Family dynamics are the invisible force behind every caregiving journey

A father’s love is expressed in many ways

My Babai. Papa. Tatay. Dad. Whatever the cultural or ethnic name for father, daughters and sons seized the elizz invitation to brag about them in honour of Father’s Day. And we aren’t just talking about biological fathers. Uncles, foster dads and step-fathers were equally praised, to the point where one person commented that there was no need for the word ‘step-dad’ in her house.

As with Mother’s Day, there was no shortage of superlatives from our elizz readers:  awesome, wonderful, great man, honourable, truly the best, hero and even Superman.  “The best thing about him”, said one daughter, “was that he was my Dad.” Another summed it up by simply saying “My Dad rocks.”

While cooking and baking skills were commonly remarked upon for mothers, there wasn’t the same kind of enthusiastic cheers for dads in the kitchen. While a couple remarked that their father taught them how to cook, this isn’t where fathers typically shine. One elizz reader shared a funny story about a time her dad made some mac and cheese for lunch, and forgot the milk and the butter!

Where fathers shine

You are probably not surprised that there are a lot of papas out there who can fix anything and everything. They can make toys (even a merry-go-round), sing and play musical instruments, build ice rinks and cabins, and know much about wood, carpentry, and yes, car mechanics. Many taught the value of working hard, being honest, respectful and responsible. On the lighter side, they have also taught the value of having a sense of humour (there are a lot of funny dads out there!)

What was really cool to read in these bragging stories was how much fathers transcended gender stereotypes. Sure, there was reference to being proudly walked down the aisle by their father. But also, because of their fathers, there are a number of daughters who love fishing, hunting, camping, playing and watching hockey, fixing their own cars, and taking stuff apart and putting it back together again!

A father’s love runs deep

The love for fathers and fathers’ love for their kids clearly runs deep, and was often expressed beyond, or maybe instead, of words. “We just knew he loved us” was one remark. Another shared the story about her father spending ages, as an adult, learning how to skate so that he could teach his son and daughter. One Dad stood out in the pouring rain, without any complaining, until his daughter succeeded in riding her new 2 wheeler bike!

My friend’s father died recently and she was blown away by the stories her Dad’s friends and co-workers shared about him at the celebration of life.  She knew he was respected but didn’t know just how much he had quietly helped many people. I was reminded of this when I read what I call the ‘swimming story’. One daughter shared that the family never knew why their dad didn’t go swimming much with them while growing up. They got their answer at their dad’s funeral. An unknown man walked to the front of the Church and told his story about her Dad saving him from drowning in a pond when he was a young boy. Her Dad had never spoke about this. The daughter concluded that her father was a “great man all around…the best of the bunch.”

I wonder about other ‘hero’ or ‘braggable’ stories there are about our fathers that we know nothing about. I am thinking about who I can ask. How about you?

 

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