I get this question a lot. It always amuses me how many people forget that there are millions of us who do not have dads.
Sure we have had biological fathers, but that doesn’t mean they were dads.
My father was a violent bastard, just like his father although I never met him. My maternal grandfather died when I was six. I had no uncles or close great uncles. In fact the only male in my family until I was 15 was my cousin who was only ten years older than me and more like my brother than father.
My mom never dated and by the time my aunt remarried Father’s Day was just another day to me. The fact is we were a house of women: moms, daughters, sisters. Men were mostly a mystery for me and fathers were something other kids had, not me.
Even when my cousin married and had kids, they were both girls. Sure we sent him a card on this day, as the token male in the family this became a second (less important) birthday for him.
None of my contemporaries females in the family married or had kids…well Susan adopted (again sans a dad) a little girl. And, I am still single and unable to have children, so why would I celebrate this “Hallmark card” holiday?
I don’t begrudge those who do. In fact just the opposite I applaud loving, full participation dads. Dads have long been the over-looked or absentee parent over the centuries. Raising kids was always considered women’s work.
Yet, I find from being on the outside looking in, that while two parents aren’t necessary to raise a child, a loving dad who is there for his kids, interested in their lives adds a richness to their life experience. Another level or demension to their personalities.
Maybe men wouldn’t have been such a mystery for me for so long if I had had a “dad”. Who knows. I do know there are many aspects of living with a man, I had to discover in adulthood that my friends took for granted. Little things like watching a man shave, or how men and women approach problems differently. I never had a “mr. Fixit” in my house. Women did the repairs, the gardening, the bread-winning in my house.
So no, I don’t celebrate this holiday. I don’t remember “dad” on this day or wax nostalgic at all the things I remember about dad. I don’t feel I have lost something or stare enviously at those who do have loving dads to celebrate with. I have known love and received love. My family is close and I know I can stand on my own happily.
If I meet a man that I can love and share my life with, I will welcome him by my side. But…if it is my destiny to walk alone with only an occasional romance here and there, I’m good with that too. I am a loyal friend, sister and aunt. I encourage my nieces to welcome love into their lives but not to hold marriage as their ultimate measure of success. We are more complex than that and if you do marry you are entering a marathon partnership. They need to know themselves and what they want for the long haul, not just a pretty face or a rockin’ body.
I know this can’t compare with having a loving “dad” in their lives. But, in a family full of women it’s the best lesson I can teach them.