We were in the newly remodeled McDonald’s restaurant recently. The toddlers were playing in the indoor playground area. I was sitting at a table watching them.
In the new design of the McDonald’s there is a party room enclosed with glass walls located in the play area. A birthday party was taking place while we were there.
So, while the toddlers were climbing and playing in the McDonald’s playground area adjacent to the party room, I was sitting there watching as families were arriving for the birthday celebration.
While I watched, several young mommies and daddies came in with their children and placed birthday presents on the gift table. Soon the table was loaded with presents and there were several young couples talking and laughing with one another while their children played in the adjacent playground area.
Although my toddlers were oblivious to the birthday party, I was completely occupied with observing it!
As I watched, I started to feel something that could best be described as a tinge of jealously that quickly mutated into a sense of melancholy.
No, I wasn’t jealous because there was a birthday party and my children weren’t invited. We didn’t even know the child having the birthday and the children at the party were older than the toddlers.
I wasn’t envious of the gifts the birthday child was receiving. My toddlers have plenty of toys to play with and nice clothes to wear, and probably more than many kids have.
I wasn’t jealous of the youth of the parents. Yes, I know that I’m a grandpa and that certainly plays into my concerns about the long-term well-being of the toddlers, but I’ve had a good life and still have a lot of life to live and give to the toddlers.
I wasn’t sad because they were married couples having a good time while my wife is gone and I’m alone. Sure, I miss my wife and every once in a while the sadness of her loss returns for a visit. But anyone who has lost a spouse or loved one knows that grief lingers in some dark corner of your heart waiting for some unexpected opportunity to reveal itself.
But none of those were the feelings that I was feeling sitting there in McDonald’s watching that birthday party on that day.
I was jealous that those children had families where mommies and daddies were raising them and mine didn’t! I was saddened that the toddlers may never know what it is like to to have a family where there is a mom and dad raising them.
Sure, the toddlers may not realize that there is something that is missing from their life and it’s my job to make the life they have with me seem “normal.” But no matter how hard I try, or any other single parent for that matter, I cannot provide the children with all the psychological, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual support that would come with having both a mom and dad that loves them raising them.
While I may provide a good home and family life for the toddlers, however good it is, it’s not as good as with both a mommy and daddy present in the home.
This is as good as it gets! And that’s the burden of being a single parent because the best you can do is not the best there is.
That’s because a single-parent family is only a part, not a whole.
While a single-parent family may be a good one and a person may be an exceptionally good single parent, in my opinion, a good, single-parent family can never be as good (for the children) as a good family with both a mommy and a daddy in the home.
Certainly, I acknowledge that just because there is both a father and mother in the home doesn’t necessarily make them good parents or make their home and family situation a good one for children to thrive.
The point I am trying to make, however, is that a home and a family with a mom and dad who both actively participate in raising their children is the best way; it’s the blessed way. So, if that is your situation, your way of life, then be thankful for it, appreciate it, and continually cultivate it so your children can benefit from all its blessedness.
And, as I have mentioned in a previous post on this subject, I am in no way criticizing or demeaning single-parents. I admire them! I am one–one that is learning and trying to be a good one!
I’m just sayin’…
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