I have spent my entire childhood defending dads. That happens when you are raised by a single father of five. I was the child who always raised their hand in class and said, “and dads too, right?” whenever someone with authority sang the praises of mothers.
It was a defense mechanism. The mention of the glorious wonders of mothers only caused me pain and hurt because it was a reminder that my mom left. She was not this super human who made us meals, comforted us when needed and did all the typical things that would cause others to remind us children that our moms deserve to be acknowledged. Nope, not even close. Instead of admitting that hurt I built walls and focused on the awesomeness of my dad, minus the whole alcoholism thing.
Sometime between my dad’s death and becoming a mom I stopped defending fatherhood and started to bask in the glory of being a mom. Wait. That sounds wrong. I still continued a healthy respect for the role of a father and selflessly encouraged it in our own home. I just stopped raising my hand and declaring it.
What I really meant was it felt good as a mom to relate to all the propaganda about how great moms are. Even if you didn’t watch the Olympics you saw the commercials right? I mean come on, I cried every time they aired. I am raising athletes and I could totally relate.
Moms are universally celebrated by the world. Anytime anyone succeeds in life the mom gets all the credit. It may be fair considering us moms are also the reason therapist exist but that’s not the point I am making.
What I am trying to do is raise my hand and ask, “What about the dads?” What are they chop liver? Did I just age myself with that question? Moving on.
Everything I am, I am because of my dad. It pains me to know that I did not fully appreciate his love and sacrifices until I was blessed with my own children. Children born after his death. We eat as a family nearly every night, spend the majority of our time as a family, our children are expected to treat others with respect and have a love for baseball that would make him proud all because he instilled these things in his own children.
The truth is as much as I would love to take all the credit for all the goodness of my children Mr. C plays a huge part in raising them. He is an amazing father who deserves to be celebrated. Mr. C is the leader of our family, spiritually and otherwise. It is he who will be held accountable for our family. He works his ass off everyday as the sole provider for our family. He endures the stress of balancing work and family time.
He often leaves work and heads straight to whatever practice or game is going on. Our children squeal and run into his arms when they spot him walking up and the kid on the field flashes a huge smile because just being there matters. Because of this dinner gets served late but we still eat as a family and he listens to all the chatter about the rest of the day even though he hasn’t had a second to relax.
He is the kind of dad who paints his daughters nails, knows every girly hand cheer clapping game and plays them in public with his little girl. He is the kind of dad who makes the time to take his daughters and his sons on dates to spend one on one time with all four of them.
He is the kind of dad who clears the living room furniture to wrestle, practice grounders, play catch or have a Nerf gun war. He is the kind of dad who encourages, disciplines and loves. He is the kind of dad who knows because of his work schedule his time with his kids is limited. Therefore he makes it a point to be the one who tucks them in at night in order to make sure he is able to talk to them and prays for them before they go to sleep.
He is the kind of dad this momma is comforted in knowing he has set the bar high for the kind of man our daughters will seek in marriage and the kind of men our son’s will strive to be. He is not a perfect man but he is the best kind of man he knows how to be today.
My daddy and Mr. C are not the exception to the rule. I have had the privilege of being surrounded by great men . My grandfather’s raised my dad and aunt on his own after their mom died when they were teenagers. He allowed my dad and us five kids to live with him. He is the one who gave me strength to chase my dreams. My brother is an amazing father and I see so much of my dad in him. My brother-in-law has two beautiful girls who he makes his world.
Yet because of the bad rap of the overwhelming number of deadbeat dads their role gets minimized and uncelebrated. However, not every mom is the epitome of a Hallmark card and that doesn’t stop the world from celebrating us (rightfully so). So this Father’s Day my gift to dads everywhere is to celebrate you year round.
It’s time I start raising my hand again and saying, “and dads too, right?”
In the end when my children look back on their upbringing they will have memories of both a mom and a dad who were actively involved in shaping their legacy and not a two-minute highlight reel focused on the plight of just a mom because they will know it was because of their dad too.
On a side note: I miss my daddy…
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