Father’s Day is one of those complicated holidays for me. Positive male role models were sparse as I was growing up, my mother’s brother being the only one I truly loved. Uncle Max gave the best hugs, hugs that didn’t hurt or ask for more. A huge man who didn’t scare me, his arms wrapped around me and brought safety. He was the one man who ever touched me and didn’t ask anything in return.
As I grew older, after my father died, my feelings about God the Father became enmeshed with my experiences with my earthly one. I believed in God but wondered if he too was part of the group who hurt little girls. I turned my back on Him and gave away what others had taken, seeking love, finding shame. With each promiscuous act, I knew I was farther from what God wanted of me but maybe I didn’t want to go to heaven anyway, if that is where my father was, like so many family members professed. Looking back, what a sad teenage mess, alone battling heaven and hell, secrets kept, shame piling up, thinking I was running from the One who is Love.
I married to escape myself, my history, my mother. My wedding was a duplicate of hers, I barely made it down the aisle. I knew it was the wrong choice, I regretted it immediately, but how to stop the circus, disappoint her? Two children came from this union, little else to celebrate. This was not the man God picked for me, I wasn’t listening to my Father, even though I took vows in His church. I lied. When true Worse came, he wasn’t with me, we weren’t united, I guess he lied also. The marriage ended, I began.
Several years later, I met a man completely different from anyone I had ever been attracted to before. Kind, generous, funny, yes. But he also argues with me, drives me crazy. I cannot control him, nor him me. He craves time with me, something I find hard to understand. After almost 20 years together, he is still an enigma. I love puzzles. He has loved my children as if he were there for the birth of each one, been more present in their lives than their biological father. When we took vows, I spoke the truth. I believe he did as well. It hurts me that our children didn’t recognize him this year, but I know it is a season, not a lifetime, just as they ignored me for Mother’s Day. Sometimes kids are just shits. Sometimes they are rock stars. This is the year of shits. The amazing thing is that he stays for all the years.
Uncle Max and my Chef have taught me about real Father’s Day, which allows me to be that much closer to my Father. Their example of love in all the seasons, without expectation of anything in return, doing no harm, surely makes God proud. Sometimes dads are shits. These men are not. Thank you God for my Uncle Max so long ago and my Chef every day. Happy Father’s Day to two incredible men who are rock stars to God the Father and me.