Jun 15, 2008
Happy Father's Day!!
Today is a special day for me! It's Father's day! I am -- as nearly anyone who knows me surely understands -- unabashedly proud of my three daughters, and I (often) bore people as I regale them with stories of my children and their accomplishments. But, today! Today, I can revel in them without fear of reproach. Without them, I would not BE a father.
As an aside -- I know, with certainty, that not all trans-women with children identify as fathers. I honor their choice. I really do. But, for several reasons, I have never recoiled from that appellation (not even in public ... OK, OK, yes I know you all know that I asked my girls to not call me 'Daddy' in the ladies' room. Fine.). Had our circumstances been different, maybe they would have opted to call me "mamma" or some variation thereof, so as to differentiate from "Mom" or "Mommie"-- revered names reserved for the woman who birthed them. But, such was not our circumstance. And, consequently, I swell with pride at being "Daddy".
I have done a lot of the typical daddy things -- I taught them to ride bicycles, and to whistle. I tried (unsuccessfully, for the most part) to embarrass them by dancing in public places, like supermarkets and parking lots; instead, they danced with me. I would grab them and hold them in "inescapable traps", which of course, were always escapable -- bringing them much glee. I joined TaeKwonDo because they were studying it and I wanted to be a part of what they were doing. I attended their performances in school -- whether it was theater or piano recitals or chorus, or whether it was taking off work an hour and half early to drive 60 miles south to a special camp they had attended to watch their grand finale. I even argued with their step-mother over their right to live in their own messy rooms. And, I tried to help them with the expenses of school, with cash and cars. All typical daddy stuff.
But, I have also been an unusual daddy, and imperfect. I challenged their notions of masculinity and femininity. I certainly destroyed any comfort zone they had with introducing me as their father -- at least for a while; I was thrilled and honored when Amanda introduced me proudly as her "Dad" to her most beloved professor when she graduated from grad school this past May. As a result of my gender identity, the perfect nuclear family they were being raised in was abruptly, and painfully for all involved, ended. And, of course most tragic of all, I allowed my preoccupation with myself to deafen me to the needs of my eldest daughter at a time when she most needed me and I've lost her as a result.
But, I am nonetheless, a father -- warts and all. And, I'm enormously proud of that. I love my children more than the beat of my heart. Nothing brings a smile to my face sooner than the idea that I'll get to spend time with them, or hear their voices, or get a card or letter from them. For that reason, first and foremost, I LOVE Facebook. I can look upon recent photos of my kids and still play games with them and get their latest news, every day. I am still thrilled and proud every time Melody beats me in chess -- despite it happening more often than not. I am not sure I ever understood the need of my mother to constantly hear from me, to read my blog as if it were a religion until I moved away from my kids. Now, I completely get it! :)
They are all three grown, intelligent, well educated, successful and, yes, beautiful young women. I am their father. I am so proud of that.
If you identify as a father, then to you also I say -- HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
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Happy Father's Day, Denise! Your kids are very, very lucky. I don't know many fathers who could or would write such a beautiful post in tribute to their children.
Posted by: Amanda | Jun 15, 2008 2:09:51 PM
Thanks, Amanda. I doubt that my kids actually see themselves as lucky (much less "very, very"), but despite their not calling or writing on Father's Day this year I do know that they love me.
I hope you're well and suffering your separation from Amanda tolerably. I'm sure you're both anxious for this year to be over! :)
Posted by: Denise | Jun 16, 2008 6:41:12 AM