Having a parent present is a right, not a privilege.

Over the past few days, my Twitter timeline has discussed only one topic: the privilege of having a father. It is very common for this topic to appear in streams of tweets, and this time the reason was a post by a woman who showed some bowls of ice cream that her father bought to recover from surgery.

I have a Twitter profile since 2011, and I feel like it’s a crime to comment on father figure gestures of affection. I feel that if I told there all that my father does and does for me, I will fall into the fine web of people’s judgment.

This wave of judgments about who has a father present can be explained, in part, by the large number of children who grew up without knowing their father in Brazil. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), 12 million mothers support the family alone, and 57% of these live below the poverty line.

In addition, according to the CNJ (National Council for Justice) as of 2013, there were 5.5 million Brazilian children without the father’s name on the birth certificate.

One of my sisters used to tell us, being black and poor women, the only privilege not taken away from us is the father present. I partially agree, for me a parent is a right, not a privilege.

My father, Cosmo dos Santos, is 56 years old, born in Villa Leopoldina, in western São Paulo, but grew up in the northern suburbs of Taipas. He lost his father in childhood, but does not remember his exact age.

I grew up knowing nothing about my paternal grandfather. At home, my father said nothing, and for a long time I thought that he did not even know the same.

One day I asked him: “Dad, how was your childhood?” You just heard, “It was hard.” I tried to extend the topic and asked about my grandfather, he saw my message and didn’t reply to me anymore. After insisting, he told me that his father died in his sleep.

His memories of his father were in a bar in his backyard. Furthermore, he remembers that he was once reprimanded for taking a bullet from the establishment.

Family photo in the 90’s @ Personal Archive

I suppose growing up with my mom just made my dad want to be good to us and be there. He is a father of three girls, who raised us to study and be better in life, he always tells us.

He usually does not know how to show feelings and is always rude with words, on the other hand, he shows affection with food, loves to cook and sees us well-fed.

In fact, the food in the house was always plentiful. My parents went through many needs in their childhood, and if there is one thing my dad has always given priority to is food – he goes to the fair every week and the freezer in his house is always full.

My father started working informally when he was still young to help support the house. At the age of 16, he got his first official job at a mining company. He also worked as an office boy and used to say that thanks to this job he got to know the whole city. At the age of 27, he became a government employee.

Already with a daughter, he remembers, that in 1993 he did not receive the salaries of the first three and mom who had been supporting the house during that time. She was born two years later and the youngest daughter was born after that.

My mother started working at the age of 13 with domestic services and at 17, after meeting my father, she also got her first official job in a metalworking plant on his recommendation. He always worked as a cleaning assistant.

She taught us to appreciate and respect our father, no matter what. I think this comes from her father’s lack of it – she wished she had spent more time with him. Born in Parana, she lived with her father until she was 11, when she lost him to a death in the city of Mawa, in greater São Paulo. After his death, she, my grandmother, and six other siblings moved to Taipas.

I always remember hearing her comment about how her and her siblings’ lives became more difficult after their father passed away. From this grandfather I inherited a name and some genetic traits and heard many tales.

Now that I no longer live with my father, I come to visit him on commemorative occasions, such as my birthday, where he prepares lunch. I get lunch boxes with my favorite foods and miss being able to have dinner with him every day.

It’s not worth commenting on what he did and did for me, but I feel so grateful as I write this. thanks Dad!

Tatián Araujo dos Santos

Tatien Araujo

A journalist passionate about telling and listening to stories, loves streets, cats, music and audiovisual production. Correspondent from Barueri since 2021.

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