Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father / Dad

I will reiterate what I said regarding Mothers and Moms. You need not have contributed your genetic material to a child to have your influence felt in his or her life.

I pinged a widda friend online last night to wish her a happy Father's Day, 1) as a way of honoring her late husband, and 2) to honor her dual role (the opposite of my own dual role). Her daughter was using her Messenger account and felt the need to reproach my greeting, stating that dads were merely sperm donors who paid for a bunch of things they didn't want to pay for. I seem to remember a lot of Cub Scout & Indian Guide meetings and events, soccer games, school plays and family gatherings, where there was this guy who everyone referred to as my dad. If all dads are merely sperm donors and ATMs with legs, I wonder who that guy was.

She went on to say that once a person is dead, they no longer have any impact on our lives. Wow. Call off MLK Day, Veterans Day and Christmas, forget the teachings of Gandhi and the eloquent words of Chief Seattle, forget the lessons of the Holocaust, and by all means forget that there was once a beautiful woman in my life who gave birth to two beautiful children and gave them a strong foundation upon which to build their lives and identities.

I know it's just the teenage angst talking, not to worry. I wasn't offended or insulted - just sad for the place she's in. It's a tragic mindset. This morning I actually called my widda friend and gave her the Father's Day wish personally. And guess what - she appreciated it wholeheartedly.

So Happy Father's Day, fathers. And stepfathers, and mothers doing double-duty. Any jerk can be a sperm donor or ATM, but if you have made a positive and lasting impact in a child's life, this stupid Hallmark holiday is society's way of giving you a pat on the back (ah, the sarcastic bait-and-switch!). But it's not about the day, is it? It's about making that lasting impact, and seeing the result - a child becomes a responsible adult and passes on your legacy of positive influence. With any luck, teen angst gives way to adult perspective.

Your guidance and influence ARE felt for a long time. Even after you are gone. Here's to you, Pop. And Sam, thanks for giving me the gift of equal joy and pain that is fatherhood.


Ryan Potter said...

I have that difficulty of having a step-father who has been in my life as long as my brain can think back, and then a biological father who never "left" per se, but was definitely not the my dad. He was there whenever he could be and it wasn't like I didn't know he was my father, but having 2 dads can mean that one doesn't quite know how to deal with situations like father's day. Who gets the time that you have set aside for honoring someone so important in your life during one day out of the year? I guess one could say that I'm complaining about something that many people would to be a part of, but as far as I'm concerned it's hard for me to let tham both know that they have been equally important to my life. I guess I should just say that huh?

Brahms said...

well, i think that every person playing two rolls in his life must be appreciated greatly, even if one role only is being played, still it is dufficult, with hundreds of challenges every day, this is a semi-impossible task, keep it up, and never stop fighting, happy parents days to all!!