Sunday, June 20, 2010

How do you feel about Father's Day?

This blog is devoted to people who are struggling with their children's behavior, but today I'd like to open the discussion to additional situations.

My dad died when I was almost 13, and Father's Day since that time has been...odd. When my son was young, this day became something to celebrate again. His dad and I separated when J. was small, and again it was odd for a few years. I married Bill and then J. had Father's Day with his dad and then with Bill. There seemed to be a lot to celebrate, but it lasted only a few years.

In his teen years, J. was more sullen than most, difficult at best, unpredictable: would we see the charming and funny son or the one with the quick temper?

J. has not lived with us for 3 years, and the last year he was at home was very rough. We don't speak, although I hope he'll be ready to have some kind of a relationship soon.

I'd love to celebrate the efforts my husband made in being a step-dad. It's probably one of the more difficult and thankless family roles you can be in, and he did try to be a good father-figure. At a certain point, I think he felt it was wasted energy, but he still tried. Being the step-parent means you have rules in your head but sometimes the kid/kids don’t think you have the right to enforce the rules. You’re not the “real” dad.

I know what a “real” dad is as far as biology is concerned, but being a real father is more than biology. It’s caring about that child, loving the child no matter the circumstances, guiding the child and knowing that the child may fall and you’ll have to determine if you help that child get up or watch the child help himself/herself. That’s what parents do.
Some dads have to give their kids "tough love" and watch them fail, take drugs, go to jail, be estranged, and hope for better days.

Today I honor all of the real dads out there.

Here are some questions for you, and I hope you write some responses. What’s your best memory of your dad? What did he teach you? If you’re in a difficult situation, how do you cope?


  1. My Dad has been gone for almost three years. He had the best sense of humor and was always able to find awe in the world. For example, he just loved riding the SF Cable Car. He showed me unconditional love. I miss him terribly.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Lalynni. You were lucky to have a dad who did show you that unconditional love. I'm glad you have good memories of him.

  3. I, too, celebrate wonderful memories of being a City Farmers Daughter. He was a Chemist by day, and involved with protecting a midwest wildlife farm on weekends. My Dad has been gone for 3 years. He was born and lived in the midwest all his life - he showed me an unique work ethic and family values. Although he didn't frequent ocean walks as I, I believe he shared this fascination with me. He used to sing 'Daddys Little Girl' to me. Thanks for letting me share.

  4. Thank you for writing about your dad. I love that he showed you a work ethic and family values, and what a special memory that he sang that particular song to you.