Father’s Day Acknowledgment

“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important.”                                                                                   -President Barack Obama

Father’s Day was a day that usually went unnoticed in my house, as did in many households where a woman was commander-in-chief. Tomorrow, it might not be surprising that among expected trending words like #daddy, #father, and #dad, we might see #mom rise up in numbers as some self-proclaimed Super Moms get praise from their children or give themselves credit for raising their children all alone. Don’t you just love reading those? I want to wish myself a Happy Father’s Day ’cause I make miracles every Thanksgiving!

I think my mom did a damn good job raising me but I never felt the need to thank her for being mom and dad or acknowledge her on Father’s Day, because quite frankly, only a man can be a father. That’s not to come at same-sex households, but I always wondered how a woman can raise a boy to be something she’s never been herself?

But I’m getting off topic here. I don’t want to focus on absentee fathers, same-sex parenting,  or single motherhood; I just want to tell you my story.

For a long time, I felt that whenever the time came for me to get married, I wouldn’t ask my father to walk me down the aisle. That would be my way of hurting him, embarrasing him for not being there for me as a child. I battled long and hard trying to convince myself that he didn’t deserve that honor. That it would hurt my mother to see him beaming down the aisle, ‘giving’ me away when really he shouldn’t be given any credit for raising me. Anger and resentment had accumulated for the years that he so easily let pass. For example, my teenage years, when I wore low cut shirts and was starved for a man to tell me ‘I love you’ and not expect anything in return. Or when I felt my mother was being unreasonably strict or paranoid by not allowing me to go to dances or the prom; I longed for someone to balance her character out. There are countless examples of when I distinctly remember thinking it would have been nice to have a father around. But I can’t dwell on the past anymore.

At this age, I have to say that although my father hasn’t been there for most of my childhood, he’s shown up in 2 instances in my life that were vital. No, that won’t replace the emotional absence, the lack of genuine connection, the many milestones that have come and go, but it still shows that he’s put some effort forth. And I accept that. I don’t want to go through life mourning a father figure who’s not dead. I’m not making excuses for him, but the fact is he’s just not the type of father I expected him to be. And maybe he never will be.

Look up papi, say cheese!

I’ve always hidden behind the excuse that he’s the father and I’m the child, he should make more effort. That doesn’t hold up so much now that I’m an adult as well. I believe one way to measure maturity is the big F word: Forgiveness. It doesn’t mean I still don’t think about the kind of woman I would’ve been being raised with 2 parents, and it doesn’t mean I don’t worry about my kids having a relationship with abuelito (grandpa). What it does mean is that I don’t try to retaliate in a way that will only beget more hurt. Keeping my father out of my wedding will ultimately hurt me more than anyone else. I’ve resolved instead to change my perspective. To react in a way that may not make sense to most people; I’m going to accept my father for who he is presently, and stop judging him for who he hasn’t been. I believe that’s what God requires of all of us at some point in life.

So there you have it folks, my open letter on Father’s Day.

What perspective-changing lesson have you learned from your father (absent or present)?


She Traces

Father’s Day Acknowledgment

9 thoughts on “Father’s Day Acknowledgment

  1. Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I have been blessed to have a father that pretty much raised me. Both of my parents work but my mom has made more than my Dad for much of their careers and since she is military she travels more so my Dad has always been the one around. He’s taught me the lessons of selflessness and compromise. It takes a strong man I believe to stand behind and support his woman. When the military would tell my mom that we were moving somewhere else, he would pack us all up and we would hit the road. Any guy that I’ve ever dated and will date will have huge shoes to fill.

    1. Tava, I usually hear of those stories being the other way around, where Mom is the glue keeping the household in check. That is an admirable trait of your father’s, to support your moms traveling career, and making it work. Obama talks in his speeches about his wife being the rock of the household, esp. while he’s away from home. I love to hear about families that have non-traditional roles that are successful! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I am not half the father that my father is too me. I have learned calmness in the midst of anything and my father does a great job of keeping my mother happy even when she is dead wrong. He manages to do this without anyone getting their feelings hurt and he finds a way to let her have her way without really conceding.

    My father knows how to manage a household and protect all that are within his walls. If I was honest with myself, I would admit that had my father been in my position, he would not have gotten divorced. He would have weathered the miserable storm until it cleared. My mom slept on the couch for 3 years when I was in my teens. My father never skipped a beat. If he ever cheated, I don’t know about it. My parents are now happy. He rode it out. I probably should have.

    1. Sounds like pop dukes has a great gift, there are probably character traits your kids admire about you that you will have no idea about until they get older and tell you….just as you share with your father now, I presume?
      What a hard task, choosing a father for children…

  3. Dang it, Tracey! Even though my father was present, I have a lot of the same thoughts floating through my head. I’ve even thought the same things about my wedding. But then I read this:

    “I’ve always hidden behind the excuse that he’s the father and I’m the child, he should make more effort. That doesn’t hold up so much now that I’m an adult as well.”

    And that shifted my whole perspective. Very, very well written.

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