These Are Our Dads

We recognize and honor today every dad who stood as their child shouted at them in anger or frustration. Every dad who tried to understand their child’s clothing choices, new hairdo, or new tattoo. Every dad who suddenly realized their child might be right and was willing to listen, and every dad who honestly believed they were making the best choices that they could.

We honor every dad who screwed it up, got it wrong, tried again, got it right, and often went from being the dumbest soul alive to the pinnacle of brilliance and back again, in one day, according to his children.

These are our dads.

We honor and recognize today all those who taught us what they knew, and forgave us when we got it wrong. Those who wanted to teach us, but left too soon, or simply did not know how to teach at all. Those who walked us to the bathroom in the dark and those who turned on the lights and waited up for us to come back on our own. Those who let us break their binoculars and steal their shirts, and those who taught us why it was wrong to break and steal.

These are our dads.

We recognize and honor today all of the men who taught us what it meant to be honest, even when it was embarrassing; to tell the truth and admit to our faults; to be human. We recognize too those fathers who could not teach us these things because they did not know themselves, but who hoped and prayed that we would do better than they ever did.

These are our dads.

Today we recognize and honor all of the men who have been there —or tried to be there —no matter what. Those who have remained calm in a crisis, and those who could not remain calm but did not run away. Those who did run away, but came back again, and those who never came back but always wished it could have been different.

They are our dads: rich and poor. Tall or short. Slender as a pole or round as a basketball. They are the men who helped to raise us, and those who formed us through their actions and their lack of actions.

They are our dads: birth fathers and adoptive fathers. Step-fathers and foster dads. Fathers who have no children themselves, but who step in to help to raise the child of a neighbor or a friend.

Grandfathers and uncles.

Single moms who’ve had to learn to go beyond motherhood.

Trans dads who have given birth.

Trans dads who didn’t.

Queer dads and gay dads and female partners willing to take on the role.

They are our dads. Through love and hatred, joy and tears, addiction, mental health issues, perfect health, sickness, aging, wealth and poverty, absence and presence, they are our dads.

They are, because of us. We are, because of them. They are our dads.