Father’s Day for the rest of us

Via Charles Coleman Finlay:-

Some of you have or had wonderful relationships with your fathers and they shaped your lives in incredible ways. More of you have or had mixed relationships, good and bad, but you still have good memories that grow more important over time, especially as you recognize the positive influences (or the same imperfections) in your own lives.

This post is not for you. It’s not a comment on your experience. It’s not an invitation to comment.

Move along.

This is my annual message for everyone else. This is for all of us who had a different experience with fathers.

This is for everyone who survived verbal abuse, physical abuse, or worse from their fathers. Because your fathers did things so terrible it outweighs anything else they ever did.

This message is for everyone who was neglected by their fathers, who was never even the third, fourth, or fifth most important thing in their fathers’ lives. For everyone who was abandoned by their fathers and grew up a stranger to them.

This message is for people who only had stepduds in their lives, the guys who wanted your mom but had no interest in her kids and did the minimum or less as a parent.

This is for the people who never had any adult man in their lives step up and act like a role model.

There’s nothing magic about fathers.

Father’ Day is not a universal holiday. When it’s your birthday, it’s not everyone else’s birthday. When it’s Christmas or Easter, you know that some of your other friends observe Hannukah or Passover instead. If you’re American, you understand that your friends in Canada don’t have the day off on Fourth of July.

Father’s Day doesn’t apply to all fathers.

You don’t have to pretend to care about it just because some dude contributed part of his DNA. And you don’t have to feel like you’re the only one who feels that way.

So this is for everyone who doesn’t celebrate Father’s Day, for everyone who avoids it because it brings up too many painful memories, for anyone who only had the experience of a truly shitty father. For anyone who was forced, as a kid, to experience the petty injustice of signing a card for or wishing “Happy Father’s Day” to someone underserving of it. It’s a bullshit holiday and there are no messages here “to all fathers everywhere” because you and I both know that’s a completely meaningless phrase. Your feelings — your anger, your sadness, your laughter at the absurdity of it, your desire to do better, or to never have kids, or whatever your feelings may be — are legit.


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