The same can be said about the father of my children. Living with me, in some ways, he had it made. I however needed to be a wife and a woman as well as a mother and homemaker. So I asked him to leave. So again, not his choice. But the difference was that he chose to make his disappearance 24/7/365. That I cannot comprehend. How does a man walk away on his own flesh and blood with no provocation. I suppose it could be compared to a child being turned over to be adopted by someone more fitting than themselves. That would be hard enough to do at birth, but after 8 years of living with and raising someone. Hell, I couldn't do that to a dog - let alone my own babe born of love. For today no matter what I think of the person - at one time I believed the feeling to be mutual love and respect. But the loser in all of it is not the children in this case...it is the sperm donor...for that is all he is to them. By his choice, not anything I have said. I chose the higher road and let him dig his own grave. I did not need to bash him or any other man to prove a point. For not all men are him.
With my eyes open, I saw other men who were awesome fathers. One of the best, wasn't a father at all. He was the best example of a man. He took every great quality of a father, man and friend and shared it with someone who needed to see it and experience it. He was a Big Brother with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Organisation - he was a volunteer. He came into our life at a time that my sons own father was idolized in his eyes. Brian showed my son what it meant to be a real man and a husband. Brian didn't have children of his own and I didn't personally do a background check on him, but I do know that he had a stable family life and good parental role models himself. What I thought and knew about Brian didn't matter very much because I saw what he was giving to my son. I don't know what they talked about over the years, just where they were going and what activities they were taking part in. I used the time that my son was with Brian to spend some girl time with my daughter. We got together with Brian and his wife for birthdays, Christmas and summer BBQ's. They were both great people and I was thrilled to have them in our lives. My son was all of 12 years old and barely reached Brian's shoulder when they first met. Recently we had the opportunity to get together again and 10 years later the relationship between them has blossomed from man-boy to man-man and my son towers over him. The mutual admiration they have for each other is a blessing to see. Brian is the best example I know of the best a man can be.
But I don't think that anyone knows the measure of a man more than Burger King with KFC running a close second. Ah yes...the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. And to that end, Burger King is poised to launch the Bacon Sundae. You read it right - a Bacon Sundae. A salty-sweet dessert comprised of soft vanilla ice cream swirled with both fudge and caramel sauces, sprinkled with crumbled bacon and served with a full strip of bacon for dipping. While my stomach turns with the thought of the grease and fat, the men are rushing to get in line. Burger King has long been known as the purveyor of calorie bombs for the male species unconcerned about nutritional quality. In fact shortly after some bad publicity surrounding it's sky high calorie and cholesterol counts in some of the main menu items, it suddenly seemed a lot harder to locate the "home of the whopper" in the suburbs. New healthy fare hit the neon billboards and for a time the image was changing. The bacon sundae has shot all that hard work all to hell. Somehow I don't see the physically conscious 20-30 something male rushing over for a bucket of calories to add to their 6-pack abs. Or you can keep your toned body for eternity in a box after chowing down on the heart attack in a wrapper - Run on over to KFC for their Double Down which boasts a mere 540 calories and 1,700 mg of sodium, don't forget to add a large beverage and french fried artery cloggers. It's a good time to be a man!
I feel sorry for men. They sometimes seem to get the short end of the stick. In custody battles, the court favours the women. In many communities there are womens' shelters and groups abound to service the needs of women. To be fair, the fulcrum is still not dead center when it comes to balance among the genders and women have a long way to go to achieve equality in most areas. Qualities revered in men are still frowned upon in women like strength and perseverance. On the other hand, most men struggle with the expression of emotions or admittance of problems they may not be able to solve for themselves. I am glad to see that men are willing to admit that they aren't perfect and I wait for the day when women don't have to be either. The media that bombards us daily perpetrates the gender specific roles and qualities. The television is chock full of commercials for womens' products - shoes, clothes, beauty, personal. But truth be told, with the svelte models hocking the products, the commercials probably appeal more to the male viewers. Much like Victoria's Secrets. While we may feel good wearing their products, the men reap the benefits of our heightened self-esteem. Except for a few Calvin Klien ads, the same is not true when roles are reversed.
I for one continue to appreciate the man for his differences as much a for his similarities. I may not have had a lot of positive experiences with the man as a father but I know there are good ones out there and I appreciate you sight unseen for I have been privvy to your efforts. I know some of your children. Most men can be fathers, not all men can be Dad's! So for all the earthly Dad's and the ones gone on to another realm...Happy Dad's Day!
For all the people like me who took on both parental roles either by choice or circumstance, maybe we should start a new celebration in keeping with the changing face of the family in the new generation. The acceptance of same-sex marriages is growing and many included children. The typical family is becoming a thing of the past. So for the first time ever...I wish you all a very happy Non-gender Specific Parental Role Model Day!