With Father's Day quickly approaching, I find myself looking back on my experience of this holiday as a kid with two moms. Although my school was the epitome of an inclusive environment, I still found myself feeling somewhat left out whenever my elementary school teacher would break out the craft supplies and announce we would be making gifts for our dads.
Go back to this week nine years ago and I am a carefree second grader with no concept of prejudice. The teacher announces that we are stopping our reading lesson early to work on Father's day projects. I unabashedly rush up to the teacher to remind her that since I do not have a dad, I cannot make a gift. Without missing a beat, my teacher tells me that I should still make a card and then just give it to a different man in my family.
This solution worked well in that I was still able to make a gift, but it also separated me from my friends who had dads. I continued to participate in the festivities and even once brought an uncle to a father's day party. And while I love my uncle, ultimately it is weird to honor my uncle on Father's Day, just because he's a man. It would really have made more sense to honor all the typical "father things" that my moms do for me every day. Also, there are many children from nontraditional families who may not feel they can boldly peg themselves as different in front of an entire class of 7-year-olds. These are the kids I'm advocating for.
All my friends joined a Girl Scouts alternative called Indian Princesses, where they went camping on the weekends and did other activities with their dads. I wanted to join, my friends seemed like they were having a lot of fun. But I couldn't join unless I wanted to find some other male figure in my life to do it with, and that was really unappealing. So I was not an Indian Princess even though it was all my friends could talk about on Monday morning. On the other hand, my friends were always commenting about how lucky I was to have two moms who showed up at school for everything, were the room parents every year and were great with all of my friends.
I don't deny that we need a day to recognize our parents -- maybe even more than one. But in our modern society shouldn't we be able to celebrate a holiday that includes everyone? Families come in all shapes and sizes. According to All Children Matter, only 22 percent of households consist of married heterosexual couples raising children together. So instead of one day where we feel pressured by society (and Hallmark) to recognize a parent of a particular gender, how about if we all use every day to thank and honor all of our parents.