By Joan Wilson
Caribbean Globe Staff Writer
Publicist, artiste manager and producer Ralston Barrett will be the first to tell you that he never imagined himself being a single father. When he thought of having a family it was with a wife by his side, with both sharing the load.
When his marriage fell apart, Barrett was left with the sole responsibility of raising his beautiful daughter Symphony. Barrett learnt several things along the way. Among them was the hard fact that he can only try to do motherly things but could never fill that gap.
He admits to his heart tearing apart when his daughter cries uncontrollably for her mother and he is unable to comfort her. “That for me was one of the hardest things to deal with. A mother’s love is irreplaceable,” he said recalling the moment he took charge. Symphony was one year old when his wife, from whom he is now separated, told him to take her.
“It has been quite a challenge especially where time is concerned because she is so attached to me. Although I hired a live-in helper, I still had to spend a lot of time at home to make sure that she’s ok,” Barrett said.
Barrett who makes his living having to be at the computer writing press releases or other writing tasks said sometimes it is very hard, as she needs constant reassurance and attention. He notes that she would cry every time he tried to go through the door.
“Trying to do all the things that a mother would do is a big challenge overall,” he sighed.
Now a pro at changing diapers, even sometimes taking on the challenge of combing her hair, Barret said he wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world.
“We have a very close bond, it’s like we’re inseparable, we love each other a lot. I like to spend time with my daughter, we watch TV together, listen [to] music and play. I also like to read to her,” he said.
Barrett who considers himself a father extraordinaire, said he wishes they would give fathers a break instead of the bad rap they often get in Jamaica.
Stressing that there are a lot of good fathers around, he said they shouldn’t be cast into the mud with those who have failed to live up to their responsibilities as fathers, because everyone is not the same.
For fathers who have to be charting the course alone as a parent, Barrett is encouraging them not to give up, but to “stay on the course” and to do the best for their children.
“For the fathers who are not taking caring of their children I have two things to say: It’s not too late to do the right thing and take care of your children. If you fail to do the right thing you will regret it in the long run,” are his warning words.
Today, Father’s Day, Barrett will enjoy the day with the love of his life – Symphony whom he describes as a blessing.
“I’m extremely happy that l am a father to Symphony. I never thought I could love anyone so much and I never knew anyone could love me so much. My daughter inspires me to be the best version of myself daily. I love her with all my heart she’s my why.”