Raising Nathan is a journey for a single father

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY: Fathers took part in a drive-thru parade as staff members of World of Wonder Child Care and Learning Center  greeted them during the center's 2020 Father's Day celebration in Yigo. Haruo Simion/The Guam Daily Post

Bart and Priscilla have been married for three years. Both had a very successful career. Bart was a lawyer and Priscilla was a pediatrician. They recently moved into their dream home, in a gated community by the seaside.

Bart had talked to Priscilla about having a baby. After discussing this possibility, both agreed they are prepared to have a bundle of joy and become parents. Finally, the breathtaking news came, Priscilla was 12 weeks on in the family way. Ecstatic, they shared with their families and had a warm celebration, with laughter and jubilation. The infant room was prepared in pale colors, with a crib, rocking chair for mom, a stroller and frills of a beautiful calming nursery room. It was so refreshing, and the couple was thrilled.

Months passed swiftly. Priscilla and her husband participated in Prepared Childbirth classes. After her eight-month prenatal visit, a mishap occurred. While walking toward her car, a vehicle swerved and hit Priscilla. She was knocked down, falling onto the pavement. An emergency caesarean section was done to save the life of her infant. Priscilla remained in the intensive care unit and her newborn was confined in the neonatal ICU both fighting for their lives. Priscilla’s trauma was so severe that on the fourth day she passed, calmly receiving the last rites. Her baby miraculously improved and was now transferred to the nursery unit.

Bart was so shattered, blaming himself in silence for how the turn of events happened. Fortunately, he was surrounded by compassionate family members. His friends and acquaintances were empathetic toward him as well. All offered abundant support and assistance.

Years rolled by and Bart remained focused primarily on two things: legal work and his beloved son, Nathan. He assured his wife before she died that he would raise their son as a Christian and would always keep him safe with love and care. Bart kept his promise and commitment to his son and worked tirelessly to manage his financial obligation. Bart admits raising Nathan as a single parent is a huge responsibility with challenges. He also adds with pride that he is enjoying every minute of being a parent: attending school functions, helping his son with his school projects, bringing him to sports practices. Bart and Nathan would do some fun things as well especially during the weekends and holidays. Nathan’s physical, psychological, social and emotional development more importantly enhance his spiritual well-being in a steadfast manner.

One day, Nathan came home from summer school with a Father’s Day project. As part of the project, he had to write about his dad. The topic was, What do you want your son to do for you? What can make you happy about your son? What do you like about your son? How do you juggle work, family life and all its chores? Just to name a few questions.

Nathan’s dad came home with dinner meals from their favorite restaurant. Nathan was happy and smiled and said, “Thank you dad. I love this food." Then Nathan added, “Dad, we have this project getting to know Dad. This will be for Father’s Day. Can I interview you now? I want to know more about you and also Mom if you don’t mind." Dad replied, “Absolutely, go for it son.”

Father and son sat on the couch in the living room. Nathan interviewed his dad and learned quite a bit about him. Then without blinking his eyes, Nathan asked his dad, “Dad, I think you should start dating. I want you to be happy. My friend in Rainbows for All Children Guam support group is like me; his mom was killed by a drunken driver. His dad started dating after nine years. It would be fun. I approve of you going out on a date with a curfew.I love you, Daddy. I have a surprise for you on Father’s Day!”

Bart was stupefied and blushing when his son inquired about dating. He asked himself, “Am I really ready to go on a date?“

Tips that can assist single fathers:

•Connect and communicate with your children. It is imperative to engage, listen and converse with them. This way you know what is on their mind.

•Be kind, patient, understanding and compassionate. Children will open up.

•Be present in their school activities. Brings positivity to the fold.

•Find a support group of single fathers. Read self-care books.

Dr. David Popenoe's advice: “Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”

To all fathers, Happy Father’s Day, Go and enjoy your day!

Marie Virata Halloran, is executive director of Rainbows for All Children Guam/LifeWorks Guam.


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