So I absolutely must write a post about fathers every year around this time. I realize that not everyone out there has had a great relationship with their father. Some of you may have never even met him. However, I’m a believer that there are other men who can fill that role around just about everyone. For instance, in our townhome community, there are a lot of men who serve in the military and have to leave home for long stretches at a time. My husband has become, what I term, the surrogate father of the neighborhood kids. Whenever we go into the courtyard area, kids from ages 2-9 ask him to play with them. He usually ends up organizing a game, like Red Rover or something, for everyone to play together. Or, if he has enough energy, he’ll lift up each child and spin them around until they’re too dizzy to walk. It’s adorable to watch, and the mothers love that he’s willing to give their kids “dad time” when their husbands aren’t at home.
While my parents divorced when I was seven, I happen to have a great relationship with my father. If you’ve read my first novel, you may have seen that I dedicated it to my dad. I did that for many reasons, the biggest one is that we both share a passion for books. For as long as I can remember, he had multiple bookshelves piled with hundreds of books (and even more in boxes in the garage). A few years back, he and his wife moved across the country, and he couldn’t take all his books with him. So he gave them away. I received over 300 from his collection and consider it part of my inheritance (Even though he is still very much alive!).
I’m grateful that I have a father with whom we can share common interests. It has definitely helped us to bond with each other. But even if you don’t share any same interests with your dad, there are always ways to develop closer relationships. My hope this year is that you’ll be able to set aside the time to let your father know how much you appreciate and love him. Even if you’re not that close, it would still mean a lot to him if you reached out. It always means something when you make that effort.
I also have a step-father. Though he’s only been a part of our family for a few years, my siblings and I make the effort to show him how much we like and appreciate him as well. He enjoys it immensely and feels very comfortable with our family. I’m glad that I’ve had so many positive male role models in my life to influence me for the better and to help give me a well-rounded perspective of the world.
What are you going to do for your father (or surrogate father) this year? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture – just something to let him know you care.