My story is one of struggle and work but with a wonderful reward. Where a man came in and fulfilled a much-needed role missing in too many homes. The absent father.
This is the other side of single motherhood. The advent of the Substitute Father. This is when a man comes in and has a relationship with a single mother.
Our Love Story
It starts like all other relationships, man meets woman. Man falls for Woman. Woman has a child from a previous relationship. Suddenly Man has a new child to father.
Now as this is my story I need to give a little background. I was a bachelor with no children when I met this woman, never had any experience with fatherhood or raising children in any way.
So, one day after the wedding happens, suddenly this single man has a whole family. After the usual panic attack and the momentary self recrimination he gets to work.
Now don’t get me wrong this man has met the child before and in fact has a good relationship with him. There is a huge difference between being the boyfriend and being the new daddy.
Going From Stepfather to Father
The day comes where have to step up and father this young boy who has never had a male figure in his life with the exception of an absent and bitter father, A biological father who does not want to pay for his child.
So this day comes when the child has a need for direction, for a man to show him how to be a man. Now this is my job and I have absolutely no idea how to fulfill this in any meaningful way so I go to my backup plan.
The wonderful and all connecting Xbox.
So we sit together one day playing some game in which I am bad at and we begin to talk. It is slow at first with basic small talk. Talk about the game and instruction on how to get better at it, that was him instructing me as he is a natural wizard at it.
Small talk leads to something a little deeper and before you know it we two are connecting on a new and different level. A level that probes the hurt and pain that he feels at the abandonment by his biological father, the anger that he feels towards his mother and the lack of hope for a real future.
My heart breaks at his words but I know that I must be strong and give him the support and advice that he needs at this time. I take a deep breath and begin to tell him my own story of abandonment, of my lack of a father in my life and the negative effect that it had in my life.
He sits and listens to me while I recite my story, the game forgotten. Time goes by, questions are asked and honestly answered. On both sides, a deeper connection is made between two men, one an angry teen and one a confused and scared adult but more importantly between a father and a son.
Being a Father is Hard Work
This was one the first of many conversations between myself and him. Conversations that were not always polite or civil. Angry words were said by both parties. Punishments and rewards were handed out. Love was created and nurtured.
Now he has moved on in his life, graduated High School and has been offered a scholarship to a local college. My son went from lost and lonely, desperate and afraid with no hope to a wonderful young man with a future. I like to think that my calm influence had something to do with that.
I say this not to pat myself on the back but to show that it can be done. For men out there who are in or entering into a relationship with a woman with a child.
You are the FATHER and it is your responsibility to act the part. It does not matter if your seed is their seed. Anyone can get a woman pregnant but it takes a real MAN to be a FATHER.
What do you think it takes to be a good father?