“Mama why don’t I have a daddy, as my friends do?”15 year old me asks.
Today is Father’s day in most countries. A day among the 365 days in the year all men get to call theirs.
Despite the frequent complaints about the countless days reserved to celebrate Mother’s days, this single day is gladly accepted and jealously guarded by men around the world.
The third Sunday in June is a day when, excluding birthdays that is, children can celebrate their fathers, who have played an instrumental role in their lives.
From sending gifts to posting pictures and best wishes, for 24 hours at least, it’s a time to reminisce on the countless superhero acts fathers have done.
For most people like myself, father’s day however is bittersweet. For various reasons, the rest of us feel apprehensive about father’s day.
From having a dad separated through divorce,
To a dad who might be incarcerated,
To having a dad who is deceased.
Or like me, simply having dad who was an absentee.
Growing up, father’s day represented a day where I could for a brief moment experience, through the stories shared by others, how growing up with a father was like.
I would endlessly pore through the stories narrated on social media and like the pictures shared and wistfully wish I could transport myself into their reality, even if it is for 24hours.
Yet, like a glass of cold water poured on me, I will snap back to my reality and hurriedly scroll past.
I realized not only was this not helpful to me but was traumatic for my parent to see.
Having fathers day celebrated 4 days after my birthday was further distressful, as it formed part of my gift wish list I hope to receive on my birthday.
When I would get the opportunity to say words I had written down for so long to my father.
Then I grew older and that dream as with most childish dreams, faded away.
With time, as we all do, I understood that life was not how I pictured it through my 15 year old clouded eyes.
I began to recognize that the term ”father” means far more than the name given to a biological parent. It is a role that can be assumed by anyone capable.
No doubt it would be wonderful if this role was played by a biological dad, but it is an encompassing title that can be worn by anyone, and hence why the men who do take up this role are celebrated.
It could be an uncle who took on the role of paying the bills for the longest period.
It could be a stepfather, who vowed to love and protect deeply.
It could be an older brother, who lived an exemplary life to serve as a guide to follow.
It could be the male teacher who left a positive impact in your life.
Therefore as varied as the meaning of father is, so are the different people that can be celebrated each father’s day.
However, on the rare occasion where a male role model to call on father’s day does not exist, Father’s day can simply be a day to live through the experiences shared by others, to serve as a guide.
In ensuring that the next generation can have fatherly experiences to share on a day like this.
To all the men who play the different roles of a father in the lives of children they love, biological or not, a Happy Father’s Day to you.
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