Sunday, June 19, 2011

How We Celebrate Father's Day in Our House

You might think that because I am a single mom, and both of the known donors for my kids live out of state, that we don't do much for Father's Day around here. You would be wrong. :)

Let's just set aside the fact that I have a Father who needs to be dealt with, and I also have a step father who acted as a father to me from 8 years old until now...and that I always make sure both of them get their time. But I have been asked how we handle the "Daddy" issue since most people know I am gay and that my kids don't have "Dads" in their lives in the traditional sense. Now that my kids are old enough to be at school, most schools do something to acknowledge Father's day. And being that my kids go to great schools, the directors of both of their schools have come to me at separate times and asked how I would like them to handle it. And obviously based on their ages, they get handled a little differently.

My daughter's donor Dad really is just that. A donor. I am sure he is a perfectly great guy, but I have only met him in person 4 times total. The first two times he me a donation. The second two times were once my daughter was born and he was in town visiting the friend that introduced us. He has met my daughter once when she was about 6 months old. He has 4 kids of his own from previous marriages and he moved across the country so we rarely see him. He has said that if The Girl ever wants to meet him (I'm sure she will) that he is totally open to that. He is on the list of the people who get my monthly pictures so he sees her there, and is kept up to date. But we don't actually talk, and he isn't involved in her life at this point. All of this is perfectly fine with me. Until she starts asking questions, this is just how it should be.

For that reason, when her school is doing something "Dad related" she either makes something for me, or else she makes something for her Poppy (my step dad, with whom she is really close). Again, she's too little to ask too many questions, but I have no doubt they are coming.

The Boy is a different story. I am sure I have talked about it on here before, but he is old enough to understand and know everything. He knows his Daddy helped me and his mom bring him into this world. He knows that his Daddy lives in another state. He knows that his Mom and I are his parents but he loves the fact that he is able to say he has a Daddy. This is a really big identity thing for him and he almost needs to have that security of having a Daddy.

His donor Daddy also lives in another state, and he comes to see The Boy once a year, maybe twice. He always comes to visit when he is here and the love that The Boy has for him is something that I will never be able to describe. Ever since he was a baby, it was like he knew that they had a special relationship. He only saw his "Daddy" a handful of times when he was little, but even when he was a baby and stranger danger was a big thing, he would always go to him. Even though he had only seen him a couple of times in his life. It was strange.

That bond has only grown. He talks about his Daddy, and after a visit, he talks constantly about how he misses him. We discuss it all and he knows he can call him whenever he wants...and sometimes he wants to. Sometimes just talking about it is enough. But there is no doubt that he loves having a Daddy and he loves the person as well.

So when it comes time for Father's Day, we always do a little something. In years past I have always bought a card, I always write a detailed letter about what he is up to, and in previous years, I have also taken tons of video footage and made him a "movie" on iMovie and burned it on a DVD and sent it to him. I know...overkill. But whatever. It makes donor Daddy happy, and it keeps things happy so that my son (and ultimately who I am concerned about keeping content) can keep the relationship that he so counts on. Now that he is older, I have him draw a picture, sign the card and then make sure to call him on the day. I rarely have time anymore to make a specific video for him, but like the other donor Daddy, he also gets the monthly pictures (and trust me...there are a lot of pretty much get kept up to date on ALL of our lives if you get those pictures) so he knows what's going on.

When The Boy's Daddy was here visiting in April, he gave left a gift card for To.ys R U.s to use for him when he needed something fun. As I mentioned in a previous post, we recently bought him a bike and we used this gift card to help with the purchase. So that will be a big part of what gets mailed to him this year. When making the card, The Boy asked me to write out, "I love my Daddy" on a piece of paper so he could copy it. I was amazed at how well he actually wrote it:
His hand writing is getting pretty good! And then on the inside of that, he drew a picture of himself, on the gray sidewalk, against the blue sky with his new bike. He was very proud of his artwork. And he did this one all on his own. No copying anything from Mommy:
So he will get that hand-written card, the store bought card that I bought for him and had The Boy sign, a letter that I will type up, and the following pictures showing The Boy enjoying the bike that his Daddy helped him get.

So as you can see...just because we don't have any "Daddy's" living in our household, I am the first to admit that without either of those men, I wouldn't have the two greatest gifts in my life. And even though I am pooped and tired at the end of a long day, I will always take the time to make sure that those relationships stay nurtured and happy. Because ultimately I think all kids want to know where they come from. And I am grateful that my son has someone he can call on the phone and give a hug to and know that, although he has two Mommies as parents, he also has a Daddy that loves him. ***

***Disclaimer: Of course I have to mention that I am in no way insinuating that having a known donor is the only way to go for kids. I personally tried to get pregnant for 3 years using frozen sperm and if any of those tries had been successful, all my son would have for reference of his "Daddy" would be a long donor profile. Every single family is different, and if you are lucky enough to have kids, whatever way you went about having them is your answer. My personal feeling is to just always be honest with your kids no matter how they came into existence. This situation is what "worked" for my family and therefore I make decisions based on the circumstances of that situation.

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