Over the past year, we’ve told the stories of many gay dads. Our writer David Dodge asked some of these dads about their plans for Father’s Day.
“Father’s Day means celebrating all of the successes and obstacles that have led us to where we are today. It means knowing our hard work has paid off and that we were successful in reaching our goal of becoming a family. It means we lead by example and help teach others in the world what a family looks like, it means we’re a family and that our lives are better because of the kids we get to share it with.”
Greg: “Having lost my dad a couple years ago, Father’s Day has taken on a new meaning being a father. To me, it’s a day for others to give thanks to all the dads out there. Thinking on it, I think they should combine Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and simply make it Parent’s Day. I think that would help with a lot of blended families in celebrating parents of all types, without anyone feeling left out.”
Kenny: “Father’s Day is just another day to celebrate the awesome joy and responsibility that our boys bring to our lives. While it can be hard work, it can be such an awesome thing to see your kids succeed at the little things in life – passing a spelling test, making that first soccer goal, and using the potty without being asked! It makes all the time-outs and tantrums worthwhile. We’ll be spending Father’s Day relaxing by the pool, grilling some steaks and enjoying just a really lazy day!”
“Historically, Father’s Day signified what I didn’t have. Until last year I wasn’t a father and Father’s Day felt like a reminder of that unfulfilled dream. But also, my father died of cancer when I was 16, so Father’s Day always felt really sad and empty to me. Now, while there is still grief and loss, there is also celebration. And as a two-dad family there is double celebration on Father’s Day. Last year I got to honor my partner for being such a great dad to our daughter, and, for the first time ever, I got to be celebrated for being a Papa.
Our culture puts a lot of emphasis on mothers being the primary caregivers, or moms doing all the hands-on parenting (lots of moms are great and they should be held in high regard for the incredible job they do), but nowadays many dads play a much more hands-on role in parenting. We aren’t just the supporting role, we aren’t just the “after work parent,” we are also nurturers, and stay at home dads, and caregivers who are playing a very significant role in our children’s lives. I think Father’s Day should celebrate the evolving role of dads.”
“We don’t do anything special for Father’s Day; maybe we’ll do more as the kids get older. We’re not even big on Valentine’s Day so you can imagine. Mother’s Day becomes more of an effort as we have to really prep for what our older son (now nearly 4) might ask but Father’s Day by comparison is more of an effortless day. We are going to be in Greenport, N.Y., on the North Fork of Long Island, where we have brunch plans at a vineyard. The vineyard we’re going to has chickens, ducks and some other farm animals so the kids will enjoy that.”
“Neither of us is very into corporate holidays like Valentine’s Day or Father’s Day, so it probably won’t be much different from a regular weekend: a family lunch out and doing something fun with our beautiful girls. That said, if they want to take the day to pamper us when they get a bit older, I won’t complain!”
“We’ll be spending this Father’s Day in Yosemite with the kids, the moms, and friends. Most years it’s just us and the girls, but we’re changing it up this time.”
“To be honest, I’ve never really been comfortable with Father’s Day. Of course I’m a dad and of course it’s been hard work, but I personally don’t really want to be celebrated for it. But I do love the cultural acknowledgement of all the fathers in the world and how important it is to be a great dad.”
“I had to go through a lot physically to become a father, so it means a lot to me! It’s a reminder that my family was worth the struggle. I think we will do something low-key, like get something nice to eat. We should take Caleb out for ice-cream!”
“I believe that since I am acting as their dad it can and should be celebrated accordingly! However, if the bio father is still in the picture he also deserves to be recognized as we are co-parenting for the reunification of the child [with the birth family].”
“I don’t really participate in Hallmark holidays, but I do think it’s important to have a day to dedicate to being a father, to give pause to what it means. So I’ll just go for my regular visit on Saturday. Have a picnic in the park; no fanfare. My mom, on the other hand, makes a big deal out of Father’s Day for me. She wants to participate somehow and I let her. If the kids want to, too, that’s great. But I don’t have the expectation to be special, or that they’ll set time aside on this one particular day.”
“Now that I have my own children, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are more important as days to honor my own parents. So Father’s day is an opportunity for my and my girls to really recognize my dad, who is just such a tremendous dad. Now that my daughters are older, they’re starting to understand it more, too. So they’ll get to pick what we do.”
(“Can we go to Chucky Cheese?!” one of his daughters yelled in the background of our call. “No, honey,” Chris laughed, “it probably won’t be Chuck E. Cheese.”)
Answers have been edited for grammar and clarity.