Celebrating Father-less Day in my household
I was a fortunate kid. My dad was present, strong, supportive, and amazing. He took us to sporting events, he helped bandage boo-boo’s, he hugged us and reminded us he was proud of us, he picked us up when we were down, he dusted us off when we needed it, and he kicked our asses for the missteps along the way. He was the most fun, and the biggest jerk, because he did it right. He could lecture you until the paint peeled off the walls from old age, and wasn’t afraid to take the hide off your rear for being disrespectful. He was also the bread winner, taking care of my mother and me and my sisters, making sure we had a decent life, and even still, in adulthood occasionally saves my ass. He is a DAD, the real deal, the one man in this world that taught me what a real man should be and act like. He set the bar high for every man who has come into my life, and rarely have men ever met the kind of person that my father has always been. My dad is my hero, period. He has not only done everything for me and my kids, but for so many others in this life. He, as a fireman and police officer both, has saved lives on countless occasions, he has gone far above and beyond the call of duty rushing into burning buildings and pulling victims from fires, or diving into the ocean with a lead vest on to save a suicidal man. He has put his own life at risk time and time again to be a true hero. HE IS A SUPER HERO, he is MY SUPER HERO!
In my life, I have been married twice. The first marriage, we ha a child who is now closing in on 19 years of age. My first husband was an amazing father during that time and when we divorced 10 years ago, something changed in him. It was a short time after the divorce that he pretty much dropped from the radar and from his previously supportive role as a father to our child. He was there for her financially, because the law required it and took the money from him, but not emotionally. His new life took precedence, his new wife and her child got all of his attention. I tried desperately to keep him involved, but there is an old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” I couldn’t force him to be present and I couldn’t force him to stand supportive in my daughters life. My second husband was not the father of my child, but had children whom I love dearly. After our divorce I tried to stay close to his daughter especially because we had a strong bond and she seemed to need me and my daughter in her life. I have sadly watched the same sort of behavior from him in her life, and now that she lives with me full-time, I see first hand how little he participates in her world. She has been here for 6 months, in the same town, and his first contact with her was to see if she would babysit for him last week, not to just see her because he loves or misses her.
With all of that said, Father’s Day can be a harsh reminder in my house, about who isn’t there, and who isn’t present doing the things a good father would do. For the first couple of years we struggled with a sadness in my home… doing things like trying to keep busy and forget what day it was. Over time though, my girls have both grown into strong feminist women who realize that we don’t need to have a man present in order to survive. So now we celebrate our strength as women and make our own day out of it in my house. We still BBQ and do traditional things, but it is in celebration of making big accomplishments in our lives without a second income, and without the guidance or love of a man.
One of my friends (whom I sent a Happy Father’s Day note to), got offended because I mentioned celebrating our Fatherless Day in my house. He said, why can’t it just be Father’s Day, why do you have to ruin it? My answer to him was that in my home, there is no father to offend, and there is no father to support the situation, there in the past has only been hurt and hardship due to the lack of a father’s presence. We don’t go run through the streets putting the men down in this world who do what a good father should, and we do appreciate and celebrate those who show us and remind us that there are fantastic dad’s out there that show the kind of emotional love and support that kids deserve.
This deserves a touch more clarity. Let’s be real, there are some angry spiteful women out there that want just the monetary benefit of what a man can give them in order to raise their kids… and to be honest, I got caught in that for a minute when I first divorced. For me it wasn’t about the money, it was about the struggle and feeling like I needed him to help financially to fix the situation. I feel that, yes, men should do their part financially, but being 100% realistic, as a woman, if you chose to have a child with a man, whether he is there or whether he isn’t, you have to feed and cloth and shelter your child, just as a single father has to do the same. The truth of the matter is, if they died in a tragic accident, you have this helpless child you have to attend to and provide for. You both made that choice, but if you are the primary care provider, as unfair as it may be, you may be doing it alone! At some point early on, I realized, man, I just can’t rely on him. We have to survive one way or another and I cannot let myself live with so much anger and frustration over this because it is completely unhealthy. So I set off on a path of getting things handled for myself and my child/children, and if we did get financial help, then great, if not, we would survive.
With that being said, the part I couldn’t fix, the part that still gets to me, is the kids emotional need for the men that should be part of their lives. It’s that feeling they have when they don’t hear from their dads on the birthday or on Christmas, or the feeling that they get when they can’t share the big accomplishments in their lives. I relish in the pride I have for my girls and the things they do. I love that I get double the love, but I wonder sometimes if that is enough. I think they have both become these amazing, strong women and all because of me (and my step daughters mom of course) showing them that we can do this! They have emotionally disconnected from their fathers, and now they don’t seem to notice so much. I’m grateful for this, but it also makes my heart sad. I have empathy for what I see and love experiencing, and know their fathers are missing. They will never have these times with the girls, they will never see these accomplishments first hand. I can’t fix that, and it’s not my place to. I just remind my girls how proud I am of them all the time, and we just keep making amazing accomplishments like the strong women we are.
I know that not every guy has the best situation in the world in order to be the kind of dad society says they should be, but let me say this; if you give your child every ounce of what you can, if you are limited as to how much you speak to them, or the financial backing you can give them, but you reach out, you remind them you love them, you show your pride, and you do everything in your power to be there, then to you, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! If you are sitting back making excuses and lying to yourself about “doing your best” when you are wasting the time you have with your greatest creation, then to you, I hope this day is a painful reminder to your lack of presence in your child’s life, and to the person taking responsibility of your child, HAPPY FATHERLESS DAY!
I will always support my children having a relationship with their fathers, but I will not create the relationship for them. As a side note: If you are an absentee parent, do not guilt trip your kid for not wishing you a happy holiday that you don’t deserve! That is the ultimate douche baggy thing you can do, especially when you have little to no contact, is expect for your child to celebrate your day like you earned it. Seriously not okay for either men or women to pull that.
Okay, so with all that said, thank you to all the parents out there who do everything they can to raise kids to be reputable members of society, and loving and caring individuals. Bravo to you, married or single, supported by a spouse or not, for the things you do each day for your children (biological, step, or even neighborhood kids). You are raising the future Super Hero’s of this world.
If you hate this blog, chances are, you can’t look at yourself in the mirror and be 100% proud and certain you have done everything you can for your children, or you are carrying some guilt. Do what you can to change that, and be proud of what you do. I’m not here to judge anyone else, but I am here to do the best I can for my kids and to try to put the best spin and prospective on this life we share. I do my best to keep things positive with the understanding that there is always good an right in humanity, both sexes, and to have faith, even if our lives have not given us the best examples.
I wish you all the best day!