Welcome to Portraits of Fatherhood: We’re telling the story of today’s dads.
There is no better place to witness the changing roles of men and women in the larger culture than through the lens of parenthood. But rather than speculate on what and how contemporary fathers do what they do, we’d like to bring you portraits of the dads themselves. In their own words. Would you like to be interviewed for this feature? See the end of the post for details.
NAME Thomas James Tarkowski
NUMBER OF CHILDREN One
WORK Structural Aircraft Mechanic at MHI Canada Aerospace
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Single
How do you combine work and family?
As a single father who works during the week, I pick up my daughter Avery every Friday, and drop her back off to her mother on Sunday evening. I also take her anytime I have time off of work for holidays, and pretty much any time I can. I love spending time with her, watching her grow and learn is a gift, and as a recovering alcoholic I am so grateful to be a part of her life and to be a good role model for her. During the time she is under my care we don’t waste a minute, for every second is precious. I embrace every responsibility whether it is dressing her, feeding her, bathing her, putting her down for a nap, teaching her new words and abilities, reading her books or just playing with her and being silly. I love the time we spend together. I just registered her for soccer on Saturday mornings, so that will become part of our Saturday morning ritual following our usual trip to the farmers market to pick up fresh, locally sourced organic produce. So to answer that question in short I would say I work, go to regular meetings, on the weekend it’s all LOVE.
What is your worst parenting moment?
This one’s easy, her first real fall. We were walking to the park when she was about 1 and a half years old, and she was still learning to walk. While toddling along, Avery fell and hit her head off of the pavement and almost instantly this golf ball goose egg started to form on her head. She was wailing, I was panicking and fear stricken on the inside, but remained calm and comforting on the outside, because I couldn’t let her see that I was actually losing it. All in all she really only cried for about 30 seconds, and it wasn’t anything a popsicle couldn’t cure on a hot summer day. We followed up with a friend who is a paramedic and she was given a green light. Good to go. I think I was affected more than she was.
What is your best parenting moment?
Now, this one is a little more difficult to pinpoint. All of my moments with Avery are best moments. From being the person who received her into this world, to the time she was so small she fit in my forearm like a football and I used to carry her around the condo while she bit down on my finger with no teeth, to her first bath, first words, first year blueberry and mango obsession, first steps, the look on her face when she first tried ice cream, every time she tried ice cream after that, the way she says “ratoon” instead of racoon, “pocksicle” instead of popsicle, making her eggs and toast in the morning, playing monkeys on the bed, sing a longs, car rides, pony rides, Friday burger and fries, trips to the park, trips to the beach, trips to the zoo, even when she is fed up, hungry and cranky…pretty much every single moment of every single day we are together is a best parenting moment, even my worst parenting moment and the difficult ones that we all know exist I consider best parenting moments because those are the ones that teach me patience, compassion and understanding. She is my daughter, greatest friend, companion and teacher, and has taught me to love on a greater level than I ever imagined possible. Love you kiddo!
We’re looking for a few good dads.
IF you’d like to be interviewed for this feature, please write to Lisa Duggan at: [email protected]
Please write “Portraits of Fatherhood” in the subject line.