Fathers Day- My Memories

June 21, 2021

Written by Grace Wandia 

Fathers hold a very special place in the lives of their children, especially for the girl child. A girl who has grown up with a loving dad has more confidence, is happier, and has a very optimistic way of looking at life. She feels like she can conquer the world with her dad by her side.

Growing up, I remember how much my dad meant to me. He was in the police force and wore his uniform with pride. I always admired how smart he looked in that uniform, well-polished shoes and his cap. Because of him I wanted to be a policewoman, but he would not hear of it. He always had a serious face, sometimes I thought the serious face was part of his training. Getting my dad to smile was hard, he always approached things from a very serious point of view. I lost my mother when I was barely a year old, and so I imagine it was tough for him to bring the four of us up without the help of a mother. His job meant he was away from home most of the time leaving us under the care of our aunts.

As I grew up, it became clear my father was not going to change his demeanor, but I also discovered he had a very warm and loving heart. I guess he just didn’t know how to show it. He made sure my siblings and I had all we needed growing up, but he also made sure he did not spoil us. Thinking back, I never heard my dad say that he loved me, but I genuinely felt the love through his actions.

He was a typical African man who believed in providing for his children; showing affection was a sign of weakness. I would catch him watching me from across the room on occasion, and he’d quickly looked away if our eyes met. I guess he must have been wondering how I would turn out in life, maybe concerned about his absence in my life, but he never voiced his concerns. I saw other girls in school run and hug their dads when they came to visit them at school; I was in a boarding school. Many times, I promised to hug my dad when I saw him next, but his stern face and firm handshake always made me change my mind the moment we met. Now I wonder, what would he have done if I had hugged him, would he have hugged me back, pushed me away or remained transfixed in confusion? He definitely loved me, but he never showed it. I guess because of his upbringing, (he also lost his mother at a tender age) he didn’t received affection, and so he did not know how to be affectionate. It got to a point where I stopped expecting a smile from him; the fact that he listened to my concerns and provided what I needed was enough. But I still wish he would have verbally told me he loved me~ father wounds?

When I was 19 years of age, I lost my dad, and the pain was unbearable, it still is. He was such a pillar in my life, so strong, and I felt like he was bigger than life. Though he didn’t say much he had this presence that one could not miss. He commanded respect but there was a gentle spirit within him. Being the strong figure that he was, I never imagined that he could die and leave us alone. After his death, I sort of understood why he was the way he was. I guess he was so scared of making mistakes, he did not want a situation where he failed us in life. He also did not want us to be reckless with life because being a cop, he knew how unforgiving life could be. He always instilled the need for each one of us to have an education and the need to stay disciplined. My dad never minced his words if he was ever called to school because of an indiscipline issue. He never beat any of us, but his stern look was enough to keep us in check. Now that I am a parent, I must say that he did a good job bringing us up; being a single parent is not an easy task.

Though gone from my life for many years now, I sometimes reflect and wonder if he would have been proud of me. I see so much of myself in him now. I am definitely more affectionate than he ever was, I show love and let people know exactly how I feel about a situation. But there is also a side of me that is not patient especially when I encounter people who take advantage of others; I always jump in and defend the weaker party. I can never just pass by when I encounter such a situation.

To those privileged enough to have their dads with them today, love them with everything within you. I imagine that had my dad been alive today, I would have taught him how to hug, how to smile more, how to relax and not put on such a stern face. I would have taught him that it is okay to show affection. Happy Father’s Day, Dad, enjoy heaven, and I believe you are smiling now….

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