By: Rebecca Perlman Coniglio, LCSW
Author of Lily’s Little Life Lessons
Just as Mother’s Day had me thinking about moms, Father’s Day has me thinking about dads. There are all kinds of dads. There is the dad who can fix anything and the dad who can’t fix anything, but thinks he can. There is the dad who wears a suit and tie and the dad who lives to be on the sports field with his kids cheering them on and coaching their teams to victory. Then there is the divorced dad…
That can be the hardest kind of dad to be and the hardest kind of dad to have. That is the kind of dad I had growing up. We had a rough road, but somehow managed to stay on that road together for the most part. What I have noticed about the dads of today is that they seem to be more aware that it is important to make their children a priority. I see more men dropping their children off at school, attending school functions, and even staying at children’s birthday parties. It always makes me happy to see a dad who is present in his children’s life. Being an adult and having the responsibility to work and provide for the family is challenging, but it is my opinion that if you make the choice to have children then you should make the choice to be there for them.
Divorce can make being there more difficult. If your father doesn’t live with you, then he may not always be there when you need him. Although my father did not live with me, he had a way of showing up when the “chips were down” as he called it. I can remember a time when I was home sick from school and he appeared at the door with the best chicken soup in town. I also remember the time when I was scanning the room at my dance recital and he was nowhere to be found. Now when I am at a concert or school event, I watch closely to the children’s faces as they desperately look for their loved ones. I dread the inevitable sad look in their eyes when they realize someone is missing. What comes over me is the knowledge that the person who is not in the room suddenly takes up the whole room. Why is that?
If you are left longing for a dad who is there, who knows your friend’s names, and who knows you, then tell him. Give him a chance to know you. Dads are important. They are these big, powerful figures in the lives of small children. They are often portrayed as the opposite of that in children’s books. That is what
inspired me to write the story, Lily’s Lucky Daddy. I wanted to put a story out there that honors good dads everywhere.
That is the thing about life, even though I struggled with my own relationship with my father, something in me sensed that the man I married would be a good dad. How did I know that? Maybe I just had hope. Maybe I just got lucky. It is ironic because another memory that is so clear in my mind is that of my father watching as my husband and I pulled away from the hospital as we drove our daughter home for the first time. I am glad he was there.
As we all get ready to celebrate Father’s Day this June, if you have a good dad or know someone who is a good dad, uncle, or grandfather let them know how you feel. I can honestly say that watching my husband love our daughter puts a peace in my heart that I did not know was possible. When I was in high school like you are now, I went for the typical bad boy. You know the one who is so cool but who is never there for you. These days I am much more drawn to a man who plays Barbies with a bright eyed five year old and who is always there when we need him.
To my dad, Lily’s Lucky Daddy, and all the dads out there-Happy Father’s Day!