I can still remember the moment well . . .
Tracie, my wife, had passed away about two weeks before. It was a fall morning, and the last of the family members had just left about an hour before.
It had been, to say the least, a trying previous 10 months. I now found myself a single father with two kids, including a 12-month-son. I had to figure out what I should do next.
But it was the cry of my son, Sam, who then brought me back to the present moment. Time for a diaper change. I remember picking him up, putting him on the bed, and getting all the diaper-changing paraphernalia ready.
And it was at that moment, with my son lying on the bed looking up at me, that it occurred to me – I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
I don’t mean with the diapers. There had been plenty of those changed already.
I mean, I had no idea what I was supposed to do as a single parent. What should my next step be? How was I supposed to raise a baby? And what was I supposed to do with the baby food leftovers that I didn’t like? Sure, anyone can eat the pudding and bananas. But what about the English peas and strained carrots . . . ?
It was one of those moments you remember all your life. And I’m still not sure I’ve found the answer.
Over the years, I’ve developed a new sense of empathy for single moms and dads. I think most of us want to put our kids first, which is how it should be. The problem, though, is the obvious: there’s only one of you. And while your kids come first, what do you do about what comes second? And worse, what to do with what comes third, fourth, fifth? And tenth?