I’m fortunate to know several incredible men who aren’t fathers. They’re men who had fathers; they’re men who nurture and care for those around them – families, students, and friends alike. To them I say, Happy Un-Father’s Day!
In my own game of life, many of the fathers closest to me were nothing like Ozzie Nelson or Ward Cleaver, or even Mike Brady.
Abandoned as a youngster by his own father, a young man grew up to suffer prison camps in a foreign war. He returned home to San Francisco, broken and worn. He married his sweetheart, he became a father. Three children and years later, he took off to live with another woman and her children from a different father, leaving his young family to make their way on their own. We did fine.
Another father – he hit his sons and he hit his wife. I knew he had an anger problem. His mother told me years before, warning me. Eventually, I left him behind. He went on to marry his high school sweetheart and live happily ever after.
One father of three walked out when his youngest child was just an infant. Years later, he traveled half way across the country to find us, apologetic, on his knees. And then, just as we felt comfort settling in, he killed himself with a rope around his neck.
Even as father scars smoulder and rumble today in the tiny edges of my heart, I savor the love and happiness of the very best fathers and grandfathers and brothers and sons in my extended family that stretches from Massachusetts and New York to Florida, from Arizona to Colorado and California. All I know now are warm embraces and happy endings.
These guys, they create miracles. They nourish, they love.
They kiss and they hug. They teach, support, laugh and have fun.
To all the great fathers in my life, famiIy and friends alike, I say, with balloons and banners flying,
“Happy Father’s Day.”