Fatherhood is playful and tussled. It's unchartered land and seas. It's that Peter Pan wonder and lust for adventure. Things I know nothing of, and not because I am a woman, but because I am a mother.
Father is a choice not a title. A choice to be absent, torn, present, distant, guilty, loving, tough, strict, and/or void. Our fathers are bankers and pilots, veterans or computer technicians, butchers and salesmen. Fathers work behind counters, under heavy machinery, care for the ill or disabled, and climb the world’s highest mountains. They are farmers, nurses, chefs, and CEOs. Our father’s talk in silly voices, give the tightest bear hugs, hold our hands, carry us on their shoulders, and remind us incessantly to call when we’ve arrived at our destination.
Fatherhood grows wild but refined, is attentive but flexible. It’s the tone of voice they use asking our children to be brave, because they won’t ever fall, no matter the height they’re held from. Fatherhood grows in varied shades and portions, and begins from many vantage points, because our time together will not always be linear. Whether our children are blended, born our own, adopted, step, or fostered, with our fathers we will always be home.
Let our fathers be remembered for their all-terrain approach, their willingness to encourage curiosity, and their intent to raise thoughtful independent children, because that’s what sets him apart from all other humans. Fathers may give cookies for breakfast, tie your shoes together for a laugh, or roll around outside in the yard with our babies long past dusk. Sometimes there is rhythm and routine, other times there is adventure and surprise. Our fathers are all hugs and kisses, whether they are as close as our living room or seas and countries apart from our babies, because fathers are our forever constant.
Let’s promise to honor the strengths they have given, offered, and shared with us over the years. Whether a new father or a well-seasoned one, each of them deserves to know how loved and appreciated they are. We admire their hard work, in and out of the home, we treasure the precious moments when we have their undivided attention, and we will always ask for more because enough will not ever be enough. Fatherhood is finite, but inhabits a space of all knowing and becoming, and to their children they’ll always be wise.
Here is to bigger adventures, raising our babies thoughtfully and affectionately, and continuing to encourage our fathers despite their imperfections and challenges.
Let’s always remember, LOVE makes fathers, NOT LABELS.
Sara Consolati, The Village Journalist