A Father's Day Piece that's NOT About Dads



noun. a person who loves their babies unconditionally. Period.

I have watched so many amazing Father’s Day posts come through this weekend and it just fills my heart with so much joy. And I had this plan to write some mushy stuff about the dads in my life and how I have one that’s in Heaven and how I have a different perspective because of that. But then, I sat down to write, and another thought totally came to me. And well, here we are.

Here was my thought (I hope I can articulate it as well as have in my own head): Families don’t look like they used to in generations past, and that’s actually pretty rad. But the issue is we don’t see enough representation of families of all kinds – and that has to change. I noticed this year that many of the ads for Father’s Day gifts were super masculine, and often had families where there was a mom and a dad (mostly white), two kids, and they had either bought Dad power tools or a grill for Father’s Day. I just don’t feel like that’s real life, right?

I saw posts today about how grateful we are that our daughters have amazing men to look up to so that they know who to choose as a partner. I love this. BUT – it leaves out the fact that my son could grow up and choose a man as his life partner, and I’d be so grateful if he were looking for someone with some of the amazing qualities that Mitch has.

I saw so many posts today about Moms who have stepped up and have played the role of both mom and dad. I remember seeing posts like this on Mother’s Day – where Dads had stepped up to play the role of both. Two things come to mind here: there are a lot of us who feel a void of some kind when we think about one (or both) parents. Secondly, there are a lot of us who are growing up with one parent playing the starring role in the child-rearing story of our life. So incredibly grateful for these strong moms and dads. We see you and we celebrate you.

Many of us have navigated the choppy waters of blended families. So much unrest and work and patience goes into making these families into just that: families. We don’t see many of these families or these issues in the media. But they are oh-so prevalent.

Many of us are wrestling with the fact that our babies may grow up to face racial or cultural discrimination. We are teaching them how to deal with that in a system that does nothing to assist them. Or maybe we are the interracial family that is stared at when we go into public.

Many of us, instead of figuring out what to buy for Father’s Day, are working a third or fourth job, just so that rent can get paid.

Many of us are taking on babies that aren’t ours by blood, because they need a safe home and food and love and stability. Or we are in the thick of adoption, waiting for the perfect fit for our family.

Many of us long to be parents, but within the confines of infertility or a broken system, we are stuck. And hurting. And longing.

And today specifically, many of us are seeking asylum with the hopes to enter a new country in order to save our babies from the tragedies in our homelands. And our babies are being ripped from us. They’re being numbered and put in cages and calling out for us and our hearts are literally ripping at the seams.

You see, we are not the perfect family on the cover of a box that carries a new patio set or a bbq. We are the collective of all of these families. It is not us and them. It is WE. WE who are doing the best we can. WE who are loving our babies for exactly who they are. WE who are making ends meet. WE who are dreaming big so that we can allow our kids to do the same. WE who are moving mountains just to be safe. WE who are showing our babes that you can have a void in your heart but you can still make sure love wins. WE who are ONE. BIG. FAMILY. And no matter what it may look like on the outside, we all have much more in common than we realize.