The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

June 17, 2006


A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.

The first Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane Washington. Finally in 1966, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.

Great. But life isn't universally about Father Knows Best or mom's applie pie. Stuff happens.

About half of all marriages fall apart, which means there are a lot of kids out there who are part of broken families. That's a staggeringly sad statement. On the other hand, the uncanny ability of kids to survive and even thrive is remarkable.

As the father of an 18-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son, both of whom live with their mother but who I see at least every second weekend, Father's Day can be uplifting but also ultimately sad and lonely.

A recurring theme and question in my life is how, when I'm not with my kids every day, I can be the positive influence, disciplinarian, loving support or whatever else a dad needs to be if he cares.

That can sometimes be a difficult proposition if you're not there to see them cry, laugh, struggle, flourish.

I wasn't there to see the huge smile on my daughter's face when she brought home her first steady boyfriend; I missed out on being there for my son when he got the boot from his first female flame or flunked that French test.

No single, non-custodial Dad can change the sad reality of a broken marriage or, for that matter, make up for all those lost magic moments that he would have otherwise experienced with his kids.

But he can continue to tickle his daughter when he sees her and tell her how beautiful she is and how proud he is of her being an honors student, yet again.

And he can still give his son a stern look or lecture when warranted, take him out to play catch, drive him to the mall so he can hang out with his friends and feed him every hour.

There are Deadbeat Dads. But if you're not, there are huge voids in your life that can never be fully filled. All you can do is offer the unconditional love that you are ready to give them and be there when they need you or want you to be.


  1. You sound like a good dad. It's not an easy thing, to be there for your children when you're not still living in the same house with them. I think you seem to have found a balance.

    Nice picture btw!

  2. Divorce or not, staying involved as a father with your kids is incredibly consequential for them.

    All too often, Dad takes off for Florida. (I don't know just what it is about Florida, but it seems to be the residence of choice for many deadbeat dads, in my experience. I can't imagine what happens to the dead beat dads who already live there...)

  3. Your kids luv ya buddy, you are a great dad. Go to that got a place if you need to cheer yourself up. We all need to constantly search for ways to be better parents.

    I have missed my dad every day since 1980. I keep him alive by trying to emulate the little things that he did with me that I remember as if they happened yesterday. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.

  4. It is said that being there is half the fun, but it looks like you have done an exceptional job of hanging on to the other half. Happy Father's Day. Those kids look like they love you and know that you are there for them. Well done.

  5. Thanks all for your warm words...

    Pam, you shoulda seen the pic of us making goofy faces! Agree, the key word is balance and just accepting what is.

    Darius, GOOD POINT on what happens to deadbeat dads who already live there! Maybe they come to Canada!

    And Homo Escapeons and I, in one of our thousands of jousts between our tiny brains, ask: how do you pronounce your name? Is it DARE-ee-us or Duh-RYE-us?

    Sorry, had to ask.

    HE, one of the best dads I think I've ever met who was sired by another of the planet's best dads:

    don't really need to cheer myself up, was just trying to be honest and point out a truth.

    It's one thing to be loved by them and to love them, but the time apart means NOT being able to impart as much, to guide, to learn.

    I know about you and your dad...


    Just a very nice couple of things to say. Thanks for those words and thanks for dropping by.

    Happy Fathers Day to those of you are, who will be or (Pam) who never can be, but we've already talked about you as a mom...

  6. Darlin' your family is splendid! Such gorgeous conscious thought. I can only imagine the ache of each tick mark on the calendar between second weekend visits. But your words make the shared love very easy to see.

    After returning from a weekend visit with my Dad (I’m about to kiss forty, but still a Daddy’s girl who wants/needs a kiss from her best guy) I received a phone call from my love … er … ex-lover.

    He was in the midst of a drunk. A huge mind-blowing bender.

    He just rec’d his first father’s day card. Ever. Albeit an e-card, it was sent to him on Father’s Day Sunday by his daughter, nonetheless. Thirty six years in waiting for that magic moment and it was more than he could bear. Too much joy. Too much feeling. Too much regret. Too much drink was his only way to deal.

    “ … life isn't universally about Father Knows Best or mom's apple pie. Stuff happens. …”

    There’s a lot of happening stuff in the midst of stuff happening. You never when a ‘magic moment’ will happen between you and your children – or FOR you and your children. You can only know yourself. And how to teach yourself - and your children - to take it all with grace.

    Hats off to you. You’ve learned that grace. And from those who seem to know you and your children – they’ve learned that too. Many blessings. -Lady

  7. To a Lovely Lady...

    Thanks so much, LW. So if I get it, your ex was overwhelmed by just receiving the e-card from his (your?) daughter and the binge was the result...

    The times between seeing my kids are filled with hope for the kinds of significant moments you're talking about in the hope that, well, I can have the "significance" in their lives that being apart doesn't easily afford.

    My daughter's at an age and is the kind of person who's very independent and organized, and who isn't needy. That's great, but it doesn't make for a lot of hugs and kisses.

    My son, on the other hand, is a very emotional, demonstrative guy, and we are very close.

    Thanks for the warmth you have given to me, especially this:

    "There’s a lot of happening stuff in the midst of stuff happening. You never when a ‘magic moment’ will happen between you and your children – or FOR you and your children."

    It makes me feel that my love for them even as they are absent will make all the difference.


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