Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful, loving, awesome fathers out there.
Every day I am blessed to see wonderful interactions between men and their children. Many of us could write positive books about what we have seen men do for and with their children. Each of those men should really celebrate this day that is made to honor their accomplishments as a father.
I have two grandsons and a nephew who are celebrating their first ever Father’s Day. I believe they will continue to be the awesome dads that I have seen in the early interactions with their babies.
I am reminded of my own father, hard-working and caring and loving. He was a role model to all of us but has already been gone 30 plus years. He is remembered every Father’s Day and many other times. My grandfathers and uncles are also remembered this day.
This day is bittersweet for me and filled with a whole gamut of emotions. Although there are men in my life who are wonderful fathers, I am reminded of the fathers who are gone from this world too early, whose children had to grow up without them. I am sad for them and for their children.
I am reminded of my two younger brothers, both who died in their 30’s, leaving behind young children. Each of them had one daughter and one son. The girls were 9 and 12 when their fathers died. The boys were 2 and 4. The boys have very few, if any, memories of their fathers. The girls remember more. It was tragic that they grew up without fathers, but they too were fortunate to have such wonderful men in their lives for the short time they were there. When one of these daughters, my niece, got married, her mother said to me, “How sad it is that our girls do not have their fathers to walk them down the aisle on their wedding days.” Yes, it is sad. We hugged and we cried.
My nephew, son of my other late brother, got married a few years ago. It was he who is my nephew celebrating his first father’s day this year. After the wedding weekend those of us who had traveled from out-of-state visited the cemetery where my brother (his father) was buried. On my brother’s grave, was a letter scribbled on a lined spiral notebook paper. It said, “Dad, you would be so happy for me. Today I am marrying the most amazing girl…” It went on to say how his dad was still loved and missed. This is the boy who was 4 when his father died. We were moved that on the morning of his wedding, he took the time to visit the cemetery and memorialize his father. Again, we all hugged and cried.
I am reminded of my youngest stepson, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident when his 4 boys were ages 8 to 20. It was his two oldest boys who are celebrating their first Father’s Day today, each becoming a father within a couple of days of each other last September.
I am reminded of other fathers who were lost to war, violence, illness or other means. It is not for us to understand why these men were taken when they were. Hopefully the children adapted well and continued to be the kind of persons of which their fathers would be proud. I hope everyone who is missing their fathers today may be comforted.
But while I think of all these men who would want to be here today and cannot be, I am also reminded of those men who squandered their fatherhood privileges. And I become angry.
I am reminded of the men who are biological fathers, but really don’t deserve the honorable tag of “Father” because other than impregnating a woman they have done absolutely nothing else for their children. I am not talking about those men who found themselves in an unwanted situation but did an honorable thing be either signing away rights to the child so the child could be adopted hopefully into a loving home; or those who at least offer financial support. Neither of those situations may be ideal, but at least they tried to do the right thing after a wrong thing.
What makes me angry are those men who essentially will have nothing to do with the children they fathered. Obviously, many of the male-female relationships that led to parenthood can not endure and likely should not have existed to begin with. But to think that it is appropriate to just be invisible in someone’s life is not all right. The fact is that even if the man is not physically present, he will forever impact what that child or person is able to become. And those deadbeat dads who shirk their responsibility of paying child support cannot be excused. I understand that sometimes the amount of child support seems unfair, and is it hard to pay child support while maintaining a decent lifestyle, but the children should not suffer. If the child support amount is unfair, go back to court. Good luck. But until the amount is changed there is an irrefutable responsibility to pay that money.
I feel badly for those men who really try to do the right thing, and want to be the right kind of father to their children, but because of a bitter divorce or separation and constant antagonism with their former partner, they are not allowed to have the kind of interaction and relationship with their children that they would like. Some of them have given up. Many of them keep trying with varying degrees of success.
I feel angry at those men who did despicable acts that they should forever have to forfeit the role of fathers; acts like mental, emotional, physical or sexual abuse of their children; domestic violence committed against their children’s mother; severe alcoholism that interfered with any chance of a healthy home life. Although those men may not be part of their child’s life any longer, how is a child not affected by those things for the rest of their lives? How can many of them ever have a normal life with all they have witnessed or experienced?
I feel badly for those men who wanted to be fathers but were unable to because of infertility issues.
I admire those men who are not biological fathers, but who play vital and important roles in the lives of children, who although not their own, are loved and cared for anyway.
I do want all those deserving fathers to have a great and wonderful day. There are no perfect fathers–although some are more perfect than others. Everyone has made some mistakes in their parenting roles. Hopefully for most, the mistakes are not so serious that they cannot be overcome.
For those children who are estranged from their fathers, I hope they can take a serious look at what went wrong. Can the reason behind the estrangement be overcome? If so, this would be a wonderful day to reach out and begin the work of repairing a relationship if it can be repaired. However, in the more extreme situations, where a man’s actions cannot be overlooked, I hope their children can come to be at peace with the state of affairs. I understand these things cannot be forgotten, but hopefully the children will not forever be emotionally tortured by the awful circumstances.
A conflict of emotions on this Father’s Day, just another thread of my life.