Browsing Tag

father’s day

Fatherhood, Fear, Guest Posts

All Fathers Want to Hurt Their Sons

June 17, 2018

By Brian Zimbler

“I feel like you’re doing everything in your power, verbally and non-verbally, to tell me not to say anything negative,” I say to Randy, my therapist.

We’re doing a phone session.  I’m propped up on Nora’s side of the bed against an ornamental IKEA pillow.  Nora and Myla are downstairs, watching Elliot.  It’s his 12th day.  It’s a snow day.  I have my jeans on, which is a total Nora no-no (no outdoor clothes can touch the duvet) but I am being passive aggressive because I want her to love me more than the baby.

“I’m not forcing you to be positive,” Randy parries, “If anything, I’m asking you to stay in — “

“I know, I know, stay in the good feelings.  I am.  I’m trying.  You gotta admit, I could’ve spun into the real dark telling you the parents-at-the-bris story just now, but I stayed good.”

Elliot’s bris was last week.  My parents came down.  The mohel, in the prep documents she sent us, let us know she would need an assistant to stay by her side throughout the process.  Nora and I decided this would either be my father the doctor or my mother the therapist, we would decide day of; however, day of, I decided – though I can’t really call it a decision, more a clear loud message from inside – that I would never ever let either of my parents be with my son at his most vulnerable, ever, and that I would be the one to usher him through.

“It’s never the dad,” said the mohel.

“This time it’s the dad,” I said.

And I did it.  I stayed with my beautiful new son even through the part upstairs where she pulled my beautiful new son’s foreskin back and clamped it, to prepare him to be cut.  Even through the part where he was brought downstairs covered in a tallis on a sick infant’s gurney.  Even through the part where all the sugar water in the world could not put my strong son to sleep. Continue Reading…

Family, Guest Posts


January 28, 2018

By Sheila Grace Stuewe

I darted into my neighborhood Hallmark store and held my breath. To my left stood an endcap stacked with plastic potpourri bags. Who’d buy that? Someone with a sewer back up? Homes should smell of pancakes on Sunday morning as mine once did, not like chemically altered flowers.

Past the dust-catching collectibles—statues, candles, and ornaments—to the rack of Father’s Day cards, I sped. I didn’t know why I had an urge to send Dad a card. In September, he’d reached the three-quarters of a century mark. He wasn’t going to live forever even with his Prussian peasant genes—stocky, sturdy, stubborn, and seemingly impervious to the effects of decades-long alcohol abuse. And I needed to stop exhuming what may or may not have happened forty years ago.

Standing in the middle of the dad-of-the-year aisle, I felt my throat close—an allergic reaction to that artificial scent? I coughed. I tried to swallow. I rifled through my purse for a bubble gum ball (the only kind I’ll chew—no mint for me). I popped it into my mouth. As my teeth bit through its hard surface, a burst of cherry—red, tart, yet much sweeter than the real thing—my childhood favorite. If only I were on a swing in Marquette Park, Dad pushing me higher, me leaning all the way back, my legs soaring in the air. Instead, surrounded by doodads and sentimentality, I wondered if I’d find a card I could send my father. Continue Reading…

Grief, Guest Posts

Beach Town Liberalism, And An Answer For My Deceased Dad

June 18, 2017

By Deidre Reed

It’s Father’s Day, the first one since my dad passed six months ago. Tomorrow is my birthday.  We’re in church, my mom and me.

I lit a candle for my dad, but by the time we got to the last row where my mom’s wheelchair fits, it had blown out. Being full of magical thinking and even more full of guilt, I spent a good while staring it down, willing it to spontaneously light up again.  Certain the dud wick meant that my dad was still pissed at me from The Big Upstairs.  Maybe I’m still a little pissed at him, too.

Halfway through the sermon, the family to our right – all five of them – doubled over with the giggles. That has to be one of the greatest feelings ever, when you get the giggles in church and just. cannot. stop. I nudged my mom and whispered that it reminded me of that Christmas Eve service, remember?  Where we’d sat behind that lady with one roller left in her hair, right smack in the back of her head? We’d taken turns pretending to pluck it out in slow-motion while stifling snorts.

If you’ve ever known someone with dementia, you know that weird things can set off barking laughter, and that did it.  But when my mom laughs now, it turns into something that sounds like she’s wailing and choking and possibly dying.  It echoes, people sometimes shift and look away. Continue Reading…

Fatherhood, Guest Posts, healing, Race/Racism

A Black Remembrance of My White Father.

June 21, 2015

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Erika Robinson

I have not shared this photo before. I have wanted to keep my father to myself, perhaps because, when he was alive, I had to share him with so many.

But it’s Father’s Day, and it is both nationally and personally a sober time. So I am giving all of us a gift by sharing my father once again.

My father left for college when he was only 16. He left for the big city from a farm in Nebraska, where he had no exposure to Black people.

There was no one whiter than my father, with his light eyes and hair, his aquiline nose, his Midwestern twang, and the way he said words like egg and roof. Tweed jackets with leather elbow patches and Oxford shirts were his uniform. He lent them a white guy cool by finishing his look with khakis and topsiders that he wore with no socks. He smoked a pipe. He loved Latin and classical music and German food. He was completely and unapologetically white.

My father was also the greatest man I have ever known. I described him to a friend recently: the way my father was committed to social justice and the cause of civil rights; the way he gave his voice, his body, his life force to the struggle for equality for Black people to the degree that he received letters of thanks during his lifetime from Martin Luther King, and to the degree that he was eulogized in Congress upon his death.

My friend said “Your father sounds as though he was very…optimistic.”

This friend of mine is a very polite young white man. I could tell from the pause between the words “very” and “optimistic” that what he’d wanted to call my father was “naive.”

Here is what my father was: he was grounded in his identity as a white man, aware of the privilege this status conferred upon him, and acutely conscious of the mantle of responsibility laid upon him to live a life of service to those upon whom society had conferred a different status entirely. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, healing, love

Patchouli: An Untraditional Father’s Day Post.

June 15, 2014

Patchouli: An Untraditional Father’s Day Post by Amy Roost.

I was six. She was twenty-six. I was a chubby, dishwater-blonde tomboy. She was a tall, lithe, brunette model. I wore football jerseys. She wore patchouli. The only thing in had in common was a love for her boyfriend–my dad–which is saying something because he was not an easy man to love.

My dad was a type-A take-no-prisoners business man who cheated on my mom, probably from the day they met. He left my mom, my brothers and I one June day in 1968 with no warning. No explanation. Just a garment bag in one hand and a red and black electric shoe polisher in the other. He found me coloring in my room, at the pink and white activity table my grandpa had made me and said to me, as if I’d understand, “I’m leaving”.

“When are you coming home?” I asked.

“I’m not, sweetheart” was all he said. Fade to black.

And yet he had his moments, enough to make himself lovable, at least to those of us who were hardwired to do so. He brought dolls for me from every foreign land to which he travelled. And though he was a work-a-holic, he tried to make up for it—-in the only way he knew how–with large expenditures of money and extravagant gestures such as a family vacation to Aculpulco or a new bobble for my mom. I distinctly remember the night he came home later than usual with a box of Bazooka Bubble Gum for each of us three kids, and a bouquet of roses for my mom. My mom must have understood he was apologizing for some unspoken transgression. Maybe my brothers–six and nine years older–understood as well. I just remember thinking what an awesome dad he was for giving me a whole box of my favorite bubble gum, comics and all!

I also remember he’d sometimes sit on the fireplace hearth and play the acoustic guitar. (It’s no wonder I fell in love with Christopher Plummer when “Sound of Music” was released the following year). I always requested that he play “Drunken Sailor”. He’d strum the chords and together we’d sing. Sing it loud. I remember that. And the bubble gum. And the garment bag.

My parents eventually separated. My mom was awarded full-time custody and my dad had visitation every Wednesday evening and every other Sunday. I’m not sure if my dad’s having the short end of the custody stick had to do more with the times or because my dad never wanted any kids in the first place–or so my mother claimed.

Wednesdays we went to dinner. My mother instructed me to always order the most expensive item on the menu and so I developed a liking for lobster. I suspect my dad caught on because he began taking us exclusively to the Pickle Barrel–a local hamburger joint.

On Sundays we were supposed to spend the whole day with him, however, since he’d relocated to downtown and we were in the north suburbs, he generally didn’t pick us up until closer to noon. I’d wake up early, dress for the city, sit on the living room couch and wait. My brothers and I used to call “shotgun” whenever all three of us would go somewhere in the car, however, my dad made it clear from the start that I was to sit up front with him on our Sunday outings. No more calling shotgun. Shotgun belonged exclusively to daddy’s little girl.

Sometimes we’d go to Old Town and stop in at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, then stop for an oversized chocolate chip cookie at Paul Bunyon’s*, Other times he’d take us to a Cubs game. He would buy us peanuts on the way to our seats located on the first base side just behind the Cubs dugout and he taught me how to keep score in the program. I may very well have been the youngest girl to know what an infield fly rule was.

I heard his Lincoln Mark IV pull into the cul de sac just as a dog who is sound asleep hears the jingling of his master’s car keys. I looked over the back of the couch through the bay window to confirm. There he was! But wait, who was that woman with him…riding shotgun? I ran to get my mom. “There’s someone with daddy!” I shouted.

I remember my mom going outside. I remember going back to the couch and peeking through the curtains as my dad got out of the car. I remember how they stood face to face on the sidewalk with their lips both simultaneously and furiously moving. I remember my dad storming toward the front door. I remember the front door slamming and his calling “Amy Liz!”. I remember my mom coming in through the basement door. I remember my running for the steps leading down to the basement. I remember my mom reaching out and taking hold of my left hand as I scuttled down the stairs, and my dad coming down after me and grabbing my right hand. I remember becoming a human rope in their tug of war. And then I don’t remember. I don’t remember who let go first. I don’t remember falling.

I do remember the scrape I had on my knee the next day. I remember kicking and screaming while my dad carried me out to his car then pushed my head down and forced me into the back seat. I remember the model’s name–Michaelann. I remember the pungent scent of patchouli in the car. To this day, I remember that scent. And if tomorrow someone wearing patchouli were to get on an elevator I was riding, I’d frantically press every button for every floor in a desperate attempt to free myself from the grip of my childhood.


Click photo to connect with Amy.

Click photo to connect with Amy.


Her multi-dimensional suchness, Amy Roost, is a freelance writer, book publicist, legal and medical researcher, and vacation rental manager. She and her husband are the authors of “Ritual and the Art of Relationship Maintenance” due to be published later this year in a collection entitled Ritual and Healing: Ordinary and Extraordinary Stories of Transformation (Motivational Press). Amy is also Executive Director of Silver Age Yoga Community Outreach (SAYCO) which offers geriatric yoga teacher certification, and provides yoga instruction to underserved seniors.

Jennifer Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, is a writer living on an airplane. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, among others. Jen’s leading one of her signature retreats to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day in Ojai, Calif and she and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. Check out for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up:  SeattleLondon, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Tucson. She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff. Join a retreat by emailing

Next workshop is London July 6. Book here.

























Guest Posts, healing

The Guest Essay on Father’s Day By Jaime Shearer.

June 16, 2013

Today I posted a prompter on my Facebook page that I would post an essay from one of you guys on Father’s Day and what it brings up for you. The following post is by Jaime Shearer, whom I have never met in person. Thanks Jaime! So much of this resonated with me. I will share some of the others on my Facebook page as they were all so moving.

Post all your comments below so she can read and respond.

poster designed by my family at as usual.

poster designed by my family at as usual.


Father by Jaime Shearer.

Even though I haven’t seen him with my physical eyes in over 33 years, I feel him with the eyes of my heart. If I could manifest one person from the spirit world and bring him to the physical, it would be my dad. Seems like he was a rad dude. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there… And for the girls and boys who grew up without their fathers, know that you are deeply loved by the Father of The Universe. <3 – Today’s Facebook Post (June 16, 2013)

Last night I watched my friend’s 3-year old have a complete melt down because he was leaving the house. This little girl was acting as if her father’s departure for a few hours was the end of the world. And then it clicked… No wonder I always lost my mind when I went through a breakup. No wonder I felt like my whole life was ending when a significant man departed from my presence. No wonder I had such a hard time letting myself get emotionally involved with men, whether it be friendship or romance. It all made sense when I saw that precious little girl freak out.

I was 3 ½ when my dad died (lung cancer that spread to his liver). I don’t have kids of my own, and I am not often around them, so I don’t know much about them. I had long ago disconnected from my inner child as a mechanism to protect my heart. Losing my dad must have been so incredibly painful that I blocked it out, stuffed it down, and kept it hidden from myself in order to survive. I am certain that if I’d been able to deal with the loss sooner, I would have. I’m also certain that my addiction was a coping mechanism to help me stay alive while not facing my pain. To have faced this grief then would have most certainly taken me to worse places than crying on my sofa and typing through tears on the computer.

I dismissed the impact of my father’s death on my heart. I still don’t understand why it happened and why he had to go. At this moment, on the inside, I’m pleading with a ghost not to leave and asking him why he went. The bottom line is, I don’t KNOW why. I could make up a fancy, meaningful story that might placate my sadness for 15 minutes, but I still don’t understand why this is the life path I am on. It has certainly set me on a healing journey, but wouldn’t I have been equally amazing, if not more, had my dad been around?

And what about all the things I haven’t gotten to do with a dad around – my first date, the prom, graduation, relationships, financial drama, career issues, marriage, babies, the whole lot? My dad won’t ever walk me down the aisle. I won’t know what it’s like to dance with him for my first dance as someone’s wife. I’ll never get to show him my medallions for my years of sobriety. I won’t get to see the look in his eyes that says, “You’re my princess. I adore you. I’m so proud of you.” I’ll never hear his voice again. I’ll never know what it’s like to have him hold me when I’m happy or when I’m sad. He won’t ever come over and fix my water heater. He won’t help me deal with my mom’s “ways.” He won’t ever defend or protect me again.

I get that he’s still out there in the spiritual realm. But I’m talking about the dense version of living—the human one. And let’s face it, I’m still spirit in human form. So I’m feeling this stuff pretty human-like.

I didn’t know what I was missing all these years that I was growing up because I closed my heart to the sight and experience of dads with their daughters. It wasn’t until I dated a single father that I started to see all of the things I’d missed as a little girl and into my adult years. Even now, I feel the loss of my father like it was yesterday. I don’t want to admit that—it’s been 33 years! But when I stop to consider all of the ways I wasn’t parented/loved, the sadness flows through me.

I know the sadness is healing, though, because with it comes gratitude and trust. I trust that the Universe works perfectly to support me. Because of my own journey, I am certain that tremendous blessings overflow through my life. Sometimes I get to see those, sometimes I don’t. And yet, I trust. I trust that with the pain comes healing. I trust that the void I feel is filled by something amazing. I don’t know what could be better than having my dad… I really don’t. But I trust. I trust that my heart will is whole despite the grief.

It was one year ago, almost to the day, that my counselor and I reached the core abandonment wound I’d carried since childhood. I never felt physical and emotional pain the way I did that day. It was excruciating. I’m sure childbirth is much the same. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed for weeks. The dam burst open, and all of the sadness and pain that had been stuck in my body for over 30 years began flowing out. Since then, I feel like I’ve been going through adolescence all over again.

It has been a difficult 33 years. I can’t say that it’s all been horrible, but it’s been extremely confusing and frustrating for me to live out my life. Some days are better than others, and lately I’ve been happier and more joyful than ever, but … DAMN. It’s been tough. I wish today that I had a dad, a step dad, a male figure in my life.

My mom said that she never got remarried because she was trying to protect me. While I know nothing happens in God’s world by mistake, I often wonder if I’d had a positive male role model, would I be as screwed up as I have been? Would my life have been easier in any way? Would I have been a better daughter or a better person?

I questioned my validity and existence until about a year ago. I questioned myself, my choices, my preferences, my likes and dislikes…Most of the time I didn’t think it was OK to be me. I thought I was supposed to be like other people and do what they did. I didn’t know that I was just “supposed” to be myself.

And that’s what it comes down to…learning myself. Learning who I am, owning my heart’s desires, becoming familiar with my own vibration and light—that’s the path I’ve been on since I took responsibility for my life at the age of 28. That’s not a typo; I meant 28.

Maybe this path is supposed to help others. Maybe, because I’ve taken the time to understand myself and my heart, I can help other people do the same. Maybe amazing goodness is meant to manifest from the tattered and torn fabric of my youth. Maybe, just maybe, hearts will be resurrected from the pain of death and suffering. Maybe I’m meant to help people recover their hearts after tragedy strikes. Maybe I’m meant to help people remember their wholeness and joy.

Jaime Shearer