What Growing Up With A Present Father Means

I’ve decided to cosy up in bed, for the most part, this morning. My mind has been too preoccupied with too many things. I decided to take a day off from life to unplug and reboot. Sometimes, it’s okay to slow down. It reminds you to be present and to give yourself enough time to immerse yourself in gratitude. Things have been chaotic for the past two weeks, life demanded an audience. We didn’t even have time to celebrate Father’s Day. Between life and its demands, and work, there wasn’t enough time to appreciate the little things. This is why today is a great day to remember to be present for the small things. 

I hardly write detailed experiences about my father or my daughter’s father. Probably because of their shared sentiments about keeping their lives private. Yet, today I’d like to share my thoughts on what they mean to me. What having a present father who doubles up as an amazing grandfather also feels like. Secondly, what raising my daughter with her father means to me, but most importantly to her. 

Long before I became a mother, things were very different. I didn’t grow up with my parents. The first 12 years of my life are filled with memories of my grandmother’s house. As a result, my relationship with my dad was a bit rocky when I was a teenager well into my early 20s. The thing is, I was in pursuit of my freedom; trying my best to find out who I was and what that meant for me. My ideas clashed with my dad’s traditional views, especially when it came to how I should live my life. I used to party a lot. Sometimes, he’d find cigarette packs in my apartment (that I had stashed away) and leave me notes emphasizing his disappointment. In most cases, his disapproval was rooted in his image. You know things like what people would say when they’d see me doing things knowing that I’m his daughter.

Naturally, I did all I could to rebel from the clutches of patriarchy and do what I wanted to do. But I think that we both got tired of fighting and found a way to accept each other. I believe that his biggest challenge was accepting that I was growing up and finding myself. You see, I’m a daddy’s girl through and through. Even when our relationship was shaky, you couldn’t deny the bond that we share. In fact, I learned a lot about myself whenever my dad and I fought than with anyone else. He’s a wise man. When you meet him, he leaves you with something to think about and is always ready to engage you on any topic. He made me fall in love with reading and understand the power of words. Seeing him light up in excitement when he sees my daughter makes me feel content. 

In a way, I think he helped me to pursue relationships with people who challenge the best parts of me. At first, I thought that this only meant the intellectual part of my life. Until I fell in love with the father of my child. I thought I knew kindness until I met this man; I didn’t. I didn’t even understand what selflessness truly meant. He handled all the broken parts of me with care and showed me what humility means. He loves our daughter so much. Sometimes he loves her too much and lets her get away with a lot of things. But I’ve realised that fathers are as soft as putty when it comes to their little girls. They don’t understand what saying no to anything means. Their parenting style is unique to us mothers, yet it’s important for the healthy development of your child. Our methods balance things out somehow. 

My role as a mother came with a lot of positive and turbulent changes. I think that my dad and I are finally on the same page about things. He even told me that he was proud of the woman that I’ve become. It was such a huge deal for me because most black parents struggle with expressing their emotions. On the other hand, I’m still trying to find a balance with my partner. Sometimes our roles and life’s expectations can blur the lines for us. But he remains the most gentle person that I know. I can trust that our daughter will grow up to become a phenomenal woman. She’s been gifted with unconditional love from the two incredible men in my life. 

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