Richard Johnson just wanted to be a normal father in a normal family. But only one month after his daughter was born her mother vanished with the baby to California. She then changed her mind, telling Richard that if he didn’t come to get the baby, she’d put her up for adoption. He couldn’t bare the thought of this, so went straight there to pick up the child. Richard admitted to being very scared about being a single father and felt daunted about the prospect of fulfilling both parental roles.
He hunted around for help on the internet and stumbled upon a website called ‘Life of Dad’. It’s content helped him through those tough early months and he wrote a letter to the pages founder to say thank you. Since Tuesday, the post has had over 15,000 likes, and more than 800 supportive comments.
“Not only do you sound like a great father, but also a compassionate person,” wrote one woman. “It probably hasn’t been easy for you, but I think you deserve extra props for speaking like a true father & man on behalf of your daughter’s situation/relationship with her mother.”
Another added: “You sound like a very positive person, your baby is lucky to have a dad like you. [sic]”
In a recent interview with Yahoo parenting he said “At first, when I was alone, I was so depressed that I didn’t want to see a bunch of happy couples with their kids. But as I came out of that, I was checking Life of Dad and saw there were other single dads out there. There’s such a terrible stereotype of deadbeat dads, but I know that’s not always the case. Sometimes people are dealt a terrible hand, and it’s inspirational to read their stories.”
Interestingly Richard has moved in with another woman who has a six month year old child. The relationship isn’t sexual, they just share all of the parenting duties between them. He has described her as his ‘rock’.
Richard is determined that Persephone should still have a motherly influence. “I was never around babies, I certainly did not know anything about girls, but I asked around to older friends who had raised girls. I practiced braiding hair and, I’m not bragging, but now I can braid hair better than most women can. She still has no hair, but I want to be prepared!” he said.
“Now I look forward to every day because it’s so incredible to see her,” he said. “She smiles when I look at her. She’s my best friend and my little shadow. I talk to her about everything – I know she doesn’t completely understand what I’m saying, but one day she will…”
We wish them both all the best. I think Richard sounds like he is a wonderful dad and will always be there for Persephone.