An Open letter to My Father

My dear Father

Today is Father’s Day. It started out quite interestingly. My children asked me if you were alive. I was tempted to say you are dead but the Christian side of me won and I confirmed your being alive. They asked me to send you a “Happy Father’s Day” message and that they would say it was from “your daughter’s kids”. Of course I allowed them. They sent you a message and you were lovely in your response, affirming me and even telling them that you love them. Thank you Father. This early morning conversation with my kids, how things turned out and that whole lived reality started a deep reflective intra-personal conversation that made me end up here – writing you this letter.

Growing up, I was in boarding school from the age 8 years – too young to be in boarding school but I got the reasoning behind it. I cannot say I understand but I got it! Yes, it was one of the best schools that any child could possibly wish for during those days and I loved the choice of school. My only struggle was that you never showed up for any one of my activities be it sports, prize giving or anything that a father would be proud to witness. I remember telling myself that it was great enough mother was there because you were “one flesh” as the Christians love to preach but the truth is you were almost always absent in my life – that hurt. I also realize that the little girl back then shows up now and again, needy and seeking that affirmation. Thank God to many years of therapy, she no longer haunts me as much as she used to. It is exactly like the ay I told myself that bitterness would kill me so I chose to forgive you and despite my numerous attempts to bring you close, I realize ours may just be a long distance relationship and I have come to live with it as a an adult. You still fathered me and I give you ALL the rest you deserve – form a distance of course because sometimes we have to self-preserve so we are not continuously damaged as souls. Do I wish things were different? Honestly I do not know because I am rather content with what I presently have.

I really did love six critical things you taught me form child hood and I forever hold those life lessons – I thank you.

  1. Sharp time keeping – I recall how you used to leave if I was as little as 5 minutes late and you told me that you had many things to do. Later I learnt that it was not so much of lots to do but that sometimes you were not even there at all. Nonetheless, thank you, I still am a very punctual sister and am grateful you taught me the lesson more or less.
  2. Reading books – I remember all those books you had in bookshelves. The way you emphasized I read certain sects and leave the rest until I was a certain age. Thank you. I read so widely and am an avid reader – that way I have managed to complete my PhD and am glad that paid off.
  3. If you do not study you become cheap labour for other people – You said this more than once, more like a broken record it became. The truth is what you emphasized was the need for focus so the choices would widen. Today, I am empowered enough to make informed choices because I attained an education. I did study but have also learnt that there is more to life than studying but it comes a little late when I have literally killed myself with books Hashanah
  4. Privacy – Although I must confess, I thought you were weird telling us to read instead of having a plethora of friends who most likely didn’t add much value. So the benefit is that I have limited but very valuable friends and the circle is quote neat and tight. The flip side is I struggle to open up so I explore the possibilities of friendship. I do however value that I am a pretty private person who values time alone as am never lonely. Great childhood trick.
  5. Forgiveness – You were an absent father. I hated everything about you – the lies, the polygamy, the lectures and just the fact that you were my dada. But with years of maturity and guilt, I did learn to forgive you and let go. Of course once in a while the anger resurfaces but it is more rare than it used to be. Again years of expensive therapy and life coaching that I will never, ever regret.
  6. Letter writing – You never expressed your emotions except when you wrote letters. I still use letters as a tool for expressing myself and even do write some poetry. But I have also learnt the art of verbally expressing how I feel.

On this father’s day, I wanted to say that I do love you, miss you and am grateful in some ways that life turned out to be. The many lessons I have learnt from you being my father could never be replaced.

 

Happy Father’s Day and here is to many more years of smiles and growth!

With gratitude

Your daughter

 

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