God Bless You My Little Man;
A single mom turns her sons sorrow into years of celebration
By Dana S. Chisholm
My two sons and I found the days before Father’s Day no cause for celebration. Their dad and I had divorced shortly after 3-year-old Nathan’s birth. Living just a few miles from our home, Dad often made arrangements to come see the boys, but then he would fail to show up and leave them waiting on the front porch.
Each day in class at school, the kids were making Father’s Day crafts for their fathers. My son never said anything to the teacher or to myself. He just dutifully made his crafts and presents and then snuck them home and hid them in his closet. He was very good at stuffing things and emotions, trying to make sure everyone knew he was doing fine.
But, one day we drove home from shopping. The boys played in the car with the toys they’d bought. When 7-year-old CJ dropped a piece of his game between the seats, he stared out the window and his lip began to quiver. I pulled off the road, crawled into the back seat and held him as he sobbed.
A few days later, we decided to spend Father’s Day at Disneyland with some friends. Because we would miss church on Sunday morning, we attended the night before. I put Nathan into the preschool class and CJ went to “big church” with me. During worship service, CJ started to cry again.
When the pastor asked all the fathers to stand, his tears gushed.
We walked out into the foyer where I held him. A pastor offered to pray with us in an empty office. Despite CJ’s many sessions of counseling, he said, “How come Daddy doesn’t want to see me? Why did he leave us?”
I cried with him, then we talked. “C.J. you know you have a perfect Father in heaven that loves you very much. He will never let you down, never leave you, never hurt you and He wants you to grow up to be just like Him. I have an idea,” I said. “Let’s spend every Father’s Day celebrating the dad you’re going to be some day. You’ll get presents and cards for maybe 15 years!”
We discussed some of the qualities he wanted to emulate for his children. CJ named the first two on his list: reading the Bible and teaching his children to pray. So as CJ’s first Father’s Day gift, I gave him a dad’s devotional Bible in black leather with his name printed in gold. The next morning when my alarm went off at 5:45 to get ready for Disneyland, I found my son awake and reading his Bible.
Today both my boys have a Dad’s Devotional Bible and every year we add a new trait of God the Father they want to emulate for their kids someday. Many years and many Father’s Day presents for my boys later, they still missed their dad, but they found a new focus. My boys discovered more than just knowing God as a good Father. They are learning to apply godly qualities to their lives as well. That day, C.J. had listed “guidance” as one of the things a good father should give. Now my boys have experienced Fatherly guidance firsthand.
That day, on our way to the Pirates of the Caribbean, I leaned over and whispered to CJ, “Happy Father’s Day.” He smiled , then he ran off to get in line just like any 7-year-old.
And I remembered the words I had written inside his Bible:
Starting this year, Father’s Day will become a time to celebrate you and the father you will one day become. You’ll get a Father’s Day gift (this Bible being the first), but each year, you will list another attribute of God to pass on to you children. Son, you’ll not understand the kind of deep love Christ has for us until you have kids of your own. By then, you will have filled these pages and know what it means to put love into action.
God bless you my little man. I love you, Mom.
Dana S. Chisholm and her two boys live in San Diego, CA and are looking forward to Father’s Day this year. This story can be found in her book, “Single Moms Raising Sons; preparing boys to be men when there is no man around” from Beacon Hill Press
First published “Focus on the Family Magazine”, 2001
Happy Fathers Day!