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Today, I stand tall, but not as my father’s daughter.
Because when you have a dysfunctional relationship with the man who contributed to giving you life, what does that mean anyway?
Today, I take a look back and say I stand tall—not because of my father but because I survived without a father.
I am proud of the woman I have become on my own. I overcame adversity and lived with a gaping hole, but that hole has been filled, and today I stand proud. Proud of my own mothering, proud of my own relationships, proud to be sober, proud to stand up for what I believe in.
On Father’s Day, I pay tribute to the men who have stood up and been there for their sons and daughters. I pay tribute to my husband, who is one heck of a stand-up man. I give thanks that I can see the good men out there doing this deal of fathering and not running from their responsibilities.
Children need a present father. It is proven time and time again that children turn into adults who struggle if they do not have the presence of a father. Being abandoned is often taken personally; it makes people feel unworthy of being loved by another.
Today, on Father’s Day, let’s celebrate those men who are doing the deal. They aren’t turning their backs on their children; they are participating in the lives of their kids. They are listening and seeing those that they have brought into this world. They can be sensitive and vulnerable; they can laugh and be playful. They are doing their best to fight the norm that men shouldn’t feel—that men need to be “tough.” F*ck that noise. Men need to be present. However that looks. Let men have feelings, too—enough of that tough guy narrative.
I am rooting for our men. I am a mother of two sons. I pray they find their voices, their emotions and have the capacity to see, feel, and be understood. There is nothing worse in this world than feeling invisible.
I pray today for a world that sees our men, celebrates our fathers and our soon-to-be fathers. Fatherhood is not an easy job. It takes patience and perseverance, but most importantly, presence.
I salute you, dads. Your job is more important than you could ever imagine. Keep molding your children. Be a model for what potential they have. Show them their worth. Listen to your kids with your eyes. Put your phone down and truly see them.
It has taken me a long time to get to the point of realizing that my father’s issues were his and not mine. I thought all men would leave me as my father had, and eventually, my feeling of being small and insignificant materialized in all sorts of ways, causing me problems with addiction, promiscuity, and self-worth.
Today, I realize his issues were his and his alone, passed down by another father who wasn’t present. This has to end with us. Our generation has the capacity to stop and break a cycle of fathers who aren’t present and create a new narrative.