Single mothers

Father’s Day with No Dad

June 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm , by

This hasn’t been my best week as a single mom. Last weekend I was terribly sick with bronchitis; I needed to crawl back in bed and stay there all weekend. Instead, I went on what I’ve been terming the Single Parent’s Death March. This when you need to be in bed but your active 4-year-old is totally done with TV after 2 hours and if you don’t get out of the house somebody’s gonna kill somebody, you’re not sure who will be the perpetrator, but it’s clear that blood will be shed. So instead of lying comatose under the covers, coughing and sneezing pitifully and giving a grateful, rheumy-eyed half-smile to the person bringing you chicken soup, you get dressed, get out, and start walking. You walk all day. In the park. Through the zoo. Through the street fair. To the playground. After about a 7-hour Death March you can go home, make dinner, clean up and collapse, so you can start the next day’s Death March bright ‘n’ early. Maybe this isn’t just single parents, to be fair—I guess if your kids aren’t in school and you’re a stay-at-home parent, you have the same situation on weekdays. But anyway… delightful.

So I’m barely recovered from my bronchitis/Weekend Death March experience and oh, joy! It’s Father’s Day week! And my kid has no dad. His preschool is planning a Donuts for Dads party. At the Mother’s Day Breakfast, the kids all sang, “Mommy loves me, this I know, for she always tells me so,” to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me.” Mommy as Jesus… a little weird, but who am I to argue? It worked out fine, since all the kids had moms. But was my son going to have to sing similar lyrics for Father’s Day, detailing his loving relationship with the father he does not have? My dad died when I was 22 months old, and I remember dreading school Father’s Day celebrations, which never made room for students like me. Instead, they were a yearly reminder both of my loss and of my marginality. I needed better ideas, stat. Read more