by: Rebecca Taylor

“I don’t know how I’m going to look after them all by myself for the month during the school year,” said Tim Harris. “Meg and I have been split up for five years and usually I just get the kids on my weekend, sometimes a few days during the week. She’s the one who has helped them with homework and school projects.”

“You’ve got this,” said his friend Abby Carlson, “you’re their dad. They aren’t babies anymore and they can tell you want they want.”

“But can they tell me what they need?” asked Tim.

“They’ve got what they need, a dad who loves them,” answered Abby.

“Yes, a dad whose whole cooking repertoire consists of grilled cheese sandwiches, or BLTs or peanut butter and jelly. I can BBQ but February isn’t the time for that. I am thankful for this hospital cafeteria. And that’s another thing; I don’t always get out of here on time. I can’t stop in the middle of reading an x-ray and say ‘Sorry, I think your arm is broken but my kids are waiting for me at home or school or wherever.’”

“Have you ever thought of asking for help? Or having a backup plan if you’re not home when your kids get there?”

“Well Callie is fifteen. I know Meg sometimes left her to watch Jimmy and Angela,” said Tim.

“Well, there you are, keep in touch with your kids if you’re not home, but do what you have to do. Even married parents must have these situations all the time with regular 9-5 jobs,” said Abby.

“But then they’re prepared and they’re not working shifts.  I am and even though I’ve been a dad for fifteen years I often feel like I’m making things up as I go along,” said Tim.

“So you’re flexible, it’s a good thing,” said Abby, “I can help out if you need me to, you know make a casserole, check in on the kids if you’re going to be late. With my own photography studio, I can make my own schedule.”

“Abby, you’re wonderful,” said Tim, “but I don’t want you to feel like you have to help me.”

“Are we or are we not somewhat more than friends?” said Abby.

“We are,” answered Tim, “and I know that you’ve met my kids and they adore you. It isn’t that, I just don’t want you to feel like you have to step into a sort of mom role if you are not prepared for it.”

“We’re all going to do just fine,” said Abby, “you and me and the kids. You’re their dad and you’ve got this. No worries right?”

“There are always worries,” said Tim, “but I’ve had some practice in keeping the unnecessary ones at bay.”

“That’s good,” said Abby, “because worrying will get you nowhere. I know a month sounds like a long time when you aren’t used to it but you’ll see, you’ll get into a groove and everything will be fine.”

“I’m glad I’ve got you,” said Tim, “because with you supporting me, I know anything is possible.”

“Together, it is,” said Abby smiling.