To Absent Fathers

So it is Father’s Day and none of the interrupted family Dads and kids will get to see each other this year. This is sad, but it is not an unusual state of affairs for us. I have learnt over the years that just because your Dad might not be there for one reason or another does not mean that they ever stop being an important and influential figure in your life, whether you are lucky enough to have a good Dad, unlucky enough to have a crap one, blessed to have multiple father figures in your life, or have been separated from them for whatever reason.

I am always astonished at how much my step daughter can remind me of her Dad, even though she has never lived with him and grew up without his daily influence in her life. The very fact that she looks so much like her younger brother despite the 50% genetic difference shows how annoyingly potent that Dad DNA can be and is a strong case for the Nature vs. Nurture argument if ever I saw one.

My son very much misses having his Dad around on a daily basis. They have found their ways to bond and stay connected during this prolonged absence, from shared workouts, to Lego projects, music challenges, family cook offs and weekly zoom quizzes, but it will never be the same as actually seeing each other.

I worry that it will be difficult for them to readjust to being back in each other’s company. I know it was always hard when my own Dad would reappear back in our lives, whether that absence had been for a few days or a few months. After the initial excitement of the exotic gifts from his work trips, there was a tricky readjustment process to be navigated each time for all parties which I wrote about previously in my post about Sunday Dinners. I will also no doubt struggle with the parenting spotlight and autonomy suddenly being taken off me, as ‘fun-Dad’ returns and the boys club is re-established.

Others may have lost their Dad and be desperately missing them today or feeling bad about all the times they cringed at their jokes or failed to say thank you for the love and support that had been offered over the years. Especially the stuff that came at you in the weird way that Dads seem to so often excel at, such as checking your smoke alarms when they visit, giving you petrol money (at the age of 35), letting you eat crisps for dinner when your Mum was out, or delivering a lecture for an hour on some topic that you accidentally expressed a vague interest in whilst walking through the kitchen.

My son has asked recently if he could write something for the blog and we thought this would be a good opportunity to do it. I hope you enjoy his tribute. We’ll be raising a glass to the absent Dads today and remembering that their love and influence is with us anyway even if we can’t have one of their manly bear hugs.

I’ll also be eating crisps for tea because I ‘accidentally’ sent my Dad’s M&S Snacks and Beer Father’s Day gift to my home address instead of his. I know he will be proud!

The boys before their lockdown hair growing competition began…

Hi Jamie here, I just wanted to write a quick post that is a special thanks to all fathers but especially my one. Whether he’s making jokes or teaching me how to repair a bike tire on zoom (a recent event) he is always there for me even though he lives miles away. My Dad grew up in Lennoxtown, Glasgow with his mother and father. Since then he has been up to all kinds of mischief. I will always believe that he is the best Dad I could have ever asked for. I love my Dad, and if he’s reading this I miss you loads and would do anything to be with you.

P.S You can open your present now!

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