Diary of a Bachelor Who Suddenly Became a Solo Dad to a Teenage Girl
I was an 18-year-old father who couldn’t be there for his baby. I know, you’ve heard this one before. How about this part? Twelve years later Krystasia’s mom walked away and never came back.
Smile, Kern. Just fucking smile. Because guess what? Her mother isn’t coming. She’s not.
I told that to myself over and over again all evening. No matter how many times I looked over at the entrance to the banquet hall, my daughter’s mother wasn’t going to show.
Krystasia was on stage in a purple strapless dress I’d bought only a few days before this, her eighth-grade graduation. Names were being called in alphabetical order. By the time we got to J, I couldn’t stop thinking about what it would take for me to miss my daughter’s graduation. My own mother turned to look at me. She shook her head and rubbed my shoulder.
Krystasia was certainly smiling. I saw her braces shine when she chatted with a small group of friends at the end of the reception. I laughed to myself thinking about how she wanted to wear heels but was afraid she would fall on stage. Even without the extra height, she could look over her friends and see me watching her. She stuck out her tongue, and I rolled my eyes. How was she handling this so well? For one moment, I let my thoughts glide into the future. I saw Krystasia coming home from school and throwing her bag on the floor. I saw us eating tuna pasta for dinner and going for bike rides during the summer. Those images were so clear it finally added some peace of mind.
Then I snapped back to reality. I didn’t even know where we were going to live. I didn’t know where she was going to go to high school. I didn’t know if we’d eat tuna pasta every night or if I could cook any other dishes Krystasia would actually enjoy.
Did I have any idea how to raise a teenage daughter on my own?