A Non-Traditional Father’s Father’s Day Post

I was in Fisterra, Spain, finishing the Camino de Santiago the day my daughter was conceived in Colorado. A few weeks later, I burned an effigy of a wax baby in Fatima, Portugal, to pray the embryo later-to-be-named H would find a suitable place in her mother’s womb. My foray into fatherhood might best be described as non-traditional.

When I left Miami in 2011, I headed to hike and fish in Alaska, the longest road trip I could take while keeping rubber to the road. Alaska was not the only stop on this spawning swim upstream. I stopped at a fertility clinic in Denver to make the first of what would be many deposits as my part of the in-vitro fertilization process, a part that is much easier than what H’s mom had to go through. I traveled while her mom was pregnant, returned to help as much as I could prior to and after the birth, then continued on to India. 

Now I find that my three-year-old daughter and her mom are doing great. What started as a relatively hands-off approach (aside from the deposits previously mentioned) is turning into a relationship. My reboot button is spending time with H, seeing the world through the eyes of a child – bright and full of wonder.

IMG_20160304_083443Being around her and seeing her joy in the simple things helps remind me to adjust my own perspective. And in an unexpected twist, she looks up to me.

Her mom is the best in the world at raising a wonderful child. Her prescience of the role a father could play in a daughter’s life was wise.

The challenge of being a part-time father is finding the right amount of interaction with H. I travel to Arizona a few times per year, staying with H and her mom.

The bond between a daughter and father is strong, and I am enjoying this phase of H’s life where she looks up to me and listens, the wheels spinning in her head as I try to answer questions of why this and why that.

We go for hikes on the Phoenix canal banks and through the mountain preserves, stopping to pick flowers, chase lizards and collecting cool rocks, a hobby we share. Instead of ‘doing’ yoga, we ‘play’ yoga. Moksha Yoga Studio has a special section designed for kid yogis.

H has her class – learning about the importance of movement and exercise, while I have mine. At the end of our first class, she peeked her head through the door, came running and lay down on top of me during savasana. At that moment, I felt that this was one of the greatest gifts that a father could pass on to his daughter.

How are you planning to spend this father’s day?

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27 responses to “A Non-Traditional Father’s Father’s Day Post”

  1. What a beautiful experience for you. My son and I are away from Dad this Father’s Day, but we sent him a package and are waiting for him to be up (different time zones) so we can call and wish him a happy day. We’ll be home in a week after spending time having some healing sessions with a very gifted healer, and visiting with a dear friend.

  2. The Smiling Pilgrim Avatar
    The Smiling Pilgrim

    some very happy faces :)!

  3. Lovely pictures. Great yoga moment with your beautiful daughter resting with you, how sweet. 🙂

  4. The connection is always there no matter how far it may be at times. You are lucky to have a beautiful family,

  5. Such a happy child and daddy! Unconditional love *smiles*

  6. Thank you for sharing, your story is beautiful, baby H is so lucky to have you in her life (as I’m sure you feel lucky to have her). Happy belated father’s day! 😊

  7. That’s a great age. Enjoy it.

  8. Happy Father’s Day to you!
    I love the title of your book and your blog–“Spiritually Promiscuous”!

  9. Wow! I just got such a strong sense of your depth of parenting, which in many ways will serve your little girl so very very well. Conscious parenting is the way to go, wherever and however you do it! Beautiful…

  10. Wow! That’s wonderful!

  11. […] took advantage of the break in my sublease here in NYC to visit H in Phoenix, and on my way back, made pit stops in Philadelphia and Miami, reinforcing the fact that I do have […]

  12. That made me smile. My daughter is in Phoenix and I’m in Savannah so I only get there a couple of times a year. Of course, she is now 25–so there’s a difference 🙂

  13. Benevolent_Son Avatar

    This was a really cute post because it’s so awesome to hear about a dad spending quality time with his loved one. Especially since y’all get to travel together!!!

    Many blessings 🙂

  14. I look forward to your posts and reading your book.

  15. I’m stunned about your good way of expressing yourself and about your courage to go out and look for answers in the world. My bad habit is to freeze when things turn difficult. It’s like standing a bit bewildered at a centralstaion, with my bagage, hopes and dreams, not knowing exactly what train to take.
    I’m glad I found your blog and I will read about your journey. Have a wonderful day!

  16. You are building a wonderful, nurturing relationship with your daughter. There are fathers who see their daughters everyday that do not take time to experience the blessings of children. May your relationship deepen as she grows and learns more about the world.

  17. Bum's Tales Avatar
    Bum’s Tales

    You are inspiring! I’ve been moving a lot those last years and I am having a hard time to project myself in a relationship with a wife or a child, thanks for your testimony. Plus, I understood you did the Camino back in 2012 (seen it in a previous post). Haha we might have meet each other if it wasn’t for a year in between!

  18. Cute and very strong writing !!

  19. I loved the picture of you with your little girl. Congratulations. It’ s wonderful you’re getting to know each other. 🙂 — Suzanne

  20. Thanks for sharing your wonderful Life story. I share your wanderlust and will be hiking the Camino next summer. Namaste!

  21. Congrats on your time spent with your precious little one. … Speaking from an absent-father-daughter’s point of view, I’m curious about your ‘part time’ father role… Is that from your choosing or her mother’s? May I be forward and ask why? Honestly, No judgement here, just pure curiosity…

  22. Hello Peter, this is a lovely post and your daughter is lucky to have a father who cares for her. I worked in mental health community care in Scotland before we moved back to the US and the healthcare system here leaves a sour taste in my mouth, although I have some great doctors. I am fascinated by your choice to leave your job and become adventurous. I, too, am spiritually promiscuous.

  23. Yours is SUCH a brilliant story, and you have such a melodic way with words. Little H, you are divine sunshine!

    Onwards and Upwards for the three of you 🌞


  24. I follow a more traditional path of spirituality, but have had a fairly adventurous life. Nothing to compare with yours, and frankly I hope never to be kidnapped. What I really want to share, as a former teacher, is that seeing the world through your daughter’s eyes and engaging in the kind of creativity that children relish and grownups sadly forget is probably the most important and expansive spiritual experience you could ever have. Jesus says that we need to come to Him with the faith of a child. He treasured the children that came to be with Him. They knew instinctively that He was different. Children feel His love and return it without caution. I wish you success with your book. You are a good writer and it should be an interesting tale.

  25. This is a very good inspiration for dads to think about how to enjoy their fatherhood. Some people may think their kids are too young to travel but it’s good to give them some experiences or memories about traveling in different places. It helps to build up brave and curious characters when kids are developing. Currently I’m doing a campaign that aims for encouraging dads to build up strong relation between father and kids by providing them inspiration about activities that they can do together with kids. If you are interested in fatherhood topic, welcome to visit my sites.
    Twitter: twitter.com/BeTheCoolestDad
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/coolestdaddy/

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