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Father’s Day is a very special day, but so many men feel like they get the short end of the stick. They just witnessed all the rave for Mother’s Day that is not expressed for them in the same manner. I want it known that fathers are an essential key to the growth and development of a child. I want fathers to know how key they are in how a woman sees the world for herself and how she sees the impact the world will have on her. I never fully understood the impact of a father on a child until I had children of my own. I watched how my sons interacted with their father before the divorce. There seemed to be some unwritten code I was not invited to know. They shared a bond that I so desperately wanted to be a part of.

I didn’t understand how crucial that code was to my children’s well being until after the divorce. The hole left in the soul of my sons by their father’s absence was all too real for me. As a mother, you want to do everything you can think of to protect your children from the hurts life throws at them. I never knew my father. My home was led by strong women that made me believe men were not necessary because they were just as strong as any man. Plus, they felt there really wasn’t anything that he could do for her anyway. The men that I saw growing up either did everything the women told them to do or were very domineering with the belief that it’s a man’s world and women were here to do his bidding. If you’ve read my book, you know this is the beginning of my story.

It was a struggle for me, as a Daddyless daughter, to trust that my sons would not be like most of the men I saw growing up. I wanted them to be strong, confident protectors. I didn’t know how they would become that valiant man I witnessed on TV or read in books. I wanted them to be loving, kind, and considerate, but I wasn’t sure how they would become this type of man without a man around to show them how. I learned from the absence of my own father how crucial the presence and essence of a father is on a child. Without a father present you can cascade into a pit of abandonment that causes you to be fearful of any relationship that shows up. You can build a wall around your soul that screams stay away from me. I am so unlovable, my father doesn’t even want to be present in my life.

To keep from spilling my woes on to my children, I had to decide to trust their Heavenly Father to guide them and grow them. I had to trust that God loved them as much as I did and that He would provide a way for them to be whole. I had no idea when I shared the silent prayer in my heart for my children that God was already at work. I was unaware that God had already pricked the heart of a man to be present in the life of my sons. My husband took the mantle of being a father to my son long before I knew our lives would be joined together. By the time I married my husband the Ex and I had finalized physical custody of our sons. The Ex had the oldest and I had the youngest.

The blow from the divorce and the custody battle hit my youngest hard. I watched as his little brain tried to process how to navigate his new revelation. I learned from watching the interaction between my son and my husband that God will place who you need in your life. My husband is a mentor and coach. He already had the desire to want the best for my son. Since he was a Daddyless son, he knew what my pre-teen was experiencing, and he had the tools to help him leap the hurdles toward success.

Again, I was a witness to the unwritten code. I marveled at how they engaged one another. It brought my heart joy to hear my husband share with his friends how he had to do this or that with his son. Eric B. Hood, I thank you for loving and treating Justice as your own.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men that know Father’s Day is special. Happy Father’s Day to all the men that care for children that have no blood in common with them. Happy Father’s Day to all the men that help women, like me, know we are strong, vigilant, courageous and loved.

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