“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
My children love SpongeBob, and one of the episodes which made me laugh until I peed my pants is when Patrick declared, arms up in the air, I’m a Daddy, exposing a bush full of arm pit hair. I tried researching the particular episode, however, to no avail. The point is, this weekend I had a similar epiphany when my son asked me to teach him how to shave.
My son, like too many unfortunate boys (or girls), does not have a relationship with his father. He has seen him, at one point in his life, every two weeks, however, my son never developed, a bond or a relationship. Now at 14 almost 15, the crucial teens, I must step up to the plate and play dad.
It actually started a few years ago, when, in the beginning of his teenage-hood, my son started asking natural, and very good questions about puberty and growing up. I answered as many as I could, however, at times I must admit, I called a man, or googled the answers to give my son information he can use. Thankfully, my son is not «high maintenance» and he isn’t sports minded either. He is an artist like me, so on that front, I am able to guide him well. Yet, lets face it, becoming a man is not my forte, yet I seem to get him through it with a little help.
A man, doesn’t have to be all macho and testosterone, sensitivity is important too.
I have prayed often for a male mentor for my son. His trust in men in general is not that high on the richter scale, and I do not blame him. My choice in men (before I started therapy) was not the best example for how I would want my son to behave, furthermore, the men I chose, didn’t really like my son all that much (don’t worry if he reads this, he knows, besides he wont read this). Why? Because my boy is different. Diagnosed with ADHD as a young child, he had difficulty staying still and often lacked self-control. I also suspect my son to be Aspergers. Not that I had him diagnosed, however, from the studying I have done over the years on this subject, and observing my son’s reactions to people and their emotions I KNOW he is somewhere on the scale Autism, which relates to Aspergers.
My son was often called cry baby, although I taught him it was ok to cry. His father also called him a wuss, pussy, mama’s boy, and other names you wouldn’t expect older men to call him. Men have called him lazy, and unappreciative, yet my son gives and never expects anything in return. Thus, my son is none of these things (lazy sometimes just like his mom) yet, he also works very hard a remaining authentic, not somebody that someone else wants him to be. For this I am proud.
What is a single mom to do? How do I carry the load of being a mom and a dad? Well, basically I can never be his dad, however, I can be there for him during those times when he would need a father to turn to. Every question or milestone he has gone though has helped me be a better parent. I am more open, and honest, and I explain sexuality calmly and quite comfortably. I must thank my father, who was quite open on the subject with my brother and I, and now I can pass this on to my children.
“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.” – Garrison Keillor
Lets just declare: I’m a Daddy!!
Pass around the cigars and celebrate my fatherhood too… just like my dad celebrated his. Here is a little story:
As a little girl, I used to watch my father shave every single day. I was in total awe of my dad, thus, I often peeked into the bathroom as he was applying the shaving cream, and gently gliding the razor blade across his face. I remember the feeling in my heart of pure adoration. As my dad’s face emerged from the cream after every stroke of the razor, my eyes widened as he revealed his smooth handsome face.
But before shaving, I almost always asked him (with the shaving cream on) to play Santa and he would «Ho Ho Ho» just for me, and go ahead to put a dab of shaving cream on my nose… Be still my heart!
All this to say, I felt really comfortable teaching my son how to shave his mustache for the first time. I took a razor (with the blade covered), put on some cream on my upper lip, and gave him the play-by-play on hair removal.
It was a blast to watch him, he was afraid of cutting himself, so he needed a little do over. Yet, all in all, it was a success, and we got through this milestone together. Thus, I believe, after all we have been through as a family, I am blessed with a life which allows me to be there, not only for my son, but for my daughter too.
I may not be able to teach my son how to fix a car, or how to drive, however, I can give him the tools he needs to get to the next phase of his life: manhood.
And if once and awhile I have to trade my mom hat for a dad hat.. well then so be it.
Mom and dad, single parent , aunty or uncle… Parenting is an art… all it takes is a little creativity. So get that cream on your face and sing: Ho Ho Ho!!