This was my first father's day as an "out" Gay man. And my first with a boyfriend. As with most things that have happened since I came all the way out, it was refreshing beyond belief to celebrate with my son in the skin I'm comfortable in. It's also amazing that this Father's Day I can say that I'm close to seeing my daughter again. More than that though, it was amazing to celebrate it with this amazing man, and find in him as he hopefully found in me a man who exemplifies what it is to be a father. Every decision you torture yourself about, every sleepless night spent worrying about the best way to help with this situation or that, the best way to provide, best way to love...In short the best way to be perfect, because that's what Dad's are. We're perfect. We have the answers to life's questions (or we make them up when our kids ask) we protect our children from bullies, girlfriends, boyfriends and everyfriends. And we do it just because we want to see a smile, or hear that wonderful voice saying "I love you, daddy." No matter what age child it's coming from. This year, my boyfriend's daughter and I conspired to get her dad an acoustic guitar simply because she wanted to get him something he really wanted. And her smile when his face lit up at the gesture was pure father's day gold. My son took me to see Man of Steel, and he made me some lovely butterflies to hang up at work because a six year old's homemade gift is unbelievable no matter what. We made it a point to spend a good chunk of our time in one on one father/kid time and everyone involved had an amazing time.
As someone who is estranged from his father...who wonders on day's like today whether or not I should call him before it's too late. A son who is a good enough person that he feels bad about cutting his dad off even though that was the nicest, kindest option for us both (he deserved less) The meaning of Father's day is clear to me as if it were the message in a Peanuts special with Linus at the microphone explaining the importance of fathers to the world. Being a father to my son and working hard to have my daughter in my life reveals to me the amazing highs as well as the life crushing lows of parenthood; something that my own father doesn't have when it comes to me. As a father I appreciate my kids on Father's Day...but I also appreciate the other dad's out there who are in it for the long haul with their kids because I know what that takes and I know what its like when that's absent from life. As a son, I feel guilty, even after all these years; maybe because I know how bad a father waits to hear the "I love you" or see the smile. I accepted a long time ago that my father isn't like that. I guess I could never accept returning that coldness within myself.
So father's day will always be bittersweet for me. But at least from here on out I can spend them being who I am. And I can spend them in the company of another man who knows what it takes, I mean what it *really* takes to be a father. And for me that's just another reason why men are right for me. Being a father in love with another father validates who I am and it makes me a better dad...and isn't that what my kids really deserve? The best father?