Now that I'm a parent, Father's Day is different. My own father is spoiled by his granddaughter who has nobody else to spoil on Father's Day. I think my dad enjoys it. Being spoiled, that is.
Elle questions the obvious sometimes, but not so much that I have to shed too much light on the situation. The situation being that her dad isn't around. My side of the story would say that it was and still is and always will be her father's choice to be around. It's like any other relationship, with the give and the take and the compromise and the problem-solving until a agreement has been made. People divorce over this very issue and it's unfortunate that children can't have the same right. And while it's usually when one feels unappreciated or unloved or overpowered by the other, no relationship between two people should ever be forced.
My daughter struggles with the reality of her father not being actively involved. Her friends have fathers who attend birthday parties and school functions. And while I've never missed a single event, I often wonder if she will she remember that or will she only remember that her dad never showed up? I'm not sure. But I can't really worry about that stuff right now.
Although she has no father in her life, she has other father-type figures. My dad and two brothers are involved every day and pretty much have been since the minute she was born. It was her Uncle Brian (Uncle Monkey) who followed me around the hospital room with his two hands cradled beneath her just in case I dropped her while shuffling around in my post-surgical state. Uncle Nick (Uncle Buck) is her babysitter (during those last-minute "oh, hey - can someone watch her for about an hour?") and her partner in crime when it comes to convincing Mommy to let her do something because she'll be with Uncle Buck. It always works. Always.
I've also been given the opportunity to choose her family. That is an enormous and trusting task so I've been careful to choose the men who have shown my daughter an insane amount of love and attention and have given her that feeling of self-importance. Sure, they have children of their own, but that only makes my daughter more aware of how a father should be towards his child. It's hard to watch my daughter's face when she sees Mr. Sean or Danny the Manny playing with their kids, hugging them and high-fiving them, cooing at them and their stinky diapers, or just sitting around enjoying their time together. Her father doesn't do that. But Mr. Sean and Danny the Manny don't just share those things with their children. They've shared those things with my child.
And for that, I'm forever grateful.