by Debbie Walker
My dad and I had a very important conversation when I was about 14 years old. You see dad was not my biological father, very few people ever knew it. It wasn’t an issue to him. It was from him that I learned “Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad”.
In our house it was never kept a secret, however, it didn’t enter into our family life. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe my brother, Pete, even realized it until he was about 15 years old. When I tell you it was truly never an issue in our family, it’s an understatement.
I can honestly tell you that despite all the gray hairs I gave him starting at my earliest years right up through all the years, that man never once commented that I was not his biological child. To dad’s way of thinking I was his through and through.
The qualities and values that make me who I am today I give full credit to mom and dad and I am proud of them all.
When I got older and I learned about my sisters, daughters who were born to my biological father, dad actually encouraged our getting together, and he and mom welcomed each one in our home. At one time or another my whole family amazed each girl with their acceptance and their interest in their lives.
There are many fathers who are also wonderful dads, I know that. As for step-dads they do sometimes have a different role even if they came into the child’s life at a young age. Children know how to push buttons and they are very good at a young age as manipulators. Think about it, they learn if I cry I’ll be fed or changed or held, whatever it is they want. They continue to hone those skills right up through the years. That’s where all the gray hairs come from!
One of the most remarkable things about dad I never truly realized until I was an adult. In my entire life with dad I can honestly say he never, ever brought up the fact that I wasn’t “his child.” No matter what I did to frustrate him, that man never once, to my mother or me, made a reference to my not being “his.” I believe in his heart and soul I was his child in every way. I also learned over the years that he is one of a very few dads that would be able to swear to that claim and not be struck by lightning by doing so.
Since there are no perfect people there are no perfect parents, mom’s or dad’s, and we know that certainly applies to children! Being a parent is a difficult job, always has been, always will be. We have more single parents now trying to do the job of what should be a partnership. We also have a great many grandparents who are finding themselves “parenting” again.
All of that brings me to my other thought. You might wonder why I waited until after Fathers Day to write this column and I’m about to cover that too. I don’t like Mothers and Fathers Day.
It’s just another “Hallmark Holiday” as far as I’m concerned. Too many people ignore their parents until the day. I believe we should be honoring our parents all the year through, let them know they are appreciated and include them in our daily lives. Sending flowers, candy, whatever, one day a year just doesn’t cut it as far as I’m concerned.
The statement, “Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad,” has a special meaning to me. Some of these guys aren’t much more than sperm donors to put it quite bluntly.
So for all of you who have “dad’s” please honor them everyday, not just one day a year. Keep in touch with love.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org , subject line: Dad’s and Mom’s. Thanks for reading!
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