Back of mother holds young child in sorrow embrace, who stares at camera.


3 Things to Remember if You’re Celebrating Father’s Day Without A Dad

Jun 14, 2017

The sky is a luminescent silver. The lightest of grey, with glowing blue undertones, issuing a soft drizzle of rain. Again. It’s been constant this late spring into summer, and not near warm enough for the tomato plants in our front yard gardens to feel welcome. 

I tell my kids that the earth is thirsty for it. The trees, the plants, the vegetables in our own garden all will flourish with this continual precipitation, as long as there are some hot and sun-soaked days in between.

We live with the dampness that seeps into our bones.

We get used to it.

This month marks one more of countless Father’s Days that have passed without having a dad.

I am the example I must be for my children; of getting used to it, though I secretly want to be drenched in the sun. 

But I get used to it.

No big deal, right? It’s just rain. Rain can be calming, and nourishing. It’s necessary. It can be particularly enjoyable in the evening with a hot cup of tea, or deep in the woods surrounded by trees. All living things need it. The weather can’t be all magnificent sunshine and cosmic brilliance all the time, can it?

And so, along with the rain, the inevitable creeps in this time of year, and I find myself massaging old wounds. This month marks one more of countless Father’s Days that have passed without having a dad. There have been step-dads (plural, yes), and solid father figures in my life, and yet...

Well, I’ve gotten used to it.

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Having children has softened the ache of wanting what I never had, and having a partner who is an amazing dad to our children has completely shaken down my ideas, thoughts and feelings on fatherhood. Watching their relationship change, grow and deepen over the years has calmed and soothed my weathered soul.

And yet, I yearn for more. Am I looking for “dad”? No. I’m looking for my roots. My ancestral and cultural lineage. The not knowing, not having these answers for myself or my children as a mixed Indigenous woman comes with it’s own special brand of whispers and judgment.

That again, one gets used to. Sort of.

I’ve begun mending and tending to estranged relationships amidst my complicated familial dynamics. The answers aren’t coming easy of course, but there’s a deep satisfaction in having finally begun the journey to knowing.

For those of you who are without on Father’s day, there are ways to make your feelings more manageable. I’m going to suggest some things that may be hard at first — you won’t experience any immediate sense of gratification, but you’ll appreciate the long-term healing.

1. Mend What You Have

Even if it’s hard, or even if you’d rather not think about it, share the GOOD stories, because no matter what, there’s some good to be remembered and honoured, somewhere, some way. Make friends with the difficult stuff, it’s made you the incredible, strong, unique (even if you don’t always feel it) human you are today.

2. Reap What You Sow

Honour the amazing partner/father to your children you may have or the father figures you have had in your life. The likelihood that you’re a parent if you’re reading this is high, and thus, there is opportunity to revel in the magic and mayhem of the present with your children. Disconnecting with technology and connecting with nature — the world outside of our own troubles — is an all ‘round good idea on a day where there will be an emotional mix of joy and heartache.

3. Love Unconditionally

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with my first. It came as a complete shock, as I had been infertile for a long time. My partner and I sat down on his parents' couch in comic disbelief, as waves of joy and shock washed over us. In that split second everything changed and I was blessed with the beginning of a life I thought I would never have. Throughout it all, my children have bestowed unconditional love upon me and re-taught me that it’s in our genetic makeup to love one another no matter what.

You or someone you might know may be grieving this Father’s Day, so let's remind ourselves to be filled with love and gratitude for what we do have, more than anything we might yearn to have back, or that we never had.

Article Author Selena Mills
Selena Mills

Read more from Selena here

A multidisciplinary creative professional and artisan, Selena has over 10 years of experience writing and editing for acclaimed publications, B2B content creation, social management, brand building, design and VA services. Passionate about elevating Indigenous and FNMI stories, perspectives and voices in digital media, she strives to build bridges renegade style. When the chaos permits, Selena is an avid four-seasons permaculture gardener and a hobby “chef” who looks for other parents to revel (and or kvetch) in motherhood with. Clearly, she doesn’t like rules, most visionaries don’t.

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