A Father's Day Tribute by Laura Quiros
A Father’s Day Tribute
by Laura Quiros
Growing up I had a hard time separating being a good father from being a good husband. My father was my rock, but a really bad husband. As the oldest child and the one who inherited my dad’s DNA in terms of emotional fortitude, I fought the fights, literally and figuratively and so my construction and experience of “fatherhood” was not separate from the experience of him as a husband.
As a child, I saw fathering and being a husband as the same thing and the end result was a narrative that told a story of just a very bad man. I took the story of the bad husband and that’s the piece that won out. I wiped out the good fathering. But the more I grew and evolved, the more I realized that I don’t have to merge these two things where one wins out, and it is usually the bad that wins.
As a mother of two girls, one of the lessons I am teaching them is the complexity of people and specifically of their dads.
I am a single mom of 2 young girls and not only do my girls have two different dads, but one is white and the other is black. I am conscious that my work as a parent involves negotiating divorce as well as identity. I view Father’s Day as a way to honor the journey of fatherhood in all of its complexity and I approach the day with a lens of intersectionality in terms of race, culture and role.
I often wonder how their dads’ specific identities as a black man and as a white man have impacted their fathering. I also wonder how the social constructions of both race and gender have impacted my girls in both conscious and unconscious ways. And I work very hard at separating my divorces from their experience of fatherhood.
I think as we help our kids navigate each stage of development, we also call on ourselves to self-reflect on the ways that our identities and life experiences impacted us and them.
Parenting gives the opportunity to heal and try to make life a little more forgiving for our children than it was for us. Even in those moments when I am reminded of past hurts, I still help them pick out a card.
Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there, in all of your complexity!