It is Father’s Day weekend. I approach it with a little fear and a lot of love.
Fear is ridiculous but present. My rational mind dismisses it but my emotional self feels it. I am dad to three daughters. I would give my life for them but I have not been a stellar dad. During their very formative years I was a workaholic and felt like I was trying to prove something to the world. That drive disappeared in ultimate failure and a season of self-pity. But, then the next season of my life was spent trying to deal with anxiety of pending loss and being a different sort of person. Again, my girls lost because my focus was on myself. I finally had personal breakthrough and entered a healing season but the time had passed to be ‘that adorable, loving, idealistic’ dad.
I have had Father’s Days in the last decade when the day came and went and I heard nothing. That is not the norm, but it is part of my reality. I sit here today and feel that insecurity of wondering. Even if I do hear from them, or one or two, I will wonder if it is obligatory or perfunctory, not because of them but because of me. That happens when you are a marginal parent. I have not had a Father’s Day with all my girls since 2009. My fatherhood is not something that is celebrated and honored, and why would it be?
But here is what I am sure of today as I crawl toward Sunday. I love my girls. I think they are wonderful daughters and, in the grand scheme of things, they have never been problem kids. Of course there was the coming of age rebellion, the search for significance, the pain of maturing and the devastation they had to suffer because of divorce.
My eldest, Andrea, is accomplished, married, parenting three of her own and filled with gifts that I hope continue to make room for her as she releases them to bless people. She is beautiful, intelligent, deep, wise and probably more mature than even I am.
My middle girl, Alexis, is creative, super talented, somewhat shy, focused, beautiful, adventurous and engaged to be married. She also has her own chemistry of gifts that need to be championed, pushed and used. She has the most problematic view of me and the judgment to go with it. I am still hopeful that I can be in her eyes what she is in mine.
My baby girl, Amanda, is super loving, open, caring, feeling, sensitive and so pretty. She is free from pressure to be something she is not, taking the freedom to live the scenic route of life, smarter than what she will admit to and nurturing to a fault. She expresses herself and stays connected with a true sense of care. She may even feel sorry for me….LOL.
And, the best part of all this is that I am their Dad. I would not ever want to be anyone else’s Dad although God has given me another dozen young adults in this season to mentor and invest in. In addition He has allowed me to know and love four young men and a young lady (Andy, Drew, Darren and Candace) as sons and daughter. Andy as Andrea’s husband, whose story of grace and faith is a testimony for the ages. Darren and Drew, Sherry’s sons who both impress and give value everywhere they go and Candace, Darren’s wife, who adds grace and beauty to all of us.
Finally, this day would not be complete without the legacy factor of Father’s Day which includes Andrea & Andy’s children, Gemma, Levi and Phoebe…what amazing kids. Then, Darren and Candace have given us Elliott and Emory, two little boys whose life lights us all.
So, here we go into Father’s Day weekend with great love, deep pride and hope for a future filled with family connection and God’s healing touch. Of all the things I am today – husband, son, mentor, guide, shepherd, teacher, writer, friend, it is a joy to know I am and will be a Dad every day of the rest of my life.
To all the rest of you out there, Happy Father’s Day!