What Being a Dad Can Be

Look for the signs. I tell myself this all the time. My Dad left this world pretty quickly, so while there are few days that pass where he doesn’t pop into my mind, I have learned to recognize the signs of his presence. While many people don’t believe in signs, I do. And whether these signs are real or not, they help guide and shape my positive life experiences, as I choose to see them as his guidance and support while I navigate the many different aspects of my life.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that being a Dad means a lot of different things, but the presence of parents is one of the things that I see with my kids, has a profound affect on their trust and comfort. However, I think some flexibility on what this means is important. First, it isn’t about time. While time is often of concern for parents who manage a lot, time is actually not what makes the experiences memorable. It is the connection. I have known people who lost parents at young ages who I sense have the same connection as those who have their parents around now. Likewise, parents who live in different cities have incredibly strong bonds. It is about the commitment to connecting and being present that creates a powerful bond, regardless of the circumstances of time together.

I also believe that parents can be people who are not a Mom or a Dad. A mentor, an inspiration or a relationship with someone who has more life experience and provides guidance and trust can fulfil these roles. That could easily be a step parent, a relative, friend, or even, in some cases a colleague or coworker. And I believe there can be multiple people who fill this role. When my Dad died, I discovered a neighbour who stepped in, reached out and offered support. Alongside this, I have built a mentee/mentor relationship that started as a business support, that has turned into friendship and lots of life advice crossovers. I appreciate these people so very much, and the support and timing they have created to be in my life.

And lastly, I hope that I have more of these deep experiences where, even without a Father, I find and create situations where guidance, trust, support and a listening ear are paramount. Likewise, I hope these relationships work in the reverse, whereby I offer a similar feeling of positivity. Because after all, it isn’t about one single person, but rather the journey of building and nourishing strong bonds for ourselves for different reasons at different times of our lives.

Happy Father’s Day to all those who have stepped in and guided me along the way. And to my Dad, I miss you and love you so much.

-Andrea