Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE (R-Wis.) said for many years he ignored Father's Day. 

His dad was an alcoholic who died when Ryan was 16 years old. 

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"I ignored it for much of my life," said Ryan on NBC's "Meet the Press," which aired on Father's Day.

"I actually, in a weird way, didn't know what date it was," he said. 

Ryan didn't start celebrating the holiday until he had children of his own, he said. This year, he will celebrate by playing paintball with his kids.

But for many years, it was a painful date for him. 

"I ignored it and pushed knowledge of the date out of my mind for many, many years," he said. 

"I don't know. It's a defense mechanism or something." 

In a video posted to his Twitter account Sunday, Ryan talked about the joys of fatherhood. 

"My truest form is just spending time with my family, whatever it is we're doing," Ryan said. 

"Having a family - it's just the most fulfilling thing that I've ever experienced, that I think a person can experience, and so that's why I take that responsibility very seriously, but I just like it so much. It's so much fun."