To my first true love, my dad. Source: church.mt
So it’s official, guys. It’s finally happening!
I have reached that age where I suppose I should walk around with a banner that says, “No, I am not married yet. Yes, I know my colleagues are married and have at least two kids. No, auntie, I don’t need you playing matchmaker between me and your neighbour’s, uncle’s, mother’s, grandson’s, nephew’s, sister’s son.”
The grand age where my mother wishes for grandchildren with every birthday because ‘her friend just posted a picture with her grandchild and here you are with no boyfriend.”
And as I pondered how I could avoid what is typically known as a rite of passage for every female, especially in my culture, an influx of ideas and thoughts for my future flooded my mind, perhaps in anticipation of Father’s Day, which was right around the corner.
My dad and I enjoying one of our many ventures; travelling.
One of the things I have had to reflect on was my relationship with the man I call ‘Father’ and how paramount our relationship was in becoming the person, I am today. As I journeyed down the memory lane, I was filled with wonder and gratitude for the man that I knew when I was:
Two years old:
As my first love. He was the man I chased after with my chubby little legs around the house. The one who broke my heart every time he left for work. And in a story narrated by my mother, the one whose name I called out for repeatedly (much to my mother’s disappointment) from the moment I learnt how to talk.
Seven years old:
I remember this period with mixed feelings as that was when I had grown too big to sit on his shoulders. I was also not too pleased that I had to share his attention with my little sister, whose presence I didn’t enjoy much at the time. However, that was also the year that I learned to cook.
My mother had been busy, so my dad made dinner that night. I remember him as the man who taught me to shred the vegetables without cutting myself carefully and sauté the spinach. He did most of the work; I was there for moral support. I also remember eating most of the food straight from the pot and him laughing loudly without reprimanding me.
Eleven years old:
As my first supporter, who would sit with me as I prepared for the Seventh Grade national exams. He was the one who encouraged my love for words. While many were reading Harry Potter by J.K Rowling and R. L Stine’s Goosebumps, the weird kid I was, used to devour the newspapers he brought home while pretending I had my life figured out.
I also recall, though with great pain, the tear-filled times when we would do my homework together, especially since I did not share the same mathematical dexterity as him and the gentle tap on the head when I did well.
Seventeen years old:
When I was seventeen, I had to be homeschooled for about three months due to ill health. All had been going somewhat well as I was under treatment, but one day I stopped sleeping, and that went on for eight days. At first, it didn’t affect me much, but as someone who cherishes the sole art of sleeping, I terribly missed it.
On the eighth day, in a panicked mode, I woke my parents up crying hysterically and shared my grievances with them. My dad convinced my mum to make space for me so I could sleep in the middle. While cuddled between my mum and dad, for the first time in over a week, I slept flat out for sixteen hours.
Nineteen years old:
As a rock. On our way home with my mother after collecting my A-level results, I remember him calling as we drove. I had been disappointed with myself as I knew I should have done better, and the moment my dad called, I burst up in tears from all the frustration. He took a day off, came home and took the whole family out for lunch to celebrate ‘my hard work thus far.’ He convinced me my results were not a reflection of my life’s achievements and that I would do well in life.
Twenty-two years old:
As my best friend. When I think of my 22nd year, I am reminded of the three-hour calls I would have with my father while I was a thousand miles away. We would talk about nothing and everything. I would share my dreams, fears, insecurities and current events to which he would listen intently and share his own.
Once, I called crying (by now, you must have established how big of a drama queen I am #sorrynotsorry) as I expressed my fear and confusion over a problem that was frustrating me, and he said, “Don’t be afraid; I am here. I will help you go through it. Talk to me, my dear; what is it?”
Now that I am of marrying age, one of the things I have had to reflect on was what I would look for in a partner should I decide to marry. Through watching my dad, I hope I find someone who will love me as he does.
I hope that the person I find will listen to me even when I am not making sense. I hope he will laugh with me and share my joys on the happier days. I also hope that I never have to prove my worthiness and that he will encourage me and be a source of comfort when the days get rough.
Like my dad, who has never raised his voice at me, I wish to be treated with patience and kindness. I want to feel protected, loved and cherished. A man who will stay up with me when bouts of insomnia hit and share the last slice of pizza. In his eyes, I hope he sees me as the most beautiful person in the world and that he will hold my hand and colour my world with brilliant shades of yellow.
Dad, Happy Father’s Day!
Having just recently celebrated Father’s Day, no words of gratitude can ever encompass how thankful I am for my father. And as such, I would like to invite you to join us in honouring the men who shaped our lives into what they are today. To the fun dad, the wise dad, the strong dad and the sweet dad, we adore you. Thank you for teaching us the true meaning of love.
What’s your fondest memory of your dad? Let us know in the comment section below!