I Can’t be a Daddy (no matter how hard I try)

With Father’s Day fast approaching I’ve once again started wrestling with something I thought I had moved past about 6 months ago.  I. Can’t. Be. A. Daddy.  I am single mother and my children are fatherless.  This reality still hurts me deeply and brings tears to my eyes even now as I’m typing.

For months after my husband died I rumbled and wrestled with the unique feelings that come when you suddenly have fatherless children.  I had done everything the way I was supposed to…right?  I married a wonderful man and loved him dearly.  We had 2 great kids together and raised them in a happy, loving, Christian household.  My husband was an amazing father who always put the needs of our family above everything else (even college football and basketball).  He was a sports nut but he was even crazier about his kids.   How come MY kids had to lose their father??  Huh?  No fair…not what I signed up for thank you very much.  (This was semi-frequent routine at my weekly counseling sessions for months.  It was a long, slow path towards acceptance for me.)

Over time I came to understand that on this side of heaven, I will never understand why my loving God took my kids’ wonderful father.   For months I questioned…how can I be both Mommy and Daddy?  Then I realized…I CAN’T.  I can’t wrestle with my kids the way their Daddy did.  I can’t be the low, quiet voice of reason that my husband was with my daughter.  I can’t put my little boy on my shoulders and be too tall to fit through the doorway.  I can’t make the perfect cheesy eggs.  I’m not their Daddy.  I can’t be him and I can’t bring him back.  I also can’t spend my life angry with my God that he took this wonderful man from us.  None of that is productive or creates a joy filled family.

However, I CAN put family pictures all over the house, make photo books and tell countless stories.  I can cheer my kids on in an obnoxiously loud voice like I’m two people.  (Thank you Lord for my big mouth.)  I can plan awesome trips, cook special dinners and decide on a whim to go get ice cream even when it’s almost bedtime.  I can pitch baseballs, drive toy tractors and run around playing superheroes.  I can let my kids pummel each other in the living room and NOT tell them to “be careful.”  I can turn on Selection Sunday each March and fill out our family brackets.  I can take the kids to our college to tell them stories of their Daddy the football player.  I can surround my children with awesome male role models who provide a positive masculine influence.

I can never be their Daddy but I CAN be a rock star Mommy who prays hard, plays hard, tries hard, laughs hard and loves hard.  I can do all of this because I know that MY God is a father to the Fatherless (Psalm 68:5).

Happy Father’s Day to all!

4 thoughts on “I Can’t be a Daddy (no matter how hard I try)

  1. I love reading your posts! Your honesty and sincerity when taking on tough subjects is amazing. I wish I had answers to your hard questions but I do not. Happy to know that you haven’t given up on yourself or God!! Keep writing and I’ll keep reading. You all continue to be in our prayers.

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  2. You are an ongoing, continuous Wonder my friend! Your honesty and strength is more than inspiring, it’s assuring to those of us that will endure at some point the heartache you have wrestled with for a year. No one should ever have to know the truth you live however…..God certainly picks the right people to prove how to live with and move on from grief in the most exemplary and inspirational way! Continues prayers for you, M and P!!!

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  3. You, my amazing daughter, continue to amaze me with your faith and strength! We also, have a huge hole in our lives from not having our
    incredible, loving Patrick!
    Keep trudging as we will , because that is what that wonderful son , husband , father would expect us to do!

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  4. Heather, Amanda Hale told me that I must read your blog, and HOW RIGHT SHE WAS!!! You have such a voice…truly inspiring and so raw and honest. Although our circumstances are different, you make it a little more comforting to be in the single mom’s club! Thank you so much!!

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