Since I work across the street from my son’s preschool I am able to see him at school everyday. I try to walk him into class as well as pick him up. And on Fridays I always help him make challah for Shabbos.
I feel very privileged to be able to share this time with him and I know that my presence has caused a few ripples for the other fathers who are not able to make it to school as some of the other children have asked me to speak to their daddys and ask them to come to school.
There is one particular family in this class that has caught my eye because their son has latched on to me. I don’t mind, I love children and his mother is well aware that her son is interested in spending time with me.
What bothers me about this is that it is clear to me that he is starved for male attention. He is looking for his daddy and I am not him. I can try and be a good role model, a big brother if you will, but I’ll never be his father.
I happen to know that his father works locally and that he could find some time here and there to show up, but it almost never happens. I am at a loss for words, I just do not understand how this man can be so close and yet so far away from his children.
His son hugs me and tries to play with me daily. Sometimes I see a pained look on his mother’s face and I don’t have to ask what she is thinking.
The cliche is right, there is nothing more difficult and nothing more rewarding than being a parent. I’d like to punch this guy in the mouth and give him a swift kick in the ass. Not to hurt him, but to wake him up, he can turn this around. His son is young, but he cannot wait, he musn’t wait.
My gut says that it doesn’t matter what he does, he has sunk his chances with his wife. But the boy is a different story. Tonight when I put my son to sleep I’ll kiss him goodnight and he’ll pretend not to like it, but he’ll never question his father’s love. What will his little friend think? It is not right.