Place for Sissies
Bill E. Branscum ©2001
It's tough to be a single Dad, it's a whole new world
and, depending upon what kind of husbands and fathers
we were, how much of a contribution we made around the
house and what we know how to do, it can be overwhelming.
To those "Manly Men" who never washed a dish,
wiped a butt, or swept a floor before the wife finally
gave up in despair and frustration and left you with it
all, I wish you the best of luck. Being the wonderfully
compassionate soul that I am, I'm not going to say a word
about "poetic justice."
Your past performance notwithstanding, I do want to encourage
you to see this as the challenge it is, and rise to the
occasion, laboring under no illusion that being "Mr.
Mom" in any way diminishes you as a man. I suppose
it's a question of definition, but in my mind, a "man"
does what he's called to do, and needs to do, for those
who depend upon him.
You're either a man or you're not - you can meet your
responsibilities as a father taking care of your children
without fear that it will turn you into some sort of pitiful
"wuss." This is truly no place for sissies.
|I have navigated grocery carts down a thousand
aisles all by myself, picking my way thru Publix and finding
my way to the door. I can still program a LORAN, or a GPS
unit, and navigate an offshore powerboat to anyplace it has
the fuel to reach. I can fly a single engine aircraft as well.
|I have changed my share of diapers, I have wiped
my share of little butts and I am proud of the fact that no
child of mine ever had a rash due to my inattention. I can
still change my own tires and I can press a four-speed truck
transmission into place without benefit of a jack.
I can read a cook book and follow a recipe - my Hollandaise
Sauce is, "to die for" and no child of mine has
ever eaten anything that came frozen in aluminum foil.
Chilton and Haynes write books for me too - I can still
tune up my truck, replace brake pads and repack bearings.
I haven't suddenly gotten confused over which end of the
pool stick to hit the cue ball with either.
I like baking, and I like boxing; I'm no expert at either
one but my baking hasn't got people suddenly kicking sand
in my face.
I really do like baking. In fact, I was offered the opportunity
to "Chair" the Laurel Oak PTA Baking Committee
- I am proud to say that they asked me to fill that position
because I make cookies, brownies, fudge . . . as well as
anyone, and significantly better than most. I accepted that
responsibility and I was tickled to death to do it. I have
made a lot of wonderful things from cookies to fudge, from
pies to ice cream.
The children in my kids classes all know me as, "Dook's
Dad" or "Ryan's Dad" or oftentimes, "Mr.
Mom." My own kids call me that and my personalized
license plate says "MR MOMS." I find that the
license plate doesn't slow down that new Trans Am's Corvette
engine at all.
Last year, I put Dook on a school bus for the first time
and it surprised me that I had tears in my eyes. This year,
Ryan got on the bus but the emotion that went with it was
no suprise to me. Next year, Megan, the last of my little
ones, will get on the bus; unless I find someone to make
me more babies real quick, I'm going to find myself home
I am not looking forward to putting my Meggie on that bus.
Macaulay Culkin couldn't begin to imagine the kind of trouble
a man my age, wonderfully immature and gifted with a marvelous
imagination, can get into "Home Alone!"
Last Thanksgiving, like every year, I prepared an elaborate
dinner for my kids - I made everything on the table from
the Blackberry Wine to the Butter Almond Ice Cream. I did
it again this year too.
It isn't all fun though. Fever, Vomit, diarrhea, wet sheets
- I've handled it, and I'll go on handling it. I do a dozen
loads of laundry every week and I've handled lots of mops
and brooms, yet I find that I am as competent a marksman
as I ever was, proficient with pretty much anything that
shoots and I can still fire a 12 gauge with one hand.
My point is, my wrists have not gone even a little bit
"limp" from the housework.