Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Heart-Wrenching Story and Wisdom from a Feminist

The Impact of Divorce on Teen Girls
Yesterday, I got a double whammy. I read Russell Moore's excellent post with the tantalizing title of "Vampires, Teen Novels, and . . . Divorce?," and later I received an email from the National Center on Fathering with a heart-wrenching story of a teenage girl who, by reason of a divorce, writes a letter longing for her absent and uninvolved father. I think there is wisdon to be learned here.

The National Center for Fathering sponsors an essay contest called "What My Father Means to Me" and this is an essay from a 14-year-old girl named Crystal. Here is Crystal's Christmas wish:

I am 14 years old and my father left me when I learned to say "daddy." Even though my father's not around, in my heart he is always here. Every birthday and every Christmas I cross my fingers in hopes that my father will come home. Does my wish come true? No, but I never quit looking and hoping.

What really hurts is walking through the mall and seeing little girls with their fathers walking hand in hand. I can see how much he loves his little girl.

I see my father a lot in my dreams, but never does he turn around. I call for him, but he keeps walking away. I'd like to believe he misses me, but how can he miss a stranger?

Every time I blow the candles out on my birthday cake, I wish the same wish that I wished for the past 13 years. I wish that stranger would turn around and look at me. Maybe if he saw all the pain and suffering from living without him in my eyes, he would become a part of my life. For now all I can do is to wish and never give up hope, for hope is all I have to hold onto.

Even though it's hard to say, my father means the world to me and if I had the chance to tell him all of this, I would not change anything, but I would add a couple of "I love you's."

Now, Russ Moore's article quotes feminist Caitlin Flanagan saying this:
“Divorce in a young-adult novel means what being orphaned meant in a fairy tale: vulnerability, danger, unwanted independence. It also means that the protagonists must confront the sexuality of their parents at the moment they least want to think about such realities. It introduces into a household the adult passions and jealousies that have long gone to ground in most middle-aged parents, a state of affairs that is particularly difficult for girls, who have a more complicated attitude toward their own emerging sexuality than do boys, and who are far more rooted in the domestic routines and traditions of their families, which constitute the vital link between the sweet cocooning of childhood and their impending departure from it. The only thing as difficult for a girl as a divorce—if we are to judge from stories aimed at the teen market—is a move.”

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