2015 Brittany Greeson – “A Father at 60” A Father at 60 Story summary: In the hilly countryside of Fordsville, Ky., 60-year-old Faron Cox spends his days in the same double-wide trailer where he spent his childhood. Following the loss of his father in 2006, Cox inherited the home in addition to the expanse of land he now looks after. At an age when most are retiring, Cox faces the daily challenges and struggles of raising his two youngest sons, Faron “Bear” Cox, 7, and Skylor “Tiber” Cox, 3. Reality hits often for Faron as he finds himself worrying about the demands of childcare and his diminishing health. He relies on his disability check and pain medication for his back to get through the fiscal and physical challenges of each day. A tense and complicated relationship with the children’s mother leaves Faron as a single father. Now, he questions the time he has left to watch his children grow. Faron Jr. and Skylor play on the rope swings outside of their home as their father pushes them. “When I first had my first three kids, back in the 70’s I thought that was it. I wasn’t thinking about having another wife or more kids and then more kids. It never entered my mind. You don’t regret having your kids. That’s actually the only thing you’ve got to show for in life other than the memories of the ones that are gone,” Faron said. Faron changes Skylor’s diaper on the make-shift bed in their living room. Faron has had to delay pre-school for Skylor because Skylor has had difficulties with potty training as well as concerns about his speech development. After waking him at dawn for the school day, Faron has a discussion with Faron Jr. about his behavior in school and the expectations he has set. Faron gets the kids ready each day, brushing their hair, putting their shoes on and getting them dressed before he drives the 7 miles between Faron Jr.’s school and their home. Faron holds the daily dosage he has to take for the arthritis causing his constant back pain. After working a variety of physical jobs his entire life he say it is now wearing him down. New health problems have left him feeling weaker than usual, but because he can’t find trustworthy childcare, he hasn’t had the time to visit the town physician. Faron takes a moment to rest his eyes after a long day when his kids were actively playing. He often struggles to keep up with them and takes on a more observant role. “I get tired with everything. A lot of times they’re out of control or off tearing up something. It’s a young persons job. If you was in your twenties or thirties you’d be able to cope with stuff like that but I have to deal with it. What else ya gonna to do,” Faron said. Skylor jumps on his father’s back to give him “little kissies.” “You’ve gotta be close with your little ones. When your kids get grown you lose them. You lose that certain part of them,” Faron said. Faron paces back and forth gathering wood for an open pit fire after a day of logging with his oldest son, Darrin. He and Darrin depend on the 55 acres of land for wood to heat their homes. Faron’s oldest son, Darrin Cox, 40, plays catch with Skylor as Faron and Faron Jr. discuss plans for school. While Darrin shares the property with his father, their relationship is strained and distant and Faron has retained most of the responsibility for taking care of the land. Leaning by what he refers to as his “thinking window,” Faron takes a few moments of silence as the kids watch television. “It scares me thinking at my age you don’t know how much longer you got left. I’m just hoping I live long enough to see the little things get on their feet. You often wonder what your kids are going to do or how they’re going to react when you’re gone,” Faron said. These images are copyright Brittany Greeson and are use here by permission. They may not be used elsewhere without permission.