I have often been accused of being too militant about mom's rights-especially single moms-while not giving enough credit to those guys who do actually show up and be present in their children's lives. I have also been accused of being an inveterate man-hater, have been told, "If you are such a bitch, no wonder nobody wants to stay married to you!", and have struggled on a daily basis with the reality that most men, married or otherwise, are simply not the kind of active parents that kids need. I don't feel sorry for single dads who have gained custody of their children, because quite frankly, I don't get any sympathy or support for being solely responsible for my children, and until and unless we single parents have equal rights-to sympathy and understanding, to support and caring during this enormous undertaking called parenthood-then I don't want to hear your sad story. If you have a penis, you are almost automatically put on some mythical pedestal of Godhood when you have custody of your kids; by the same token, we single moms are denigrated in the media and in the workplace and in the playgroup. I freely admit to anyone that yes, I am bitter; yes, I am angry, and resoundingly, YES, I am a bitch.
That said, I want to point out this post by one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Jim Lin. Since I am pretty much cold and jaded when it comes to men and parenting, it is something of a miracle that I regularly read and love this blog, but I do. And today's post, in honor of The Amazing Fury (and as the mother of three boys, I really DO think he is amazing, and talented, and funny, and silly, and heartbreakingly lovely), brought goddamned tears to my eyes. You totally have to go read it-and don't skip a single word or the lovely photos that accompany it-to get how beautiful this really is.
Why do I love this blog so much, and why am I getting so emotional over some photos of the kid in honor of his birthday? Because this is a dad who wasn't planning on becoming a dad, yet stepped right the fuck up to the plate and started swinging. He took the ball and ran with it. Whatever sports analogy you want to use, this guy is doing it. Not only is he doing it, but he is doing it well. In a society where he had no one telling him what to do or how to handle a situation, in a world that tells men that when pregnancy happens, the woman is to blame (admit it, guys, this is SO true!), this great, strong man had the balls to say "Oh my god, fuck, shit, we got pregnant," and then, well, he learned how to deal.
That is one of the things I find the most amazing about Jim; because he deals. With the crazy, sad, funny things that happen to everyone, the things that are hard enough to handle being childless but are a million times harder when you have this little person hanging around the periphery, watching every move you make. It is hard enough to BE an adult, much less to try to show a child how to be one. I can't speak for Jim, or any other parent, but in my own life, there are days when I look at my kids and think, "Now, how is it that you are here and still alive and basically okay? Because I really suck at this parenting stuff." Yet here we go, getting up every morning and starting all over again, because to paraphrase Jim, we matter. What we do and who we are suddenly becomes so much more important, not for us but for our kids.
That is why I love the blog-because here is a man who knows how important it is for him to be a parent; he knows that it is a huge responsibility far beyond finances or showing up at home every night after dinner. He is, in short, a DAD, in the truest sense of the word. I wish more guys would read this blog and say hey, THAT is fucking awesome. I wish more kids had dad's like Fury does-and there is no doubt in my mind that if Jim and Lisa were to split up, Fury would still have a dad. THAT is what it is all about. What an honor, to be able to have the opportunity to witness the transformation from swinging single dude to manly dad; what a privilege to be able to say out loud "This is what being a father looks like."
Neither respect nor admiration for men come naturally to me for a variety of reasons, some legitimate and some maybe less so. However, and for whatever it is worth, Jim has earned both from me.