'My three boys are my loves, and I hope I can raise them to be amazing men, fathers and husbands, even without a father figure example for them.'
Raising a child as a single parent is by no means an easy task. Single parents serve as both the paternal and maternal figures in their child's life in all aspects of childraising, including ensuring their safety, growth and emotional and physical wellbeing. While they mostly do it without making it explicitly apparent to those around them, one single mother from Fort Worth, Texas, decided to dress the part of a father figure when the day called for it. Yevette Vasquez was dropping off her sixth-grade son, Elijah, at school a few years ago when she noticed "more cars in the parking lot than usual."
That's when she found out that her son had a Donuts With Dad social event at his school that day. "I asked him, 'What's going on? Is there some event that I'm supposed to be here for?' and he tells me, 'No, don't worry. It's just Donuts With Dad.'" Vasquez told ABC News. "I told him, 'How come you didn't tell me?' and joked I could've dressed up as a man for him." To her surprise, the boy immediately perked up at the idea. "He was like, 'Well, Mom, we got 10 minutes before the bell rings!'" Vasquez said. "When I saw how excited he was about it, I decided to follow through."
Since they lived only a block from school, Vasquez and Elijah raced home and put together the perfect dad outfit in just seven minutes. Elijah helped his mom look the part by giving her a mustache and his plaid shirt as well as providing some creative direction. "He was telling me what I should wear," Vasquez told CNN. "He kept saying, 'No, you still look like a girl!'" The duo finally settled on a look that featured a baseball cap, a plaid button-down shirt, baggy pants, a fake mustache and a dash of cologne to top off the dad ensemble.
"Yeah, it's the first time I've dressed as a man," Vasquez said laughing. "We're going to remember this forever." When they returned to the school, Vasquez was pleasantly surprised by how most of the dads there reacted to her impromptu response. "When we walked into the library, there were a whole bunch of men, and a lot of them were cheering," she said. "Most of the dads thought it was really cool. They thought it was really supportive and sweet. I did feel the energy of a few men who weren't as comfortable with it though."
However, what really mattered was how Elijah felt that day. "He was really excited," Vasquez revealed. "He was shaking and said, 'Thank you.' I told him, 'I did this for you so you can have fun.'" She explained that she decided to dress up as a dad that day because she wanted to have fun with her son and because there had been other times when Elijah missed out on a school activity that involved dads. "I saw that same, sad look on his face, and I didn't want that," she said. "I wish I would have done it sooner." Vasquez added that she wants her children and other children of single parents "to know that they are whole, complete and limitless even without the other parent there."
"My three boys are my loves, and I hope I can raise them to be amazing men, fathers and husbands, even without a father figure example for them," she said. She also defended the school, saying: "I know some people are saying that they shouldn’t have a specific Donuts With Dad day because kids without parents feel left out, and I do get that. But I feel they don't have to take the day away. I think it's nice the school celebrates fathers who are there for their children, and they also have a day with moms, Muffins With Mom." Vasquez was met with an overwhelmingly positive response when she posted photos from the event on Facebook. She said she's heard from single parents all over the world, sharing with her their own parenting triumphs and struggles. As for whether she'd break out the plaid shirt and fake mustache at school again, Vasquez said she "may have to do it again" since her two younger sons want "dad" there when they're old enough to go to Donuts with Dad.