Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happy Fathers' Day.

It's not a punctuation error that the title is "Happy Fathers' Day" instead of "Happy Father's Day." I hated Father's Day with a passion until my youngest daughter made my new husband a father with me six years ago. My current husband is a GREAT father to our little one, but even that didn't completely take the sour out of my heart about my own father, and therefore about Father's Day.

My biological father was abusive to me when he lived with us. He has been an erratic presence in my life as an adult, and more than seven years ago told me he didn't want to be my dad anymore. When we moved to New Mexico, I sent him a Christmas card with our new address. His response? To send every. single. thing. I had ever given him (or my children had ever given to him) to me in an unmarked box with a note saying basically, "Don't ever bother me again."

So you can see why Father's Day hasn't been a banner holiday for me. I took solace in my Heavenly Father, which soothed most of the pain, but I still didn't like the day. I always called my stepdad and wished him a happy day, but I was still holding something back.

Two things have happened to change this for 2015:

1. My mother's husband of 27 years wrote a note in my birthday card: "To My Daughter~." When I opened it, tears of joy filled my eyes. My stepdad has always been kind and accepting of me and my kids; he is definitely their grandpa, but he's never referred to me as his very own daughter till now. It filled my heart with gladness.

2. My first stepdad (my mom and he were married during my teenage years) stopped by our home on his way to the Grand Canyon. We have always maintained a relationship, but it hasn't been super-close, even though I've always thought of him as one of my dads. Anyway, in spending a day and night with us, we rekindled our relationship. We talked about my childhood, and I guess I surprised him when I said that he changed my life.

He did. He opened my eyes to so many things! He's the guy who taught me to fix cars and use tools. He's the man who took me camping and taught me to love nature. He's the guy who sparked my interest in geology. He's the father who taught me to trust some adult men.

After my first stepdad returned home, he sent me a heartfelt email, apologizing for not fulfilling the role of father after my mom and he divorced (not that he was obligated to do so!!). He also said that he'd like to be a grandfather for our daughter, if we would let him. Our daughter has a bunch of grandfathers, but as my mom always said, "The more people who love you, the better!" I responded positively, and then said that I knew he wasn't really even old enough to be my dad (He's only 13 years older than I am!), but that I have always thought of him as a dad. He accepted that role, too, and we welcomed him into our lives. It has been wonderful in many ways already!

So this year, 2015, I am not fatherless. I have an abundance of fathers! I am blessed by my Heavenly Father, of course, but He has also fully opened the door to my heart for two more fathers. I am blessed in so many ways, and this has filled a hole that has been in my life for a very long time. Shopping for Father's Day cards was a joy instead of a burden. I have two phone calls to make on Father's Day, and both men think of me in some way as their very own daughter.

I have two things to add to this:

1. If you are a father in any way to any children (young or grown), please reach out to them. Even if it's been years since you've been in their lives. Even if you are part of their daily life and family. Reach out. You may be the father that can heal their hearts of great pain.

2. Happy Father's Day! And I can really feel that honestly this year. Thank you, God. Amen.

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