A few weeks ago, I was pumping gas and looked over to see two cars parking parallel to each other. A man got out with his son – who looked to be about four or five. The dad grabbed a book bag, a sleeping bag and some toys. A woman got out of the other car. The man handed the woman the bags, stopped and hugged his son. The son cried a bit, but nodded that he understood the situation before getting in the car with his mother.
I got back in my car, looked at my wife and said, “I swear to God, we’re not doing that.”
Every other Friday, I drive my step-daughter a hour and a half to her dad and I pick her up every Sunday. I’ve often felt like the villain for picking her up and making that drive back home while she tries to cope with what’s going on.
Every time I see these “hand-offs” I go into a small panic that this may be my life one day. Probably my biggest fear is not having a hand in my son’s life every single day until he goes to college. My own parents divorced and though they still worked together and lived close, I don’t want my son to grow up dealing with those issues.
Though my marriage is awesome, I still can’t stop thinking about that gas station exchange or seeing myself in my step-daughter’s father’s shoes. My three fears of a worst-case scenario for my life as a parent go in this order:
1. Divorce and only seeing my son on occasion.
2. Someone else raising him.
3. That someone else who’s in his life damaging him in any way.
Adrian Peterson is living out those three fears in the worst ways imaginable this morning. According to reports, his “secret son” is in critical condition after allegedly being assaulted by the two-year-old’s mother’s boyfriend.
The news knocked me over. It’s a nightmare. I can’t imagine what Adrian Peterson is going through and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I just keep thinking about him answering his phone, hearing the news and traveling to South Dakota for what must have seemed like days just to see his son beaten.
Actually, I’m going to stop there. I can’t even continue with this. Just say some prayers for the Peterson family.
Update: According to Minnesota’s KSTP, Adrian Peterson’s son has died from his injuries. We’ll keep updating as more information comes.