What Is a Real Father?
Not just for Fathers Day
I suppose, as with most things, I am a couple days late and several thousand dollars short. Fathers day was a couple days ago and I spent the day doing my best to show my appreciation to all of the Dads in my life. As a Mother, I understand how hard it can be to be a parent sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom. I have done a lot of cool things in my life, but being a mom is by far the coolest!
It takes a lot to be a parent though. You live your life in your own little world and suddenly you have a new life to raise, and you have to teach that life how to live in your world. And sometimes, this life that you have to care for has issues that completely turns the tables. Suddenly, instead of teaching this life how to live in your world, you have to figure out how to live in your child's world. You figure it out and you just do it because the love a parent has for their child is like nothing else. You do what you have to do for your child and you never take a single moment for granted.
Mothers Day and Fathers Day are great, but I appreciate my parents every single day, because that is what they deserve.
Who can be a father?
Hopefully most people reading this already know how to become a biological father, so I wont get into that. There is also the father figure type as well.
I think that whether you have children of your own or not, it is important as an adult to try be a good role model to any children that are in your life. I greatly admire the men and women who serve as father and mother figures to kids.
Years ago, I sat in church on Fathers Day and the Pastor spoke about father figures. He spoke to the men at church who were fathers and who were not fathers and explained the importance of being a father figure to all the other children at church. It was a very touching speech.
My children have a great father who loves them and teaches them all about sports because that is what he is great at. They also have fantastic uncles and grandfathers who adore them and are there for them in many ways. My children are also lucky because they have all of our family friends who look out for them as well as my co-workers who are a bunch of great fathers to their own children, but treat my children like their own when they are near. I am extremely appreciative of all the men in my circle who help care for protect and shape my children.
We all make mistakes
As I said earlier, parenting is hard. Nobody knows how to be the perfect father. I surely don't know how to be the perfect mother. All I know how to do is try the best that I can. Sometimes, a parent makes mistakes. Sometimes they are big mistakes. I am not talking about the ones who are abusive or abandoned their children, but the ones who just can't do it all. In those moments, when we as parents realize we can't do it all because we are not super humans, it's nice to know that there are other people in our circle who we can depend on to be there for our children.
I was at work yesterday and one of my co-workers came into my office extremely upset. He is going through something right now with his own children that I can't even imagine. He said that he felt like he was not a real father. I suppose that is what inspired me to write this article.
The thing is, he might not be able to see or even speak to his children right now. It's not his fault at all, it is just the way the system works sometimes... when the system is broken. But as I told him, I see him fighting every single day for his kids. Even though he might not be able to be with them, I see that everything he does is for them. In my mind, that makes him a fantastic father.
Not every dad can be with his kids each day. Sometimes things happen and families are split up. I never underestimate the love a man has for his child. I can't imagine what it must be like for my co-worker. I hate spending just a few hours away from my kids. When I am at work and they are at school all day, I miss them terribly. When they go out of town to visit my parents each summer, I feel devastated. For my co-worker, he has no idea when he will see his children again, and that would probably kill me. But he just goes through each day, doing everything he can to fight for them.
The daily motions we often take for granted
My mornings are hectic. I wake up and try to be as quiet as possible spending 30 minutes getting myself ready before I wake the kids up and the chaos begins. An hour after I wake them up, we are out the door headed to school. That hour goes by in a blur. I make them breakfast, help them get dressed, pack lunches, make sure they have everything they need for school and almost always have to search for a lost shoe or sock. There is usually whining and crying involved, mostly from the kids, sometimes from me. And then the two of them fighting with each other in the car on the way to school. Finally about two hours after I wake up in the morning, I am walking them to the doors of their school, I kiss them and tell them to have a great day and that I will see them later. As I watch them walk through the doors I can finally breathe, the morning stress is over. You know what though? I love every second of it. I am so grateful that I have a job that allows me to come in to work a bit later so that I can have my mornings with my kids. I would hate to not be able to wake them up each day and tuck them in to bed each night.
I see so many fathers unable to spend this kind of time with their children. It's not because they don't want to. I think most of them would absolutely love to. The important thing I think is to cherish the time we do have with our kids. Never take a single moment or milestone for granted. Most moments only happen once.
Once upon a time, I was my "Daddy's Girl". I don't think anybody ever loved my dad as much as I did. When I was six however, my parents were divorced. He had to move to another state for his job and I stayed with my mother, younger brother and younger sister. For a long time, it devastated me to be without my father. I didn't understand back then, what had happened between my parents. All I knew was that I missed him. My brother and sister were really to young to remember him or care much about someone they never saw.
As an adult I still have somewhat of a relationship with my father. Of course I love him, but I have only seen him twice in the past 30 years. We went for many years without even speaking. When I had my daughter, I reached out to his family and they helped me get in touch with him.
Even though I didn't really have my father in my life too much growing up, or as an adult, I was extremely lucky because when I was 12, my other married my step-father. My stepfather is the best man in the whole wide world. That might just be my opinion, but I don't give out compliments like that to just anybody.
Not only did he step up and take care of my mother and her three children, but he loved us all like we were his own. Admittingly, his relationship with my brother and sister was much better than his relationship with me. I was older when they got married, almost a teenager, and I was no picnic to be around.
I was your typical, overly emotional and rebellious teenager. My stepfather seemed to think that I behaved this way because I missed my father and didn't want my step-father to try to replace him. The truth is, I never ever harbored any negative feelings towards my step-father. I was grate grateful for him, I was just a bratty teenager, simple as that.
My step-father taught me a lot of things. He taught me how to put the toilet paper on the holder. It may sound silly, but really, he used to get so frustrated with us for not doing it he would bring my brother, sister and I into the bathroom and give us lessons on how to replace the roll of toilet paper. It's funny, yes, but believe me, I have threatened my co-workers with that same lesson!
He taught me how to drive. My mother was way too nervous to actually teach me, so he was the one and I do believe many of his grey hairs came from those lessons.
He taught me how to slow dance. It was at my old babysitters wedding. He was the first man I ever slow danced with an he taught me how. It was a special memory for me. It was the kind of Dad/daughter moment I think I had been waiting my whole life for.
He taught me to work hard and take pride in my accomplishments. He has always been such a hard worker and he always strived for perfection. He is an artist in his craft and I am amazed by the things that he has built. It might drive people who know me crazy but I definitely get my "If you are going to do something, you better do it right because I don't want to have to do it over" attitude from him.
I definitely think I got my lovingly-sarcastic" attitude from him.
He taught me that my mom deserves to be respected and appreciated. And that is something I believe ALL fathers should teach their children.
He taught me that good people do exist. He taught me this by being an example.
And he taught me that a man can love and care for children completely whether they are or are not his own.
Do you see why I think that my stepdad is the best guy in the whole world. My mom, my brother, my sister and myself are so very blessed to have him in our lives. I can't imagine what our world would have been like if he and my mom had not found each other. I am so glad I will never know.
To all the dads out there, whether you are someone's biological father or step father or some type of father figure, please know that you are appreciated. If nobody else seems to appreciate you, at least know that I do. People, especially children don't always realize their blessings. They don't always understand how to appreciate things until they are older. However, if you are setting the best example you can, then somehow, some day that will be passed on. And you, can take pride in that.
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