It’s taken me almost a month to try to sit down an write this post. It’s been rattling around in my head for almost a month. And to be honest, I still don’t have the words.
It was just a regular day, no drama, nothing unusual to stir up emotions or longing, just a regular day. And that’s when he dropped the bomb.
My nine year old was sitting up front with me, we’re enjoying the warmer weather, jamming to some music and out on a regular drive.
“What was it like growing up with your dad forever?”
My heart dropped to the bottom of my stomach and shame rushed to my brain, making me feel hot and so sad. I knew what he was asking, he had cornered me with it, and I had nothing to comfort him with. But you know what, this is not about me and my reaction. This is about my son. My hurting son, my son who is longing for a father, my son who envies his friends who have one in their lives.
This is the same child that just a year ago, in tears said, “if he doesn’t show up this time, then he never needs to again.” This is the same child that for months would ask to see his father almost daily, calling him, pleading and crying every time he didn’t get to see his dad.
So back to the conversation, I floundered for a bit. “Yes, you know grandad is my father.” And then the next question:
“Did you get to see him? Did he go to your stuff?”
And then I realized, that other than what my kids see on TV and in their brief glimpses into their friend’s lives, they think everyone lives like they do. My heart just broke, right there in the car.
My children are not growing up with a man to teach them to be “handy” like I did. They are not growing up with a dad on the sidelines cheering them on. And they are not growing up with a dad who takes them outside to practice their sport or give them advice.
The statistics in our country about fatherless children are deplorable…I just started reading this list at Growing Up Fatherless, and it’s certainly something to make your stomach turn and your heart ache…even if I wasn’t seeing the day to day hurt in my own children’s eyes. So I’ve started searching, seeking guidance on what I can do to help, to fill the gap. And I’ve read some great advice (and some not so great statistics,) but I’d like to hear from real people, real moms who did it, real men women who overcame it! What worked, what didn’t, what do you wish had been done?
I cannot create the “ideal” father. I do not want to “date” just to find a dad. But I do want to do whatever I can to help heal my children, to bridge the gap. I know it will never replace the father that God intended all his children to have. But there must be something…
Articles I enjoyed that you might as well:
- Raising Fatherless Boys – I loved how succinct this article it. Clear, concise and to the point. It gave me clear direction on the things I can and the things I cannot do in this situation AND as I suspect continued to push at least some contact with the kids father which is something I have always believed – something, anything is better than nothing.
- Yahoo Question : What to do on Father’s Day – Of course, there are some smartass comments, which made me giggle and lightened the mood. But the bottom line is whether the kids can see or contact dad or not, this is a day that must be celebrated. No matter what else, always reassure your child that they were born of love and wanted, there is no “bad” side of them. And try to think of the good times with dad that the child can cherish, we all need those, and it just takes a couple.
- Raising a Fatherless Son: What Single Moms Need to Know – This article is actually a re-write of the first one and by the same author, but it highlights what a single mom CAN do, which is exactly what I’m looking for. I found the advice to be do-able and on point. If no other article, this would have gotten me started in the right direction.
- How Can a Single Mom Do It – While this article is a little wordy for my taste, it is the article that every newly single mom needs to read. It gives all the right pointers for getting started and the reasoning behind it, which is in my opinion the hardest part to here as a newly single mom.
- The Fatherless Family – This is one man’s story regarding growing up fatherless, and then he goes on to re-hash the related statistics, neither of which I found to be new information or very enlighting; however, towards the end he introduced me to a term that wraps up this whole situation very easily for me “Fatherneed.” That word speaks to me on so many levels. He goes on to reference several resources from well known authors which I will be checking out, so definitely worth the time for those two things.
- What Not to Say to a Boy who has No Father – While his circumstances were different then ours, I admire the way he cut to the chase and made it clear that there are three things no boy should hear. We forget how the simplest statement said in anger or despair can cut deep and change a child’s entire perspective. Whatever the circumstances, as adults we must guard the heart and minds of our young men.
- What About the Fatherless Families – I love the Biblical perspective on the fatherless. It saddens me that I have not seen the church step up to bridge the gap in a more hands on way, but I truly appreciate the perspective. It gives me hope that there are those who will some day as the statistic of fatherless homes grows larger with each passing year. And personally, I appreciate that they acknowledge how tough being a single mom is, sometimes just that recognition is enough to bolster me through another tough situation or time. I don’t think society really gets it, even in the acclaimed movie The Single Mom’s Club all the women are “saved” via a relationship and frankly that just hasn’t been my story.
- Manless Moms Equals Fatherless Children – A more analytical approach to how children become or stay fatherless written by women. I admit it didn’t help me too much on this particular quest, but I’ve saving it and sharing it because I think the site in general may have some good information so I want to go back and spend a bit more time evaluating it and perusing the other articles.