First of all, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all of you that are in the moment and present dads, biological dads, not sure if you're mine dads, filling the role because the real one isn't around dads, wanna be there but am working and/or serving my country dads, step-dads, bonus dads, fur dads, two dads, the I"m old enough to be your dad dads, and more. Thank You. You all have some big shoes to fill when it comes to accepting and embracing the role of a caregiver, much less a mother or father figure, so thank you!
I've spent well over 2 days trying to figure out what to write. Then, randomly, I heard my Dad's voice in my head, cracking his "pull my finger" joke, as he always did - then blamed the aftermath on a barking spider lol.
One could say that I've been "blessed" with having a number of men, throughout the years, that have accepted me as their own, and have chosen to be involved somehow, in the making and development of, all things me.
As with most topics in today's world, things have evolved. They've changed. The "traditional" norms of the family dynamic have shifted - and that's totally okay. People are having kids without being married. They're having kids with different people, creating a blended family unit that was unheard of to the generations before us. Co-parenting is now defined as two individuals, not just a male and female, that are raising a child, or multiple children, together and of which, may or may not be their own. The traditional family "unit" is no longer inclusive of just your own flesh and blood - it's much more expansive than ever before.
My objective isn't to tell you something you likely already know. It isn't to be an advocate for "broken homes." My objective is simple - to thank those "father's" that have somehow been responsible for the various paths of my journey, and also to let people know that it's okay if you don't have the Brady Bunch family dynamics. I can assure you, most don't.
To Steve Dawson. May you rest in peace. I still don't, and likely will never, fully understand what happened and why you left, but you did. I'm sure you had your reasons, and I'm sure you had many moments of regret - but today I want to thank you. Thank you for being selfless and stepping out of a role you weren't ready to fill, because it opened the door for someone else that graciously stepped in and completely redefined what it means to be an ideal "father" figure.
To Brad Rhodes. When I was younger, we always had a great time with you, Carla, and your kids. Thank you for accepting the role of being my god-father. Had anything ever happened to my parents when I wasn't of age - you and Carla would have made sure my brother and I were taken care of, thank you.
To Steve Stout aka Dad. You took me in as your own. You are what I remember when I comb through my memories of youth. You were always there. You always did your best. You always tried to do the right thing, even when it may not have been the best thing. I don't ever remember a moment where you spoke negatively of any other's that came and left, and you always made sure that my brother and I knew we were loved, even from thousands of miles away. Thank You.
To me, you redefined what a traditional "father" looks like, because any man that is willing to take on a baby that wasn't his, immediately adopt and give them your last name, and the family name as my new middle name, is a winner in my book.
You have always been there, and even when you physically weren't, I knew in my heart that it wasn't for lack of love. You always have seemed so proud of myself, and siblings, even when I wasn't the angel I totally am today lol. You also took on two more daughters and actively play the father role in their lives too, which speaks to the type of human you are. Thank you Dad.
You've taught me so many things over the years. You maintain balance and you make sure that I never fall too far from my faith or allowing myself to lose sight of what's important in life - none of which have monetary value. You also aren't afraid to let me fall on my face, because that's when lessons are learned, even if it's the hard way.
To Josh Humphrey. I know our run hasn't been the most smooth, but I really feel like we're in it for the long haul - which we both recognize isn't easy, it's not full of rainbows and unicorns, and it isn't going to be sexy all the time. And that is ok. I thank you for that. I thank you for being a good human (even when you haven't been lol) and most of all, I thank you for giving me not only one, but two beautiful little humans, that I get to proudly call "my boys". I never thought I would get to experience parenthood, especially with a child of my own, but we're doing it and we're making it. Thank you.
To all of you other dads out there - keep doing what you're doing if its working. If you're not doing what you should be doing, then maybe you should consider how blessed you are to have been given this gift, and start celebrating it instead of shaming it.