Parenting & Fatherhood

Can Anyone Take the Place of Your Dad?

Celebrating mom is as American as apple pie and it has been for the past 101 years since Woodrow Wilson proclaimed mother’s day a national holiday. I remember the joy I felt when I would bring my mom breakfast in bed, flowers, a present and a hand-made card on mother’s day.

When I came across this Mother’s day greeting the other day, I thought about how I once would have wholeheartedly agreed with its message and even presented that card to my mom. But life experiences unexpected and otherwise can change a man.

I have been a single dad of 5 children since 1996, when their mom, my wife, left us all for good in a display of erratic, ugly, abusive and finally diagnosed personality disorder, behavior. She hasn’t seen or spoken to our 3 youngest children in 12 years and our two oldest children in 14 years. You might think that my children would have a different take on Mother’s Day and the importance of mothers. What was their view of fathers?

So curious, I texted with my 19 year old daughter, who is in college in Manhattan, and I sent her the image of this greeting card. She texted back:

“I feel that this sentiment is true. However, I think it applies to fathers too and people don’t often acknowledge that.”

Of course, as a single dad who raised this daughter and my four other children since they were babies, I loved seeing that and agree with her.

Do you agree with her that no one can take the place of your Dad as well as your Mom?

 

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3 replies »

  1. Here by way of Tamara McCleary.

    “But life experiences unexpected and otherwise can change a man.”

    It came early for me, Matt– in two words: maternal abuse. Long, long years of soul-crushing abuse. Intertwined with her mother- my maternal grandmother, too. So Mother’s Day is always mixed emotions for me.

    Do you agree with her that no one can take the place of your Dad as well as your Mom?

    Yes. I believe there is a reason why Joseph Campbell spoke of “Atonement with the Father” as one of the Hero’s Journey stages. Perhaps our society has forgotten the sacred importance of fathers in recent years, but it is always there.

    At least two of my childhood friends took on the role of single fatherhood. It really is a thing, although I would imagine that in 1996, it was still relatively unknown. Blessings to you, Matt. I’m paying attention.

    Like

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