In a few hours, we will once again be introduced to the dads and mentors of our friends online as our timelines flood with Father’s Day greetings. While most families will have someone to give their thanks to on this special holiday, it may be a difficult time for others who have no father figure to look up to.
According to one study in the US, approximately 33% of children live absent from their biological father. While this refers to the western population, it does not stray far from the reality of many families here in the Philippines— especially with the country’s OFW phenomenon.
However, Father’s Day doesn’t have to be hard and it certainly shouldn’t get in the way of showing appreciation for the role models who were actually there for you.
Whether you’re struggling with the loss of your dad, or he was never present in your life to begin with, know that you are not alone and there are still people worth celebrating on this day.
We asked a few people to share who they owe their thanks to the most for taking on the duties of a father; along with those who went beyond to care for those outside the family.
(Aliases have been used for the purpose of anonymity)
To those who took on the role
Who says that Father’s Day has to be about your biological dad? Moreover, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about a male figure at all. Some may regard their mothers as two parents in one, while others make an example out of whoever nurtured them at home— a testimony to how this special day belongs to them too.
For one person, the holiday has always been a touchy subject for her as she fails to recall much about her dad before he passed. “My dad was never really present in my life growing up since my parents were separated. While he still financially supported us, I only really had my siblings and mom to turn to during my growing pains,” she shares.
She continues on to further reveal the nature of her relationship with her father. “It wasn’t until he was on his deathbed when we “resolved” our issues. I think he left on good terms but I still wish things [played out] differently— maybe he could’ve been part of my life if we worked things out sooner.”
Despite her dad’s painful departure, she emphasizes that she’s extremely grateful for the role models who raised her. “It helped to have four people fill in that empty space for me. Although I used to compare my situation to my peers who had a “complete” family, I now realize that my household is full of love just as much as others.”
“No parent is perfect, but what matters most at the end of the day is that they stayed when no one else was there. Happy Father’s Day to those we’ve lost, and to those who took on the mantle.” – Lizzy, 20
Another daughter of separated parents says that her step dad was the one who filled in the role as her biological father focused on his new family. “I call him tito (uncle) but he acts like my father figure when it comes to guiding me [through] life and how to deal with it.”
She shares that his unconditional love is thanks to a similar environment he grew up in. “Tito actually grew up with a step mom because his mom died when he was young. This is where he learned how to love unconditionally whether you are related by blood or not. I think that’s the love he gave me,” she elaborates.
In solidarity with those in complicated situations, she imparts a few words of assurance:
“To everyone out there with daddy issues (just kidding), I hope you find the unconditional love you deserve to receive.” – Tiff, 21
To the dads who go above and beyond
If you’re lucky enough to have best friends to call as family, you have probably become well-acquainted with their parents too— maybe you’ve even been treated as one of their own. Whether they’ve welcomed you into their home, or taken you along to join them for a meal, these kinds of fathers go out of their way to make sure you’re cared for. For some, it’s not everyday that you have someone to call “dad,” so it’s in those rare moments where even the smallest gestures matter.
One daughter shares how her dad has extended his fatherly love outside their household, “To some of my friends and cousins, he’s the nice and sweet dad I’m lucky to have— and I agree with them. My dad is extremely considerate when it comes to family and friends. He asks about what course they’re taking or what they wanna do in life.”
She regards her father as “such a dad.” As one out of two daughters in the family, she explains “[my dad is] extremely protective of me and my sister […] so he treats us like princesses all the time.” However, they’re definitely not spared from the occasional scolding. “My dad isn’t perfect but he always tries his best for us, and for that I’m grateful.”
In the spirit of Father’s Day, she leaves an important reminder to show some appreciation for whoever deserves to be celebrated in your life:
“Give your dad a hug. Spend time with him in whatever way you can, even though your “bonding sesh” isn’t something you’d typically do like going to the car shop while he talks to the sales people and gawks at cars.” – Bibingka, 21
Another person shares how she’s most thankful for her dad’s attentiveness as he would take note of everyone’s interests.
“Be it in music, books or any new hobby we were into, he did his best to keep up with my siblings and I. There are days when he would come to my room and say “Did you hear about Harry Potter?” Or “Hey check out this song I think you’ll like it.” He’s not the type to dismiss something he doesn’t know but instead joins the conversation.”
When asked how he’s gone beyond his duties as her father, she says that he makes the effort to talk to her friends. “He’s pretty introverted so I really appreciate him taking the time to get to know my friends and share with them some stories of his life. He also asks about them, asking how they’re doing and what they’ve been up to,” she expounds.
She also shares how her dad is always open to having challenging and flexible discussions. “Our dinner table is usually a very noisy one because we’re all going back and forth about something. We grew up in an environment where we could speak our mind and be heard. A lot of that is thanks to my dad.”
It goes without saying that fathers like them are worthy of the recognition. Not everyone who gets assigned the role of a father actually takes it up and follows through, so we’re especially grateful for those who continue to extend their compassion.
“To the dads out there, thanks for showing up and putting in the work. We love you!” – Bonko, 22
We don’t need an occasion to give thanks to the role models in our lives— and we certainly don’t need a biological parent to celebrate certain holidays. Whether you wish to reach out to thank those who looked after you, or you still need time to heal, know that your feelings are valid.
Regardless of where your father stands in your life, remember that you are loved by so many others.
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