My two-year-old handed me her toy cell phone one morning this week. “Call daddy,” she said.
Do you have his number? I thought. “You want me to call Grandpa?” I asked.
“You call daddy,” she insisted.
I pressed the buttons and talked on the play phone. “Hello. … Yeah, we’re doing great. … I’m brushing my teeth, getting ready for work. … Yeah, okay, talk to you later. Bye.” That seemed to satisfy her. “Do you want to talk to him?” I asked, handing her the phone.
She shook her head, perhaps being shy. And why not? She’s never met the guy. We used an anonymous sperm donor and she has no daddy.
The daddy statements continued throughout the week. “I want daddy,” she said at dinner. My partner and I looked at each other. How do you explain to a toddler that she doesn’t have a dad?
“You don’t have a daddy, Sweetie,” I said, keeping the language simple. “You have two moms.”
“I want mommy,” she tried. Well, that we can do. “Where’s Mommy?” we asked. She pointed to my partner. “I want mama,” she said. “Where’s Mama?” I asked. She pointed to me, happy she got what she wanted this time, the problem of wanting daddy temporarily postponed.
I knew this would come up some day. I just wasn’t expecting it while she was still in diapers.
They must be doing some sort of Father’s Day activities at day care. She may be the only one in her class without a father.
She does have father figures, though, and there are many we can celebrate tomorrow.
This year, my partner’s father and his wife will be visiting from California during Father’s Day. We’re going to all take a camping trip together to above the Arctic Circle. I’m going to invite him to the Pride festivities today too – perhaps his first Pride activities ever.
My parents live in town and she adores them. She calls my father “Papa” and “Grandpa.” They watch her and her cousins on Mondays, and Antonia is thrilled every time she realizes it is Munchkin Monday and she’ll spend the day at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
My partner’s mom and her husband live in Kasilof. We Skype and visit frequently, and Antonia asks almost daily when we will get to see them next. I’m looking forward to my father-in-law teaching her German and how to fish for halibut.
My brother and his family also live in Anchorage, and Antonia loves to hug and play with Uncle Clint. She has another uncle, my partner’s brother, in Portland and my sister-in-law’s brother for an uncle too.
She has many wonderful dads in her life. I’m just not sure whom I’m calling when I dial daddy’s number on the toy phone.
What do you do for Father’s Day in your household? How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?
Laura Carpenter lives in Anchorage with her partner and daughter.