Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When One Parent Becomes TWO: An Ode to Single Parents

Every father's day I give my mother a gift. She was (and is) my dad after all. Sure, I knew my dad growing up, I was with him recently when he was nearing the end of his life, and he has to be one of the funniest men I've ever known, but he wasn't the father a child needs. He was absent, unavailable and selfish, but not my mom, she was dad enough for the both of them!

My mother was and still is my father in every sense of the word. She was up late nights caring for me during those usual childhood bouts with flu. She paid the catholic school tuition and those extras that came with me wanting to travel and become a cheerleader. She drove me to college, dropping me off and crying for the entire duration of her two-hour ride back home. She gave me the advice and provided the parental lectures (lectures that still apply today)! She set the rules and enforced them. She did everything for us... for all of her 6 children. My mother was our provider. She once even worked a day and night shift job to provide, losing sleep, scraping by with pennies and eventually working and saving enough to become a homeowner! Doing it all ALONE! She was mother and she was father.

I look at my children today and don't know how I could ever do this without my husband. We are opposite forces with our own special contributions to parenthood, we are a support system, and logistically, we make parenthood work without losing our collective minds. However, my mother did it all solo. She was the mother and the father providing, loving and guiding. She even was so kind to teach us kids to love, respect and want to know our absent father. What a woman! So this father's day, I'll do what I always do and give my mother a little gift and a long visit to show her just how much her single-motherhood meant to me then and means to me now!

On the other end of this, is my friend Justin. He recently was awarded full custody of his 4 year old daughter. When I met Justin many years ago he was the typical single guy living the single life. When he become a father there was a definite shift in his priorities, but it was when he became a single full-time Dad that his entire life shifted.

Justin moved across the country to be with his daughter. When him and his ex's realtionship ended, the easy thing would have been to come back home. To come back to his family and the life he knew. For Justin this was never an option, he was not going to leave his daughter, in fact he was going to fight for her. After years Justin now has full custody of his daughter. I follow his life on social media and his home is filled with princess dishes and princess movies play on his television as much as sports. It is obvious in everything he does that his priority in life is his little girl. He takes her to school, brushes her hair, makes her meals. All the things that traditionally would be a "Moms" job, Justin does, everyday.

Do you know a parent pulling double duty? Remember, we'll be sharing stories about dads all week. Feel free to submit shout outs for those mommas who wear both the mom and dad hat (and vice versa)!

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