What is the Difference Between A “Father” and A “Dad”?

Normally, I would provide you with some credible source for defining both words. However, this time I am going to explain both titles to you from my point of view. Oh, jolly good you say.

My father was a good person, but he was not equipped to be a dad. He was a gentle soul that the world could not understand. Kind of a Van Gogh, of sorts.

My dad was very different. Thank goodness. My dad is a “go getter”! Just point him in the right direction and sit back for the fireworks! He is the best dad ever!

My definition of a father is someone who is present to provide the mother the genetic material to create the jigsaw puzzle that eventually becomes you. Fathers are listed on your birth certificate so the government can keep tidy records and know whom to sue for child support later. I’m just sayin what others are thinking!

To me, a father is a title. A dad is a lifetime!

Do not get me wrong, I appreciate the contribution my father made in bringing me into this world.

What I am thankful for is getting a dad! I was three years old when I met my prospective dad. It was an interview process on my part.

He would come to our apartment to take my mom out on a date and bring me a full-sized bag of tootsie rolls just for me! Score!

They got married when I was five years old and I was the flower girl. I got a new dress and got to throw rose petals before my mom walked down the aisle. It was beautiful.

But that is not the important stuff! We had a “bit of a go” with having a “dad” in the house. I remember him trying to get me to eat oatmeal for breakfast and I hated oatmeal! It was like a Mexican stand off every morning to see if I would actually consume the bowl of oatmeal that was meant for horses in my opinion. It looked like gruel!

After some time, dad came to realize that I would rather starve than eat oatmeal. We came to an accord and settled on grits instead. Progress I would say.

Anyway, fathers are just that. A label. Dads are a whole ‘nother ball game!

Father’s bring us into life. Dad’s show us all about life. Some men are both, but this was not how it happened to me.

My dad was there for me always. He was the “buffer” between my mom and I often. I assure you we needed one! He was the voice of reason. Maybe a referee at times?

To me, a dad is the one that “raises you up”, as we say here in the South. Dads are your monkey bars, the ones that get rid of the monster in the closet at bedtime, comes to pick you up when your date is being a jerk and the one that claps for you as you walk in line for graduation. If you are lucky, your dad will walk you down the aisle at your wedding and tear up as he hands you over to your future husband. I got all that and much more!

I can only imagine how difficult it must be being a dad since I am not one. You are on “duty” anytime your kid is present. Dads are the ones that have to drive you to the hospital in the middle of the night while your mom holds you tight in the back seat. Dads must act excited at you first grade dance recital that could numb any normal person’s brain. They go to all of your sporting events and cheer you on as if you were the Tiger Woods of your sport. This is what a dad is to me.

I know now that if I had been with my father, my life would have been a three-ring shit circus. Sad, but true. I would have been singing the old Hee Haw show song that went like this. “Gloom, desperate and agony on me, if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all…” some of you know what I mean.

So, whether you have a father, a dad or a combination of both, be thankful. It is a hard job raising a kid or five.

I recall an idiom that has stuck with me since grad school. “You can never really grow up until you forgive your parents for what you THINK they did to you.”

Just know that whatever type of father/dad you got in the lottery; he is doing the best he can with the cards he was dealt. Maybe not all dads are perfect, that is because they are human.

To my ever so special dad, thanks for giving me the confidence to be who I am. Maybe we don’t always agree on things and that is ok. You have always believed in me even when I did not believe in myself. You taught me the true difference between right and wrong, gave me a strong work ethic and are forever telling me that you are proud of me.

I could not have asked for a better father or dad. I am grateful that you are my daddy.

Love, Squirt.


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