Moms nurture us and play vital roles in our live. Dads are just as important. Don’t get me wrong, there are all kinds of families, and I understand that in some families there are not the traditional nuclear mom and dad parental unit. If you are one of the families who are two moms, two dads, one mom, one dad, a grandma and a mom or whatever happens to work for your family, I am in full support of you and what works for you. I fully support equality and I think I have made that clear by who writes for this website. What I mean is each role a parent plays is equally important. A mother is not more important than a father, in my opinion, her role in a child’s life is only different. Her role teaches her children different things and sets her children up for different things in life in adulthood.
I did not really notice the importance of my dad until he was gone. This sounds so cliché, but it’s the truth. As Father’s Day approaches, and people flock to the stores to purchase their greeting card for yet another year, I feel lost. This is the first time since I was five I didn’t make or buy him at least a card. When he passed away I found every card I had given him since I moved him here after his stroke. He saved every one of them.
I have been thinking about what my father meant to me, and the role fathers play in our lives. Dads are strong and they teach us to stick up for ourselves even when we don’t want to. They remind us to take care of ourselves and they always notice when we have not gotten enough sleep or we’ve lost too much weight. I still hear my dad’s slow Texas drawl telling me these things in the back of my mind, leaving a large knot in my throat and I hope his voice never ceases. Fathers remind us to work hard and not to forget to be playful. My dad enjoyed making people laugh.
The last time my dad was in the hospital I was sitting in his room when one of the techs came in to see what he wanted for a snack.
“Tapioca puddin,’ was his reply.
The young woman sighed, cocking one hip to the side. “Tapioca? We ain’t got no tapioca. There is chocolate or vanilla.”
My father’s eyes widened. “They had tapioca last night.”
She sighed again, repeating herself. “Chocolate or vanilla?”
My dad glanced over at me, and I shrugged. “Butterscotch?”
The woman rolled her eyes and raised her voice slightly. “Chocolate or vanilla?”
My dad looked at me, at the floor, then back at her like a defeated little boy. “Chocolate.”
The woman sauntered back into the room, tossed a package of graham crackers and a container of chocolate pudding onto my dad’s tray-table. “There your tapioca puddin’.”
My dad glanced from the food to the woman and at me, with a confused look on his face.
The woman pointed at the crackers. “Crumble up them crackers, stir them up in the puddin’ and you got yourself some tapioca.”
I will never forget the look on my dad’s face that day. That tech threw him for a loop that afternoon. He wasn’t used to someone being quite so sassy with him. These are the happy and funny memories that are of comfort to us when we have lost our fathers that we cling to.
Dads are often models for our first relationships. Fathers are important role models for their sons because they teach them how to interact with other boys. They are important role models for their daughters because they teach them how to interact in relationships. How a father interacts with his wife, whether it is the child’s step-mother or bio-mom is vital to the child’s emotional development, in my opinion. My parents did the best they could with what they were shown at the time. This was the main reason it was so important to me that I get along with my ex for my children. This is the primary reason I want my daughters to have a solid relationship with their father. I want them to grow up having healthy relationships! Isn’t that our ultimate goal as parents? We want to raise emotionally healthy adults after divorce! I want my daughters to have two healthy father/daughter relationships. One with their dad and one with their step-dad. Having strong, sensitive, intelligent male role models is very important for children, in my opinion. Whether the role model is a dad, uncle, grandpa, friend, or neighbor, I believe kids need to see real men are genuine, kind, intelligent, and fair.
My dad before the stroke, Ali at about 3-4 months, & I
My father taught me it was okay to fail. Sometimes over and over again. I could have failed at something multiple times and he still told me I would get it the next time. He always meant it, too, I could see it in his eyes. I probably miss that more than anything–that unrelenting faith in me. I try to remember he still has faith in me now and to apply it to myself. My dad thought I was the best mom in the world and he told me so all the time.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the wonderful dads out there! You mean the entire world in at least one little person’s or big person’s eyes, depending on how old your children are.
Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of eleven and fifteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish is the owner and founder of Family Fusion Community. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.