“Too bad you didn’t have any sons.”
News flash: this is never a good thing to say to a man who only has daughters. Sure, the image of a father and son playing catch together certainly warms the heart. And there’s nothing bad about fathers and sons fishing together, taking camping trips, and cheering on their favorite teams at sporting events. Parent-child bonding is a beautiful thing.
But don’t pity the man who wasn’t “blessed with sons”, please.
If you ask my father, he says he never needed sons to feel complete, and his two girls were his pride and joy. In my older years, I’ve heard people joke that it’s a shame my dad didn’t have any sons to share “boy” times with, to pass down the family name, or to have that special connection with a son while the girls are inside doing “girl things.”
I admit that I’m glad it was just us girls…that meant we got to do all the “boy things” that society doesn’t encourage girls to do because my dad didn’t care that we weren’t boys. In fact, he wanted four daughters (but my parents stopped after two). He refused to see that we were too delicate to do all the things that a boy might do. He made us forts and swing sets, took us fishing and camping, put up a basketball hoop and taught us how to use a hammer and nail. We went to Home Depot together and strung worms on a fishing hook. And some of my most distinct memories are of the times spent in Dad’s workshop where we’d hang out while he measured, cut, built, and repaired things. He and Mom both were influential in teaching us to cook and do yard work, and he played with us when we did “girl things.” He may not have coached my sports team, but I looked up to him as a leader for so many other reasons. Dad is my hero, and I’m so grateful he wasn’t disappointed that we wore pink tutus more often than cleats and helmets.
I’m sorry for the men who feel they need to experience having a son to really feel complete as a parent. Boys and girls bring unique gifts to this world; let’s embrace them both and encourage them to try everything and be anything.
So to all the dads who know they have enough by having girls, thank you for accepting us.
Photo credit Peter Werkman.