Father’s Day is different for everyone, including among people who share the same father. I can’t speak for my sisters, or anyone else. For me, Father’s Day is a day to text my mother and say thank you for being there. It’s a day for me to be happy for those of my friends who had a father with celebrating, and to stand in silent solidarity with those who didn’t. It’s a day to be reminded of a man who I mostly don’t think of the rest of the year… Before going back to forgetting him again.
The one lesson I learned from my father is that being a parent is no guarantee that you’ll be a good person, or feel obligated to provide for or nurture your children. Whether your father is cruel or selfish or generous or absent or someone you wish would disappear is really all a roll of the dice: you get who you get, and you don’t have much say in that when you’re born. You get to choose, later, and if you’re feeling the need to make a choice, I hereby give you permission to make it, by the power invested in me by you needing to read something supportive on the internet right now.
Being a father is meaningless if you’re not trying to be good at it. I am currently raising a son, without his father. A son who may or may not become a dad one day, but who I would hope will grow up to be a good man. The best thing I can do for him, beyond being all the things that I’d wish to see in him, is to make certain that the person he sees as a male role model now is someone who’ll help him be better, by the virtue of showing him what that looks like. Not perfect, not always parental, but present, loving, kind, and who actively tries to be better.
We don’t celebrate Father’s Day in our house, not for our family, but I do celebrate that the person my son and I choose to share our lives with is a good man. And that, I’m thankful for every day.