This is what a good father looks like.
Raising a daughter alone hasn’t been an easy task for 21-year-old Richard Johnson, but it’s clear his mature attitude and love for the baby Persephone is getting him through just fine.
In a moving letter posted online this week, Las Vegas man Johnson explained that the baby’s mother left when the child was just a month old. Johnson still isn’t sure why, but he suspects “post-partum depression played a part.”
At first, Johnson was terrified that he would fail his daughter.
“I was so nervous and scared about being a father in general, but now I was a single father and had to fulfill two roles. I wasn’t sure I could do it,” he wrote in an open letter posted to Facebook page Life of Dad.
“I spent more then a few nights holding my little girl as she slept weeping because I wasn’t sure I was going to be a good enough father for her.”
But he said he had drawn strength from parenting books and online communities of other fathers.
“I had read every ‘new parent’ book I could find and clocked in over 1000 hours in YouTube videos from everything to braiding hair and painting nails to theories on how to deal with common parental issues,” he wrote.
“We’re both very happy now and continue to grow together everyday. She’s now 10 months, and I now get asked by my friends for parenting advice constantly.
“We’ve come a long way, my daughter and me.”
The Facebook post has gone viral this week, having already attracted more than 93,000 likes.
In a follow-up post, the young man shared some words of advice for other parents facing frightening or isolating situations.
“If you ever feel like the load is too much or you’re just not good enough. Look into your amazing child’s eyes and just tell them you love them,” he said.
“You’d be amazed to see how much strength you have when someone else is counting on you and loving you more and more for what you’re doing. You’ll find strength where you thought you had none.”
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Johnson’s touching account of his journey as a single dad has drawn hundreds of responses, including advice from other fathers and words of praise from around the globe.
“Very lucky to have a father like you, little girls need their daddies,” wrote Heather Bowers.
“Richard: Have no fear, I already know you’re a super awesome dad because you took on the role as mom and dad,”Marie Simmons Theobald said.
“You’re a true superhero in your daughters eyes and I have so much respect for you,” Paula Crowell Marrero commented.
“So proud of you for stepping up….we need more dads like you,” added Lisa Davis.
We wish Richard and little Persephone all the best.