Single Dads are Special

Single Dads are Special

For those of you who don’t know, I was raised by a single father. My mother lived, for most of my life, a plane-ride away. Parenting is tough. I didn’t realize how tough until I was a parent. Sure, my dad had help in the form of his own parents and a nanny. My mother also took us for a month each summer and some of the Christmas holidays, but for the most part, Dad was the first parent contact on my school forms and the one who tucked me into bed.

I have written about my father on a couple of occasions and don’t know how, but the Huffington Post contacted me to write a short love letter to my Dad for Father’s Day to appear today. I am still giggling about even being asked.

It started me thinking (Danger!). It is unusual that I was raised by my father. Especially in the 70s (I know, shocker how old I am), women almost exclusively retained custody of their children unless their mother was completely batshit. My mother is not batshit. I know a little about the why we were with my dad, and truthfully, it doesn’t matter. My childhood was filled with good things and I felt loved. My parents have never said an angry or disrespectful word about one another and I am proud of their relationship. They just couldn’t live together so they made a decision that made them both happy which is ultimately what makes kids happy.

I have written about getting my first period with daddy in charge on BluntMoms. I have written about our home the hub, and about being raised in a small town. But after being contacted by HuffPo (I feel that we now have an intimate relationship and I can call them by their nickname), maybe there are more stories than I have been telling. My perspective on the world, as a woman, has always seemed different. I am more ‘fix it yourself’ than I am, ‘call someone.’ I have never considered myself girly, dainty, or even feminine. I forget sometimes that Mister wants to hold the door open for me, because I have always been independant. I’m not sure I am even entirely qualified to teach my daughter the girly things. In fact, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I first braided her hair. I had down-right refused until it was mandatory at her dance competitions. PS: I got pretty good at it.

The story I wanted to tell happened in grade five. I remember it clearly because it made an indelible mark. It starts with me spending many weekends at the baseball diamond with my brother playing and my dad coaching. For years, I assisted or watched until I was given a ‘job’ counting jujubes at the concession. I liked baseball, mostly because my father did. He taught me how to work in my glove and throw overhanded and we would play catch together. When we were given a project in grade five to do any crafts we liked, I wanted to do something about baseball.

My father suggested I make something out of the roll of copper wire in our basement. Didn’t y’all have rolls of it in your basement? We did because our family owned an electrical contracting company so it was never unusual for us. I made this fabulous 3D baseball player, complete with bat, by wrapping copper wire around pencils and other objects and gently removing the forms to leave a spring-like baseball player. My dad taught me how to solder it together. I painted the platform black and, in cursive, put the words “Play Ball” in more copper wire. It was majestic.

I put my art with all the others on the craft table for evaluation by the teacher. My bully had a Raggety Ann doll that I knew was made from a kit because I had seen that kit at the fabric store when I had been shopping with my grandmother. I thought that was cheating but the teacher did not because that bitch she got the highest mark in the class.

Keep in mind, I was a straight A student.

I got a C. My one and only C in my student career that I can remember. I even approached the teacher about it, surely it was in error. I worked my ass off for that project and it at least deserved something in the B range. It may not have been all the girly doll-type stuff my classmates had submitted, but it was pretty cool. It bobbled around when you knocked the table it was on like it was ready for the pitch.

I cried when my teacher told me that C is correct because I had clearly not done it myself. I tried to explain how my dad had taught me how to solder and the methods I used to wrap the wire. He didn’t buy it. C was my mark and it was taped directly to my baseball guy on that craft table as a reminder to my classmates that I was different.

I called my dad to see if he still had that piece of art in his place, and he struck out. Instead, I thought I would post a video of me soldering to prove my point, but I couldn’t find the solder. Again, I struck out. Just know, I can do it.

Here are the articles I thought you might like if you like this one. This is where I am on HuffPoHere on BluntMoms, the basketball court in our backyard, my worst bullying incident, and the small-town lessons.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, step-dad and Mister. You are all amazing and I am blessed to have you.


Comments

  1. I love this so hard, and what a gorgeous picture of you! Bummer, Dude. I wanted to see a pic of your project. I am so mad about the C and the assumption you could not have made that yourself. Seriously. I am mad.

    • I am still sore about that. I was the only one in my grade who even came from a divorced home, so I often felt different. This one made me mad too though! Why couldn’t I be interested in soldering?

  2. I totally agree that single dads are way cool! It seems like kids don’t get away with stuff when dad’s in charge. They don’t really try, because it’s just like that with dads.
    Now, I’m a single mom to five kids, and it’s not that easy to be the dad too. So today, I received a happy father’s day card from my youngest son, where he thanked me for being that for him. He has been a tough one, and at 19 he recognizes that single parenting is a BIG, double-duty job.

  3. I can’t believe your teacher was that sexist! Why couldn’t a girl know how to solder? Hoping that wouldn’t have happened today . . .

  4. Loved this. And I hope that teacher reads it and feels rightfully ashamed. (Of course, I also hope he’s suffering from a vigorous case of anal warts.) Happy belated Fathers’ Day to your dad and to all of the dads who took the time and made the effort to do the job right. The world would be a far better place if there were more of them.

  5. I was raised by a single mother and have no father so this day has always been a little weird for me. I usually take the opportunity to celebrate my mom again, and now I include her husband too, who is not my step-father but certainly treats the grandkids like he is.

    • What makes a step-father? My mother re-married but he never lived with him. He treats me like his own child so I have always thought of him as my bonus dad. (Maybe not always. I was an angry teen.) Single parents should really get more than one day anyway. Let your mom have Father’s Day too. She deserves it!

  6. Fuck her. I hope you still have that copper dude as a badge of honor.

  7. I hope that Raggedy Ann doll came to horrible, tragic end 😉

  8. Too bad your dad didn’t have a face-to-face with that teacher that included (among defending your work) bringing in the Raggedy Anne doll kit.
    People, y’all. They rustle my jimmies.
    But yay for having a swell dad! I needed this dose of positivism in my day/week!

  9. Your father sounds like an amazing guy. You may not have the copper figure and that ‘C’ is in the distant past but you still have the important stuff: your father, the memories of working with and learning cool things from him, and still being able to solder.
    Yeah, you don’t need to include a video. I believe you can do it.

  10. That’s too bad about the teacher’s attitude. Still, being a straight A student at least meant you had lots of other successes to console you. I would have been a straight A student myself but for the fact that someone invented mathematics.

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