Father’s Day without a father

Last year, I called my father on Father’s Day. He sounded like his old self, but he couldn’t keep up the conversation for long. A few days later, he died in his sleep of congestive heart failure. So this is my first Father’s Day without him.

But I’m not really without him. I can hear his voice and imagine what he’d say. His style of teasing has passed down through the family. Even my daughter does it sometimes.

I’m luckier than some people: I had a father. Hallmark now sells cards in its African-American line marked “for mother on Father’s Day,”notes City Journal’s Heather Mac Donald.

With 70 percent of black children born out of wedlock, with marriage a moribund custom in inner cities, Father’s Day does pose a problem. Hallmark has solved it with aplomb. The light scorn directed at the complaints of “children growing up without a father — without this and without that,” as if fathers were as discretionary as Tivo, is both an inspired way of minimizing the problem and a fair articulation of how fathers are viewed in poor black communities, and by large swathes of the aging feminist establishment as well.

Hallmark doesn’t offer no-father cards for whites or Hispanics, Mac Donald writes. Not yet.

About Joanne


  1. Everytime I think about children who are without fathers, I try to imagine the events in life where these children prevailed. The world has experienced times where fathers were absent and tragically died during times of war. I know it is not quite the same as fathers choosing not to be in their child’s life. However, perhaps it leaves the children, like my own, some consolation.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    There are [stop to count] at least a dozen children in my life whose bio dad evaporated. I can not imagine a life bereft of their regard along with the regard of my own children. Better to be childless than to be fertile but clueless.