Father’s Day has been a bit surreal for me this year. I do not normally pay any heed to Father’s Day. I don’t expect much. But God has been focusing my attention very keenly on my family of late and so I found myself really thinking about my fatherhood and my father a lot today.
I have been realizing how much I need to do with my children to help them to heal from wounds that I have caused. This is the first time that all my children are living with me. They have all experienced at some point in their childhood what it is like to live without their father being in the same house with them. Although in my heart and mind I have never abandoned them (and in fact have always been very present emotionally, financially, and as much as possible physically) I am realizing that their experience is quite different. I am realizing how much just being there for a child every day makes a huge difference. A difference that is difficult to make up with weekend visits.
I am also realizing that they have all been told stories about me abandoning them by their mothers. (If you are a single mom or a single dad, I’m begging you for your children’s sake, don’t tell them that their father/mother left them because they didn’t want them or didn’t love them. The only person you are hurting with that narrative is your child.) Anyway, what’s done is done. My job is to change the narrative. Every day is a new opportunity to change the ending of the story for my family. With God’s guidance and amazing grace, that’s what I’m doing.
As I pondered all of this today, I realized afresh how much my dad did for my sister and I by just staying. My parents were not married when my sister and I were born and neither of us were planned. But, he stayed. We called him Baba and for the first five years of our lives, he was the one at home while mom worked. I cannot remember a single night when either of them went out. They were home every night. They both sacrificed a lot for us to have a home.
I learned a lot from Baba but not from what he said (he is not a talker) but from just being around him. I learned to be myself no matter what and I learned how to navigate the world. I remember when one of my friends got boxing gloves as a present. Every boxing ‘game’ would end up with me beat up and crying. Baba said, “When he’s swinging wide you just punch straight”. I tried it out next time and all it took was one punch to end that game once and for all. I also remember the first time I was allowed to go to cinema by myself. Palladium was walking distance from my house, so off I went to the midday show with Baba’s advice in my head. “Always be alert. Know what is happening in your surroundings.” It was an adventure! Exciting and a bit scary at the same time. As I reached back home, I saw Baba coming up behind me… He had been with me the whole way home but out of sight, making sure I was safe.
Thank you Baba, for always being there for me. (Even up to last week fixing my kitchen sink 😊).
My wife has been a beautiful instrument in God’s hands to help me to learn to receive love. She is the one who insisted that I must be made a big deal of today. She doted over me and got me a wonderful present that I was not expecting. This year I decided to allow myself to be celebrated. It felt good. Thanks hun! Love you!
But what really made today extra special was my daughter. The joy she gave me today is indescribable. First of all, she made macaroons from scratch for me. Then she sent me a Father’s Day video that perfectly captured our relationship. I’ve watched it at least 5 times already and teared up every time. Aaaand she is working on some surprise present that she has not finished yet. But most of all, she just came looking for me throughout the day to spend time with me. I can’t believe that she did so much to show me that she loves me (sniff, sniff).
It’s been a good day. I’m thankful. I’m thinking that I might just extend Father’s Day into Monday 😊.
This content has been republished with permission from authenticjoy.org.