Note: Heads up readers: This one is emotional
Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad
No one wrote me a guide book for growing up. No one tells us how to make sure our parents are okay without us.
Especially when if we leave, they’re alone. No one told me how to make sure she’ll be okay if I’m 4000 miles away and she’s by herself. No one wrote an instruction manual telling me how not to worry. No one explains how to deal with wanting to experience new things but being so tied to the past and present that you feel you can’t move. Why doesn’t anyone tell me how to do this? I knew I have to come to Singapore if the school thing works out better here, whether it’s business or for law school. It’s logical. But no one explained how to go somewhere you love, where you feel you need to be, while slicing out half your heart and leaving it behind. No one tells me how. And it’s hard. It’s f&*king shitty. I hate feeling so torn about this. I’m half wondering if I made the right choice.
How do we do this? How do we become grown ups? Maybe it’s just hard for me because I’ve never had parent/child defining lines. I did a lot of growing up on my own. But it was always just me and her. At least from the time I can remember. My dad was around when I was little. And he was great. But when I got older, he just wasn’t involved as much, if ever. It’s not really his fault. I don’t blame him. I blame a lot of it on other things. So, when I became a teenager, we just couldn’t identify with each other anymore. Yeah, he could have stuck it out. Put in more effort. But he was different for reasons he never cared to explain. And I was a teenage boy and that’s hard for any parent to handle much so for someone who was never really involved. And I guess it was easier to become distant. I know he loves me. In his own way. I know he cares and thinks about me, but I shouldn’t be the only one who picks up the phone. I know it shouldn’t matter. I’m stubborn. But while this man was wonderful to me as a small child, he failed me during the hardest parts of my life. He wasn’t there for me when I needed a dad. When I needed someone. He wasn’t there when I needed a strong male influence in my life. He didn’t go out of his way to help her support me, and he always managed to say something mean about her when I did see him. He wasn’t at a single prize giving. He never came to a single sports meet I participated in. He didn’t come to my prefect’s induction. He didn’t see me go to uni or drive me to the school calming me when everything seemed strange. He wasn’t there.
And that’s not something I can forget. I can forgive and move past it, but I can’t completely forget. Those scars stick around. Those scars are part of why I used to be/still am a sometimes damaged individual. I’ve made peace with myself, and I’ve healed, but those wounds are still there. And every once in a while, they’re still as fresh as if they happened yesterday. Most times I’m fine. But every once in a while something sets me off. A commercial…tv show…movie. The one where the dad is there. Sometimes, that image wrecks me for a few minutes. Luckily, only in those moments where no one sees. And I can put myself back together when I’m ready.
I’m screwed up. And damaged. And, really, who isn’t? We all have scars. I think I’ve been able to overcome most of mine. I know you are never going to read this or am I going to tell you any of this but I hope someday my children (all 11 of them) will read this and understand how hard I have tried not to repeat your mistakes in their lives because as Clarence Budington once said about his father:
He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it