Father. Dad. Dadio. Parental unit. Papa. There are a thousand more nick names people have for their dads. A common theme I have seen being in the military is how many of these guys and gals I work with don’t have a strong relationship with their father’s, and how much it pains them.

One of the guys I work with has lost his father. It was incredibly abrupt. You can tell it still hurts when he talks about his dad; he admired him. I would say that is exactly how I feel towards my dad. I have an incredibly strong relationship with him. He is one of my best friends, and yet when it comes to life decisions I still get a little anxious about how he may react. However, last night showed me how I simply should not care.

Papa Jeff and Uncle Doogs

I told my dad that I finally want to live my dream of being a firefighter. He was so overwhelming supportive of the idea I was floored. I thought for sure he was not going to be a happy camper. At the end of the day he wants me to be truly happy. That right there is when I realized that I have a one of a kind father.

The guys I work with all seem to have this distant relationship with the male figurehead in their lives. Most guys have divorced parents, as do I, but the weird thing is they never had the strong relationship with their dads continue after their parents divorcing. I thought everyone had the friendship they have with their dad like I do, but boy have I been wrong in assuming that.

Some of my friend’s dads were abusive so I completely understand them wanting to be distant from them. Other’s have gotten three or four D.U.I’s and they hate them for that. All understandable reasons. And then there are the guys that don’t have a relationship with their dad because their mother’s simply would not allow it. Now that to me is crazy.

I think the way my parents separated was the best way possible. They worried about maintaining a strong relationship with their children and never tried to make us pick sides. I have come to learn that so many more families do just the opposite. Things like, “Your father cheated on me, you’re not allowed to talk to him” happen. I mean we are all human, we are all capable of doing something that is not characteristic of ourselves, and yes we all deserve to be forgiven.

I just think it is really interesting how men, more specifically, dad’s get the short end of the stick with relationships. Dad’s typically are there to provide for families, so sometimes they are not around as often as a mother would like. But to govern your child’s life so much that you prevent them from having a relationship with their father because the marriage ends is terrifically sad to me. It should not be happening. Mother’s are not doing their son’s or daughter’s any favors doing that. It is actually encouraging them to have distant like relationships in all aspects of their lives. It creates problems of trust, of being able to be vulnerable.

Having that strong male figure in one’s life is incredibly important. My dad has picked me up more times than I can count. He’s been someone I have shared so many laughs with, tears with and simply incredible memories with. I guess my point is, reach out if you don’t have that strong relationship, and explore that idea. Who knows what will come from it!

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