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Becoming a father is no easy feat. Yes, many men can help make a baby, but becoming a father is something different entirely. Fathers are loving, protective, and present. As two gay dads who've created their family with the love of foster to adopt, those three words took on extra meaning when we learned our three daughter's individual stories. Those stories are theirs and theirs alone to tell, but the arduous journey they took to become the tiny human beings we met for the first time at the hospital reminds us, every single day, why real fathers are loving, protective, and PRESENT.

Real fathers are loving because the only future they can imagine for their children is one in which they are happy. That happiness may seem like a trivial goal for two dads with three very young daughters, especially when we think about our daughters growing up, entering the world on their own, enduring rejection, insecurity, sickness, and loss.

Real fathers are protective because they know their children will struggle with something at some point in their lives. We protect our daughters because we want them to have at least one man in their lives they can always trust. 

Finally, and most importantly, we've learned as two gay dads carrying our own baggage that real fathers are PRESENT. They're present for all of the good. They're present for all of the bad. And sometimes, they're simply present for no other reason than to acknowledge that every child needs someone in their life that will always be there for them.

This Fathers' Day (yes, we know where the apostrophe goes in our house), let us celebrate all of the fathers who show up even when all they want to do is shield their children from the pain that life will sometimes throw at them even when they know that's an impossible feat!

Happy Fathers' Day to all of the gay dads out there, especially those who embody the three pillars of Fatherhood: to love unconditionally, protect without fear, and are PRESENT when their children need them most.

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