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Dad Understudy

Today was Parent Lunch Day at JD’s school. I couldn’t go because I had to work and as a freelancer if I don’t show up to work, I don’t get paid (there’s no employee benefits when you’re self-employed). There was obviously no other parent to attend in my place, so when I asked my brother Brian to attend, he happily rearranged his work schedule to be there for JD. I just got off the phone with Brian and he said…

“When I walked into the classroom, JD came running at me, smiling and screaming, “Big Bri!”

“Aw,” I said. “Then what?”

“I picked him up and flung him around and all of his friends started laughing and clapping,” he said.

“Did he eat?” I asked.

“He was really excited, so I had to remind him to eat,” he said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I picked up his sandwich and told him to take a big shark bite and he did,” he said. “I also told him to make all of his tomatoes disappear like magic.” 7 Healthy School Lunch Options.

"Aw, cute, thanks,” I said.

“He asked where you were,” Brian said.

“What did you say?” I asked.

“That you were working,” Brian said. “Then JD said you wore a black dress today. I’m glad my nephew knows what a little black dress is, Chris, seriously!”            

“Whatever! What else did you guys do?” I asked.

“We just sat at the table and ate lunch,” Brian said. “I dropped my fruit cup on the floor. A room full of three-year-olds and I make the mess! JD said, ‘Ut-Oh, you made a mess Big Bri. You better clean it up!’”

“Were there other parents there?” I asked.

“Yeah, but some kids had no one there,” Brian said. “I’m glad I was there for JD, though, because one of the kids with no one there kept asking his teacher where his mom was.”

“Well, people work, it’s hard to take off in the middle of the day for a quick 40-minute lunch,” I said. “I get it!”

“Yeah, but you couldn’t and you had me go,” Brian said.

“Well, I’m just protective of JD and the whole parenting situation and I don’t want him to feel left out or different, ya know,” I said. “Or reminded of anything about his Dad. You know how I am, Bri.” Single Parenting 101: A Primer for Solo Moms and Dads.

“One of the kid’s called me ‘JD’s Dad,’” Brian said. “JD didn’t say anything, though. He was busy putting his straw in that extremely tiny juice box you gave him. Why was that juice box SO small?”

“Because he’s small. And perfectly potty-trained! Was he sad when you left?” I asked.

“No. I gave him a new Matchbox car. I told him he couldn’t open it until you picked him up. He was very excited. I love that kid.”

Any of you parenting without a dad or mom around? Do you have family members or friends that fill in for special occasions? As a single mom, I think it’s really important to have male figures around for my son. (Uncle Bri also attended the Father’s Day party at JD’s school.) Please share!

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