Celebrating Father’s Day without a father

Father’s day was always a confusing holiday for me.

I grew up without knowing my biological father and even the forced Father’s day projects in grade school didn’t make me want to know him either. It’s quite possible that he later became a better father to another child or maybe he was a good father before me. The point is, he has been nothing but an absent father to me and never deserved any of the construction paper ties made by my tiny child hands. Instead, those ties went to a more deserved man: my grandfather.

My grandfather was always a funny man to me but also strict enough to feel he knew best. I never questioned his decisions, I always tried to speak to him with respect, and, even after his death, I always asked for his approval. He was a genuine father, a present father, and that’s what every child needs.

Recalling those grade school days, I remember being teased that my grandfather wasn’t my “real” father. Despite their hurtful jabs, I knew my classmates would never understand the naturally occuring connection we had that usually comes from a biological father-daughter relationship. And honestly, I was okay with that. I know that if my real father had re-entered my life, the father-like position my grandfather held in my life would not have changed because he just simply meant more to me.

So happy Father’s day to every father, whether he’s a caring father figure, a biological father, or even a father to an animal child, every present father deserves to celebrate the day. Construction ties and all.

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