Today is Father's Day. For me it is any other day as I don't get to caught up in holidays of any kind really. My wife, on the other hand, loves all holidays and celebrations to the extent that she counter-balances my usual disdain for them. But, like my birthday, today is about me. Today is about men who have either had kids or are raising kids that are not biologically theirs. Today is Father's Day.
It is an interesting thing we do as society celebrating the fact that we created a little human. I mean it is our most basic instincts as a species. We must reproduce to continue our existence. We must have children to take care of us when we can no longer do so. It is no different than our need to breath, eat or anything else. As a whole we must do it. That is at the most simplest thing what a father is, a person who made a child, raised a child, is raising a child or even mentors a child. In some sense all men are fathers at some point in his life time. It is an interesting thing.
This years Father's Day is a bit different for me because my youngest son Trae graduated high school this past Tuesday. For those that don't know I have 2 boys. Trae is my step-son who I have raised since he was 4 (almost 5) years old. Sean Jr (who now goes by his mother's maiden name) lived with his mother and step-dad in England since he was 5 years old. My ex-wife is a great mom and her husband is a great guy. They raised my son to be a strong, caring, funny and loving young man. I have watched his life from a far. Seeing as he is all the wonderful things he is I don't regret having to do so. Trae, on the other hand, has been with me and his mother most of his life. I got to raise him. He too is a smart, strong, caring and loving man that, like Sean Jr, is off to college (well in August he will be). Trae has spent a lot of time with his father Mike and his half-brother, half-sister and stepmom during his life. Both these boys are doing what they want to do in life. I can say I am proud of both of them. I am also proud to know that Lee (Sean Jr's stepdad) was part of his life. I am proud that Mikey (Trae's dad) was in his life. I am proud to have been in each of their lives to the best of my capacity. Most importantly, I am proud of the men they have started to become because that is what a father hopes to make of their sons... Great Men!
This blog will have (more than likely) one picture that epitomizes what I think Father's Day is really about and the purpose of today's blog. In this picture you see myself, Trae and Mike at
Trae's 12th grade graduation. His two fathers getting to watch him take his next big step. It isn't about bravado or pride of self. It is about teaching him what it means to be a man. Both his dads are retired military men. Most of his Grandfathers, some of his great-grandfathers too. Yet, none forced military life onto him. Trae has traveled the world with his father's, he has seen how we love, how we respect and how we stand as men. He has watched us deal with life's struggles and be by his side when he too dealt with them. He knows we are not perfect but demand the best of him. Better than we have been as men, as husbands, as fathers, as friends and humans. We taught him to look people in the eyes. We taught him his word means everything. We taught him to stand up for what he believes in. We taught him to follow his dream, love who he wants and be whatever it is that makes him happy. We will support but not carry him as he transitions to the next chapter. I look at the picture of us and realize that we made it. We made it to raising someone who is proud of himself. I don't know where Trae (or Sean Jr for that matter) will go from this point on all I know is he (they) are equipped to do it. Which brings me back to this blog and the second point. To say Happy Father's Day.
So, Happy Father's day to:
All the men who made children and walked every single day with them in their paths.
The men who stepped in when no one else would or could and did what he felt was right
The men who had to step out of the kids lives and watch from a distance rather than have a kid raised in turmoil and hate cause the parents don't get a long
The two-dad households because sexual orientation has shit to do raising a loving kid
the men who died before every laying eyes on their kids or being able to see their kids grow up
The men who failed miserably at being a dad no matter if it was drugs, drinking or some other vice that damaged their relationships yet the kid still grew up to be something.
(Note: Sometimes the darkest of paths make the brightest of flowers. Hard family life doesn't not mean a crappy adult life, daddy-issues or anything like that. Damaged father's also teach lessons. Sometimes it is simply "how not to be" in life)
The men taking time to coach teams, work a boys and girls clubs, mentor, church mentors or any other community type service
The men who lead life by example in jobs of honor like military, doctors, police officers (yes it is a great profession still), writers, painters and any other thing that is positive.
And last, to my father Robert and all the men who have helped raise me. Thank You! It's as simple as that. Happy Father's Day to you All!