When I heard the beachside merchant hollering incentives in an attempt to get buyers for his goods, I literally laughed aloud.
I’m not sure what he was selling, but I appreciated the point behind his marketing ploy~ there really are all kinds of dads in the world, and most of them could probably use a little appreciation~ especially this time of year.
I was on my way to dinner at the time, and not in the market for Father’s Day gifts. A few weeks later, I’m still without a gift, but that’s OK. I’m pretty sure my dad doesn’t really need or want stuff.
I’m sending my father a thank you email because I don’t actually know where in the world he is at this moment, although I think it’s on some adventure with my aunt and uncle. Wherever he is, I’ll send him my best wishes for a wonderful journey because I know he values experiences over things.
Father’s Day is one of those loaded holidays where some people post loving public declarations of gratitude and adoration for the men who raised them, and others silently ignore their dads for whatever leftover childhood hurts are still haunting them.
While “Best Dad in the World” and “Daddy’s Little Girl” kind of comments tend to incite eye rolling and sometimes a small gagging reflex out of me, that’s mostly just because I’m slightly inclined towards natural cynicism.
And also, I can’t relate in the least bit to what they’re talking about.
My Dad and I get along really well now, but I didn’t see him at all between the ages of about 3 and 14. The reasons why this happened aren’t agreed upon by the adults at the time, but they don’t really matter because there’s really no reason in the world that’s going to explain that kind of thing.
Which is why I asked them to quit trying.
For me, at 14, I didn’t want to hear what sounded like excuses and by 19, I knew I was never going to understand and just wanted them to stop talking about the whole thing and move on.
Thankfully, they did, And that allowed me to as well.
Once I became a parent myself, I realized how very human we all are.
And that sucks because even if we try our best, there will be times when we’re going to miserably fail the people who we love most in the world when they’re counting on us to make everything better.
Being human is hard.
Realizing your parents are human is hard too~ not just because you realize that they’re imperfect. Most of us figure that out by our teen years and spend plenty of time judging them harshly for it.
It’s hard because at some point, it means you realize that you might need to forgive your parents for being human, and let go of the angst.
It’s also hard because you realize that someday your kids are going to judge you too.
Typing that comment actually elicited a hissing sound and head shake from me because that reality right there is a harsh one.
Most of us are trying to do the best we can with the tools we have, but sometimes, we’re going to blow it. Some people just get better and better at blowing it and get stuck there, but if we’re actually trying, we can probably learn and hopefully do a little better the next time.
While my Dad may have blown it in my young years, he did try really hard after that, and has offered all kinds of love and support and advice, whether solicited or not. He’s inspired me to follow my dreams and chase after all kinds of crazy schemes, and done whatever he could to help me through some really hard times.
Even without any regular childhood exposure, I got some adventure loving traits from him along with a passion to make the world a better place and to try to fix everyone’s everything, regardless of their desire to be fixed. There must be an overly enthusiastic idea gene he passed to me in my DNA, and I'm grateful for it all.
This day also makes me think about my step dad~ while I didn’t appreciate his efforts at shaping my teenage self into an adult at the time, and I may possibly have been slightly obnoxious in making sure he knew it, I later realized that he really did care, I may not have agreed with his methods, but I do value his contributions to my life.
Today, I’m lucky enough to get to see lots of awesome Dad’s in action. My younger brother has amazed me with his Dad skills, and I’m blessed to be partnered with one of the kindest, most loving Dad’s I have ever known. And I’m really, really happy to see my kids connecting and in a good place with their Dad as well.
Hope you took some time today to celebrate all the Dad’s out there in your life~ Your Bio Daddy’s, Your Step Daddy’s, Your Baby Daddy’s~ Cheers to allllllll the Daddy’s in your life who are trying, even when they aren’t perfect.
And if you missed sending them some love today, do it tomorrow. It's never to late to say thank you.
Happy Father's Day!