What is a father’s love? have you experienced a father’s love in your lifetime?
There was once a man in my life who I thought didn’t care because he didn’t do the little things like give me a hug regularly or tell me how much he loved me just because he knew that was what I wanted to hear. Instead, he would cloth me, provide food, accommodation and made sure I got a good education, the one his money could afford.
There was a man who was tough on me but soft and tender to my sister because he believed the world was not compassionate enough to an average man especially one that has nothing to give or offer. He taught me to always have something to offer rather than just expect love and compassion for no good reason. It was his own way of telling me “I love you” and it is called tough love.
This man taught me that family comes first in all one does. He said to me, “a man that shies away from his responsibilities is no man at all”. This man told me that a man’s job is to take care of those that look up to him. He should never show signs of weakness and fear.
This man taught me respect for women starting with my mother and sisters. He said to me “never hit a woman it is a sign of weakness and never argue with a woman, you will never win”.
This man wasn’t the richest but somehow he always supplied my needs according to his standards. He wasn’t the bravest, hell I have even seen him cry once or twice but he was brave enough to always get up every morning and try again. He was not the world’s hero but he was my hero because he saved me more than I can count. He saved me from going naked, going homeless, and from starving. Saving me wasn’t just his responsibility but he derived great joy and pride in saving not only me but my loved ones too (his family).
He was far from perfect because he was just a man but he was perfect from afar because to him it’s a man’s job to keep the image of his family intact.
Talking was never his forte so he had his old collections of country music to do that for him. He was a man who couldn’t find the right words to express his emotions at times so he would communicate using his country music collections. He would play “It must be love” by Don Williams and “Buy me a rose” by Kenny Rogers as his way of telling my mother “I love you”. And Instead of telling me “I love you”, he would borrow the words of George Strait. He would say “let me tell you a secret about a father’s love… Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then. It’s a love without end, amen”. Although he is no more, I still feel his presence in these words.
Looking back, my proudest moment would be when my father told me he was proud of me.
We had an argument, a fallout if you may about a decision I was about to make which was contrary to his. My decision did pay off and when I shared the news with him just to show off and say “I told you so”, in excitement he called my sister and said, “your brother is now a man, I am proud of him”.
My regrets would be not telling or showing him how much I appreciated him more often. I also wish I was given more opportunities to make him more proud of the man I have become.
I write this as my own way to say “Thank you” not only to my father but to fathers all over the world whose father’s love might have been misunderstood one way or the other. Today seems like a good day to give that special man a warm hug in appreciation for all his efforts.
And to all of us who have nothing but fond memories to hold on to, today seems like a perfect day to pour yourself a glass and drink in memory of a good man or in memory of a “not so good man who tried his best in his own way”.
To some who went through life without a father figure, all I can say is: I know I have been fortunate, but at the end of the day we will all be alright and that is including you. And I hope your children get the father figure they deserve because no love can equate to a father’s love.
To those of you that have nothing but bad memories and experiences about your father, today is a good day to let yourself heal. If you believe that there is a silver lining to every cloud, you can learn from your experiences. It should teach you about what not to do as a father. And Yes, we sympathize with you, but it doesn’t take away the fact that there are a few good men out there and mine was one of them. Men though not perfect, are trying in their own way to be there in a much more complex world than they were brought up and used to. If you must cry, cry, if you must, allow yourself grief in order to heal. Because it is only when you are fully healed that your heart can be open to see and appreciate the few good men out there.