The Sunday Sessions: 6.17.18 Edition
Happy Father’s Day, everyone! Father’s Day has always been a non-holiday for me because I grew up without a father. It’s not a sad story. After my mother’s divorce, she decided to have a child on her own. In vitro fertilization was a new option for women who wanted to get pregnant and didn’t bear much resemblance to today’s in vitro fertilization process. My mom didn’t look at pictures and bios of sperm donors. She didn’t learn their medical histories or read about their favorite hobbies. As far as I know, she took the one option given to her, which was a medical student doing his residency at Swedish Hospital in Seatle who was willing to donate his sperm. (Somehow I did not inherit my doctor father’s scientific interests or abilities. Shame.)
Growing up without a father definitely affected how I view and relate to men. Mostly, I have had to learn how to understand them. I know some girls without fathers become boy crazy, but I went in the opposite direction. I actually feared male attention. I often wonder how my life would be different if I’d had a father figure in my life. That being said, my childhood was wonderful and I was incredibly well-loved by my mother and grandmother. I know I was better off in the household I was raised in than having an abusive, uninterested, or distant father just for the sake of having a male figure in the house.
One of the biggest joys of my life has been watching the relationship with my husband and my daughter blossom. The love they have for each other fills up an emptiness inside of me I didn’t even know I had. Knowing that my children will have a kind and loving father to guide and support them as they grow provides me with a sense of comfort and security in their future.
Currently, there is a focus on women’s empowerment in our culture. As a feminist raised by a feminist, I think this is important and necessary, but I do worry that we are focusing too much on the negative actions of men towards women without the counterweight of the wonderful ways men have supported and championed women over the course of time. While the actions of the men who are being called out for their sexual abuse is abhorrent, I think women’s goal shouldn’t be to completely wipe men out of the conversation in regard to the direction our society should be headed. I believe there should be a balance in everything, and for me, both genders are equally important in building and improving every societal structure, from the family to the boardroom.
Question of the Week
This Father’s Day, let’s take a moment to reflect on the positive impact men have had on our lives, whether they be our fathers, husbands, uncles, cousins, brothers, supervisors, colleagues, or employees. How have men supported, championed, or helped you in a positive way?