The Graduate; To be a father is not to be a dad

After rekindling the relationship with my old man, I came to a realization that in this lifetime I had a father and not a dad. There are many people just like me; we grew up knowing who is the father and where they are. Let me give perceptive on both terms because there is a difference between a father and a dad. A father is someone who is occasionally there for his kids or not there but his children may know about him. While a dad is a man who plays a role in raising his offspring, he is there throughout different stages of their lives. As much as there are many uncertainties in relationships, nothing can prevent a man from being a dad. An end of a relationship between parents doesn’t constitute an end of a relationship for a father and his children.

I am a young African man; we African people still believe in our tradition despite being diluted by western culture. As a boy child, I must carry my father’s surname and grow the family tree. And yes, I carry his last name, because at some point. my parents were married. However, the man was not there for half of my life. It was his duty to teach me how to be a man. Especially, how certain things are done in his family. It is important to know where you come from as a man. This will give you pride whenever you introduce yourself to people. Our ancestors are part of us; once in a while we engage with them for various reasons. This is our way of life.

Every boy child desires to carry his father’s surname because that is who he is. In my teenage days I needed a dad’s love, he was not there! A child’s teenage era is wild, a bold male voice is needed to tame the little monster. I know the things I did and what I put my mother through as a teenage boy. Occasionally I would feel the fatherly love when we spoke over the phone or whenever he made arrangements for us to meet. I appreciated the effort he made and I knew how hard life was for him as a man at that time.

See when a man remarries, it is not easy for the second wife to accept children from the previous marriage and love them as her own. He wanted to be a dad, but a person can’t be in two places at the same time. He had to be a father to us (me and my brother), but be a dad to his other kids. In the end, I had to make peace with the fact that I have a father and not a dad. I have always had a relationship with him. He is an imperfect man, but the love is unconditional. We are always apart, yet so close!