MEN'S HEALTH ∙ 1 minute read

Father’s Day without a father: Celebrating dads, not fathers

By Kirsty Mason

Grandads. Brothers. Friends. Uncles. Neighbours. Sons. Godfathers. Godmothers. Grandmothers. Mums. Sisters. Aunties. Who we admire as a ‘dad’ isn’t always dad.

Families are complex. Families do not follow trends. Unconventional, dysfunctional and refreshingly different, there are a lot of ‘dads’ out there to be grateful for - and by this we mean, any dad.

So we opened up the conversation and asked: what dad are you grateful for? The response was unpredictable...

My ex-husband

“When I was pregnant, my then-husband and I discussed what sort of father he would be. He said he was going to be a strict father. After our girls were born, his heart melted and all thoughts of being strict quickly disappeared. We divorced when they were young but we remain friends. Our girls have always been our top priority and he continues to love and support them as much as the moment when he first lost his heart to them. And he has definitely never been a strict dad!”

My dad’s adopted dad

“In 1939, when my dad was just 12 years old, he said goodbye to his Jewish father in Berlin and travelled to safety on the Kinderstransport. An amazing man, Dr Malcolmson looked after my dad in the UK, giving him a home and much needed support through those horrific times. He welcomed him to his family and loved him as a son. My dad’s father was taken to a concentration camp and murdered. He never saw him again. Despite what he’d been through, my dad was amazing - loving, kind, caring, funny. I feel that, in part, I have Dr Malcolmson to thank for that - for showing him the love and care he needed and making him feel part of a family when his own family had been so cruelly snatched away.”

My family friend

“A dad that I’m grateful for is our family friend who’s father to the most wonderful three-year-old girl. She tragically lost her mother when she was really young and the way her dad has created such a lovely life for her is just so wonderful to see. She’s growing into such a kind, intelligent and fun-filled soul and I’m sure this is all down to his fantastic influence. It can’t always be easy (three-year-olds are never easy!) but he does it so well and it makes me so happy to know them and welcome them as part of our family.”

My mum’s boyfriend

“After my parents got divorced, my mum was single for a long time. She had a few boyfriends here and there but nothing that really lasted. I could never understand why she wasn’t instantly snapped up. She’s healthy, adventurous, and kind. Then last year she met someone who finally gave her the love and care that she deserves. He also has two kids but that’s not the only thing they have in common. He’s kind and the house is always full of flowers. It just shows - love can happen at any age!”

So whether or not it’s your own father, be grateful this Father’s Day for all the amazing dads out there.