Surviving the Single Dad Syndrome shoots straight from the hip. No psycho-babble analysis here, just usable information on how to be a great single dad while keeping your kids happy and safe. You will be inspired as you discover (or re-learn) the influence that every father—married or single—has on his children.
The author shares his experiences as a single dad, from his breakup and divorce to his darkest days, and how his love for his children helped him stumble through single parenting until he was able to enjoy the life he was meant to have with his children.
These pages are filled with ideas and strategies for having fun with your kids whenever you’re with them. It includes cooking recipes and how to put your home and life together to help you and your children realize all their dreams—and yours.
Single Dad Syndrome"
Originally published in August 2004 by
Publish America. The book is now available in a revised edition.
Since images won't load well in e-books, I'm including plans for the step-stools here:
My Uncle John writes:
Uncle Johnny’s Stool:
These boxes are real easy to make. I get a 12” board of white pine and it takes 4 feet for each box. I make them in sets of 4.
The 12” board is really 11 5/8” so this is what you want to cut 3 boards to. The seat board should be cut 11” to fit in the space.
The paint job is up to you. I think it’s neat to paint each surface a different color. (Author’s note: my children call this a rainbow chair) It’s a pain masking but looks great. Also one color per box is nice.
I’m using 2 of them as shelves in my bathroom since our grandkids are too big to use them. I don’t know where the other 2 are. They must be around somewhere!
I’d like to send my special thanks to my Uncle John for sending these plans along to be included in the book. Build these and the smaller children will have a stool to sit and watch television, they’ll have something sturdy to stand on in the kitchen while helping or watching, or just for reaching up into cupboards to get a drinking cup. You may even find it useful for reaching up to top shelves, changing light bulbs on ceiling lights etc. There are so many uses; I can’t begin to list them all.
My Dad, Clare sent this next set of plans. Though this stool is a bit fancier, you’ll still find a wide range of uses for it around the house, as will the children. They’ll stand on it to reach into cupboards, to look in the mirror while doing their hair or brushing their teeth, or to help in the kitchen when the kitchen counters are just too high for them to reach.
Dad calls this one the Grandpa Stool:
Chapter 4 Soul Mates
A divine harmonic dance begins when two perfect souls meet. The elusive mystery is to permit the dance to brand itself onto our very souls. Brand deeply, that the everyday music of the world cannot drown our melody. Allow this symphony to play and experience life, human nature in its purest form.
The following are my ideas on the attraction between two people. I don’t wish to convert anyone to my way of thinking. I simply offer this as an idea to get some semblance of the destiny in such meetings. Perhaps to offer hope during what may be a frustrating time when we’re alone. If you’re experiencing such a connection, regardless of what you choose to call it, the connection is electric!
A number of years ago I was in a cowboy bar in Grand Junction, Colorado. This was my regular hang out during my single years. I was, as usual with male friends on a Saturday night, unwinding from weekly stresses.
We all noticed the little cowgirl standing near our table with platinum blond hair cascading below her shoulders. She wore tight jeans, and a western style cowboy shirt that complimented sky blue eyes. Undoubtedly, the folks at Wrangler had her in mind when they made jeans!
She appeared to be alone. Since we were regulars, we determined she was new meat, someone new to the area. None of us had seen her before. She was ripe for the picking.
Though she was alone, she seemed to enjoy dancing with local goat ropers, while sipping a beer in between. She appeared aware of our table of testosterone intent on her every move. We had scared off many new prospects over the years with our obvious male prowess.
I lacked confidence in meeting women in such situations, something that has held me in the past.
Another hour passed. She was more aware of our table with posturing among us, as to which she was checking out, perhaps more than one. One of my buddies got her attention and made an obvious come on. We all laughed. I was embarrassed at my friend’s advances, and was certain we had seen the last of her, at least for that night.
I had underestimated this little spitfire. She laughed and approached our table. We silenced and waited for her opinion of us. Her pearly whites glowed, contrasting red lipstick. She smiled wide inquiring as to whether we were having a good time. We all nodded that we were. Then, she asked why none of us were dancing. We lowered our eyes in schoolboy shame.
As she looked squarely at me, I was captivated by those eyes, “How about you cowboy? Wanna polish your belt buckle?” (A term for close, slow dancing).
My face flushed. I stammered something. Then, I sprang from my chair, snatched her beer, placed it on the table, and led her to the dance floor. I moved quickly to escape snickers from the pack at the table. Better to be me on the dance floor, than sitting at that table watching.
While we danced, I learned her name was Wendy, and she was indeed new to the area. She’d come from a little town down south that I don’t recall the name of. No ring on her finger, I still asked if she was married. She wasn’t. We were suspicious around new people in “our bar.” I had no desire to meet up with a six foot, seven inch tall husband to ‘explain’ things in drunken lingo.
After the dance, we made our way back to the table. Wendy asked if she could join us. I said “sure!” and glanced around for another chair. She put her hand on my chest, sat me in my chair and plopped herself on my lap.
Not a sound from the eye-popping guys. They were stunned, but pleased with female company.
Wendy was a pure delight. A cool spring breeze wafting through a dark smoke filled barroom. Her laughter lit the area around us. She was loaded with personality, outgoing, quickly adopting us as new friends. She made her rounds dancing with each of the guys, then, would find her place back on my lap after each.
My attraction, though a bit reserved at first, soon fell into a comfortable zone. She wasn’t one to talk about herself, rather she asked after each of us; who we were, what we did for a living, the usual small talk. I got the impression that she was interested, not simply making idle chatter.
When closing time approached, she gave me a soft kiss on the lips and asked if I’d mind giving her a ride home. This lady was of such a class I had no doubt she was inviting me only for transportation. Quite unlike the usual women I’d met in the bar. How could I decline?
The ride to her home was pleasant, but all too short for my tastes. We sat in her driveway and talked for a couple of hours before I headed home, alone.
Wendy and I spent many nights together, dancing and talking at the bar. We also spent time together outside the bar. We had a thing going. I never took it any farther for some reason. Something I’ve regretted, though I shouldn’t I suppose.
She was always beautiful, always herself, always upbeat and positive. Wendy appreciated small gestures of kindness and never pressed for more.
Though we never took our relationship to another level, Wendy provided what I needed at that time, female companionship, her smile, the glint in her eyes. I needed to hold her in my arms as we danced. She made my heart flutter; she made me tingle all over when she approached. She offered unsettling peace.
As with Wendy, when we meet someone special in our lives, we fill some void, some small space. It’s not important how large or small that void, the person brings something out in us that needs exercise.
When we meet that “soul mate” or as I call it, our “Twin Flame” our connection to that person makes us more of whom we are meant to be. It’s wonderful!
The distinction, for me at least, between a soul mate and a Twin Flame is quite profound. Before coming to this life, in the heavenly realm we have close friends, even family as we do on earth. These are what I refer to as Soul Mates, and we have many. They are very close to us; we know each other well. When we meet one of these spirits on earth in human form, the connection is often quite intense. It can even be a bit unnerving. That spirit has a purpose, to help fulfill something in us. The sensation can feel like returning home. It’s as if we’ve always known them, because we have! We can’t remember the connection, yet it feels so right. It’s common for Soul Mates to meet, even destined. Overwhelmed by the strong connection, they marry and often have children. After all, everything is perfect.
As mentioned, Soul Mates to bring out something in us. To help us exercise a part of ourselves. They help us experience that strong connection, which allows us to be open to the idea of love. Obviously, strong love passes between Soul Mates.
Some of us will remain together through our entire lives, being perfectly content that we have found our Soul Mate, and we have! This can be a great-married relationship. We grow old and we die together. Of course, the marriage may experience problems. Everyone argues and fights, but a connection exists more powerful than any petty worldly problem, so we get through it.
Sometimes we divorce our Soul Mate, or separate, sometimes for life. When we fulfill the need we both had, the relationship may naturally ‘sour’ and both will move on. From the human perspective, we can be bitter, angry, and hurt. This can make it easier, dealing with our human emotions, or ego, to split from someone that was, and still is, so important to us. From a Spiritual perspective, we have exchanged a divine expression of love. Even love expressed through a need for separation, that we might both pursue that magnificent Twin Flame connection.
It’s not unusual to have some meeting, or relationship with several soul mates, allowing us to bring out more parts of ourselves. As wonderful as this Soul Mate connection is, the Twin Flame experience is something much more powerful.
When we are in the Spirit World (or heaven) we exist as a complete being. We possess both male and female traits. We are perfect in our existence. A Twin Flame is born when we, as Spirit, split into two halves. The split usually results in one male and one female. A slightly different thing happens when you have two gay persons. For the sake of brevity, we won’t delve into this, but rest assured the split still happens, and it makes the same wonderful connection when we meet our other half.
Prior to the Twin split, we laid out a plan for this earthly life experience. The split helps facilitate our life plan. After all, can you imagine coming to earth, as a complete being? Both female and male tendencies strongly enhanced, perfect, with all memories of past life intact. Has such a being ever come to this planet? I don’t know for certain, but I would tend to think probably.
With our life plan etched in our subconscious, we are born to begin our journey. We have mapped out many experiences, even determined the time we will meet our other half, our Twin Flame to make us a perfect one again, to live out the remainder of our lives.
At times, one-half will remain in Spirit to be a Spirit Guide for us. Angels are different. Realizing our other half, our Twin Flame may not be on this earth can be terrifying! It doesn’t need to be. If this is the case, a Soul Mate exists for you on this earth and will assist in fulfilling all needs of your life plan when you meet. One-half of the Twin remaining in Spirit is an exception rather than the rule. By being on Earth, both halves can fulfill double the experiences that only one could accomplish alone.
Rest assured that if your other half remained in Spirit as your Guide, you have great things to accomplish, and it will take both of you together to achieve these goals.
We stumble through life trying to fulfill our life’s purpose without a hint as to what the purpose may be. We seek to know our Twin Flame as quickly as possible, to make ourselves complete once again. This is a natural tendency for human emotions. After all, who wouldn’t want that connection?
We see signs when heading in the right direction of our life plan. You may have moments of déjà vu; we’ve all had those. This is when you hear something, smell, or see something, which connects. We swear we’ve been here before. If we pay attention, we may know how someone is going to finish a sentence. Even what he or she will do next, it’s spooky! This is plainly a road sign for the map you made of your life. It’s Spirit’s little way of saying, “you’re on the right road, and you’re heading in the right direction.”
Let’s imagine we’re taking a cross-country trip, driving from Los Angeles to New York City. When we take such a trip, we’ll steer on course, on the correct highways to arrive at our destination. We may also take little detours. Have you ever been on a road trip, taken a wrong turn and nothing looks familiar? Road signs are unfamiliar, the countryside is foreign, followed by the sinking thought, “Gee, I screwed up somewhere.” The solution is simple, at least usually. We pull off the road, pull out the map and retrace our steps, or find where we are and map a course to get back onto the highway leading to our destination.
Fulfilling our life plan is the same. We might take a bit of a detour. This isn’t wrong. Purpose lies in the experience. Simple enough to retrace our steps until that last road sign and figure the direction we were heading. Get back on the road.
No life goes smoothly; this wouldn’t be the life experience! We will run into perceived obstacles when we are on the right road! It may be a snowplow that slows us down; it may be a sign reading Bridge Out, forcing a detour, or a traffic accident that lays us up temporarily. It’s all part of the experience.
On the cross-country trip, we focus on the goal ahead. We take whatever detours we must to continue the journey. After all, can you imagine giving up on your road trip at the halfway point? You pull over in some sleepy little town, unload your stuff, and make your life, falling well short of the intended destination. “What the heck. We tried. We’ll meet the goal halfway. New York can come to us!” This wouldn’t serve us very well would it?
It’s not unusual for Twin Flames to meet, before it’s time. We may bump into one another in an airport, a casual meeting at a cocktail party or brush against another in a shopping mall. It’s something, but you don’t recognize the connection. That’s because it’s not time yet!
This may be another road sign, telling you “New York City - 500 Miles,” you’re on the right road and you’re not there yet. Close, but not yet.
To my knowledge, I’ve not met my Twin Flame. However, I know she is close. For me, it’s dreams of her. I have seen her face in these dreams (something that started recently); I feel her presence, sometimes when I’m awake. I have heard her voice in my dreams; once heard her call my name while awake. This voice, originating in thin air, with no one around, but the voice was very clear. My soul – as well as my ears heard it. On our road trip to New York City, as we get closer to the destination, the signs become more frequent and more apparent.
When Twin Flames meet at the right time, it can evoke a variety of reactions, though all of them are equally wonderful. You may feel this person is too good to be true, you may feel overwhelmed. You may experience nausea, feel sick, your head, and energy spinning like a whirling dervish. The connection will be; you will just know it. It will differ from anything you’ve experienced. Yet, it’s unmistakable.
As your halves rejoin, your Spirit Self experiences a molecular transformation. This can be disorienting at first. You will know you have met the one with whom you will spend the rest of your life.
Do Twin Flames ever meet and separate again after recognizing the connection? I can’t say that it hasn’t happened, but I don’t understand the purpose. When the pre-determined time comes for you to meet, the goals for each separately are complete. It’s time for you both to take on the world together to live in your world as one and experience life with another.
While Wendy and I experienced a strong attraction, I pray she received the same blessings from the relationship as I. Oddly, I don’t remember the relationship ever ending. Neither of us made a decision to separate. It seemed we simply drifted apart, and I heard later that she had moved away.
The whole relationship came in such a sudden, unexpected, and wonderful way. It also ended so subtly, and in such a manner, that I believe Wendy was a Soul Mate. We were very close and very comfortable together. We provided something very needed for both of us, without expectation. The natural sensation of our connection is difficult to describe. It was as normal as going out to my car, putting in the keys and driving.
The end was also eerily normal, natural, and so natural that it seemed I hadn’t lost anything. To this day, I feel blessed to have experienced her wonderful spirit. I would love to see her again one day, to see the flash of those pearly whites, and the sparkle in her eye. I wonder if those jeans still fit as well as I remember? I’d like to thank her for her wonderful influence in my life.
Understand that your Ex played a very important part in your life. The connection still exists. I hope that it remains long after your children are grown. Yours may not be the ultimate Love connection of a Twin Flame, nonetheless; it’s crucial to your growth process, and hers! Putting it in the right perspective is also an important part of growth, and you’re preparing to move on with your life.
Please take stock of all those closest to you. Recognize the “soul mates” that may be with you your entire life. Evaluate the shared connection and lessons you both experience. Do your best to make their experience as wonderful as intended.
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