My weekend was pretty planned out, to the point that I thought I wasn’t going to get around to doing a post. I literally had “things to do, places to go, and people to see”. Some of my plans fell through, but all in all, it’s turning out to be a good weekend. But back to the post… I realized this morning that I never thought about doing a Father’s day post, and it made me wonder, “why”?
I love my dad, but I didn’t really grow up with him. My parents split when I was young. I do remember him coming over from time to time to take us kids for a few hours. I was a little envious that he ended up with an apartment near the beach, and as a young kid, loved going there, pretty much for that reason only. Still, that seemed like the exception rather than the rule, so I didn’t develop a close relationship with my dad, or know what that is supposed to look like.
There were some other men that unknowingly fulfilled the role of dad for me. They did it at arms length, being an example, teaching me along with their own kids, and displaying manhood to me. I’m grateful to the men of St. James for that, and appreciate every opportunity I have to tell them so.
Last night, we sat down to a pre-father’s day dinner, and my kids talked about a lot of stuph… stuph that makes me wonder if I could have been a better dad. I remember Jon talking about compassion being a two-edged sword, and giving the example of times when I would help the neighbors with money or food, from the little reserves we had. I wonder what he would have thought if I had told the neighbors no, because I had to take care of my family first? Stuph to ponder. I wonder what would have happened if I took more opportunity to explain why I felt it was important to display compassion, even when we had little to give… maybe I did, but in his young mind, he focused on what he saw, rather than what I said…
Maybe that is the stuph of dads… traditionally, moms are the close, touching, nurturing ones, and dads are the distant, sometimes aloof, vision casting ones. My daughter and I were talking to the proprietor of the restaurant, who was admiring her name, because it was close to her sons. She said that it meant faith, and Imani and I both said that we knew that. The owner was surprised that we knew that, and Imani responded “that’s why he named me that”, which blew her away. Imani has totally taken to the reason for her name. I loved putting that vision into her (don’t get me wrong, I am a totally touchy-feely dad too :-)).
I had the other blessing this week to talk to some other kids I raised. Kids that call me their father (actually they call me their black daddy. Long fun story for another time). They were recalling how I was able to father them, be there for them when they wanted me, and sometimes when they didn’t. I love the fact that being a dad is, or at least can be, larger than just doing it for your own kids. There are so many out there that need role models, love, and fathering, and having the opportunity to be and do that is awesome.
I’m curious, as I consider my own fatherhood – what is the stuph of dads for you? How was (or is) your dad a good dad, or what would make your dad a good dad? I can always be a better one, cuz fatherhood never really ends.
To those of you who are fathers, I wish you the best father’s day ever, and for you to get one more chance to be that for your kids
4 Replies to “The Stuph of Dads…”
My parents also split when I was a kid, around 4 years old, and I haven’t developed a close relationship to my dad either. When people ask me now about it, what it was like to grow up without being able to count on him, or having him in my life properly, I can only answer that this is what was normal for me and can’t exactly imagine it any other way.
I’m not a mother, so I can’t relate completely, but I loved your post so much. I imagine how good it must feel to know that the kids you’re a black daddy to love you and appreciate you as much as your own children!
I know what you mean about imagining it different. I am happy with how I grew up, and know I am the person I’m supposed to be, but I have no concept of what it would be had my father been there more.
You are an amazing dad & role model! My husband and I both had difficult family/father relationships, yet–like you–my husband is a wonderful father. He often wonders, though, what would have been if his father had been there more (or hadn’t been drinking when he was there!). Happy Father’s Day! 🙂
Thanks Julia :-).