On occasion of Father’s day, we decided to call entries from our readers, one of which you’re about to read. However, upon reading this we realized that this day has much more to it than being just a celebration of a relationship or a marketing gimmick.
We usually think of fathers in terms of the person who contributed to the half of our DNA, or the person who took care of what became of that DNA. But, the story which was chosen to be published is about neither of the two. Here is a personal account of one reader who chose to keep anonymous, but took us to another realm of our understanding of this day.
Enjoy your read!
I didn’t grow up with a father. He wasn’t dead or anything, he just didn’t seem to be a part of my life. I grew up hearing his voice on the cassette player we had, which my mother would play when I wouldn’t sleep. Frankly, I was scared of the man who occasionally visited our house.
My parents weren’t separated; they just worked in different cities. Hence, I grew up not knowing what it meant to have a father. So when I was asked to describe my relationship with my father, I found myself in a tight spot – I did have a father, I just had no idea how I was supposed to celebrate his presence. So, therein began the search for the perfect piece which would help me pretty much ‘make up’ a father figure in my head and write about him.
That is when I stumbled across this line,
The sentence was simple: Celebrate those that were there.
It wasn’t difficult to recall the person that had been there for me. It was as if I had always known.
He was our neighbour.
The person I would run to every time my dad would visit. He taught me to walk, speak and spell my first word, ‘Czechoslovakia’ for some crazy reason. Once when I broke and hurt most of my teeth, it was him that made me eat solid food after months of being on a liquid diet. It was him that I held on to when I was sent to boarding school and later, wrote letters complaining how horrible everything in my life was.
What I know now is that he was always there. I, however, grew up and didn’t know how to thank him for everything, and little by little each of us became people with strange lives that never intersected. Until a month back:
I didn’t have his number, but fate brought him to work right near my house. Since then I’ve seen him a few times and have realized that I still do matter to him, and that if he took the place of my father, I was unknowingly the kid he never saw graduate.
There I was, last night, musing about father’s day not realizing I always had one and the fact that I had pushed him away. Freud, if alive, would have had a field day with me: pushing away the only father figure I had because mine wouldn’t pay attention to me. What, however, gives me peace was the fact that I wasn’t alone in this category. Some of us never do get the ideal fathers. We get the short hand of the stick and most of our lives we fret about it, forgetting that there probably was someone else; someone who took up the role without being asked to.
So here is Father’s Day again. And this time it shouldn’t be about the ones that never cared, but about the ones that did. They could be anyone in your life. People you look up to, people you run to when you feel hurt beyond repair and people who lift you up every time life throws you down. I refuse to believe, that we could grow into functional adults without having someone looking out for us.
So, dig deep into the unconscious and handpick the people that were always there, and if like me, you’ve maintained distance for far too long, what better day than this to mend those bridges. I’ll be calling my father figure today. The question is, “Will you?”