A father’s new place
To the new dad, wondering what his place is in the family as he gazes down at the brand-new little life in his hands: May you be loved and supported as you enter this new chapter. May you embrace your new role as you are asked to do and be more than you may ever have had to do and be. I hope you know how important you are to those closest to you. May you never doubt how much your love and support means. Remember that even though your new son or daughter will want Mommy more at times, that Daddies are special creatures, too. May you be loved and supported as you become half of someone’s brand new little world.
To the single dad watching Youtube videos to learn how to do his daughter’s hair for dance class: May you be loved and supported as you work out the kinks. May your co-parenting be smooth and respectful. As you walk through the awkward dance of drop-offs, coordinating schedules, and making decisions with an ex, may you be firm and gracious. Remember that the decisions you make are bigger than you. As you look around the waiting room at all the moms and feel outnumbered, remember how important you are in your child’s life. To the single dad, wondering how to be both parents at once, may you be loved and supported.
Embracing the changes
To the dad whose little boy or girl was in diapers yesterday and hitting puberty today: May you be loved and supported as you face rolled eyes and heavy sighs. As your threenager morphs suddenly into an actual teenager, may you always remember that feelings can be too big for bodies no matter the age. May you be able to hold space for lightning-fast mood changes and challenging attitudes. As you watch your sons and daughters grow to straddle the space between child and adult, may you feel grounded and centered. Never forget that you are still their home base, their solid foundation, and their soft place to land. To the father of tweens and teens, may you be loved and supported.
To the empty nest dad, sending his kids off to college too far away: May you be loved and supported as you entrust them to themselves. May you not stay up too late at night remembering your own college escapades. Let your faith in the young man or woman you helped raise guide you to let them fly on their own. May you feel pride in their successes and compassion for their missteps. May you find joy in the new relationship of adult to adult child. May you be loved and supported as your little girls and boys grow up to be women and men.
Compassion for your grief
To the would-have-been fathers who never became: May you be loved and supported as you say goodbye to a future that did not come to be. I hope you receive the grace and compassion you need as you grieve a life you did not get. I hope your sadness is seen as you quietly support your partner in his or her grief. Don’t be invisible; your feelings count, too. May you always find worth and value in who you are, not just what you are. May you be loved and supported on a day that highlights what you don’t have.
To the dads without dads, facing the father-shaped hole: May you be loved and supported as you mourn a silence and a loss. I wish you peace and comfort as you think of the jokes you can’t tell and the memories you can’t share, because your father is no longer here. I hope you feel his presence as you think of the pictures you can’t show him and the stories you wish you could tell him. The father-shaped hole is a big one and a deep one, no matter if it was made by painfully chosen estrangement or painfully choiceless loss. May you be loved and supported by your Self and your community.
Happy Father’s Day.