So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Dear Pop,

I used to dread Father’s Day.

Seeing all these families celebrating their dadsit felt like salt in a wound after losing my father. The wound never really heals, I have just learned to live with it, protecting it quietly and mourning privately as you do with any major loss. And turning off Facebook notifications every year when that day rolls around.

I didn’t expect though, after a few years, to look forward to this holiday again. To celebrate you, and the impact you have had in my life.

You came into our life like a whirlwind after what had been a year of hell for our family. We were broken, still picking up the pieces and trying to put our little family unit together after losing our dad so quickly.

Then you showed up.

If a crystal ball had shown you the torture I would put you through for the next 10 years, I wonder if you still would have stayed. I wonder if you would have proposed so quickly to my mother and happily opened your bachelor door to us girls.

I didn’t hide my feelings when we first met. Feelings of teen angst, angry grief, and resentment which I was sure would convince you it was ‘all just too much.’ I was sure I could hate on you just enough that you would walk away.

And yet. You stayed. Through gritted teeth at times, I’m sure, but I never saw it.

RELATED: Here’s to the Stepparents Who Show Up

You met my resentment with patience, my anger with kindness, and my grief with compassion. On the very hard anniversary date of my father’s death, you acknowledged our pain and listen to our memories.

You allowed us to miss and love our dad while you were finishing his job.

Most of the time, with little thanks or acknowledgment.

I’m not exactly sure when the chill wore off for me, but I remember going to you as a 16-year-old, in confidence, saying I needed help. I saw the fear in your eyesthe fear only a father can feeland the relief on your face when I said I just wanted to see Harry Potter with friends, and I knew Mom wouldn’t approve. Could you help?

I remember calling you when I drank too much at that party for the very first time, and you came to pick me up, saying nothing, putting me to bed, and not breathing a word about it the next day. You knew I didn’t need a lecture, my lesson had been painfully learned as I suffered the next day.

I remember you helping me fill out my first tax return, teaching me about superannuation, mentoring me through office politics, and walking us through purchasing a first home (and moving me no less than 10 times over the last 12 years).

You became my Jiminy Cricket, my Yoda, and my friend. You worked so hard for my future even while I wanted to cling to the past.

I can’t think of a more loving action then taking another man’s family as your own and raising them and loving them, sacrificing and giving.

But you did. And you still do.

When you walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, I saw the pride in your eyes, and I remember feeling proud of us–we fought for what we have now, a bond not by blood, but by choice, sweat, and tears.

Now, I can say I have had the good fortune of having not one but two incredible fathers–one who gave me a loving childhood, and you who prepared me for the future of adulthood and who is there for me now as I navigate being a parent myself.

Not many people can have such a blessing.

Thank you for choosing me. I’m a better person today for having you in my life.

From your favorite daughter by loving choice.

Rachel Reva

Rachel Reva is a global media strategist, coach, writer and founder of ‘Life On Her Terms’. She lives in Australia with her husband and son. 

Good Dads Make Great Grandpas

In: Grown Children, Living
Grandpa walking with two grandsons, color photo

This is not only written for my dad, but for all the dads out there who aren’t the typical, everyday dads. The hands-on dad, the dad who goes on bike rides, the dad who watches his grandbabies. The dad who creates a legacy whether he realizes it or not. The world needs more of you.  It’s not every day you get a dad who enters a diaper changing contest and comes in second place. Yes, that happened to my dad. He would take me up to the local mall to walk around and one of the stores was holding a...

Keep Reading

The Kids are Grown—Now What?

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Middle aged couple at home smiling

Between video chats with our son stationed overseas, our daughter flits in and out our door from college while the shoe jungle by the front door and lack of peanut butter in the house are proof our youngest adult son is still under our roof.  Our kids are now independent—almost. Gone are the days of diapers, endless food preparations, naps (well, not for me), and announcing everyone’s daily schedule like a calendar drill sergeant. After years of simultaneously spinning multiple plates on various body parts, we managed—by God’s grace—to raise three kids to adulthood. We made it! (High five!) We...

Keep Reading

There’s No Distance a Grandparent’s Love Cannot Reach

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Grandparents with adult children and grandchildren, color photo

You just finished another chaotic FaceTime call. Chubby toddler fingers hung up several times, hoping to catch that elusive red button. He ran from his mom and your view was straight up that adorable nose for about half the conversation. His 4-year-old brother alternated between refusing to talk and giving a doctoral lecture on carnivorous dinosaurs. You’re a little frustrated. You’re a little heartbroken. Frankly, you’re a little dizzy from them running rogue with the phone through the house. But you accept it. In fact, you cherish that crazy call because you are rocking a role you never imagined for...

Keep Reading

It Doesn’t Matter How Old I Am—I’ll Always Need My Daddy

In: Fatherhood, Grown Children, Living
Vintage photo of little girl on bike with her dad

I have always been a Daddy’s girl, much to my mom’s frustration.  She always said my dad and I were wired the same, and that’s why it’s always just “worked.” Sure, we have had our struggles and frustrations—when two people think almost the exact same way, certainly there will be battles. But my dad has always had my back, without fail.   Whether he had to question a school decision or staff my senior class retreat (yes, my dad is featured in my high school yearbook), I knew he would be there. He thought he would lose me someday, that having...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Lasts Forever

In: Grief, Grown Children, Motherhood
Silhouette mother and daughter

She was so pretty. So pretty it was hard to look away from that porcelain skin, those high cheekbones, stunning green eyes with just the right amount of sparkle and depth, and shiny black hair. And those lips, perfectly plump with neatly applied lipstick, always ready to give a kiss on the cheek or a knowing smile. More than pretty, she was beautiful—you know, beautiful inside and out. She was classy. Not fancy or prim and proper, not snobby—just classy. A certain air about her that made you notice and appreciate her presence when she walked into the room. She...

Keep Reading

To the Mother-in-Law Whose Love I Doubted, I Get it Now

In: Grown Children, Living
Mother and daughter walking outside

I am your only son’s first and only love. We met in college. From the moment I met you, mother-in-law, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I have been married to him for 15 years. I have given you two beautiful granddaughters. Yet, I never thought you loved me . . . until this week. Bridal showers. Weddings. New babies. Christmas. Easter. Birthday parties. I never felt included in the big family events. Of course, I was invited. Yet, being invited is not the same thing as being included. My feelings have been crushed so many times over the...

Keep Reading

My Mother Gave Us the Love She Never Received

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Mother and grown daughter with twin babies, color photo

Glennon Doyle says, “The miracle of grace is that you can give what you have never gotten.” It’s one of my favorites among her quotes. And every time I read it, I think That’s my mom. Because those beautiful words are telling her story. Growing up she never got the gift of a warm mother. She never had that feeling of being loved fiercely and unconditionally. She never had that sense of security from those meant to protect her. She never got the peace of a stable or happy home.  She never had someone who was always in her corner,...

Keep Reading

Having Faraway Family is Hard

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Grandma and Grandpa holding grandkids hands, color photo

To all the “faraway grandmas and grandpas”—this is what my children call my parents. They live in central Canada, and we live on the East Coast. Four provinces apart. Two plane rides away. About a 32-hour drive according to Google—and that’s driving straight through without stopping. Believe me when I say you are dearly missed. It’s not easy for anyone. Not for me. Not for you. Not for your grandchildren. I know I am the one who chose to move away. At the time I wanted to—I wanted to leave home . . . travel somewhere different, explore new surroundings,...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Buy the Teal Sofa

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Teen daughter and mother

I’d never heard of apartment sofas until last month, probably because I had hand-me-down living room furniture when I was a young adult. My overstuffed couches had bulky arms and gold brocade or floral patterns that grandmothers liked but could be covered with strategically placed throw blankets. It took at least two strong male friends paid with plenty of pizza and beer to carry the couches from the pickup truck or U-Haul to the apartments.   Recently, I went furniture shopping with my daughter who accepted her first job to begin soon after her fast-approaching college graduation. She’ll be moving...

Keep Reading

My Mother’s Hands Still Hold My Heart

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Grandmother giving baby a bath in the kitchen sink, black-and-white photo

“My hands are getting so old,” my mother said. “They’re ugly.” We were sitting together having a glass of wine, and she held the glass up as she looked at them. I looked at them too. I didn’t see ugly hands.  I saw hands that had rocked me to sleep.  Hands that reached for mine as I took my first steps.  Hands that wiped away my tears. On my first day at school. After I fell and skinned my knee. The first time my heart was broken. When I lost my baby. Hands that clapped for me. My first play....

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime