Growing up with a dad who doubles the mum’s role

By Alya Nadiah

Being a father is hard, but it’s even harder when you have to do it all by yourself. There are many reasons why a man would be left to raise his children on his own.

We normally appreciate a single mother and the strength she has in raising kids on her own, but the burden and sacrifices of a single father are not often highlighted.

Here I want to share with readers my story on the overlooked sacrifices of a single father as I grew up under the care of my own independent parent.

I admire people who are alone, especially when one has to bear the responsibility of two. Being a father and a mother at the same time can be very exhausting, raising not one, not two, but four children on his own is indeed a challenge.

Since my mother passed away, never have I seen a single tears running down this man’s eyes. Never have I notice him getting angry to the point where he cannot control himself. Never have I heard him saying “no” to whatever I asked for, and never have I heard him complaining of being tired raising us four siblings.

My father barely smiles, he barely talks to us, he barely sits together with us during dinner, he never sang us lullabies, and he never asked “how are you feeling?”.

He never asked “why are you crying?”, he never asked “have you eaten?” probably because he knew what his children are capable of and being independent is what we turned out to be.

To put it into simpler words, he is the kind of man who will never put his feelings into words, what more to disclose anything in front of his children. Everyone has his own way of showing love. Proudly speaking, that’s my father’s way of raising his children.

When we cried because we missed our mother, he just stood there looking confused what to do. I knew at that time, he wanted to cry, fell on his knees, but he held back his tears because at the moment, he had to be strong.

Despite working very hard, going out early amidst breezy morning and coming home late at night, he never once neglected his responsibility. He made sure we get enough food to eat, that we are able to sleep under a roof and receive good education like other people who came from a complete family background.

I am pretty sure he had gone through hardship to get to where he is today, and it makes me wonder how he made it through without complaining to us and asking for help.

However, in my life, no matter how hard I cried, no matter how hard I fell, he was always there, not to help me back up, but to support me so that I can stand up on my own. And he corrected my steps so that I can look back and never repeat the same mistakes.

I knew that his way of teaching is different, but I am blessed to have him as my lifelong teacher because whenever I made a mistake, he never yelled at me for being wrong. Instead, he said he knew I could do better in the future. This time, I’m going to prove him right.

It made me realise what more I want from him. He worked all his life to make sure we lived a comfortable life until all of us are old enough to have our future folded in our hands.

Now that he knows what we are doing, it is time that we pay back all the exhaustion he had to go through. All the money and energy he had to spend on us to be where we are. If he barely smiles before, this is the time to make him smile. My heart has been longing to see him happy because all this while he was the one making us happy.

I want to graduate and give him everything that he deserves, because honestly he deserves the world. I want him to watch us later and say “I made it” because he earned it. Being a single parent means having to face plenty of struggle. It’s a journey for someone strong.

He would shed tears but won’t show his children. Just like when he got exhausted he never complained to his family members. He got sick but he never asked for help from his mother. I know that he missed his wife and missed hugging her. He fell on his knees, but each time he stood up stronger than ever. He is a superhero, my superhero.***

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