Experiencing the Trials and Tribulations of being a Single Father One Day at a Time
Author: Robert A. Calkins
I am a 41-year old single father to two wonderful daughters, Elaina (7) and Gabriella (5), and an Army Officer stationed at Fort Huachuca, AZ. When we are not at home tending to dress-up and tea parties, we are off hiking in canyons, learning in children's museums, zoos, and aquariums, or fishing at the lake.
While the girls spent Christmas this year in Texas with their mother, we still managed to take our family photos and get our Christmas card out on time. As always, they came out beautifully and everyone loved receiving them.
I will be sure to write more this weekend about our run-up to Christmas (when I get some time). I have just been extremely busy since they left getting caught up on coursework, professional reading and writing, and taking care of myself by eating healthier and exercising more frequently.
Thanks for checking in on us. From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!
As living in a COVID world becomes more and more like the new normal, we are slowly trying to branch out and try new things around Fort Huachuca and the surrounding area, of course, all while implementing our mitigation strategies. Last week as I was posting the weekly announcements for my unit, I saw an advertisement on the Fort Huachuca Facebook page about an event at the Fort Huachuca Arts & Crafts Center called Pick-It-and-Paint Ceramics. It sounded like a fun, cheap activity for the girls and I, so as we headed back home from our Saturday errands, we decided to stop in to see what all the excitement was about.
After Elaina learned to ride a bike without training wheels, Gabriella and I were very excited to get her to do it as well. We were a little too busy during the week to put some serious work into it, so we went out on Saturday evening to get Gabriella to ride on her own. I expected us to be there an hour or so, with the hopes that maybe she would get pretty close… we were there about a minute before she was riding on her own.
Birthday parties in the time of COVID are something else. Minimal guests, social distancing, and supply chain issues with presents and decorations. Mostly first world problems, right? Even though I was a little late with the planning, Elaina still ended up having a pretty good little birthday party.
There are certain moments in the lives of your children that bring you indescribable joy when they are reached, such as walking for the first time, speaking their first word, or learning to tie their shoes, just to name a few. As the title implies, Elaina hit one of those milestones last weekend by learning to ride her bicycle without training wheels. As a parent, it both lets you know that you did something right and that your child is developing on schedule. I am so proud of her. And of course, as much as she denies it, Gabriella wants to be just like her big sister and tried it too (she is almost there).
Earlier in the year, we brought out the fabled Disney Princess Cookbook to test out a few of the recipes. One that we tried was the Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo Magic Wands (Cinderella). While we had fun making them, the recipe involved sprinkles on flour tortillas, so it was not particularly appetizing. I have been thinking about ways to improve on the recipe to make them more appealing for the girls, so that is what we tried to do last weekend.
Today was Elaina and Gabriella’s first day of school. Elaina started 1st grade and Gabriella started Kindergarten, and it was the first day that they would both be going to the same (real) school together, Colonel Johnston Elementary School. While it is certainly sad seeing my little girls grow up, I could not be more proud of them. Thankfully, the months and months they spent waiting for this day were definitely worth it.
So tomorrow is the girls’ first day of school. Elaina will be starting 1st Grade and Gabriella will be starting Kindergarten. While I certainly will be posting about how the day went, when I went back to look over how I felt during Elaina’s first day of Kindergarten a year ago, I realized that I had not even posted about it. Given that it was an extremely stressful day that also brought out the best in my being a parent, I figured I would share that today.
So the trip to pick up the girls was a big success and we are all now back under the same roof. And I then immediately went into a week of leave which allowed us plenty of time to reconnect; it was not really necessary though, because apparently, they really missed their Dad over the summer.
There is a song stating that Christmas is the “most wonderful time of the year.” No disrespect to Andy Williams, but I disagree. For me, the most wonderful time of the year is when the girls return home after summer vacation with their mother. From Gabriella having her birthday to prepping for their return (the house and car are spotless right now), or to just me smiling and getting that spark of life back again, this is the best part of the year for me.