You know how kids brag about their fathers? I always made sure that mine was recognized and respected, you best believe.
My siblings and I always looked forward to him coming home every weekend; we knew that goodies were on the way. He knew we loved ice cream so whatever time when he got home, it was usually at night, before midnight we would have our ice cream. We stayed up no matter what. Growing up my father was always my hero, most fathers I knew were full of empty promises, and mine was nothing like that. Well I believed so when he wouldn’t make it home some weekends, I understood, he had always told me that for us to get all these nice things whenever he came he had to sacrifice one weekend at least and not see us.
I had always believed that he was a wealthy man, well everyone in my area thought that, he was that type of man that made you feel his presence and he always parked his car outside for people to admire even though we had a garage at home but he just preferred to park outside. He always wore suits, he still does except for Sundays when he relaxes. Saturday mornings were the best, he would wake up to wash his car, while we got ready he always had somewhere to take us and whoever was not ready by the time he had finished, they would be left behind. The whole day, so we knew and we would have our usual fights over the bathroom. I saw the other side of my hero when I went to live with him, I was in my teenage years and he was still the same man, however the only thing that didn’t happen anymore were the outings on a Saturday morning. He lived with my half sisters and I remember when I got there I was shocked, he hadn’t mentioned them to me and all he said was ‘meet your sisters’ we were all shocked but eventually got used to each other.
Living with him made me see he wasn’t a wealthy man, he was just well off because there were tough times of which people knew nothing about. He wasn’t an open book and that’s how he liked it. Wealth was in his mind, you would always see him reading whenever he got the chance to. He had answers to everything you needed to know so we ended up calling him Professor. I learnt the importance of education from him and how to have that million-dollar look even if you didn’t have it, no one would know. He was not the hero I thought he was, he was full of empty promises well he is human after all and only now that I’m older I understand but the important thing is always learning. Fathers have a very weird way of showing they care, sometimes they don’t show it you just pick it up along the way that somehow teaches you to always ‘man up’ and be tough when he saw that in me, that is when our relationship started….
The first time all of my father’s children had a real conversation with him was a few years back! We hadn’t had an opportunity as we were scattered across the country and one sister would come and visit or the other brother would but never the chance for all of us to be under the same roof. I’m sure he was shocked; he didn’t know that, that day would finally come. I could see he felt uncomfortable at first because there were just too many questions and after sometime he was at peace and our conversations started to flow then. Being a father is very difficult, we all want protection from the same person and in our case we didn’t have enough of that.
That day we saw a different side of him, maybe he wanted us to reach out so that he could be what he was that day…our father. But unfortunately the timing all of these years was just not perfect. The sad reality was that the boys that needed his guidance and protection at the time were now married men who vowed to be the best fathers and loyal husbands. As much as that hit him hard he was proud of their achievements, he himself learns from them and sometimes reaches out to us for help. Had he been bitter about him not being there as much as we needed him to be, we wouldn’t be were we are now with our “father and children” relationship. My sisters on the other hand are very scared of commitment because the one person they had looked up to for that disappointed them even till this day he hasn’t changed his ways.
Fathers never know how much of a big role they play in our lives. The more time I spend with him is actually the more I realize that I still don’t know this man and it has gotten to a point where I question myself if I will ever really know him that well…
Writer: Natasha May