Ah, Father’s Day. The time in June when we rush to gush all over social media about all of the amazing dads.
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We’re treated to commercials and cards that wax poetic about the role of a father, the wisdom, hard work, and love they offer.
Media, society, and signs hanging in stores remind us of the unique role of a father, the irreplaceable place dads hold in our lives.
There’s nothing like a dad, we’re told, and now is the time to make sure they know how special and appreciated they are, how impactful they’ve been, and how we just wouldn’t be who we are without them.
I was raised, like millions before me and millions after, by a single mom.
When I was a kid Father’s Day was uncomfortable at best, depressing at its worst. I’d spend a full hour searching for the right card to send my absent father, something that was nice enough to make me feel like I’d done my daughterly duty but not so complimentary that it lied.
I couldn’t give the man credit for what he hadn’t done, after all, but everyone and everything around me told me that I had to at least acknowledge him on Father’s Day.
I’d end up with a generic card that I felt cost too much and leave the store with angry tears in my eyes.
My dad wasn’t raising me.
My dad wasn’t helping with my homework. My dad didn’t know my friends’ names, my favorite band, or even what my bedroom looked like. Why did I have to give him credit for a job he hadn’t done, a role he hadn’t wanted?
Why did he deserve to open the mail and see that I’d thought of him… especially when he rarely thought of me?
I decided when I was a teenager that I was done applauding this man for a job someone else was doing. He wasn’t going to get a good grade on the group project he’d abandoned.
Instead, I started celebrating my mom on Father’s Day, and it’s something I continue to this day.
Happy Father’s Day to the single moms who do it all. Happy Father’s Day to the mothers who taught their sons to shave and their daughters to stand up for themselves. Happy Father’s Day to the moms who taught us to drive, picked us up from practice, and loved us enough for two parents.
To the moms who work to support a family when her family doesn’t support her.
To the moms who put their dreams on hold to keep a roof overhead.
To the moms who count change in secret to put dinner on the table, who take extra shifts, late shifts, unwanted shifts. The moms who don’t get a break from bills, from responsibilities, from their kids.
Thank you to the moms who have to wipe the tears of the abandoned while hiding their own of exhaustion.
Thank you to the moms who have no answers as to where Daddy is, why Daddy isn’t here, or when Daddy will call back. Thank you to the moms who help us heal, who step in when others stepped out, who filled shoes they’d never tried on.
Happy Father’s Day to the moms who take the brunt, who never seem to be able to do enough, who are never told they’re appreciated.
Happy Father’s Day to the moms who listen to complaints and cries, who have to say no to brand names and face the wrath of image-obsessed teenagers.
Happy Father’s Day to the moms doing the work of both Santa Claus and the scapegoat.
Happy Father’s Day to the moms who go without – without companionship, without support, without enough money, enough help, enough energy, enough time. Happy Father’s Day to the moms who fall asleep doubting themselves, the moms who question if they made the right choice, the moms who question how much longer they can do this.
The moms who are humbled yet determined, exhausted yet committed.
The moms who didn’t have the choice to quit because you love us too much to consider it. The moms who form their own cheering section, who walk us down the aisle, change the tires, mow the lawn.
The moms who don’t care whose role it was supposed to be, only that there’s a role that needs to be filled.
Thank you to the moms who are unseen, whose sacrifices aren’t yet apparent or appreciated.
Thank you to the moms who make it happen, the moms who disciplined without a partner to back them up, who worked to be the person we look up to even when we might grow taller than you.
Thank you to the moms who become our friends, the moms we share our memories with, the moms who know us as no one else alive does.
Happy Father’s Day to the single moms, the hungry moms, the tired moms.
The moms who sleep on couches, sleep in the breakroom, sleep when we finally become independent. Some moms sleep alone. Some moms share their beds. Some moms don’t sleep at all.
Happy Father’s Day to the moms who pull double duty, who love enough for two, who love us enough to miss us. Thank you for the nights we spend snuggling, singing, giggling.
Thank you for making sure I could always go, even if you couldn’t. Thank you for making the hard choices when you, yourself were given no choice.
Thank you for adding my name to lists and yours to sign ups, humbling yourself over and over to make sure I had a Christmas gift, school supplies, and anything else I needed that you just couldn’t give me.
Happy Father’s Day, single moms.
Thank you for giving us more than you had to, more than you had. Thank you for being such incredible moms that we realize we don’t need dads. Thank you for being what someone else couldn’t, what they wouldn’t.
Happy Father’s Day to the single moms, the moms who do it all, the moms who work so hard and love so fierce that it takes two days to celebrate you.
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Happy Father’s Day to the moms who aren’t fathers at all, but whose love and work and sacrifice deserve to be honored every day.