The month of June is here again and I look back to two years ago, when we could not celebrate Mother’s Day as usual and even the Father’s Day in June was met with mixed reactions. Although there were changes in the Lockdown rules, people could not really visit their father’s without thinking about putting them at risk. I am happy that we have the pandemic behind us now and hopefully visits to our Fathers in this month of June will be back to normal. But normal for me means I would not be paying my father a visit although let me admit, that the thought crossed my mind.
I have always thought of myself as a daddy’s girl. Growing up, my dad was a hero to me; I looked at him with “rose tinted glasses” as they say. But little girls grow up. We get to see that everyone really is just human, even our parents. If I’m being totally honest, I can’t even pin point what made me think I was a “daddy’s girl”. I mean it’s not like I have memories of us going to the park together, or playing any sort of sports together, or even just spending time one on one. I have come to the realisation that calling myself a “daddy’s girl”, was just me speaking out unexpressed expectations that weren’t being met.
As a young adult, I know now that my relationship with my father has always been rocky. He was there (emotionally) but wasn’t always there (physically), which isn’t how the story usually goes… I know. But, I remember my feelings of joy and excitement as a young girl whenever my mum said my dad would be coming back from any one of his many business trips. I’m not convinced I knew how to explain this feeling as a child, but right now I know I felt visible. In my little head I thought “someone’s going to finally see me; my dad is going to care about how my day went today and he’s just going to care”.
Obviously that’s a lot of expectations to have of someone, but I had them and for a while I felt like my expectations were been met. Now fast forward to a few years ago when I turned 19, and everything just blew up in my face. Life happened and my father and I became estranged. I remember initially feeling like I was being hit from all sides and my head kept springing back and forth like a yo-yo. It hurt. The foundation I thought we had was broken.
Now, I can’t speak of the state of mind of my father at the time but being the kind of person I am, I took him leaving personally. But because I also am a logical person who can compartmentalise with the best of them, I put my feelings aside and dealt with the fallout. I became a parent to my siblings; I sorted out what I could, made plans I thought I wouldn’t need to make till I got into marriage. But even now, thinking back on those years, I understand that it’s just life. The unexpected happens. Knowing it doesn’t make it any easier.
Let’s fast forward again to this month; things are stable for my siblings and I, I’m getting closer to 28, and my father has now popped up wanting some sort of relationship! And all I can think of screaming is NO!!
Don’t get me wrong, I would love a relationship with my father. I would love to have memories of us doing things together; memories of us getting to know each other. I want that experience of him teaching me how to drive, of him using his gifts and talents to help me out if I ever need them. I want to know what it feels like to know that my father wants to be part of my life; to share in my experiences. I want the very emotional father/daughter dance I recently saw at a wedding. I want the father/daughter relationship that some people enjoy.
I just want to be “daddy’s girl”.
But I need time. I need space. I need the time and space to open those doors where I hid my feelings about you leaving. I need time to face them now, to stop ignoring them like they don’t exist. I need the space to deal with all the issues that came from you leaving. More than anything, I just need the time and space to be able to forgive you