I had a birth father and I have a step-father. Both of them loved me. Both of them imparted wisdom. Both of them caused me some of grief. The one I consider my real dad is my step-dad. The one who stuck by me. The one who walked me down the aisle. The one who now sends me emails with uplifting aphorisms to keep me positive as I struggle through my divorce. To be fair, my birth father died long ago. But he had abandoned me long before that. I’d spend an occasional weekend with him but he would take those moments to nitpick and intimidate me.
My step-dad raised me. He was a relative saint. He had no idea how to raise a daughter. A daughter with issues that stemmed from being wounded by my birth father. But he tried. He lacked patience sometimes. He yelled sometimes. I thought he was mean. Now I know, he was completely overwhelmed.
Neither of my dads raised kids in a time when being present was as coveted as it is now. Neither of my dads knew that patience and restraint were so necessary in creating safety with a child. Neither of my dads knew that I needed their reassurance, their compliments, their understanding, their undivided attention, their faith in me.
Today, people know. We know that children need their fathers. There are impasses to men having access to their children but more than ever, there is advocacy for fathers’ rights, there are support groups and daddy-bloggers and there is acceptance and a hunger for the input and insights of dads.
Men are attending births, wearing babies in slings, staying home with their kids.
Perhaps it took a generation of children growing up without fathers to learn that fathers are so important.
This father’s day, I think of my two fathers. I love and am grateful to them both. And I think of the father of my children who is better than and more present for his children than his own father was for him. And, I guess in redefining fatherhood or motherhood, while being perfect parents eludes us and always will, we can seek to evolve, to at least improve upon the generation before. And in that respect and for all they do, I think fathers deserve collective accolades and to be honored and celebrated!
Happy Fathers Day!!