On April 13, 2009, Oprah did a show on the challenges and wonders of fatherhood. While there are far more single mothers, there are about 2 million single fathers in the United States. They deal with all of the struggles a single mother does. Schedules, cooking, laundry, school activities. Oprah celebrated these ‘unsung heroes’ on her show. There were four rather unusual stories that will shock you, move you, bring tears to your eyes as these amazing men find the strength, stamina, heartfelt, selfless duty and love, to share with their children.
One father, Larry Shine, lost his wife, Kate, two and a half years after the birth of their first child. He went on to adopt eight more children from all over the world. Watch a typical day in a house of 10. Larry is a full time corporate attorney and he starts his day at 3 am. Not only would nine children be a challenge, but the household could not have been complete without their token dog, Betty the Bulldog.
Another father, Matt Logelin and his partner Liz, had just became a proud new parents with a beautiful baby girl, Madeline. Born in the morning and by the afternoon, Liz died of a blood clot no one knew she had. Matt had to mourn the loss of his wife and find and follow-through with a typical day of diaper changes and life moving on. Matt created a blog to help him cope with the pain (view his blog here). Thousands of people started reading Matt’s blog. This online community shocked him. Complete strangers were sending him money, toys etc. Matt believes in the ‘give back as much as been given.’ He’s been recycling the clothing Madeleine has grown out of, and has established The Liz Logelin Foundation which helps widows and widowers with children.
The next couple, Gregory Maguire and Andy Newman fell in love and adopted three children from Cambodia and Guatemala. While they might be judged as unconventional by some people…they believe their household is ‘just like any others.’ The names the kids have given their dads are: ”Dada” and “Ba,” the Khmer word for father.
Probably the most touching and heart wrenching story was of a couple Dana Canedy and Charles King. During Dana’s pregnancy, Charles was deployed to Iraq. Six months after Dana gave birth to their son, Jordan, Charles was give 2 weeks leave to see his new family. A full, whirl wind of a visit was to be his only visit with his son. Sadly, Charles returned to Iraq, he was killed in a roadside bombing. When Dana was five and half months pregnant, she’d bought a journal for Charles to record his notes to his unborn son, Jordan. Charles became obsessed with putting down on paper his deepest thoughts about what he wanted to say to his unborn son. After a long day, Charles would come back to his bunk and spend countless hours therapeutically, writing, releasing and sharing. He wrote about the power of God and prayer in his life. He wrote about his love for the military service and more than anything about his respect for women. What a gift this father gave to his son.
One note to Dana in his journal: “This is the letter that every soldier should write. I want to thank you for our son…I’d like to see him grow up to be a man, but only God knows what the future holds” (See what Charles wrote on his son here).
Men don’t typically keep journals. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they might take a lesson from Charles about the preciousness of life, teaching, learning, sharing and pick up that pen and write down in words, that which they might not say directly to their partners, children or family. The world would be a different place.