I need to applaud a very special group of people today: Single dads.
When I was 10, my parents divorced. Within a few years my dad rarely took advantage of his visitation rights. Unfortunately, that pattern seems to be repeating itself with my kids and my ex-husband, although he at least has the excuse that he lives six hours away.
However, in the past few years, I have become aware of some pretty amazing dads. They are the dads who, although no longer married to their children's mothers, are still very involved with their kids.
One of my friends has 50/50 custody with his wife. This limits where he can live, as he has to stay in his children's school district, and that in turn might place some limits on relationship or career choices for him. But he does this cheerfully because his children matter more to him than anything else.
Another accquaintance has custody of his daughters. I can't imagine that it is easy for a man to parent teenaged daughters on his own, but he is doing it, and doing a good job of it, from what I can see.
My own brother is a divorced dad, and although for many years he was an "every-other-weekend" dad, he never missed an opportunity to be with his son. He took my nephew on every one of his vacations, and often extended his weekends when they ended with a holiday. When my nephew turned 16, he moved in with my brother, and I am impressed with the positive effect my brother has had in his son's life.
In my Divorce Care group last week I was thrilled to hear several of the dads, some of them with very young children, brainstorming ways that they can stay involved with their children now that they aren't living with them any longer. These men are determined not to lose the precious relationships they have with their offspring, and they will go to great lengths to maintain those ties.
Being a single mom isn't easy, but people are quick to offer help. I have to wonder, though, if single dads get this same type of support? I hope they do.
These men are real men, real dads, and they have my admiration. Hats off to you, involved single dads!