I wrote this in 2016, a year has passed and it still rings true.
Growing up fathers day was salt in an open wound.
While it seemed everyone was celebrating greeting card perfect Dad’s I was working hard to not cry. I built a rough and tough exterior. While I won’t speak ill of the dead I will say that my relationship with my biological father was tumultuous at best.
My last fathers day spent with my biological father was when I was 7. To tell you the truth I cannot even remember the day. I remember the gift I selected. A Blue beach towel with a ships wheel on it purchased at the Altus Walmart.
Beyond that the holiday was spent with my mothers side of the family. The family that sees every day marked on the calendar as a reason to get together with the extended family. To be honest this sucked. To watch everyone celebrating their wonderful fathers reading the sappy cards aloud as I (a very intense child) sat there trying to think myself to anywhere else.
At 15 this changed. My mom started to see a friend from High School. He had no kids and was in town for the annual Shelby meet. He found a way to connect with a moody mad teen on the worst weekend of the year (fathers day weekend). This is where things started to change.
Rather than seeing what was missing I began to take stock of what I had. I had 2 wonderful loving grandfathers (Pap & Grandpa) . My Great Grandad was still alive and telling stories. My Uncles both took an interest in me early on (one exposed me to music, the other to the outdoors). My Great Uncles all were there too. I even had friends Dad’s who considered me as a plus one daughter. Thats when it started to sink in. I didn’t need a dad in the traditional sense. I had so many male role models who took an active role in my life. From teaching me to roller skate, to learning how to use tools, and even how to think for myself.
Then my mother met my now step dad I decided my life was good. We didn’t need any outsiders. I tried to run him off (in the best way a 17 year old could). Lets just say my brilliant plan did not work. To my surprise I started to like him (bringing home a black lab didn’t hurt his cause any). He taught me more on how to work on cars. He taught me to drive a standard. He became my dad, because he was there. He wasn’t cruel. He cared. Finally I had a reason to look forward to fathers day.
I am writing this for those of you who have also loathed this holiday. I want to encourage you to find the male role models who helped you get thru this thing we call life. I wish we could have a holiday for role models, people who made a difference and those who cared. Those people need to know they matter. Take a moment and let them know they made a difference.
For those of you who take the initiative to be someone of consequence in the life of a child, thank you. You may never know the measure of the smallest lesson you provided.