Today was Father’s Day. And the older I get the more mixed emotions there are surrounding the day.
I think of my sweet friends who began to think of themselves as parents as their first pregnancy progressed… and then a devastating loss. And suddenly Father’s Day is a reminder of the sweet baby they should be holding in their arms instead of that deep ache inside.
I think of children estranged from their fathers because of choices one or both made that brought extremes into the picture.
I think of two families we know who have lost fathers (at ages 41 & 45) in the past month and how those families are experiencing their first Father’s Day without a husband and father present.
I think of three families we don’t know who live in Charleston and who are experiencing their first Father’s Day without fathers present because of senseless violence and racism.
I think of the orphans, the legal orphans, the kids in the foster care system. I think of the children who are abused by fathers and stepfathers. I think of the unwanted children tossed aside by men who never cared to be fathers or who never had a father in their own lives to teach them what fatherhood looks like.
And then I think of the good dads I know. Men who are dedicated to their families. Who love their children. Who are present.
Mixed emotions, I tell you.
I am thankful that I grew up with a father in the home. Not every kid gets that. I’m thankful that when I called my dad yesterday to wish him a happy Father’s Day he told me that he loved me. Not every kid hears that.
My husband no longer has that. He grew up with an amazing dad who loved him. And while physically his dad is still with us, the dementia has taken away so much of him. So when Christopher calls to chat with his dad on Father’s Day, there are no “I love yous” exchanged. Because my sweet husband’s father no longer knows he has a son.
Earlier tonight I asked Christopher how he felt about Father’s Day considering the situation with his dad and this is what he told me:
“It makes me sad that my dad isn’t the man I knew growing up anymore. I miss him. But I’m thankful for the good days. And I know that someday we’ll all be in heaven together and he will be healthy and whole again. I look forward to that.”
To which I responded with a very well articulated sob.
But I think he summed it up well. Because one day heaven will collide with Earth once again and Jesus is coming back. All things will be made right. No more abuse, no more tears, no more loss. And someday Christopher’s father will look him in the eye again and know his son.