Growing up without a relationship with a father sucks. It’s day after day of disappointment, hurt and feelings of inadequacy and anger, summed up and sloppily gift-wrapped on Father’s Day. It’s the day when we are supposed to acknowledge and thank the men in our lives who cared for us, made sacrifices and ultimately set the standard for which other men who follow are expected to meet. Meanwhile, for many fatherless daughters, Father’s Day can elicit an emotional ambiguity and pain that many of us don’t even learn to express until well into adulthood, if ever at all.
Whether we have a father who is still in our lives, albeit through only rare sightings and tumultuous visits, or he’s gone altogether for a full abandonment, there are certain thoughts and experiences only other girls with daddy issues can understand.
1. At one point in time, we were forced to celebrate Father’s Day
Our mothers covered for our fathers when we were kids. They made excuses for why he wasn’t there, but assured us that he really, really wanted to be. When Father’s Day came around, she’d buy a nice card and mug and insist that we send it to him. And we did this, year after year, until we were either old enough to make decisions for ourselves or when we officially lost his address — whichever came first.
2. There are no Father’s Day cards that say what we mean
There are times we’ve tried to buy a Father’s Day card, just off of pure general practice. We’d make our way to the card aisle at the last minute, only to have it remind us one last time of how insignificant our relationship with our father really was. We’d literally cringe at cards that read, “Thank you for always being there for me” and eventually just give up on buying a card altogether. Even the seemingly generic cards saying “For someone special…” would require us to muster up the strength to sign.
3. Even the best mother does not take the place of a father
There’s so much debate lately about whether or not it’s right to recognize a mother on Father’s Day. We know it’s technically not right, but it’s our reality. She couldn’t take us to father-daughter dances, but she was the first person we considered to walk us down the aisle. Unlike kids with a mother and a father, she was all we had, and she did her best to fulfill the role of two people. For that, she gets celebrated not only on Father’s Day but also on every day we stop to think about how much she’s done for us.
4. We’re not posting pictures with our dads on Father’s Day
No, we won’t block you from our timeline if you do post, but understand that we will not be doing the same. Either we have to scramble to even find a non-Polaroid picture or it’s simply not on the top of our minds or hearts to do so.
5. Father’s Day becomes less painful when we have children of our own
Eventually, we master the art of not finding a man like our fathers, and if we’re lucky, the man we marry and/or have children with will be far more deserving of a Father’s Day celebration. He will show us exactly what the love from a father looks like, and we will live through our kids’ excitement of celebrating their dad on Father’s Day. We’ll be able to find a card with just the right words and post pics of him affectionately posed with our children. As mothers, we won’t expect nor accept a Father’s Day wish because we’ve already had our day. Ultimately, we will find pure joy in celebrating the holiday on his behalf and less for the fathers we missed in our own lives.
Ari Adams is a lifestyle and parenting blogger, author and cyber hippie. She’s the lady behind the blog Love, Peace, and Tiny Feet, where she shares the memorable and sometimes crazy experiences of balancing parenthood, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and finding love and peace in imperfection. You can keep in touch with her on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.