"I'm a single father of two kids..."
These are only a few of the words he uttered across the table as he introduced himself, however they were the most surprising to me. He was the only man in the room as ten of us sat together for the first session of a workshop for people who were divorcing or already divorced. After I heard him say those words I immediately wondered how it came to be that he was raising two kids on his own. As the weeks progressed I learned a few more details about his single parenting situation, however not too many specifics.
Once the class was over we started texting and became friends. I helped him with a few decorating ideas at his new house and he helped me talk through some of the issues in my now defunct marriage. He went through something similar and was able to help me navigate my feelings and stresses. He became a good friend and someone I could lean on during the harder days.
More weeks went by and we realized we really enjoyed spending time together and started dating. We talked about our lives (especially our children), the past, mistakes we did not want to make again and we easily got to know each other. During this time I also learned more information about how he became a single dad and my admiration for him grew. Raising two kids on your own is not an easy task, and I knew the toll it was taking on him after three years.
Last Father's Day I gave my boyfriend a card because I wanted him to know how much I appreciated what he was doing for his children. I knew they were too young to really tell him themselves, and I continue to be wholly impressed by how well he handles and juggles everything it takes to bring up two children on his own. I wanted to make certain he knew I could see all of these things and for him to feel recognized for all of his hard work.
I have seen this man hurt for them and I have seen him cheer for them. I have heard him offer disciplinary words as well as encouraging ones. I have heard him call them special nick names and seen him hug them with pure love. I have seen him tuck them into bed after a really long day for everyone.
This coming Father's Day I hope to show him again how much of a hero and wonderful example he is to his kids and even to mine. I see everything he does for his two children, from helping them with their homework to washing their clothes. He makes sure they are protected and loved and has never run away from the hard things. Their father provides for them in every way and is giving them a strong foundation, almost completely on his own.
Someday his kids will also know the sacrifices he has made for them and how much it impacted their lives in a positive way. In the meantime, I plan to give him all the support I can as well as the accolades he deserves. Parenting has its challenges no matter what, but especially when you are doing it alone.
Here's to all the single dads out there but especially to the one I love. Thank you - your love for your children will forever be known and appreciated. More than you may ever see or know.
Happy Father's Day!