Dad Tries

I’m not much of a Hallmarkian, so Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day aren’t big deal holidays (or really even marked) in our house. Father’s Day, though, in the world of written work, elicits publication of some strong essays.

Here are three:

Today’s Modern Love column is by a dad wishing for marriage and children for his gay son—not something he instantly championed.

On Motherlode is an essay by a gay dad, about having thought coming out meant giving up on fatherhood and his gratitude that it didn’t.

On the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy is an essay about being a cherished daughter.

As many will agree, fatherhood can be complicated (motherhood, too, along with daughterhood and son-hood). Regardless of what we learn from our dads, we carry lessons and love and good intentions with us tempered by that connection. What humans really are supposed to do is not dazzle or ace relationships (even if you love your parents or your children, surely you know it’s not a contest to be won), they are here to try. To open our hearts and continue to try is the work we’re here to do. I’m grateful for that.


The Papa my kids have, he’s awesome to be the mama with and he does ace this here-to-try thing. I snapped this photo at the preschool’s diversity committee end-of-year potluck. Yes, our preschool has a diversity committee. That is how our preschool rolls.

Ah, but I did bring him breakfast in bed. Saskia got the newspaper. With the most likely to bring breakfast in bed kid at a sleepover, we managed just fine. The teenagers were sleeping in.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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