A lot of people have complicated relationships with their fathers, and I think current political and health matters probably don’t really help in that arena.
I have LGBTQ+ friends whose fathers have thrown them away, disowned them, told them to never come back. I have friends who had abusive fathers, drug addict fathers, fathers who were too young and too afraid to stick around. I know people who never knew their fathers, and never had a male father figure step into their lives to fill the void.
But I also have friends who had amazing dads or stepdads or granddads who did what dads are supposed to do, who loved those kids and helped them grow up in a world designed to tear them down. Those who taught them how to ride a bike, bait a hook, stand up for themselves and for others. Those that knew the world outside of childhood could be could and cruel, and helped prepare them to thrive anyway.
I was fortunate, even if my relationship with my father has occasionally been rocky due to so many reasons that are rooted in who I was in my puberty years (think far-right, evangelical Christian) and who he was (as in, not that), that my dad was there for me. We don’t always agree, even now that I’ve gone the far right of him to the far left of him, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loves me for who I am.
And I had a pretty cool stepfather too. Bob and I didn’t always see eye to eye either, but he was always there to lend a hand when I needed it and he loved us even if he never said those words.
I hope that all of you who fill those roles, whether you’re blood or not, take a little time today to give yourself a moment to know you are awesome. And if you are someone looking for how to help the next generation, whether you are cis-male, trans-male or nonbinary, consider finding that one on one relationship with a kid who needs it, and yeah, I don’t just mean the under 18 crowd. There are tons of folks in their 20s who could really use a father figure to help them find their way into what being an adult really means.
Even if you’re one of those guys who never really had an old man, maybe especially if you’re one of those guys, be the father-figure you wanted in your life.
So Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads and Dad-adjacent folks out there. Being that it is Sunday and my job #2 has no work for me to be doing today, I get to write for a while before I get on with the housework that needs doing. I’m off to do that…and drink more coffee.
Cover Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash