I used to feel sorry for myself on Father’s Day, grumble and pout. I had a father, but after I was four he lived never less than 1500 miles away and visits were invariably awkward and uncomfortable, often downright painful. I had two step-fathers. They tried, bless their hearts, but they had insurmountable challenges. In 1992, my step-fathers long gone, my father died. And with him any hope that I might have to finally know and be known by my father was snuffed out.

I’ve beamed at the fathers my brothers and friends have become and I’ve coveted the warm, loving fathers my friends have had. Though always with a bit of melancholy.

But these last two years something has changed for me. In two weeks I’m marrying for the first time. I’m going to marry a father. The only reason I know him is because he’s a good father. He left his home and life in the Bay Area to come to LA because it was best for his new family. When that marriage ended he stayed in this city he hates because it was best for his son. He wanted to know his son, he wanted his son to know him. He has no family here, his friends are all relatively new but he takes pains to be close with his ex’s family, to have a peaceful, cooperative, friendly relationship with all of them. He takes his son to school and camp; makes us dinner; twists his schedule around to make baseball games, school meetings, performances, birthday parties. He explains things to him, teaches him new things, challenges him to challenge himself. They play catch and cook and garden. He sits through “The Flash.” Every night before bed he hugs his son and tells him he loves him. He checks on him and kisses his sleeping head before he goes to bed himself.

I am in love and seeing my future of marriage and partnership and kindness laid out before me ONLY because he is, and works so hard to continue to be, a good father.

Happy Father’s Day, my love.

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