In today’s Salon, “Marc Lynott,” the pseudonym of a New York writer enters text titled, “My two dads,” a story of conflict between genetic and practical paternity on Father’s Day. It opens, “Every Father’s Day, I’m torn between the man who brought me into this world and the man who truly raised me.” I never had such a conflict. In the 38 years since my parents divorce, I recall my mom having a couple dates, and the concept of a step-father had never entered my mind until constructing this thought.

Dad and I spoke this morning and I look forward to his visit late this month. We have a good relationship and I’m glad for it. It wasn’t always that way and I created much of the canyon that separated us.

In 1996, Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote, “It Takes a Village,” illustrating the impact of non-parents on a child’s well being. Growing up in my village of Wakefield, there were a few father figures that made a huge difference in my life…

  • Tony G. – My best friend’s dad completely took me under his wing and made me feel like a real member of his five son house. The influence of Mrs. G was just as strong, and man, what a cook, but hey, it’s Father’s Day…
  • Zack B. – Father of another high-school friend, this guy was like a dad to hundreds of Wakefield kids who participated in his Youth Basketball program.
  • Les D. – My childhood dream was to become a baseball player and from Little League to his Wakefield Merchants team, this man encouraged me to believe in it.
  • Fran R. – My high-school sweetheart’s dad. Verbosity wasn’t his thing, but his ever presence in that home was an enduring example of what a father should be.

The collective impact of these fathers in my life is immeasurable. I have no way of knowing what path I would have followed out of the village without their guidance, but it probably would have been rockier than the one I walked, and ultimately, I think my children have benefited from their example.

Dad, guys… Thank you and Happy Father’s Day.