They say that for a boy, his dad is superman/spiderman/hulk/batman all merged into one. A person who he can run to when: he is bullied at school, having opposite gender problems, needs a car to impress girls and to be “kool”, need money to waste on random things, scared to sleep because of the closet monster etc. I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection. A son looks at his father and sees everything he should strive to become.
It’s hard to describe in a few words my relationship with my father. How does a son look up to man who was everything storybooks and fairytales didn’t tell you about ?
I never hated him, I doubt whether someone could really hate his father. His actions or inactions didn’t make him less entitled to the title “father”. He may not live up to that title but that doesn’t make him any less my “father”. For me, I see this professional title differently compared to other titles in this world. Take a CEO for example: he is assessed and screened to see if he has all the necessary qualifications before he is appointed a CEO of a company, similarly a Doctor has the necessary qualifications before he is given his title. But the title “father” has no prerequisite – a drug addict’s one night of passionate sex with a prostitute could leave both with the titles “father” and “mother”. Are they deserving of such titles ? Can they look after a kid when they can’t even look after themselves ?
So, are some people destined to fail as fathers ? Maybe or maybe not, I honestly have no idea. For me, what is important is to know that my father tried, with all of his heart and soul, to live up to that title. Whether it was to lead by example or teach with examples. I don’t expect every father to succeed for they were never informed of the qualifications required for this job, there was no interview or selection process nor was there any training or development programmes. Simply put he didn’t know what shit he was getting themselves into when he became a father.
So, the question still remains ? Did he try ? For the 25 years 5 months and 11 days I knew him the answer has to be unequivocal “NO”. It was hard I know, it’s never easy but he had everything that most people work their whole lives to acquire – wealth, education, social standing, health, time etc. Maybe, I was too demanding as a son. Then again, I never really asked for much, just to know that he was there for me and a ” I am proud of you, son” or “I love you” once in awhile, I know its not easy nor was it your style. Maybe, those words could have comforted me when everything else he did was wrong.
The worst thing than not trying is not appreciating the people who stepped in to do his job, my grandma – his own mother, a women and mother any son would die to have. To not be a father to his only two sons is incomparable to not being a son to his only mother – who he owes his very existence to.
If there is one thing I learnt from him is “how not to be a father”. For most of my childhood, I lived my life with a guilty conscious, why doesn’t my father love me, why is he so different, why me, what have I had, maybe I am too playful or don’t study hard enough etc. And when every single parent tells me ” I am sure your father and mother must be proud of you” I think to myself “Are they?”. I was lucky I had my grandma, but my brother, he suffered and I now know that he will never recover from those wounds. Time heals all wounds but leaves behind scars so that you never forget. I stand here today, with no tears in my eyes not because I don’t care but because he has only, over the last 25 years of my life, made me cry until my eyes are dry.
It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was. For me, you will be remembered as:
“A man, who failed not just as a father and husband but also as a son”