When I was growing up, because my own father was not in the picture, I had no reason or opportunity to celebrate Father’s Day. I don’t recall ever really thinking about it one way or the other.
My first Father’s Day was in 2004 when my wife was pregnant with our daughter Ella. As a gift, I got a very funny book called How Not to Completely Suck as a New Parent. While reading it out loud when we were on vacation that summer, sometimes we laughed so hard we cried.
God has blessed me with 16 years of celebrating Father’s Day. Since for a long time I never thought I’d get married, much less have kids, I am very grateful indeed.
Reflecting on Father’s Day is to reflect on our life as a family: the many ups and downs, the laughter and tears, late nights, hours spent helping with homework, reading bedtime stories, arguing siblings, occasional trips to the ER, overwrought drama, holidays and vacations more tiring than everyday routine, many meals, endless laundry, and prayers.
Not everyone out there who is a Dad had a Dad. Not everyone has had a positive experience with their father. Some have been profoundly hurt by their fathers.
Yet even the best fathers are flawed and make plenty of mistakes. I’m definitely imperfect as a father. Fathers need to learn to say sorry—even to their kids. I’ve certainly had occasion to do so. Hopefully, my kids even learn from me at these times.
Above all else, I am grateful for Father’s Day because of all the joy and meaning my kids bring into my life. Whatever my experience was in growing up without a father, I am glad that my kids’ experience is not the same.