Blog: The Gathering Place
by rudenski

For Fatherless Children

I had been a grant funded teacher of hands on Science at a school where many of the children were from a housing project nearby. A fragile young eight year old but beautiful little Hispanic girl in my class came up to me and asked if I would be her father for Father's Day.

Date:   2/23/2009 8:11:53 PM   ( 11 y ) ... viewed 1661 times

I was a little put back for a moment but then she said that she did not have a father. Her father was dead. I later found he had been stabbed to death in what might have been a drug transaction. I looked at this little child and what was I to do? I said of course and she then came close to me....reached around me...and she hugged me... It was a little awkward as male teachers should avoid hugging girls under their care but I couldn't stop her and if I were to at that moment I felt there would have been some type of emotional damage done.

As the tiny angelic child ran away from me laughing, I started to tear up. She reminded me of one of my own daughters who lived with her mom at the time. I called my older middle daughter, who is studying computer science at the university, wishing her well and I told her how much I loved her. I know it was the day before Valentine's Day but my fiercely independent and lovely daughter might have been uncomfortable if I had called her "on" Valentine's Day. I went to sleep a little troubled because my daughter who so much reminds me of me, even though she has dark hair and darker skin than I, has a lot of the same awkwardness that I have in her on the inside. I went to sleep restless and woke up this morning from a troubled dream and as I awoke... reached back again to a memory of a lovely little one... that child with big brown eyes...who asked me to be her father for a day...and went to play with her friend.

As a hot tear welled up on my face that day, I looked out and the young Hispanic girl returned with her even more fragile and more troubled tiny young Black girlfriend who ran up to me and asked if I could be her father as well. She said that she did not have a father either and that she thought he might be in prison or somewhere else but she had never met him. I felt a flood of emotions and agreed to be her father as well. She reached toward me and squeezed a hug from me too... She ran off with her Hispanic friend and I turned my body away from my class as the warmth welled up in my eyes again and tears flowed down my face. Following this incident, even when they were no longer in my classes, I would hear one or the other girl whisper to their friends.... "That's my daddy."

I was teaching water monitoring at a Middle School a few years later and I saw the Hispanic girl who was then in her teens. She came up to me and said hi Mr. Rudy to me. At first I didn't recognize her...she was very tall... I acknowledged her and asked how she was and she said she doing well in school... I asked about her friend Laquita and she said she was doing fine. She didn't call me daddy or hug me but as she walked away with her friends, I felt that same awkward feeling... but today... these many years later... I look back on the spiritual contract I had with those two fragile children and although I do not know where they are or what they are doing... I wanted to send them this spiritual Valentine's Card... wishing and hoping for them a brighter... kinder world... free from the boundaries that divide us one from one another... For those two little girls... I send my heart out to you from someone who... even if...if I was only for a day, your daddy.

Happy Valentine's Day

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