Father in his heart - Stephanie Phillips

I don’t know my biological father and there has never been a man in my life that I’ve seen as a father figure. Ogie, my granddad, is the only role model I have but sadly he passed away when I was still a teenager.

With Father’s Day approaching I look at my husband and wonder how he feels. The adverts for gifts are appearing thick and fast and even on social media I get a notification of “Father’s Day Tex Mex Buffet”. He’s never expressed sadness on this day but with advertising everywhere you turn it’s something that he can’t avoid. I’ve made the resolution to ask him about his feelings. Is he not bothered or does he mask any emotions? I need to know. 

“I was asked by my wife if Father’s Day roused or stirred any emotions in me and initially my thoughts were, no. I then wondered why not, as this puzzled me a little. I then thought that my own father wasn’t bothered whether he received a card or any recognition regarding this one day event.
After thinking about this question more I believe I should maybe show gratitude towards my father every day, however this is seldom done in our society. I also believe Father’s Day is a marketing con to extract even more money from everyday people and make them feel guilty to buy a card for their loved ones”.

I was not surprised by my husband’s response because his father has never bought cards or presents for him on any occasion. Instead he offers birthday and Christmas hugs. They love each other but it is not represented by gifts or expenditure. I am grateful this disregard has diminished the possible emotional impact of Father’s Day for my husband but also sad that the day has no relevance to him.

Over the Christmas festivities we were at a small family gathering when a young boy, who we’d only met for the first time a few days before, got spooked. He snuggled in as close as could be to my husband’s side and in return my husband hugged him and comforted him with words.

I looked across and saw the dad my husband would have been. I saw a gentle giant whose only concern in that moment was to calm and comfort a young boy. The young boy refused to go to his mum or any of his family; he just wanted to stay where he felt safe. He wanted to stay with my husband. He was in the arms of a man who should have been a dad. The arms of a man who wanted to be a dad. My husband looked happy, he looked content, he looked like a father.

My heart rushed and I looked around the room as I blinked away the tears in my eyes. No one noticed or said anything. No one seemed to realise the impact of that moment, a moment in time instantly etched on my heart.  

So when Father’s Day comes I will look at my husband and celebrate quietly and internally that he is a father in his heart. I will celebrate his strength, his love and his compassion.


Stephanie Phillips

Founder, World Childless Week