A Mom Without a Dad :: A Father’s Day Reflection

A Mom Without a Dad :: A Father’s Day ReflectionFather's Day without a dad, A Mom Without a Dad :: A Father’s Day Reflection

For 16 years I have grappled with the third Sunday in June. Every year it brings a new wave of emotion: sadness, anger, peace, hope, sometimes all of the above. Father’s Day is a complicated one for a girl who lost her father early on. 

Though my father was not consistently in my life growing up, experiencing what felt like a final loss while in high school was more emotional than I can describe. I didn’t mourn the memories, I mourned the loss of potential. I didn’t miss the special experiences, I thought about the special experiences he would miss.

Loss and grief are nearly indescribable. No two experiences are the same. I can say now, though, as a mother, I’ve learned to cope better.

Thoughts from a mother without her father

Father’s Day is my day where I allow myself to wallow a little bit about growing up without a dad in my life. I’ll frown a little at the photo of walking myself down the aisle at my wedding and the lack of a father-daughter dance at the reception. I get a little grim when I think about how my dad never got to watch me play sports growing up.

One thing that has shifted my downer-day into one of hope and joy, though, is my husband – the father of my own children. 

On our first date, my husband made it clear that his priority in life was to be a good husband and father. His mom even told me stories about how the church ladies would say he would be a great priest, and he responded with “I want to be a dad!” He has dreamt of being a father, and I have dreamt of my kids having that all-in figure as well. 

Watching my husband become a dad two times over (almost three) has actually been healing for me, too. When he spins my daughter around while singing and dancing to “Rewrite the Stars” for the 50th time, a smile creeps across my face. When he and our son are kicking the soccer ball in the backyard, my eyes fill with tears. Each and every time he tells our kids that they are loved, cared for, and special, my heart is full. No parent is perfect, but my kids know that their dad is there for them in the big and small ways alike. 

The little things are actually big things

The pressure on dads is real. Be a provider. Be a protector. Help your sons turn into men. Help your daughters feel safe. Make money. Be successful. Don’t show weakness. Some aspects of these are important, but what I want my kids to say about their dad is that he was present. He had tough conversations with them. He attended school functions. He played with them (AKA: becomes their personal jungle gym in the middle of the living room). He watches their favorite movies and plays their favorite songs on car rides. 

A Mom Without a Dad :: A Father’s Day ReflectionFrom someone reflecting on the history with and loss of a father, these are the moments that have the most impact.

Thank you

To the dads out there doing everything they can to be present to their family, thank you. To the dads who are supporting their spouses by taking an active parenting role, thank you. To the dads who work long days to provide for their families, thank you. Your hard work, deep love, and presence are appreciated today and every day. Happy Father’s Day!

Jessica Hauerwas
Jessica is a nonprofit leader who loves bopping around Lafayette for the best burgers or bands in town. She is the Executive Director of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited where she runs the day-to-day nonprofit. She and her husband Chris have three littles at home (Jane, Clark, and Louise) where there is lots of giggling and always a cup of coffee brewing. Jessica is passionate about community-building and empowering working mothers. Jessica also volunteers for various organizations, is a member of the Lafayette Re-Entry Coalition, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette, and a survivor of being a mother of three under 4.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here