Now and then, Faron Cox goes to his “thinking window.” He allows the view of his land to fill his eyes and slips away from his reality: life as a worn 61-year-old single dad still changing diapers.

“When I first started doing this story, I thought it was a story about grandparents raising kids. … I was blown away,” photographer Brittany Greeson said. Greeson, who interned at The Washington Post last year, met the family two years ago in Fordsville, Ky., through Cox’s oldest son, who is in his 40s. They lead a simple life: 55 acres, a double-wide trailer, and a rope swing for each of the two young boys, Faron Jr. and Skylor. Every morning Cox helps the boys brush their hair and put on their shoes for school. Their mother does not live with them.

But Cox, who the boys tend to see as a jungle gym, is finding it increasingly hard to keep up. Years of manual labor jobs have worn his body. He regularly takes medication for arthritis and back pain.

Compounding Cox’s daily challenges is the slow development of Skylor. At age 6, he was still wearing pull-up diapers and was placed in special education classes because of speech issues.

Although Cox may seem like an anomaly, Greeson sees his story as a hard reality that more and more people will have to confront if they delay starting a family.

“It scares me thinking at my age you don’t know how much longer you got left,” Cox told Greeson, “I’m just hoping I live long enough to see the little things get on their feet.” But that will take time, something that Cox does not have in the same abundance as a younger father.

For now, Cox savors each kiss planted on his all-salt-and-no-pepper head. Sometimes Greeson catches him looking over at his kids as they drift off watching “SpongeBob” from the makeshift bed in the living room. In that look she senses worry for them and their futures — but also an incredible, overwhelming paternal love.

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