On Father’s Day, we honor the men in our lives who have protected us, provided for us, and parented us.
But what if you have a father who didn’t do those things? Or worse, no father or father-figure at all?
Every year, without fail, I feel awkward walking up and down the card aisle, trying to find a card for my dad that is truthful. I read sentiments of respect, admiration, and trust—none of which apply to my relationship with my dad. Yes, I love him and I want to make him feel loved on Father’s Day.
But my desire to do that does not come from all the wonderful things he’s taught me or the way he made me feel while growing up in his home; it comes from my awareness, as a parent, that no one is perfect, that I do not want to continue a cycle of pain, and that I want to teach my own children to continue to love people when, at times, they seem unlovable.
That doesn’t make it easier though.
There are times I’d like to fast-forward through Father’s Day so I don’t have to deal with it at all. It brings up too many emotions that I keep easily wrapped up in day-to-day life. I’ve worked on these memories and feelings for years and, even though my father and I are at a good place in our relationship today, I still struggle.
I’ll always feel a tinge of jealousy when my husband talks about the relationship he had with his father while growing up. I’ll always feel pain when I look at my own children and wonder how a parent can make the decisions my father made.
But dealing with hard feelings on Father’s Day also leaves me very thankful.
I am very thankful for a father-in-law who loves me, gives me guidance, and has set an amazing example for my husband. I am very thankful for a husband who proves again and again how extraordinary a father he is and how much importance he places on the role of protector, provider, and parent.
And I’m very thankful for the role my own father plays in my life now; our relationship continues to mend and, while it may never be what a little girl dreams of, it isn’t something I want to discard or be without. (Plus, he’s doing a pretty good job at being a grandfather—thank God for that!)
So, if you’re struggling along with me this Father’s Day, I’m sending you a hug. Remember that you are loved, Momma.
Do you deal with any hard feelings on Father’s Day?