A DAY THAT (ALMOST) BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE

by Steve Clem on February 8, 2010

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was originally written, before the blog “A Prisoner in the Tundra” was started. It was originally written as a Facebook note on 3/22/2009. Tonight, I ran into the dad mentioned in the story again, and it brought back my memory of the day written about below. For those who have already read it, thanks, and for those who haven’t, enjoy. -Steve

So today was camp day for the Cub Scout den my youngest son belongs to. We had an awesome day of bonding…hiking and looking at wildlife, doing skits, learning how to use a compass in the woods, talking about deer poop.

At one point during a hike, the dads all congregated at the back of the line of the hikers, and the conversation turned to the economy. We all talked about some of the things that have been impacting us, and I was blatantly honest about my situation as a single dad who pays 50 percent of my kids’ expenses despite the fact that I make far less (well nowadays even more so) than their mom does. The law would not set it up to be this way, but I agreed to it because I’m 50 percent of their parents.

Fast forward to the dinner time prep, and another dad, one I had not met before today, approached me. He asked if he could tell me something. I said sure, assuming it would be something like “your gas is really stinky, I smelled that bomb you dropped on the hike.”

He looked me in the eyes and very genuinely said “I want you to know you are really great dad.” Kind of threw me, since I wasn’t expecting that. Not something I’m used to hearing often. He went on to say “I know I don’t really know you, but I can tell you have sacrificed alot in your life for your sons. That is something that money can’t buy.”

We had about a 30 minute conversation after that, and he talked about his first marriage, and how because of difficulties with his ex, he was not active in the kid’s life that he had with her. He essentially said in the fight or flight moment, he chose flight. And he told me I could have done the same, but I didn’t. He told me he could see how much my son that was there admired me, and that I was doing an incredible job.

So it made me think, too many single dads are not praised out there. We always hear what a great job single moms do, and they deserve that praise. But single dads need a shout out now and again too. So I’m raising my glass to the single dads out there. Cheers!

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: