Recently I was driving and listening to the radio. Usually I listen to music, but I caught a local radio show and the topic was single parenting. I thought it would be interesting to listen to, since I was a single dad for more than ten years. What struck me about the radio show and the hosts was the fact that the single dad guest on the show was wealthy and well-to-do, and according to him, so was his wife. As I drove I found my phone and set it to dial. I thought I would be able to call in and share some of my perspective with the listeners, but I was too late. The show ended shortly after I had picked it up.
Because it stayed with me, I thought I’d write this and share my advice and anecdotes with you. This isn’t a “how-to,” or self-help book. It’s just a way to offer my perspective. I have always been surprised at how few single fathers with sole custody there were. I’ve only met two in nearly twenty years.
I guess a dad raising a boy would be one thing, because it doesn’t sound too unusual. But I had no idea how to raise children, let alone a little girl! I was the youngest of four boys. First came Bill, then Bob, then Scott. Scott died at just six months old. My brothers were born years before me—Bill is eight years older than I am. When I came along, I guess you could say I was the “unexpected surprise.” Much later, my dad told me much.
As a young, idealistic man, I decided I would never marry or have children. Perhaps it was because of the struggles I saw with in own family, growing up. As a grown man, I realize that my parents did the best they could with what they had. I know now that their lives couldn’t have been easy. My parents grew up during the Depression, part of “The Greatest Generation.” They had me late in their lives. My father was about 38 years old when he had me. My mother was ten years younger than my dad. Ironically—or coincidentally—I was 38 when my daughter was born. They met and fell in love in Hawaii during World War II. Dad was from upstate New York and mom was from Pennsylvania. Dad was enlisted and mom was a nurse. Their love was ‘forbidden’ in the military, but that didn’t stop them.