It takes more than a biological chain of events to make a human and become a father. A father is more than that; men can become fathers without biology. Men that adopt babies or children love those kids as if they were “their own.”
A father is a person who is there for their wife or partner, their children, and their community. That’s a father.
Being a father doesn’t end when life does
Two of my friends buried their fathers yesterday, the day before Father’s Day. These two men suffered, and their families loved and supported them until they took their last breath. Today, they are still fathers, and their legacy will continue. Hard as it is not to have them present, they are there.
Chip was a father long before Amelia and Jack were born. He became a father throughout the years of the infertility process with every donation in a cup, and holding my hand through every blood test, surgery, shot, and ultrasound. Yes, I carried them but not alone. I delivered them, but not without him.
Chip was a great dad. I’m sure if he were here, he would argue that. I was just telling my friends that I think I changed four poopy diapers and never cleaned up puke without him. He was tough sometimes, yet underneath, a huge softy. This Father’s Day, my children are missing their dad. As a mom, I cannot fix or change that; I can only love them and share the stories I remember of Chip as a new dad. I hope they remember the things he did, and it will inspire them as parents.
It is not biology that makes you a dad.
It is heart and soul. It is the protective instinct that rises when a foot is broken on a LAX field or an aggressive basketball opponent tears a spleen. It is smiling through your birthday dinner at your favorite restaurant: Friendly’s! It is modifying who you are as a person as you form the next generation.
I was working in Manhattan and took the train home one afternoon. I was chatting with a man I knew well, and he asked if he could give me some advice about being pregnant and becoming parents. I was just about seven months along. He said,
“Tell your husband that he will no longer be the center of your attention. It is only temporary. The baby will need you more than he does. This may last for a while, but he will return to being your whole world again one day.
Be patient when he doesn’t change a diaper the way you would or feed the baby in a way you think it should be done. He is learning dad skills, and you had a 9-month jump on him.”
No truer words were spoken.
Happy Father’s Day
I wish you a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads I know. Chip, we miss you. Please keep an eye out from afar.