“Father’s Day” can be difficult for people who did not have a traditional “Father” experience… those whose Fathers were – broken and wounded – violent – or absent – or emotionally unavailable – and unable to offer the qualities we celebrate in Fathers.
While you own your sadness around that – and you have every right to mourn its absence – take a moment to celebrate the people who DID provide you with the qualities we associate with Fathers… commitment, support, leadership, stability, compassionate strength, unconditional love, a moral compass, a sense of ethics and obligation, steadfastness, loyalty, reliability and courage… They may not be your biological fathers – they may not be male at all – it could be a spouse or a friend… a teacher… a peer… a mentor… or, perhaps, you “father’ed” yourself. I asked one of my clients who was raised under horrific circumstances, without (I naively thought) a role model, how he came to be such a loving Father himself – he said “I used to watch Lost in Space – and pretend Dr. John Robinson was my dad. He was all the things I wanted to be… all the things I wished my father could have been.. And my mom of course – she taught me how to be a great Dad.”
I did some work with LGBTQ youth – and one of the kids used to celebrate her “Dad’ on Father’s Day – he was an older drag queen – who made sure she kept going to high school and showed up for her events. He was strict – but always – present.
Fatherhood it seems can show up across genders and bloodlines – and across ideas of masculinity or sexuality.
Happy Father’s Day – to all the people who miraculously show up in the lives of others… those who shepherd us through good times and bad – regardless of biology – and through their love whisper – “you can do it.”