Although it was almost 12 years ago now, I remember looking at my 2 year old and 5 year old running around the cemetery as we buried their mom, my wife, and thinking, I have a LOOOONG road in front of me.
All these years later, and I am looking at the oldest studying for his SAT's. Wow, how time flies and how a single fathers worries change. It seems like only yesterday that it was making sure the youngest had fresh diapers and the oldest was in school on time. Now, at least with the oldest, I worry about the lessons I have taught him in regards to the responsibility of each persons actions.
We live in Costa Rica at the edge of the jungle. Yes, we have poisonous snakes, Toucans, sloths, and other assorted animal wildlife that makes "Animal Planet" the special show that it is. But, also, here in Costa Rica, there is a climate of sexuality that is SUPER CHARGED. It is common, sadly, way to common, for 14-16 year old's to have babies. I have tried throughout the years to show Zach, (that's my oldest sons name) how to treat everyone, especially women, with respect and dignity. He has seen me (or only remembers me) with just 2 women, both serious girlfriends, one in Hawaii, one here, and has seen the lessons of that respect first hand. I have taught him, by example, the lessons of being best friends before sharing physically, and of abstinence when that status of best friend is not present.
I, we(?) as parents, always are worrying about how to best protect our kids, and heart break, especially the first one, at least for me, can be, and was, very troubling. Zach recently broke up with his girlfriend of 5 months, and I did not push him on what the reason for the break up was. I knew that one day he would share with me the reason why. Sure enough the other day as the two of us drove down the road he started talking about sex and abstinence. He said that the reason his girlfriend broke up with him was that he would not, "give it up" and he softly began to weep.
My heart dropped. I was so proud and so sad at the same time. At first I was not sure what to say. Then, I told him how proud I have always been of him. I said that his actions are a testament to his personal fortitude and that he must have gotten that from his mom. I also shared that he accomplished something that I do not know if I could have done when I was his age. My sons proved once again that they are better than me and are still the best teachers that I have ever had.
To all you single parents out there who work and still run the family, you have all my respect. I have the luxury of not having to work and I still barely hold it together. But I am starting to see some of the best kind of rewards from years of work.
I know his mom is beaming proud.