I talked to my dad today. I talk to him every now and then, but I talked to him today specifically since it’s Father’s Day. I am very fortunate that my dad has always been a part of my life and has always made sure I know he loves me. I realize I’m super-lucky that he’s still around and healthy because we’re both getting older. I’m so very glad my children have had the chance to know their “Dah” and have a little of his influence in their lives. He has been the best kind of dad, and I love and appreciate him like crazy.

There are other men who deserve a shout-out today too, though.

Thank you, uncles, friends, neighbors, brothers, nephews, step-dads, and boyfriends for showing up for me and my children as well. While I and my kids aren’t “yours,” you have consistently shown us what it means to be there for others. You have played with us. You have listened to us. You have advised us. You have loved us. You have been there through the ups and downs of life as a continual source of support and encouragement. You have made us laugh with your silliness and jokes. You have shown us tenderness that has brought us to tears. You have accepted us for who we are and helped us to evolve.

You have invited us for dinners and barbecues and boat trips and vacations. You have put us up in your homes and driven us around. You have been there for the milestones and for the mundane. You have fixed hot tubs and garbage disposals. You have held crying children and picked forlorn women up off the floor. You have shared your dreams and fears. You have opened your hearts. You have shown up – steadfast and consistent – for the people you love. We are so lucky to know you.

We see all the “fathering” you do, whether you are our fathers or not.

And we love you for it.

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