My mother and father were married when I was born, 16 years ago today. He wasn't as good of a father as I thought he was. My father was heavily on drugs and nobody could do anything to stop it. When my parents divorced, he was homeless and doing drugs. My mother would tell me that he was "sick" all of the time, but I didn't know what she meant. I asked for him and I wanted to see him. I couldn't understand why he didn't show up for my birthday and on Christmas. He didn't come to any school event. Every time I'd seen my father, he was standing in front of the store begging for change. He'd see me with my mom at the age of 7 and cry. With him having bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, you'd think he'd take his medicine, but he didn't. It worried me to death everyday that my Dad could die, being out in the streets on drugs. As I'd gotten older, over time it dawned on me that he wasn't going to come and see me like he'd always promised he would. He was somewhere getting high and that was all he'd cared about. He didn't care about me or how I was doing. My mother bought me nothing, no new clothes and I didn't get anything from him. I remember crying every night, wishing I could see my dad. I'd wished he was there to listen and take me to father-daughter dances, the movies, be there when I'd made it to the spelling bee. He was never there. I was on that stage, during the spelling bee, hoping that he would walk in and sit down. For my 13th birthday, he'd gave my mom a bag of clothes to give to me. When I'd looked in the bag, I was happy. But the moment I'd pulled out the item of clothing, a was so terribly disappointed. The bag was full of old people clothing, over-sized and the awful fabric. My mother's friends made jokes out of what he'd found to give me. I sat in the car with my face in my palms and cried. He humiliated me, not in front of my friends, but in front of my mother's friends. I felt so useless in that moment. My sister's dad would buy her everything and anything that she wanted, but I was the one left with nothing. I had no clothing, no shoes, and I'd gotten bullied in school for it. I would sit and watch my sister smile and be happy on her birthday, she'd had so many gifts. My mom often tried not to tell me what was really going on, but one day she'd let it all out. She told me my father was doing crack and he wasn't even paying child support. I didn't see him for a year. He'd called the house from a number that we didn't recognize and I couldn't believe it was him. He'd taken me to get an outfit and I went right back home. That day I was happy to see him and at night, I prayed that i'd get to see him again. The year of 2017, my 15th birthday, my Grandma took me and my father to the mall. He'd told me I could pick out any pair of shoes that I wanted. I was only originally supposed to get a pair of shoes but I'd gotten a outfit, too. My mother had went partying on my birthday that year and I'd gotten nothing because she was mad at me. By December, I'd seen my dad again and he was clean. He'd been to a rehabilitation center and he'd gotten clean. He promised me that when he got on his feet, he'd get me the things I needed. That time hasn't yet come and I'm not worried about it anymore. Even though my father is clean, he's living with my grandmother. He never calls to check up on me and when we do talk he often just sits in silence on the phone. Whenever I tell him I need anything, he always tells me he doesn't have the money. I don't believe him, but I do love him and at the end of the day, he is my father.
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