They say that a father is a daughter’s first love and a son’s first hero. They’re not wrong.

Unlike Mother’s Day where there are a few days throughout the calendar year in different countries to celebrate them, Father’s Day is celebrated across the world on the same day; the third Sunday of June. Whilst our parents – and the efforts that they go to for their children – should be celebrated 365 days of the year, this is the one day when we can really show just how much we respect our fathers.

This also goes out to the men who never had children of their own, but may still be known as dad. Maybe he adopted – or is fostering – a child or is raising the child of his partner’s from a previous relationship. These men are just as amazing, raising this child with their full love and responsibility, still wanting the best for them. They are nothing the less than a natural father and we salute their unselfishness, love and dedication. In some cases, this father figure may be the symbol of hope and a chance to a healthier and happier life.

Regardless of the journey these men have taken, they are the main heroes of our lives and have been there through it all to guide us and help us become the people we are today.

When we sit back and reflect on our own father’s, we think about the journey that man has taken. He was once a boy who had a hero of his own; the very same hero that would teach our dads the things they’ve taught us as we’ve gotten older. As this man becomes a parent for the first time, their hero experiences birth all over again in a new position as a grandparent.

As children, we never understood why our parents did the things they did and, as teenagers, we thought our parents were the devils who made us come home early from being with friends and stopped us from eating ice cream at 1am in the morning. But why? We never understood at the time, but now we realise it was because they wanted to make sure we were OK. They wanted us to be the best versions of ourselves. Simply put, they wanted us to have a good night’s sleep before going to school and didn’t want us to have a bad stomach through the night. As we become parents ourselves, we realise that what we thought as young children and teenagers was completely wrong.

They say that it’s only when you become a parent yourself that you can understand your parents. 

This is beyond true.

In this moment of realisation, we understand that our parents are just humans as well. They had no vendetta against us (even though the inserts into our teenage diaries would imply otherwise), but instead had feelings, fears and reasons for their decisions. As a child we never knew this was a thing and, instead, just wanted to carry on playing with our Barbie dolls.

As time passes, you grow up and start to learn that your parents aren’t the super-sized automatic robot machines that you once thought could easily slot into your favourite episode of The Hulk. Time moves on again and you find yourself in a relationship with the most wonderful, crazy, romantic and funny person that is full of life and the one you want to be with. As you spend more time with this person, you start to realise what the true definition of love and sacrifice is. Time spins forward to another five years and you’ve got a wonderful family. Your children take over your life, time and passions. Your husband and the father to your child(ren) is full of responsibility and has this unwavering want to raise them and be there every step of the way. This is the same man who, before having children, would ride their motorbikes carelessly at no less than 80mph and take half an hour to carefully trim their beards. Now, they care about getting home safe and sound – even if it means driving at or below the speed limit – and have to prioritise things such as making packed lunches, the school run and feeding their baby over the niceties of looking good.

This is the same man who will swap his “iconic” road trip playlist complete with AC/DC, Led Zepplin and Rolling Stones classics for the more mellow likes of Little Mix and One Direction, will dress up as his daughter’s favourite Disney princess for her birthday party and will even let his children adorn his face with makeup. These men will do anything to make sure their family is happy. As time goes on, they will always be there to make sure their children are OK. They will be the ones who check out their daughter’s first ever date – and give them grief at the expense of their daughter’s embarrassment, drive their children cross country for job interviews and concerts and will, one day, give away their daughter to another man who is embarking on his own cycle of fatherhood.

As girlfriends and wives, they are still the wonderful, crazy, romantic and funny men we know and love, only this time it’s different. They are fathers. They are complete.

Whatever the father-figure role, we celebrate and salute these incredible men for being there for their kids. They have (or are still) guiding you, making you smile and teaching you everything you need to know. Dads, you are amazing, You are our heroes.

So today, go and celebrate them. Tell them just how amazing they are. Treat him to something he’ll like, or simply tell him how great a father he has been.