We all know that it’s hard being a parent. But spare a thought for all the single parents out there who have to pull double duty as both mom and dad. A lot of the time, these hard-working folks really go the extra mile for their kids, and the mother at the center of this story is no exception.
Thursday, September 1, 2016, started off just like any other day for one Fort Worth, Texas, mom and her son. That was until Yevette Vasquez – the mom in question – dropped off son Elijah at his school and noticed that the parking lot was a lot busier than normal.
Yes, it was in this moment that Yevette’s day took a turn from the mundane and the routine to the extraordinary and the inspiring. In fact, the events that followed captured people’s imaginations – and warmed their hearts – after Yevette shared them on Facebook.
So why did there seem to be a lot more cars than usual in the parking lot that day? Well, when Yevette questioned someone about the overcrowding, the man told her that there was an event on at the school called “Donuts with Dad.”
For Elijah, however, dad was out of the picture – so it looked like he was destined to spend the time away from the activities. But quick-thinking Yevette did not like to see her son missing out, and so she came up with a cunning plan.
When Elijah told his mom about the father-centered event, Yevette said to him, “I could have come!” He asked how, and for fun she said, “Well, maybe I could have dressed up like a man.” With time to spare before school started, Elijah said, “We still have ten minutes – let’s go.”
So Yevette drove home, donned a plaid shirt, black pants, baseball hat and sneakers and topped it off with a false mustache. Then they went back to school, and Elijah was, wonderfully, able to take part in the Donuts with Dads event.
Yevette took to Facebook later that day and posted, “Today at my son Elijah’s school, as I was dropping him off I asked him why there were so many cars. He said [it was] Donuts with Dad, so we quickly went back home cause I wasn’t about to let him miss out.”
“I know seeing other dads with their kids isn’t easy for mine,” she continued. She pragmatically added, “But it’s life, at least I can do whatever it takes to put a smile on that face.” Yevette also shared pictures of her and her son with his friends at school.
Of course, the pictures quickly went viral, not only among single parents in a show of solidarity, but also with dual parents lending their support. The story that the casually snapped selfie outside of the school does not tell, however, is that the mustachioed Yevette was filled with nerves.
But seeing the beaming smile across her son’s face reminded her of why she was doing what she was doing. After all, she didn’t want to see Elijah miss out on anything just because her kid’s dad isn’t a part of their lives.
So, with the pull of donuts apparently too strong for the Vasquezes to miss out on, they walked proudly into the school, Yevette wearing an outfit that Elijah had helped to assemble. However, the youngster’s advice didn’t end with the wardrobe. In fact, Yevette told Inside Edition, “He kept saying, ‘Walk like a man, mom. Walk like a man.’”
Elijah may have been on the receiving end of some jibes from some other students, but he didn’t care – he and his mom were in it together, and the smile on his face said it all. In fact, far from being embarrassed, he was happy that his mom went that extra mile just so he didn’t miss out on the event.
Most of the responses to the Facebook post, from fellow lone parents, dual-parents and those raised in a single-parent family, were positive too. Though Yevette did sense a slight bit of discomfort from some dads that morning, she later told CNN, “Most of the dads thought it was really cool.”
One commenter on Facebook summed up the feelings of many when they wrote, “I don’t know you, but what I do know is your son’s face tells it all! He loves you and this was a great thing you did. He might not have it all but he has everything in you. You’re amazing!”
Many praised Yevette for playing both roles, while others acknowledged the strong values she instilled in her son. Another commenter wrote, “When he has a family of his own I have no doubt in my mind he will remember this moment and strive to be the best dad he can be.”
The idea behind running initiatives such as Donuts with Dad is to get parents more involved with their kids. And while some critics may suggest that, for the sake of those who are left out, it’s something that shouldn’t happen, Yevette herself disagrees.
Speaking with Eye Opener TV, Yevette said, “I’ve gotten a lot of comments saying they should take these days away. I don’t agree with that at all.” Instead, she suggests a brother-sister day so that these kids feel they have “every opportunity that everybody else does at school.”
Yevette’s Facebook post so far has been shared more than 6,500 times, garnering more than 22,000 reactions. Yevette has also received messages of support from people from all over the world. The story has even run on major news outlets such as ABC, Today and CNN.
All Yevette wanted, however, was a bit of fun so that her kid didn’t miss out like so many times before. She told CNN, “I saw that same sad look on his face and I didn’t want that. I wish I would have done it sooner.” And with two younger sons, she may get the chance to do it again.