Father's Day, shmather’s day — just another day.
Well, that’s what I used to say. But that was before a tall, grey-haired sweetheart of a man became my dad.
Anybody who knows me knows I’m a mama’s girl. My mother has been my best friend since I was itty bitty. I can remember being 7 years old at the pool or park with friends my own age, but instead I stayed right by Mama’s side. She was my parent and my friend all in one and that was all I thought I’d ever need.
My parents got divorced when I was in middle school and from then on, it was just Mama and me. My two siblings didn’t live with us at the time, so the two of us did everything together as per usual and we were just fine being alone.
Then one day, Mama told me she had a boyfriend.
Do what now? My mother in her late 30s has a what? My teenaged brain couldn’t comprehend it, but soon Mama and her new beau were dropping me off for a date with my then-boyfriend as they went on their own date. It became normal.
Before we knew it, our girls club was invaded by a man we didn’t know we even needed. He quickly became one of us and now we can’t imagine life without him.
The moment I first met Hubba — that’s what we call Mama’s now-husband and my dad — I knew he loved me. I felt it. He loved me the first time Mama told him about me and he heard my name. It’s like when a parent holds his or her baby for the first time in the hospital; it’s instant love.
I don’t know what I did to make this man love me so much, but that’s the thing — I didn’t have to do anything. Unconditional love was born the second we met.
And I love him back.
He showed me what a great dad should be and he’s literally never let me down. He’s been there for me no matter what and he’s never so much as looked at me with a ruffled brow. He’d go to the ends of the earth for me and has an undying loyalty to our family.
Before, Father’s Day never meant nearly as much to me as Mother’s Day, but now I have a totally different outlook. I’m so thankful to have a man to look up to and someone who shows me what it means to be truly loved.
Father’s Day can be tough for many. Some lost their fathers; others never had one. Fatherhood.com reports one in four children grow up without a father at home.
Just like mothers do, fathers play an important role in a person’s life. They teach important life skills, get you through hard times and encourage you to be the best you can be. They’re a role model and a confidant.
A father isn’t totally irreplaceable. Those with complicated relationships with their fathers or those who don’t have one at all shouldn’t just completely write off the holiday. I bet there’s someone out there who has filled the aforementioned role in your life.
Maybe it’s a brother, an uncle or a grandfather. It could even be your mother, aunt, sister or grandmother who acted as your father figure. Maybe it’s just a good friend or someone who took you in and did some of the things a father should do. All you may have is the Father you close your eyes and pray to, and that’s more than enough.
Even if you don’t have a relationship with your father, I urge you to find someone to celebrate Sunday.
Plus, those with absent fathers have the ability to become the best fathers to their own children. There’s always something positive to be born from a negative situation.
To those who do have great relationships with their fathers, cherish that. It’s something not everyone is blessed to have.
Santana Wood is managing editor of Tallapoosa Publishers’ newspapers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.