Teamwork is important to our family. Even the ones who still pee in diapers have a position to play. As any parent will tell you, raising children requires regular sacrifices for the sake of the greater good. You-do-what-ya-gotta-do -when-ya-gotta-do-it. For Philip, taking one for the team has meant the stability of our family.
As referenced in the December 2011, the Census Bureau, one-third of fathers with working wives regularly cared for their children. Up from 26 percent in the 2002 report, one could easily speculate this number is even greater today.
Philip and I met at a New Year’s Eve party; which happened to be his birthday. I was standing in the kitchen trying to
escape subtly walk away from a guy who was in my space a little too long. Within earshot Philip expressed frustration over a nearly emptied bottle of tequila. “Who left this little bit of drink in the bottle?” I grabbed the icy container from his hand and gleefully declared, “I don’t know, but I’ll finish it.” I really did think he was too annoyed to drink the rest.
A little while later I happened to be standing alone in a corner of the room. Philip made his way over to declare,”I’m not intimidated by you Ms. New York. With your spiky hair, tight dress, and push-up bra.” Yep, he poured on the charm. “You might not be intimidated, but you did your research. I didn’t tell you I was from New York,” I shot back.
It was a party after all, and I was intrigued by my Patronless acquaintance. Once I found out he was from St. Louis, I had to know why his Rams thought a 4-3 defense was sustainable with an average interior D Line. I disarmed him with a little football knowledge to which in his words left him “smitten.” When we spoke the next day I wanted to know what else had planned for the year since it started off with his birthday celebration.
“Well, I go to court on the 4th to see if I get custody of my four-year-old son,” he said. While there was a physical attraction and I definitely enjoyed speaking with him, baby mama drama wasn’t on my list of things to acquire in the new year; even if his ex-wife lived in another state.
The 4th of January came, and I received a text exclaiming, “Full legal and physical custody.” He was bringing his boy home.
We probably talked every day of the week following the hearing. We checked in by text in the morning, and spoke in the evening. Around this time I learned who Wow, Wow Wubsy was. (In case you’re wondering, his name is Wubsy and he has an amazingly bendy tail.)
I really did fall in love with Philip for who he was. It was a no frills relationship. His focus was his young child. Given the circumstances he was as attentive as he could be to me. At first, our date nights consisted of me coming over with a 6 pack of Stella Artois after 9:00pm. A few weeks in, I was able to cook and share dinner with the two of them.
We talked a lot in those days. I had to be home before 1:00am (OK I stretched it to 3am sometimes) to get some sleep before heading to work. I had no idea how to date a single dad. If you ask me today, I still wouldn’t know. I just made a decision to be all in or all out. There’s no playing the middle.
He still has this shift. Bink is a second grader, while Pookie and Nings are still in diapers. There’s no getting used to working overnight. It completely goes against your body’s circadian clock. Fortunately, Philip works from home with a not so arduous commute upstairs to clock in by 8:00pm. By the time 4:30am rolls around, (sometimes 5/6) the sun is still in its West Coast cradle.
There are days when I leave for work and he’s had just 90 minutes of sleep. By the time I make it home the toddlers may have given him a two hour reprieve to nap. It’s about to get more challenging when the new school year starts for Bink. He’s transferring to a school with an average morning commute of 35 minutes each way. Neither of us has family nearby. So, we’re all we have for childcare choices.
I haven’t even mentioned Philip’s participation in Bink’s baseball practice and games. It’s rough, but it’s just for right now.
Having their dad at home, versus going to daycare, provides a connection to their father that many children don’t have the privilege of receiving.
We save thousands of dollars annually by not putting the babies in daycare. It’s not about the money though. We had babies in our 40s. As a result, we’re keenly aware of the limited time we have with them. All I know is when the man had a choice to make, he was a team player, and I love him for that. Happy Father’s Day to our MVP!