Calling one day in June “Father’s Day” means nothing to me except for the fact that I love the acknowledgement from outside of my family.
For me, every day is Father’s Day. That is as corny as it gets, and I don’t care because that is my truth.
Father’s Day is a day when I am walking my son home from school and we walk hand in hand. Father’s Day is on Friday when we go to the diner for dinner and we chat throughout the meal. Father’s Day is when I spend time with my son, and thank GOD that is every day and not just one day a year.
Growing up as a teenager I knew I was gay and all I dreamt about was having a family. Mostly because I knew it was probably impossible for me to attain that goal. It was also a way to live in denial of being gay. After all married to a woman and having a family would mean I was straight! At least we thought it did.
Sometime in my late 20′s I think I heard that some gay people were having/adopting kids. It was a little bit legal, but it was a thread of hope. Then, quite by accident, my younger brother had a baby (by brother I mean his girlfriend/wife). Well, that was it. If he could do it, then I sure could someday.
Then I met my soon to be partner. I will never forget being in a toy store in Soho 2 weeks into our relationship when he said that the saddest thing to him about being gay was that he couldn’t have kids. I announced that I did not believe gay people could not have kids, I fully intended to be a dad someday. You have no idea how truly impossible it really was at that point in my life, tiny apartment, full of debt, close to no hope. But that little bit of hope spread to my new boyfriend, it opened up his world to realize that maybe he could have his dream come true of being a dad, same dream as me! That helped cement our relationship.
Eventually we joined a support group, and at the first meeting there were: 1 couple with a newborn, and a single guy with a young child. What was impossible was there staring us in the face. It was no longer a remote possibility. It was a completely attainable goal, we were looking at it. And these were not rich people, these were people like us.
Eventually we took the next step in front of us, then the next, and then we were in Arizona at the birth of our son. I was 44, an age that some people start becoming grandparents, and so what. I knew the minute I laid eyes on this baby, seconds after he came out of the womb, that this was my son, that this boy had made me a dad. That “Father’s Day,” in June of 2003, was special because it was our first.
I waited 44 years to become a dad, and I want to appreciate that everyday, I want to feel fatherhood everyday, I do not go in for this acknowledgement once a year. I don’t need a card, I don’t need a gift, all I need is my son holding onto me as we walk down the street. He is 10 years old and still needs that connection to me and I am grateful, that is far better to me than a box of candy or a shaving device (the crap I used to give my dad!).
I work hard raising my son. As I tell friends, if it were easy, it would go too fast. I am in no hurry to get through this, I want to savor every minute of fatherhood, I waited a long time for this role. And most importantly I love our relationship, which while not perfect, is one where we both still want to spend time in each other’s company. I pray that never changes.
I love you son. Because of you I am called dad, the most important title I have ever had.