I want his mommy
Life as a temporary single dad
I don’t have to look at a watch to know when it’s time for lunch. At around 11:30 a.m. my stomach starts to grumble. I’m ready to eat.
My gut kicked in once again on a Tuesday when my phone rang at 11 in the morning. It was my son’s school. Trouble.
The school nurse, who I have become all too familiar with, was on the line. She told me “Mr. Jack” had bumped heads with another little boy during a game of tag. Jack bled a bit from his mouth, his gums were swollen and his left front tooth was loose. He wants everyone to know that he didn’t cry.
Overall, he was OK, but now my kindergartner needed to go to the dentist to get checked out. Only one problem – I didn’t know the name of his dentist, what her practice was called or the phone number to reach her. I guess technically, that’s three problems, but you get the idea.
My wife flew to Washington D.C. over the weekend for work. She makes this annual trip and during that time I realize how helpless and hopeless I am. As a product of a single mother, I also tend to make more calls to my mom than normal just to say thanks.
As I write this, my wife’s on her way home, but here’s a quick overview of how the two men in her life fared while she was away:
Saturday – I totally caved and bought Jack unnecessary toys that I would have said no to if I had my wife there to back me up. Honestly, I didn’t want to hear him complain. Wimp. Not him. Me.
Sunday – We had cereal for breakfast, a few chicken nuggets from the golden arches for lunch and a flag football game that afternoon. Then that evening, Jack totally ratted me out to his grandparents at a dinner they made for the two bachelors. “I’m starving,” he said. When asked why, he told my wife’s parents how little he had eaten that day.
Monday – We had cereal for breakfast and dinner. That evening, we went out for Jack to work on his bike riding skills. There’s a challenging hill near our house that he’s had trouble conquering. With his helmet safely on, he asked if I would catch him if he fell. I told him I would do my best. He aced the hill. I strategically cut down sidewalk to be there for him as he rounded the corner. The only problem was that he didn’t round the corner. His momentum took him off the path and face first into the grass. As he lay motionless, I hate to admit this, but my first thought was, “His mom is going to kill me!” Jack was OK. Thank you God. He hurt his nose and his knee was scraped up a bit. He cried (don’t tell him I told you), but he was Ok overall. At least physically. That night he had a nightmare that I’m pretty sure was because of the fall and probably new found trust issues with his father.
Tuesday – We’ve covered it. But one thing I really do want to point out in all seriousness, dads know your emergency contact numbers and know the numbers of everyone you may need to call just in case.
Wednesday – Mommy’s coming home! My son can’t wait. He told me this morning that he was going to give her a big hug as soon as he saw her. Me too.
Jeff Calaway is the writer/editor at Cook Children’s and a contributor to the online newsroom. Jeff is a husband and father. He loves running and Bruce Springsteen, although not necessarily in that order.