From one Fathers Day to the next

From one Father(‘s Day) to the next

Can you still recall the moment she told you she is carrying your baby? What were you doing? Remember the scene? The smells? Your reaction?

How about the moment she was breaking your fingers during her labour? Could you imagine back then that something amazing will come out of this torture?

Did you fall in love with your child when you first saw that screaming little thing covered in blood?

Did you freak out (just a little) when the weight of the moment dawned on you?

Did you vow (silently, of course, we don’t want any embarrassing scenes!) to protect that new life with all you’ve you got till your last breath?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions I have good news for you! Today is your turn to be celebrated!

In recent years Mother’s Day became more of a ‘Mothering’ day to honour all the ladies who have impacted children’s life one way or another. Accordingly, it should be prudent to celebrate all the men in our lives who stepped up and took on the challenge – blood or not.

In our family, we are still adjusting to the idea of a Father’s Day. The country my parents originally come from doesn’t celebrate Fathers’ Day. Mother’s Day is just a day to thank the women for going through the painful labour and delivering a new life. In that sense, though I have two children, I don’t deserve the bouquet of flowers, because we have adopted our children.

So why should fathers be celebrated?

Our children had experienced some horrific things during their short lives; according to one “I had seven sad years, not a day more” before they came to us and the years of abuse, neglect and trauma left visible and invisible scars on them. Why should they celebrate the concept when they never had a nice daddy? They have a really wonderful daddy now, but their first reaction is still to fight – and flight – when Father’s Day comes around.

Our first Father’s Day together was not pleasant. It brought back lots of memories for the boys and they took out their anger on their new dad.

Our first Father’s Day together was not pleasant. It brought back lots of memories for the boys and they took out their anger on their new dad. Bless him, he suffered it through patiently. He knew it’s not personal, it’s not directed at him per se, but a kick to the privates is a painful thing nonetheless. My poor husband was covered in bruises inside and out. He has sacrificed so much to provide a loving home to these children, to turn their sad stories around and all he wanted in return was a warm fuzzy feeling. Instead, his body and soul were crushed.

Fast forward a year filled with more bruises and VERY challenging behaviour, Father’s Day was approaching again. Naturally, my husband was not looking forward to this day! Apprehension was filling the air in our house. Hubby was nervous; hoping beyond hope that this year will be different, that he will be recognised for who HE IS and not for who he reminds the children of. The children were nervous, too, but for a very different reason!

What I couldn’t tell my better half was the fact that the boys have been planning a super-amazing day for their dad. The eight-year-old had a revelation (in the form of an unsigned note slipped under his door one night) to ask daddy how he wishes to spend his special day. Daddy, being an introvert, was hoping to get some peace and quiet. “Shall we go to the beach, then? Mummy can play with us while you sleep in the shades!”

For once the weather complied with our wishes and we spent a wonderful day at the beach, just as daddy imagined in his dreams. He was left alone with a drink and he had the freedom to walk over to us occasionally to give a compliment on a sand castle then return to his relaxing spot, close his eyes and just enjoy living.

We finished the day with a dinner out (somehow magically a table was reserved in his favourite restaurant; the kids are still puzzled by how did that happen, since only daddy can book a table…) where the boys presented daddy with some lovely handmade gifts. Somewhere during those months of trials, a gentle message of love and hope got through the rubbish in their heads and slowly wiped out the years of hate and fear. We had some very dark days together, but even when it felt like it was a hopeless task and nothing seemed to work, small drops of love in unexpected forms found their way to the boys’ hearts. We are still amazed by the random things the boys remember and cherish from the last year: a tickle-war with daddy, using permanent marker on their faces to give themselves beards so they can look like daddy, helping daddy take out the rubbish, getting a blister because they ‘borrowed’ and wore daddy’s socks to school. All happy memories!

They know now without a doubt that this daddy is loving, this daddy is staying and this daddy is not just a dream!

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing father figures out there!

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See more cartoons at DabneyandDad.com. “Dabney and Dad” cartoons are created by Paul Merklein.




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