It’s Father’s Day, and it’s been a mixed day for me. I was able to sleep in, my daughter made me a wonderful breakfast-in-bed, and my family gave me some very nice and thoughtful gifts. But my feelings about the day have been conflicted all day: while I am happily my daughter’s father and my wife’s husband, the world doesn’t see me that way so much anymore. Without any malicious intent, I’ve been called my daughter’s “mom”, and my wife’s “wife” a few times in public situations by people unfamiliar with our family. And as part of celebrating Father’s Day, a few businesses offered special deals for fathers (including free admission to an amusement park, discounted or free meals, and things along those lines.
I was struck with the thought that if I were to try to claim one of those deals, I might encounter resistance from those businesses, because I’m far enough in transition that I mostly appear female, especially at a glance. But yet, upon scrutiny, my origins are easy to discern. So to argue my case to claim a deal, I’d have to out myself – not a pleasant idea.
I’ve had a sense of not fitting in for most of the day – of not having a place where I fit, to be more precise. I’m a woman who is a father. I’m a woman who is a husband. These are not things people are accustomed to dealing with.
There isn’t a good answer for this. I will not try to crowd myself into Mothers Day – that is a day where my family and I celebrate my wife, and she deserves to have that day all to herself. I am not and do not want to be “mom”; I am quite happy to be “dad”. My daughter doesn’t want to use any other parental name for me – no “moppa” or “maddy” or anything else. But Fathers Day feels a bit awkward anymore.
So I’m left in this strange and unfamiliar (yet familiar) place – the Upside Down, if you will. I don’t know how to make this any better. Maybe there is no making it better.
Instead of Father’s Day, we celebrate Parent Day on Father’s Day.