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In honor of Father’s Day, Modern Women recognizes the differences in our relationships with our fathers; how they have made us exactly who we are supposed to be in this moment. We have such different lens and experiences when growing up. We all have a father. Whether he was present, or not. They play such crucial roles in who we are. Here are some quotes I have gathered from women this past week about the roles their fathers have played. I asked questions like “What is your earliest memory with him? What is one thing that comes to mind when you hear the word father?” I find it so interesting to see the different shades and views we see our fathers through; the lens that we have created.

“I wanted to make middle school basketball team so bad. My dad came home from work every day, no matter how tired he was, no matter how busy, and did drills with me all summer. I made captain.”

“My earliest, best memory with him? Well it was a bittersweet memory, he was drunk he said something that hurt my feelings and I ran into the bathroom and locked myself in there. He talked to me through the door. He was so apologetic, and he said you’re my special girl. I am so sorry for hurting you. I was ten.”

“I remember one Christmas Day we went to the movies after dinner just us two, and we snuck in to another one after the first movie. It was pretty cool; partners in crime.”

“I was probably five or six in the bathtub having a bubble bath. One of the earliest memories I can recall when I wondered why I didn’t know my biological father. My mom just simply said he knew he couldn’t be the father you deserved, so he wasn’t. I almost saw it as chivalrous as I got older. I don’t ever remember missing him, or feeling angry, or rejected. I didn’t wonder who he was, or if I looked like him. I guess I did here and there, but it wasn’t this huge soul searching thing for me. I didn’t really care too much, it gave me character; an edge up on the next girl who claimed herself as “daddy’s princess”. I met him for the first time when I was twenty-seven. He died four months later from throat cancer. Sometimes I wonder what it would’ve been like for him to be around a little longer. He said he loved me so much. I wanted one of his shirts. He wore these Hawaiian floral loose shirts. It was comfier for his neck. His wife says she doesn’t know me, and doesn’t get how I waited so long to meet him. Maybe one day she’ll give me one of his shirts anyway.“

“He was the first love of my life.”

“It’s not Father’s Day in Nicaragua. We have a very complicated relationship. So, him and I were like best friends when I was a kid. And then he left. He became that out of sight out of mind person for me. When I do see him, we’re completely normal. But I can go like six months without talking to him. As I grew up I would see really involved dads in their life, and I would resent him. I would think wait is this what it’s supposed to be like? But overall I don’t think it effects me all that much”

“What comes to mind when I hear father? So many things. Strong, compassionate, gentle, caring, a warrior at times.”

“I didn’t end up with someone just like him. Actually, the complete opposite. I’ve never been so in love.”

“I ended up with someone just like my dad. He’s more of the fun guy, plans the trips, playing games with the kids. I’m more in charge of the household, finances things like that. Just like my mom.”

“He is a teacher, my teacher.”

“He loves my mom like a queen. That taught me a lot about ending up with someone you’re infatuated with.”

“I always knew my step-dad loved me. It wasn’t a love I understood, but I knew he loved me. It was like that in my romantic relationships. Just because I didn’t understand their love didn’t mean it wasn’t there. That set me up for a lot of long, overdue break ups.”

“A quote about my father? Oh god. I don’t think I have anything that wise to say. I know that when he died I had no idea that I would feel like so emotional; that I would feel such a loss. I felt regret that I didn’t spend more time with him the last couple of years. There was a lot of remorse, being a better word than regret. And with time I realized that I just did the best that I was able to give. You could say as far as with what I felt at the time. Considering all my life the circumstances- that he was a suffering alcoholic with a mental illness. I forgave him; I forgave myself.”

“My dad is 81. Seeing him take on the role of being dependent on our help, it’s a change. I feel an honor to be able to take care of him.”

“Right after Hurricane Andrew he couldn’t leave us alone. So he took us in his cop car. We were driving around and we saw a tree that had completely fallen on this house. He just got out and started helping, with no hesitation. That stuck with me. I was two.”

“I lost my dad to cancer when I was five. I had always wanted to know him because I only had small pieces of who he was in my life. Just little memories that never felt truly whole. When I found out he and my mom had gotten a sperm donor, so he didn’t pass down a disease he had his entire life, everything I ever wanted to know about him was complete. He loved so much while he was here on earth. He wanted me so badly genetics didn’t matter. He loved me as his own.”

Quotes collected by: Julia Michael

Valeria Alvarez