“The day after Father’s Day 13 years ago I found out that I was going to be a dad and my lifestyle changed forever,” single dad Chris Christian says.
“For me it was pure joy, the happiest moment of my life when my son Andrew was born. I thought of the things we would do and accomplish together and as a father I promised that every single thing I shared with him was something that would help him develop to be a good person some day.”
Indeed, Chris’ story gives us a glimpse of a dad’s perspective as he supports the household; broken arms and baseball practice, cereal suppers and doctor’s appointments, getting the last load out of the dryer before a bedtime snack, shuttling the wee one to school or day care and finding time to see about his personal interests.
He says that just keeping ahead of things became disseminated around the home as he took on the role of mother and father.
“I had to make sure balanced meals were prepared, which I knew very little about and a lot of nights there was just cereal on the table. It forced me to invest in some cook books, an apron and time spent in the kitchen for us to have a proper meal. A lot of the times I spent thinking of what was missing, but provided the best I could.
“As I slowly got a handle on the cooking my son thought it was a cool thing to prepare our own meals and volunteered his help. It was this bond of making meals together that drew us even closer together and led us to become involved in other activities.
“We cleaned the house together, sat times for homework, took turns washing, learned not to leave dirty dishes in the sink, picked up after ourselves, spent downtimes and got us a dog and a pool.
“Although I think myself a good father there are times I shout when he takes too long to get ready for school, complete homework or leaves a mess. I work on being consistent with bedtimes, see that meals are cooked on time and spend time with me – it’s challenging and finding time to do all of that takes a toll.”
He adds: “My son is a blessing and a lot of things I have done in my life from his birth have been my driving force. From the precious moments watching him grow, to passing a tape, holding a wrench or attending church together. This makes me a happy proud father.
“I am a single dad but there are way too many single mums out there and the fathers not around. I don’t have a wife cooking or cleaning but I take up the role.
“Being a father does not stop with our own child. As a society we have to be more involved with our children. We need to step up to the plate. If you do not have a kid it should not stop you from being responsible in taking a part in your nephew’s, niece or cousin’s life.
“I remember being chastised by older men in the district and looked after as their own. Today we sit back in being providers and not as a role model for our family.
“When men say they want to go out but have to baby sit, I find that so disturbing because it is their own child they are talking about. We should be happy and privilege we have that time to spend with a child. I grew up without my biological father being present but I had a step father who played a strong role in my life. In order to grow our children right we have to find strength from people in the community and put it together to do the best we can. It is not an easy road but I love the journey and provide the best I can.
“At his age now spending time with him is important. Getting him to do tasks around the house, go fishing and exercise with him gives me enough time to talk to him about what’s going on with his life and also gives him an opportunity to talk. Soon he will be old enough to drive and be out on a date.”