Kate Sutton




Yesterday was Father’s Day and I, for one, am glad it’s over. I normally feel the same on other ‘special’ days … like Mother’s Day and my late Mum’s birthday. These days are designed to celebrate but for those of us who have experienced loss, in whatever form, they are only designed to highlight that someone is no longer in your life.


My youngest son doesn’t see his father … it’s complicated, as these things often are, and all I’ll say is that it’s for the best. But Father’s Day is incredibly hard for him and, as the parent left behind, consequently for me.


What it does mean, however, is that I am not only a mother to Dexter … but also a father. In fact, I’m pretty much everything to him and that’s a whole lot of responsibility. So when Father’s Day comes round, I do my best to show him that as much as ‘our situation’ is far from perfect, he will be OK.  I do my best because that’s pretty much all I know how to do.


We started the day as most weekends should be started … with a big fry-up and Sherlock on Netflix. It was lovely actually as my eldest is home from Uni and so the 3 of us sat on the sofa and over-indulged in eggs, bacon AND sausages. We then drove my eldest to work and stopped at the cinema on the way home to watch Maleficent. (As an aside, it’s a great film if you get the chance to watch it – don’t be put off by a) Angelina Jolie being in it, she was great and b) it being ‘too Disney’ … bearing in mind there wasn’t a Transformer in sight, it had mine AND Dexter’s attention for the duration – nigh on impossible normally as I always fall asleep.)


Dexter normally likes to play PS3 on a Sunday afternoon if we’re at home, he doesn’t really spend that much time with me.  And I understand.  His PS3 is his equivalent of going out to play with his mates … they’re all online and none of his friends live near us and so it’s the modern day version.  It’s not ideal.  But yesterday was different. He didn’t want to leave my side … and I can totally understand that. I know what it’s like to lose a parent, to not have a parent in my life, and you just want to be around the family you still have left. However, in my case, I rarely see my Dad – he has a new life with a new family and unfortunately that doesn’t seem to include me and my boys and I really struggle with that. I love my Dad, and I’d love for him to want to spend time with us, but we’re not on his radar anymore. So I also know what it’s like to have a parent but for that parent not to want to be in your life … so Dexter and I can relate to each other.  We have that horrible thing in common.


We chilled on my bed watching Harry Potter and The Cube on TV. We found a random yellow balloon and played keepy uppy (still sat on the bed) for hours with Dexter changing the rules as we went on just so there was no chance at all of him ever losing. We ate Dim Sum and fruit in bed.


And then he started to cry. I knew it was coming.  He’d been so, so brave.  I don’t know what sparked it particularly, but I think it had been a build up of the pressure of the day. A day designed to highlight loss as much as to celebrate family.


“Who will look after you when I leave home Mum? I don’t want you to be on your own forever. It makes me so sad.”


“Son, you’re 10, you shouldn’t be worrying about things like that. I will always be OK.”


“But you look after me … but don’t have anyone to look after you.”


This concept made him cry that little bit harder.


“Dexter, I don’t need anyone to look after me.   I promise you I will always be OK. Plus, you’ll never get rid of me … I’ll always be knocking at your door so you and your wife can make me dinner.”


This made him laugh … the thought of me as a little old lady, knocking on the door of his family’s home.


He’s a born worrier and it’s my job to try and laugh him out of situations as best as I can. It’s also my job to console, to encourage, to comfort. To allay his fears. To tell him everything will be OK, even when I’m not sure it will be.


It’s my job to love him as much as 2 parents.


And I do it because I know what it’s like to not have a parent. To not be loved. To feel like there is a massive void in your life … so I spend every day filling that hole with my stupid jokes, my silly faces, my willingness to always watch Harry Potter when he feels sad.


It’s what lone parents do. We love twice as hard.




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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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  1. Bloody Nora, that’s my Monday cry sorted then. You are awesome and Dexter is lucky boy.

    Just remember that I live inside your computer and am always here for you … and your stupid questions. And likewise xxx

  2. You are doing a fabulous job! FABULOUS!!!!!

    The father of my daughters, commited suicide, so father day for them is incredibly hard. This year, for me, it was hard as my Dad has been diagnosed with terminal lung and prostate cancer. So this year we bloody well ignored the whole day. I phoned my daughters and told them how loved they are by me and their stepdad, that helped them a bit. Then I went round to Mum & Dad’s sorted their washing and ironing out and massaged my Dad’s legs and arms as they are growing weaker on a daily basis. Bear in mind, I do this 3 times a week anyway, so i just kept it as a normal visit. I did give Dad an extra big hug though 🙂

    So yeah, fathers day. a hard one for my whole little family this year, but we got through it 🙂

  3. I wish I lived nearer to you so I could come and sit in your coffee shop with you and have a chinwag. There are SO many things I want to say, things which are far too long and in depth for a comment on a blog, but just know that I understand on so many levels from both yours and Dexters perspective and I wish I could give you both a massive hug.

  4. I saw a few posts on facebook with people who had bitter break ups posting “happy father’s day to me, I’m Mum AND Dad” and – I’ve got to be honest, which I hope you’ll understand once I explain more – it pissed me right off. On Mother’s day single Dads don’t hijack it by slagging their ex’s off (at least not on MY facebook, I’m sure there’s some) and it annoyed me that I felt judged for celebrating my husband as a great father to my own children, and my own Dad – who has been vaguely useless at times, but is a jolly nice chap.

    I was preparing to write a blog post about it, about not hijacking something that’s meant for nice Daddies to be pampered, to thank them for their hard work,their love, their parenting.

    But then I read this – and actually, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, it isn’t about the parent at all. It’s about the kids. About them having special time with a parent, about them doing something nice for a parent, about them showing how much they love their parents BACK.

    And kids can’t do that if a parent is absent. It isn’t about a Daddy not being celebrated, or being slagged off. It’s about the kids who don’t want to make cards in class while their friends get excited and covered in sparkles. It’s about the kids who are aware of something missing, more than other days.

    And I take back my anger, and all the things I wanted to say about hijacking. It’s not about that. It’s about a parent trying to give their child everything, and the child being loved, and loving, and knowing there’s a vacant space where someone else should be loving, and loved.

    I’m sorry his Dad misses out on him. I’m sorry he doesn’t know what he’s missing. I’m sorry D didn’t get to have all that. I’m glad that he had someone so strong to hold him through the day. I’m glad he held you, too.

    1. We’ve now spoken since you posted this and you have a little more understanding as to where my post came from. When I say I’m Mum AND Dad, it’s just fact. It doesn’t denegrate fathers, nor to I want to diminish a father’s input that IS around for a child, whether grown or not. I think Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) is lovely .. for those it works for. I think I was just trying to say that when a day like that highlights that his father isn’t there, it’s my job to pick up the pieces … and this is how I try to do it. Like you say, it IS about the child … but actually, it is about the parent too … and if a special day allows a child to say thank you, I think that’s awesome. This is just my POV, my brain dump, and we all have different opinions. I always valued your POV too, you know that x

  5. What a lovely, sensitive boy you have. I hate Father’s Day as it serves as a reminder that my father never cared about me, its hard even now to not feel bitter when I see all the Facebook profiles changing to pictures of my friends and their loving dads.

    Instead I put up 4 photographs of my my and two sisters all together from being little to now with a status that said “Fathers Day can be a bit shitty if your dad is a nob head… But here’s to the awesome kids who grow into fabulous adults despite having a crap dad! ”

    Your boy will grow into a kind and wonderful man and that will be down to you.

    Mucho love on a fabulous post


    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story … I appreciate the day is difficult for lots of people for lots of different reasons, it’s how you deal with it that’s important I think. We just do our best don’t we? x

  6. Fathers Day is about loss, it is about love, it is about looking to the future as much as looking to the past. As we grow we try really hard not to replicate the bad experiences and to improve on the good ones. When D becomes an adult he will try really hard to be the best he can be. Because he knows how much it hurts, should the occasion arise he will do his best to stay in touch with those who matter.
    I think the answer to D’s question is this:
    When you leave home, your brother will hopefully be settled and he will help you to look after me, you boys will both look after each other. As a family we look after each other.
    It doesn’t matter in this day and age how a family is made up. It is the people in that unit that count. You have a family unit and all those days should be special. Heck, why not even have your own special Sutton Family Day?
    I think you handled the day really well.

    1. You make perfect sense (as usual!) and I love the idea of just having a Sutton family day … even if we have 3 different surnames between us! I think I got through the day as best as I could for both of us – he seemed happy and settled when I put him to bed so that’s all you can ask for really isn’t it? Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  7. Oh gosh, I’m so sorry that your dad isn’t there for you; it must be so hard to keep being strong every day but you seem to do it magnificently. Yet another reason I’m in awe of you. Dexter is lucky to have such a wonderful role model and adoring mum.

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