My mom is the one who is always there for me, who taught me the things a dad might. And for that reason, I celebrate her on Father’s Day.
Anne Geddes once said that “any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” Couldn’t that special someone be a female? For quite some time now, there has been a debate as to whether or not Father’s Day is an appropriate time to celebrate single mothers.
Now personally, my mother receives gifts for five special holidays: her birthday, Women’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s Day, and lastly, Father’s Day. A recent article by Cherese Jackson in Liberty Voices stated “the definitions are clear; a male parent is a father and a female parent is a mother. When a mother is the sole party responsible for her children she is being a parent; a great one but not a father.”
Although this may be the case speaking from a biological sense, not everyone approaches a situation just from one lens. If I was given the opportunity to be taught certain things by a man I could call dad, I would have loved the experience. However, not all of us have that privilege and I am not going to discredit anything one woman did to raise me. I wrote about celebrating Mothers on Father’s Day before . . . “to me, it should be acceptable, not questionable”
The experiences of an individual become their reality.
Who helped me with my homework all throughout school?
Who taught me about puberty?
Who taught me how to shave?
Who taught me how to tie a tie?
Who taught me how to ask a girl on a date?
Who was there to have the “sex talk” with me?
Who taught me how to “be a man?” (that’s a masculinity conversation meant for another time.)
I’m pretty sure you know the answer to all these questions.
Now when it comes to Father’s Day—yes we should be honoring the men who are actually fulfilling their duties. To the men who are actually fathers, I humbly salute you and I hope to become as awesome of a father as any of you. To the folks that think this situation couldn’t be reversed, I can proudly inform you that it actually is. I know plenty of women who were raised by only their fathers and turned out just fine; there are men that are also celebrated on Mother’s Day more than one may think. My point is that we should not be taking away the reality of another person’s experiences, especially if they did not grow up in a “traditional” household.
If we really want to get technical, yes, Single Parent’s day is in March, Mother’s Day is in May, and Father’s Day is in June. What about the folks who are being raised by gender non-conforming parents? What about the folks being raised by same-sex parents that are fulfilling both “roles” of mother and father? Is there a specific way people would have to celebrate these “types” of parents?
At the end of the day, we should be celebrating those who raised us every single day, not just one or two times a year. For the folks who will be honoring the special men in their lives on father’s day, I commend you all for having amazing men for taking care of your family. As for me, I’ll be celebrating the woman that did the exact same thing for my family.