Single parent, married parent

January 19, 2011

Andrew Hicks

A Facebook friend from my Christian school days posted a link on her wall to a blog entry by Single Dad Laughing, whose popularity went viral virtually immediately. One of her friends — in the comments section underneath — posted “Google this guy and ‘fake.’ Too sad.” So I did, and I read a couple other bloggers’ accusations that SDL somehow faked the high volume of his readership and is shamelessly provoking sappy emotional response so he can get on Oprah and sell books. Making most of this crap up, in other words.

But the dude posts every day and frequently writes the kind of crafted, detailed, argumentative essays that would get you an automatic A in any writing class. Whether he’s an opportunist or just an amazingly disciplined, passionate father, I am one segment of this man’s target audience. (Every other segment? Women, women, women.) I’m at home every day with two small, beautiful kids I adore.

The Single Dad Laughing post linked by my Facebook friend from Christian school was called “Real Dads Don’t Leave.” Now that I’m the main companion of a precious 2-year-old who is growing into her own personality and obviously adores me, I absorbed the following words, written about an absent father:

He’ll never know of the hundreds of Saturday morning snuggles that could have been his. He’ll never know of the hundreds of colorful drawings his child would have handed him over the years, made with tiny loving hands just for him. He’ll never realize that he left behind so many trips to the park or the zoo…

Even more sadly, he’ll never realize that he left behind a tiny person that would have looked at him as his hero. He’ll never know that he left a child who would have trusted him and loved him more than any other person reasonably should. And he’ll also never know that he left a child who would have done anything to be like him. To be like his daddy.

I was raised in a single-parent household for the majority of my childhood. My mom and dad divorced when I was in kindergarten or so. My brother Matt and I stayed with our mom, while Dad sometimes lived in town and sometimes didn’t. Looking back on memories, it seems like I saw my dad a fair amount until the age of 14 or so, but the vast majority of the parenting burden fell on my mom. Now that I’ve got kids, I can’t imagine taking care of them all by myself. My appreciation for all the hard work my mother put in with her two children has grown in leaps and bounds.

It’s also been the perfect time to get to know my dad as an adult. I mentioned a few weeks back that we’ve been having long phone conversations. I talk to my dad at least twice a week, usually for at least an hour. I hear the old stories and the years of practical and philosophical wisdom that can be applied to anyone’s life, and we tell each other about our lives today. He didn’t want to leave, he reminds me every now and then. His marriage failed, and he lost his family. It was tragic. It was heart-breaking. He wants to do everything he can for me to make it to the finish line as the Dad Who Stayed.

I have a wealth of love, support and sounding boards these days, from my immediate family to my parents and my wife’s parents, from old friends to new friends, from writing a blog to writing standup routines to writing and editing an online comedy magazine. I need to give back as much as I get, to my kids and everyone else who’s important to me.

And laugh as much as possible.


4 Responses to “Single parent, married parent”

  1. Rachel Price Says:

    I love being referred to as your your “Facebook friend from your Christian school” – :). People are awfully cynical in this day and age but I agree with you. Regardless of this guy’s motivation, most of his posts are right-on and seem sincere – even if they are a bit saccharine at times. Kudos to you on being a “present” and involved father. The highs will be higher and the lows will most certainly be lower but your children will never forget that you WERE THERE!

    • dadsdaytime Says:

      I was trying to protect your anonymity, Rachel Price. I should’ve just inboxed you to ask if I could use your name, but this way there’s an air of mystique. Or was, until you outed yourself. 🙂

  2. Kate Hayes Says:

    I love this post, Andrew! Very well done. Your kids are very blessed to have such an involved dad!

  3. Rachel Price Says:

    Anonymous was never a word I would use to describe myself… it’s all out there, like it or not! 🙂

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