I am back from spending a wonderful weekend with family during our biannual reunion. People travel from near and far to commune, discuss, fellowship, and bask in the aura of family love. Family bonds intricately bind our family love together in a beautiful weaving way. We toss away any feelings of bitterness, sadness, or hostility for a moment to gather strength through togetherness. And it is a wonderful thing. But what really is this family bond that we feel? Is it merely a feeling or is it something more that interconnects us? And does a family start with two?
Missing from this reunion was my complete family – the inclusion of my children’s mother. Through the challenges of divorce my family makeup has changed and it is noticeable during these family functions. However, with the support of the entire extended family me and my kids moments are no less special; different and unique but special nonetheless.
My family bond is created through the desire to belong. Many of us may believe our common blood line might have a special magnetic draw for each of our family members, although, there is no evidence that a purely physical connection draws us any closer to one another. It is our desire to be part of something special that unites us. Family gives us special moments and memories building on top of one another creating lasting memories within the recesses of our minds.
We can connect with friends that can become family. We have family members we do not have anything in common yet we desire to connect. We marry and start a new family hoping the bonds of family grow stronger than the temptations to break us apart. And we constantly search to find that special bond that moves us forward. Connecting with family is an awesome gift.
Divorce changes everything. The new family you created changes. Dynamics within the extended family change. Relationships are different. It is a big adjustment especially when you have had a close relationship with the extended family. Divorce also requires us to change our definition of family. My little family unit has become a splintered family – torn apart. But the bond and love we feel from the larger extended family comforts us and continue to bind me and my kids. Thus, it is crucial to surround ourselves with loving family during challenging times such as these.
I appreciate the experience my children will gain. I love how their lives are touched by relatives, both young and old, and I see how important it is for them to feel connected beyond one side of their two parents. They will have a unique experience for their lives as they develop and nurture the bonds of family. My rich family history shows my kids there is much more to gain from a splintered family beginning. And it is up to me and their mother to help balance these experiences so as to not neglect one family side versus the other. There is nothing more valuable than being accepted and belonging to a tribe – and that tribe is what we call family, regardless of how it is created.
On occasion I like to acknowledge that I am thankful; therefore, here is my list of things for which I am thankful…
Thankful for my beautiful kids – God could not have given me finer gifts,
Thankful for life and it’s abundance – even though in the midst of storms my life is full of abundance,
Thankful for family and friends – without others surrounding us through our turmoil we would never make it alone,
Thankful for the beauty of this world – when I look out the window and take it all in I feel Peace beyond all understanding.
What are you thankful for?
Another Hallmark Holiday is upon us. People are scurrying to grab a Father’s Day Card from the miniscule selection at the local card store. As I peruse the cards for my own father, I come across an interesting design. It is a tad unusual Father’s Day card with a flower design and letters shaped like curls. Upon closer inspection, the title of the card says, “For you Mom on Father’s Day.” I am flabbergasted. Is it too much for our society to recognize us fathers holding it down on the one small day in which we are to be celebrated? Apparently it is.
I don’t want to sound like I am anti-single mother, or that I don’t understand how single mothers that do the best they can to raise their kids without the deadbeat dad around, or the true female warriors who attempt to straddle the fence of gender and provide as much of a masculine role model for their kids. But the nerve of our society to go out and celebrate the destruction of our American households by continuing to remove the male figure from homes by highlighting the female head of household. Of all the days to do this, it had to be a Father’s Day greeting? Can we not relegate this acknowledgement for mothers to the extremely popular and more socially aware on Mother’s Day? (Bring out the trumpets and horns while rolling out the red carpet.)
Granted, there are deadbeat dads amongst us. And for another day I shall rant about them as well, but today, on Father’s Day, we are to relish those things a male figure brings to his kids, the bond the father has created with his sons and daughters, or proud feelings exhibited by his kids as they hand daddy a five dollar plastic trophy from Target claiming “#1 Dad!” How about the yearly excursion to Red Lobster to treat dad to his favorite meal? It doesn’t take much to please a man. You won’t get too much push back about the type of gift on a day like Father’s Day. In fact, you’ll probably get none. Just give him his day.
Most of us real fathers, not the sperm donors, are offended when we see cards congratulating mothers on being “fathers” to their kids. Facebook and Instagram will provide millions of shout-outs to the women taking on the male role. We are offended because it continues to minimize an important role in life. God designed fathers for a reason and that reason has been manipulated, altered, and scrambled to an unrecognizable definition. It is common place in many communities that the father barely has a reason for existence although people’s mouths say otherwise. Don’t pretend the father has an important role to the family then conflict it by giving accolades to the single mother. We have to nip this in the bud if we want healthy communities and our children to respect and desire a male role model in their lives.
If my rant is offensive so be it. Not as a disrespect, but as a measure to gain respect. I am a single father who wants my voice to be heard. I desire men all over our country to stand together and demand the respect as a father – through all of our successes and misfires. If we stand before you, our female counterparts, and work in unison, there is nothing we can’t do together. We all stand in agreement with this ideology. Therefore, do me a favor and kindly give us our 15 minutes of glory alone. We are simple creatures that need to feel important every once in a while.
Daddy Dan & the Fathers of the World
I do not understand “Sperm Donors.” And I’m not intending to judge. But I want to understand how the connection between a man and his child is lost. Women can identify their connection with their child because of their pregnancy. Did God really make men and women uniquely different in this regard making men having less of an emotional connection to our kids? Enquiring minds…