mothers, dual parents or single parents. It is a reminder that we are not alone in our quest to be good parents and while we may not execute all that we wish, we are not failures as parents as long our children know they are loved and cherished.

Submitted: January 06, 2015

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Submitted: January 06, 2015



Single Fatherhood — These Dreams I Fail

by MJ Basso


Since the days before you were born, I have dreamed of you and loved you.

I dreamed of us playing catch and shooting baskets each season…

searching beneath flower blossoms for Easter eggs in the spring…

swimming under the summer sun and digging sandcastles by the water’s edge…

collecting acorns and fire-red maple leaves while the golden oaks burned into autumn skies…

amassing stockpiles of sweets with fellow ghosts and goblins on the hallowed eve…

making birthday-cake wishes and spinning Santa Claus tales

to fill your little-boy hopes with brimming anticipation…

reveling at chorus recitals, Little League games, and, of course, the pinnacle of pride:

those grade reports at teacher conferences.

I dreamed of our nightly dinner-table talks about the day’s triumphs and tribulations.


And then you were born.

Your birth was more glorious than I had imagined.

But soon, life happened.


The cumulative stress of life etched away my dreams and desires —

not only as a man, but also as a father.

Life’s realities weighed heavily on my shoulders

and drained my energy and my intentions

as I faced the day-to-day realizations

that we don’t live in a meritocracy,

that divorce can be a necessary failure,

that our love of a woman can thrust our existence to soaring heights

and then send it crashing to depths near to hell,

that politics, manipulation, and corruption permeate every stratum of our lives,

that paddling upstream against how the masses live can be a Sisyphean struggle,

and that a child should never bear a parent’s burden.


Each day my passion and strength bleeds from my being,

and I long for nothingness to wash over my beaten body, my aching mind, my wavering spirit.

There is little left for me to fuel my dreams of raising you as I had wished to.

All that could be done cannot be done.

All that should be done is not done.


I wanted to give you what I did not have.

I learned along the way that giving you a better life did not mean giving you an easier life.

I wanted to give you love, attention, and support,

but I realized the answer “no” is a difficult means to that end.

I have tried to teach you the difference between wants and needs —

to say “yes” to love and “no” to things.

I have tried to firmly root in your beliefs

that our health and strength come from breaking free of many of society’s norms,

that your growth comes from fighting your own fights, not from me fighting them for you,

that anything worth having requires sacrifice and your very hard work and perseverance.

Life is neither fair nor easy.

I realized that what you see me do is more important than what you hear me say,

and that how I make you feel is more powerful than any lesson I may share with you.


I am your Father and your Mother.

Both roles are very different, and both are very necessary.

These are full-time endeavors, and it may be impossible to do both well — or perhaps not.

But I know I fail in my attempts.

I lay awake each night before I succumb to the exhaustion and worries of the world.

Feelings of inferiority and disappointment fill my heart as I look back on the day

and relive every unthinking word, unjust punishment and unanswered question

and the injustices of the world I brought into our home.

My heart weeps, and I feel helpless to change the cycle from wrong to right.

I feel debilitated and demoralized as I lay down to sleep with only a promise to greet the next day with the joy and

vigor of that young man who had dreamed of you before you were born.


Forgive me, my sons, for being less than I have always wanted to be, for failing my dreams.

Know that we are often products of our circumstances, unwillingly and under-resourced.

Know that I will continue to strive and struggle

to raise you to forge through life’s trials

and to excel in loving and living.

Know that my resolve is to continue to create life memories for you

that you may warmly remember throughout your lifetime.

Know that my prayers will be answered if you can look back on our journey

and remember that, while I was not perfect, I was there for you,

and you were loved more than a million words could ever say.

Know that my love never falters. I am yours always, even after my final breath.


You have always been my dream,

and I am so very proud of the children you have been

and the young men you are becoming.






© Copyright – January 3, 2015


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