What makes a man a “father” (other than the ability to get a woman pregnant)? Being a biological father is one thing, but being a true Father is something entirely different. One my Abuser never got. Ironically, I texted all of my kids this morning to tell/text their father “Happy Father’s Day.” Two out of the three of them had said they already texted him, but I won’t repeat a few of the messages that I got saying they weren’t sure why — they aren’t appropriate and I won’t repeat them here. They are going to have some sort of relationship with him, on their terms, so I keep trying to facilitate that, but he acts too busy to be bothered with anything having to do with the guidance of said children.

To me, a father doesn’t have to be biological. Mine is and is a great father…he took care of us, tagged himself in when Mom was emotionally spent, was very active in our activities and interests, and doled out discipline when warranted (so we didn’t become sociopaths). I appreciate all of his effort and hard work. He’s a wonderful grandfather and great-grandfather. He volunteers at the church. He took care of my Mom until the bitter end, as she lay dying, making sure she was cared for, loved, and her wishes carried out.

Fathers can be anyone who fits the role of caring for a child. My father is a great father-role model. Step dads and adopted dads are definitely fathers, because they take an active role in their children, biological or not. These days, grandparents are having to raise their grandchildren. When they adopt them, many have their birth certificates ammended. I get it. These men want to be fully invested in the children they’re raising and I admire the heck out of that! It makes my heart swell!

Mother, too, can also have to take on both roles? How do I know? I’ve done it and am still doing it. I’ve taught my kids how to drive and maintain their vehicles. I’ve had to have the sex talk, with both sons and daughters, even though I don’t have a penis. I’ve had to guide them in how they conduct themselves around people they care about and call them out when they’re not acting right to their significant others. Me, I’m both parents: I was while I was in active abuse and I am still now. Kudos to the Moms who have to fill the father role. We also have to involve appropriate male role models in order for children to know how to act (if they are male) and how to be treated (if they’re female). In both sexes, I have to model how to treat others, because their own father was such a poor example of how to love and how to be a kind, masculine influence in a relationship of all kinds.

What if you’re a single Mom and your kids don’t have a father to model from? There may be other male relatives to fill that role. If not, there is an organization called “Big Brothers, Big Sisters.” They are wonderful! I would highly recommend them. I used to say get involved with the church, but I feel that Moms have to gage that carefully, as there have been way too many accounts in the news recently about child abuse at the hands of church clergy or church elders. Gage anyone who has access to your kids VERY carefully and consistently. Listen to your children and believe them, if they say someone feels “off.” Also, please, PLEASE, do not go at dating with the aim at “finding [my] kids a father.” That’s how pedophiles gain access to children. Keep the two separate for a few years, to make sure everything is good and on the up-and-up. And don’t settle for “good enough.” They have to treat you with respect and honesty, first and foremost, but also be mindful that your children come FIRST (because they were there first). Be ever cautious and see how the prospective mate interacts with their own children and how they speak of their “ex.” Also, if their mother is still living, watch how he treats her. Just remember their actions are going to speak louder than anything they could ever “tell” you. Words can be fleeting…

Have a happy and fulfilled (and safe) Father’s Day! Love and light to all the upstanding Dads and Dad-figures, as well as the Mamas pulling double-duty! <3