In May two thousand and fourteen, my middle daughter (who is super sensitive) sat next to me on the couch and said, “can I ask you a question?” “Yes, of course,” I replied. “Does Dad’s transition from male to female mean that we have to get him a Mother’s Day card?” Without a thought I quickly responded “no, that’s my day.” After our brief conversation I thought to myself “perhaps I answered her question too hastily or selfishly?” I then decided that it was something that we needed to discuss all together as a family and I was curious as to how my wife felt about the subject. In the two years since my wife came out to me, she is not the only one going through a transition. Even our holidays are evolving.
“So what does Father’s Day mean to you?”
It is said by historians that the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington at a YMCA during their Sunday services in 1910. After listening to a Mother’s Day sermon a year before in a Methodist Church, Sonora Smart Dodd thought “why not have a day to honor our fathers?” Her father, William Jackson Smart, was a civil war veteran who raised six children on his own after loosing his wife during childbirth. However, it wasn’t until 1972 when Richard Nixon signed the law that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday. It began as a Father’s Day festival, a day to thank your father and pay tribute to him. Since then, Father’s Day has become another day for retailers to cash in. So what does Father’s Day mean to you?
For me growing up, it was the day we were able to celebrate my father and all the long hours he worked to take care of my four siblings, my mother and I. After becoming a mother myself, it was the day that I thanked the man I was married to for helping me to create life. After being remarried, it was the day I spoiled the man that was not only in love with me, but also fell in love with my children and vowed to love and care for all of us. Here I am today, post my wife’s transition, so what does Father’s Day mean to me today? I think its meaning remains the same. It’s the day we stop our normal everyday activities and pay tribute to my wife, and to the parental bond that she has with the girls. It is also the day to thank her for agreeing to be my partner in raising them.
“Always do what feels right to your own individual family and ask your children for their input and feelings on the subject.”
My wife has been in my children’s lives since they were eight, six, and one and a half. While she is not their biological parent, she fits every word in its definition.
1. be or act as a mother or father to (someone).
“the warmth and attention that are the hallmarks of good parenting”
synonyms: raise, bring up, look after, take care of
“those who parent young children”
So as it turns out the “man” that we have celebrated all of these years is in fact a woman. Does that mean that we need to switch holidays? For my family the answer was no. We decided as a family that two separate celebrations, for two parents, was right for us. For other families, where one parent is transgender, they may have a different feeling all together. Always do what feels right to your own individual family and ask your children for their input and feelings on the subject. Just as there are no two families that celebrate Thanksgiving in the same way, there are no two families that celebrate Father’s Day in the same way. Make your own traditions, those are the things that your children will remember the most in years to come. To conclude, I would like to wish all of the parents out there a happy Father’s Day, and to my wife, a very special thank you for everything that you do everyday to make our family a strong, thriving, and loving place to grow.