There are close to 3,000 comments on the video (and more keep coming every day). While I don’t typically spend a lot of time in my comments—as I’ve written about here before— this video is the exception. I’ve laughed at the funny stories, cried at the sad ones and been heartbroken about so many of your dads who have passed away. I’m also so encouraged by the boys and men commenting that this is how they want to be when they become dads. The community and support that people are finding inside this comment section is truly inspiring and it’s one of the best gifts I could’ve asked for this holiday season.
One comment under my video that stuck out to me was, “He’s all of our dad,” because in truth, he really is. I’ve always known that I had a great father. I grew up fully aware that my dad was someone who cared about me, my siblings, and my mother deeply, but beyond that, he just cared about the world, period.
There has never been a time in my life where my dad let someone walk through our door without genuinely greeting them, asking them how they are (and wanting to know the real answer), or letting them go hungry in any way, shape, or form. He chose a career that centered on service, working in public education for 25 years. He raised my siblings and I to value community and stepped up when he wasn’t “required” to. He has lived his life in a way that inspires me—not because he was famous, or rich, or well known by millions of people—but because his love is his legacy.
My mom once shared with me that “anyone can be a father, but it takes someone really special to be a dad.” And she’s right. I am surrounded by a lot of women who have not been as fortunate to have had a father figure who values intention with their daughters (and their friends, and their friends’ friends). I have seen the toll it has taken on each of them to be without that bond and it got me thinking about how we as a society need to start recognizing the value of a father who shows up for their daughters (and their sons), who is secure in their masculinity, and isn’t afraid to be soft, present, silly, loving, affectionate, honest, and invested with their children and family. My dad nurtures our family and places a huge value on us being together as a unit, but he also pays close attention to his relationship with each child, and my mom, individually, which I really admire and respect.
If I have learned anything in the last year, it’s that family—whatever that looks like for you, whether it’s biological or not—is the thing that holds us up when we cannot do it ourselves. It is so important to give the people who have raised, supported, and believed in us their flowers while we still can, so this is me giving them to my dad, without whom I, and so many others I know who took time to post their sentiments about my dad’s (and mom’s) kindness on the same video I posted to Instagram, would not be the same. Take this as your sign to reach out to your dad, or a friend’s dad, or any important person in your life who has had a positive influence on you to say thank you. I promise, it matters.
To any of you who may be struggling in your relationship with your dads, or maybe have lost your father in some way, I’m sorry. You’re valid in your pain. You deserve to be loved unconditionally, and to have someone to rely on. While we can’t make people love us the way they should, or bring people back who we’ve lost, we can choose to surround ourselves with people who try to step up and fill the shoes of people who can’t fill them, for whatever reason, themselves. So, if you’re ever in need, my dad, Ramon, is in fact the internet’s father (cooking videos and all!), and he’s got enough love to go around. <3