As you know, Father’s Day is this weekend and I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank all the dads, but specifically the ones who didn’t have to be. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% thankful for ALL the dads out there but my first-hand experience isn’t that of a daughter born to a man who chose to be present in her life – my first-hand experience is that of a daughter born to a woman who made a choice that didn’t include her biological father. A few years later that woman would fall in love with and marry a man who would then, without hesitation, call that little girl his daughter. He became “Dad” and so it began.
“Megan, don’t put your elbows on the dinner table.”
“Don’t say ‘what?’ when I call your name.”
“TURN DOWN THAT MUSIC!”
“Go ask your mother.”
“What did your mother say?”
“Don’t slam the door!”
“TURN THAT MUSIC DOWN!”
“Megan, if you slam that door one more time, you won’t have a door to slam.”
“Stop slamming the damn door!”
“Megan Ann, don’t stomp around this house just because you’re mad. Grow up.”
“Megan, you don’t have to plop down on the chair. Just sit down like a normal person.”
“Megan, you don’t have to slam the car door every time. Just close it.”
“MEGAN, I AM GOING TO BREAK THAT DAMN RADIO!”
I wish I could give you an exact number of times during my adolescence that I thought in my head (because I was too scared to say it out loud), WHY DOES IT MATTER? YOU DON’T REALLY LOVE ME ANYWAY – I’M NOT EVEN YOUR REAL DAUGHTER! But since I can’t, I’ll just tell you it was a lot. I often wonder if it really would have mattered, or had as much of an effect on me, had we looked more alike – aka been the same ethnic makeup and not near opposites – or had we lived in a more diverse community. And while I’m 100% sure it would have been easier, I’ve come to realize I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Not only would I not be the same person – our relationship would never be so special to me.
Having my own kids now I am able to realize how hard it is to be a parent, how unimaginably frustrating it can be, how heartbreaking and how impossible it can feel. I grew two boys inside of my body and nourished them when they arrived with that same body and at times I STILL catch myself thinking about all of the things I could do had I never had them. So, how a young man – who didn’t grow me, let alone take part in my creation – could choose to, overnight, become a little girl’s father in every capacity for the rest of her life is so beyond me there are barely words to describe it. He had no formal obligations to fill the shoes of a man who couldn’t or wouldn’t. He had every opportunity for years and years and years to leave me to my own devices, to let it go and give up on the molding/teaching/raising thing and just let me be. But he didn’t. He stuck around and has now been molding, teaching, raising and annoying me for approximately the last 28 years. He’s made countless car repairs. He’s answered 100% of my ‘I need help’ phone calls (and there’s been A LOT). He’s taught me lesson upon lesson including how to make a mean BV and Pepsi (don’t stir, you guys, it will make it go flat) and that you’re never too old to go after your dreams. He’s encouraged me to be the stubborn, strong-willed feminist that I am even when I’ve been down on myself. But most importantly he’s loved me through every stupid decision and poorly executed chore and he not only filled a once-in-a-lifetime position that would have otherwise been vacant but he killed it and now I have so much to show for it.
So, thanks Dad for being the Dad (and Papa) you didn’t have to be and making me who I am today.
But I’ll still never turn down my music.
And because I can’t leave the other Dad in my life out, I have to say thanks to Seth. We live in a society where fatherhood is so often seen as a choice rather than an obligation, so thank you for not only choosing this route with me and being the best Dad our boys could ever ask for but for being present, for approaching the job like we’re equals and for filling the traditional role of “Mom” when I can’t. You are exactly the Dad Marty and Bob deserve – and you know I think they deserve the world. Thank you for being you.
Now to all the other dads or “dads”, no matter what route brought you to fatherhood, thank you and happy Father’s Day! I hope you get spoiled with love and showered with hugs.
And now, I’ll let Matty have the last word…