I don’t believe in hallmark holidays. But I do believe in celebrating everything. Today Dad, I celebrate you.
Growing up, like many daddy daughter relationships, Mine was challenging. Particularly because we are so alike. Fiery leos, strong but soft. Entrepreneurial self starters, stubborn but sensitive—all love. But my dad knew no other way to parent, than how he was parented. Fathers provide. Mothers parent. To him, it was simple.
So my dad provided -- thru hard work. His only care was working to support his family. Not present, always there, but not really “here.” at the dinner table, but didn’t contribute to the conversation. Heard the words but never listened, Sponsored the sports team, but didn’t always show to the game. So my mom was the coach. Growing up, I wanted his attention, his acknowledgment, his heart.
I didn’t need another pair of shoes, I needed a hug.
I didn’t need him to sponsor my soccer team, I needed him to show up to my game.
His half-absence was justified by his pure devotion to us- self made entrepreneur who grew up with nothing and found value thru work, To ensure that no matter what, He would always be able to provide for his family. His hustle was from love. His detachment was from Fear. Fear of not being able to give us shelter, support. Because he grew up with that fear, of not having. But I just wanted his love. So I reached out with empty requests or lashed out with unnecessary behaviors, Instead of asking to be seen.
But I grew up, and I got honest, with me first. And then with him. I needed to tell him what I needed, so he could change the way he supported me. His love for me never wavered, his respect, pride, all the same. But I needed him to show it. I wanted to be seen. A tough ask for a 75 year old man who didn’t grow up around emotive love. He wasn’t shown sensitivity, so how could he show it? His habits were already formed as a result of how he was brought up. He didn’t become a dad until he was over 40. But as my conversation with my dad changed, I asked, he listened. He heard. We changed. Habits out learned. Consistencies created. New commitments formed.
How do we get what we want if we don’t ask? My dad was there. But not present. He cared and contributed, but not in the way that I needed most. So I took what he gave for granted because it didnt show up how I wanted. But it was offered the only way he knew how.
And i love him for it, the most.
We are not taught how to love. Lets change that, By giving, to ourselves first. Dad I love you. And i feel so loved by you. Thank you for giving what you had, how you could. And thank you for being open, To give more of What I needed. When I asked, you heard, and You listened. I love you. Happy Fathers Day.