__________ June 21, 2015 __________

Happy Father’s Daddy Day!

And call no man your father upon the earth:
for one is your Father, which is in heaven.   Matthew 23:9

Father’s Day is an issue for us on at least four different levels.  First of all, there’s the above verse.  My kids HATE when there’s ‘Father’s Day’ all over everything, because ‘these people are not the Father!!‘   I… kind of love that, and feel their pain, but it’s as pointless as the ‘His name is NOT Jee-zus’ thing.  You can’t change the world’s thinking.  Not even the christians thinking.  Not even with scripture… which is pathetic.  But it still rankles, every single time.  Them and me.  Has since I was a kid, and apparently it got passed on.

Then there’s my dad, who vacated my life, twice.  The first time wasn’t entirely his choice (divorce), but the second time was more painful, because I was grown-up:  older, wiser, more aware of the situation, and knew why he was rejecting me.  Registered that it was a rejection.  I didn’t see my dad for fifteen years as a child.  We reconnected for ten (the years my grandmother was alive, for her sake), and then he walked, and it’s been over eight years since I’ve seen him, now.

Then there’s my stepdad, who was terrified to overstep his boundaries and usurp my mother in any way, so he was the shadow of a family member most of my life.  He was there, but not a whole like like a dad.  I can’t even tell if he really wanted to be.  Mostly he just didn’t want his ass ripped off and stomped on by my mother.  That we understood.  It was a strained relationship, all of my life.  To this day, it’s a strained relationship.  Mostly because my mom has him by the neck, and I’m separated from my mom, so there is no way in HELL he could come and see us apart from her.  And when I did think that he wanted to be with us (he called to wish one of the boys a Happy Birthday), he handed the phone over to my mom… it was all about being her lackey and letting her use him to have an in to us.  Because she knew I wouldn’t take a call from her.  So it wasn’t care for us, it was enablement of her.  Ouch, that.  Should’ve seen it coming, but I really thought that he cared and was making a gesture on his own.  My bad.

Then there’s Brian’s dad… who was never, ever a dad.  He had no interest in his children, did absolutely nothing with them, nearly every interaction was pissed off or annoyed, and even now, he won’t talk to Brian about anything except machining.  Which is why Brian became a machinist – to try to relate to his dad in any way.  It mostly still doesn’t work – they’re business partners, and Brian does have that, but it’s not a relationship.  We’ve seen his dad once in the past eight years… which is ironic, since he lives 5 minutes up the street.  But he ignored the kids, blew me off, sat down, and talked machining with Brian.  He’s never been back.  And frankly, I’m not sorry about that.

If you want to know about our experience with dads… it hasn’t been really all that great.  All the way around.  We were both starved of the human-illustration of a Father figure, all of our lives.  I watch people posting pictures of their dads on FaceBook, and I try to be happy for them.  I’m glad they have dads who loved them, who still do.  I can’t relate, and am a little cynical, but I try to be glad that there are good dads out there… or at least that people pretend their dads did a good job.

BUT… let’s talk about Brian.

When I married him, he was… withered, stunted, closed up.  He’d had no affection from either parent.  He had trouble even interacting with check out clerks at the gas station.  He was absolutely terrified of kids.  It took me three years to even get him to talk about having children.  He was afraid of interaction and relationships and he was sure he could never do the whole ‘dad’ thing.  He had no experience with anything but rejection, neglect, and unpredictable, explosive anger.  He was petrified of being a dad.

IMG_4926 (416x555)I am amazed every day at how he has done with our kids.  He plays with them, hikes with them, reads with them, tinkers on things with them, and there’s hardly a moment he sits down that he doesn’t have one on top of him.  Most of the time, its more like two or three.  He calls at noon every day and talks to every single one of them, listening to their adventures and stories.  For someone who had never seen daddy-hood or experienced parental love, he soaks it up, now.  I have never seen a daddy who puts more time and love and care into his children.

So ‘Daddy’s Day’ to the kids is a time to make paper cards, a decorated place mat, hook a heart made out of a jumbo twisty-tie to his breakfast cup, and eat all the foods that he likes the best.  He gets to pick our activities (it looks like we’re taking a hike, today) and we get to give him something special (we’re taking him to get a newer, nicer cellphone since he sat on his in September and cracked the screen, and he saw one he REALLY likes during our cellphone thing this week).

I love my husband.  He has become the Daddy every child should have.  The daddy I hoped he’d be.  The dad he never thought that he could be.  The example of a loving ‘father’ on earth, to our children, so that they can relate that to our real, heavenly Father.  Not that I’m trying to be all gushy n’ shit, but it matters.  He came out of NOTHING – literally, nothing – and chose to change that – to make it different for his own children.  And he doesn’t have a temper, doesn’t hold them back… he’s a little reticent about some of our hair-brained ideas (because of his closed-up upbringing), but he’s amazingly willing to go along with things, just to be with them.  Because he loves them.  And they know it.  They adore him.

So in spite of all of the issues?  I love ‘Dad’s Day’.  Because it just makes me appreciate him all that much more.

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