Drugs do not discriminate. They accept all race, religions, and ethnicities. A drug does not take responsibility for what occurs after it has been used. It blames the user and the user alone. My father was a drug user. He abused drugs for his own pleasure. He neglected his responsibilities as a father and gave up on his life to fulfill his addictions, happily blaming others for his bad behavior and decisions. My father was blinded by the white fog that consumed his mind. The desired craving was cocaine.
My mother was 21 years old when she married my father. Shortly after, she became pregnant with me and her life took an unexpected turn. What my mother thought was going to be a fairytale ending turned out to be a nightmare. She was alone for most of her pregnancy and had only the company I provided to her during the lonely nights while my father was out searching for his next fix.
On May 30th, a child was born and my mother focused on nothing but me. A child is dependent on the one who brought them into this world. My mother always told me, “You never know how much you could love someone until you have a child. The love a mother has for her baby is infinite.” She proved that to me on a daily basis. During the time when my father went missing for days, my mother occupied herself with being a mother, caring for her newborn baby, and focusing on giving her child the world.
Neglect would be too nice of a word to express my father’s decisions. We are in the year 2019, and my father is still a neglectful person. His drug addiction along with his actions and bad decisions got him deported when I was just a few years old. Although my mother cared for her husband, she understood that the feelings were not mutual. His addiction became the child he cared for. His cocaine became the main focus of his days and nights. He was married to the drug.
Traveling back and forth to the Middle East was how my summers were spent. I would visit my paternal family, and that was always memorable. I can’t say I recall memories with my father because I spent most of my days playing with my cousins. When I was about 4 ½ years old, my mother unexpectedly became pregnant. She contemplated the pregnancy because she was already a single parent raising a child all on her own.
At the age of 5, however, I became a big sister. The true excitement of having a sibling is unimaginable until they start to get into your toys and terrorize you. For the most part, I enjoyed having a baby brother. Our father met my brother when he was two months old. That was the first and last time he ever saw his son face-to-face.
As years passed, we maintained contact with my father as best we could. My father was not ashamed to ask my mother for money. The lies he would feed us gave us hope that he would return home to us, but he remained a teller of untruths. Mom had a feeling that he was extending his love with words for money to support another family he created overseas. Now, religiously speaking, having more than one wife is acceptable. The way for it to be acceptable is to provide everything to both wives evenly and truthfully. You must provide your first wife with notice of your intention to take on another spouse, and must provide the same attention and contributions to her as you would to the other. That was a complete fail on my father’s part.
Come to find out, my father had remarried, and even had a son. Shortly after that, his new wife left unexpectedly, leaving him with a baby to care for all on his own. Since my mother kept communications open with him for the sake of my brother and me, he told my mother what happened. As the child grew older, before my father remarried his fourth wife, with whom he presently has four other children with. Most would assume that with having quite a few children, you wouldn’t have the time to focus on drugs. Well, not my father. He is an unusual breed.
About two years ago, my father was found unconscious on the side of a road. He was rushed into the hospital and placed in an induced coma. The doctors contemplated whether or not he would survive. The final result was that he had overdosed on synthetic marijuana. My biological father was lucky to be alive. His decision to use drugs could have changed the lives of his wife and children overseas. As for me, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. I have learned to accept that my father was not a father to me. He was an image I had in my heart as a young girl who became a stranger as I grew older.
In our youth, we expect our mothers to teach us certain values, as our fathers teach us others. My mother had to take on both roles until my stepfather came into the picture. As a young girl and teenager, I struggled to accept my stepdad. I knew I had a father already and the thought of another man coming into my life was overwhelming. I became withdrawn from my family. I became rebellious in the sense that I did not want to do what I was told to do by my stepfather. I knew he wasn’t my father. I wish I knew then what I know now as an adult; that my stepfather was a huge blessing in my life.
In Middle Eastern culture, it is not common for men to take on the role of a father for another man’s children. Most of the time, the mother has to give up her children to the ex-husband or his family in order to move on and find another spouse. My mother was blessed to have been given a man like my stepfather, who took on the role proudly. My story is one of those rare cases where there is a happy ending. If I had not been given the opportunity to have a father figure in my life, regardless of how I treated him, I do not believe I would be the person I am today. I do not think I would value relationships the same way I do today.
Once I got married and moved out of my parents’ home, my relationship with my step-dad became much better. I value him as a person. I appreciate the support he has given to my mother. I admire the love and care he has given to my grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s many years ago. My stepfather cared for her as though she was his own mother. I acknowledge all the efforts he has made for me and my family. I was truly blessed to have been given a real man to call BABA.