Let’s take a break from math for a minute.
So…I just sat and stared at the screen for a solid 8 minutes trying to figure out where to begin. Although I have a quite a few “dads” in my life that is not a title that I have used for anyone.
My biological peaced out early, I am sure he had good reason and hope to someday get up the courage to ask. I am a lot like him… I think. Weird how a person can add so much to your life without being a part of it. My freckles, sense of humor, appetite, last name, messed up teeth, gypsy soul … all from him. Thank you Dad. For most of it.
My step dad has been in my life for as long as I can remember, yet I don’t call him dad either. Growing up, I was my mothers child and although I know he loved me, he left all of parenting up to her. He taught me how to hit a ball (kind of), helped me memorize my 9s facts (which I forgive him for), and brought me with him to the bar (relax, he was a bartender). At the bar I would roll change and drink my weight in Shirley Temples. He always saved the boot for me. We would drive around town doing errands, listening to Wham!, Madonna, and the Beatles. He shared his Orange Crush, bought me 5th Avenue Bars at the bottle depot and was always a reliable source of entertainment. He took me under his wing and called me “Tiny Whiny” a name that now belongs to my 4 year old. Thank you, Dad.
My moms dad worked at the paper mill. When I was young, he would make me mayonnaise sandwiches and we would watch the Dating Game and Star Search together. I always guessed the winner. At age 3 I told him to stop smoking, so he did. Cold turkey. Thank you, Grandpa.
In my twenties, single and broke, I lived with my best friend and her boyfriend. He would always ask where I was going, who I was going with, and when I would be home. Picked me up when I couldn’t drive and made me dinner that wasn’t frozen waffles and peanut butter. Thank you Dad.
While planning my wedding, the Father Daughter Dance was a constant source of anxiety. Should I ask my step dad and risk hurting my mother? Ask my biological and risk hurting my step dad? Say F it and skipping the dumb tradition all together? I opted to dance with my step dad and keep my fingers crossed that he would stay sober long enough to avoid embarrassing me. I asked my sister to dance with my biological and avoided making eye contact with my mom. Everyone was happy. Except me.
Now that I am parent I understand how difficult it is. And although I know they are only human appreciate everything my dads have ever done for me, I don’t feel bad saying that it was not enough.
The best dad I have ever known belongs to my boys. The way that my husband loves our sons is everything that either of us ever wanted from our own fathers. Our babies don’t know and probably never will know how lucky they are to have him. But I do. I know how hard he works, how fiercely he loves, and how much he sacrifices. Thank you will never be enough.
Happy Fathers Day to everyone who has ever taken on the role. It not an easy gig.