Sixty-year-old Guy is raising Ishiah, his young 7½-year-old son, alone. Guy and Ishiah live in Rosebank in northern New South Wales.
‘I already had two children from a previous relationship. They are now in their late twenties and early thirties and I have been separated from their mother for many years. Then I had Ishiah when I was 54. His mother and I were in a relationship but it didn’t work out and she left when Ishiah was weaned at around 2¼. Since then she’s had nothing to do with him – we occasionally bump into her because she lives locally, but she has no involvement or influence in his life.
‘Leaving like she did made bringing up Ishiah an easy ride for me. Even though it must have been traumatic for her to just detach and leave, she left an uncomplicated situation. I didn’t have to deal with the courts. Owning a home has helped with my situation too. I’ve managed to survive on the single parent's benefit and create a nice home atmosphere for Ishiah without the pressure of having to rent or buy a house. He’s been in a very stress-free environment his whole life and that has resulted in us having a very easy and mature relationship.
‘The most difficult thing for me has been accepting the circumstances with his mother. Ultimately I feel happier and stronger for having experienced it. I don’t feel attached to Ishiah’s mother, but I still hold a great deal of love for her. The same goes for Ishiah. He loves his mum heaps, but he is not attached to her. One day when he was 3½ he just skipped into the house and said to himself, ‘I don’t need my mum’. Ever since then he’s had that attitude.
‘Even though I’m a fairly healthy sixty-year-old, at the end of the day I don’t have as much energy as a younger father. A younger father might have more physical exuberance to play with his son – wrestling and active games. The perks come with the maturity of life and being at home with one’s self.
‘In the end I think my parenting strengths arise from making Ishiah the central focus for all decision making. He has brought my life into a simple focus and caring for him is my priority. Our life is most importantly based around sleep and the healthiest food possible and things generally roll along really well.’