Seeing how it is Valentine’s Day and all. I want to take the time to talk about my dad. Perfect topic, right? After my parents divorced, I lived together with my dad. My dad is a generous man but he doesn’t know how to express his emotions outwardly in words well. Take the Valentine’s Day chocolate I got from my girlfriend. I showed him the photo and he had this to say, “This is interesting, the fact that she made all this homemade and by hand tells a lot about her creativity and caring ways . Neat stuff ! Talk with you again.” It just reads as being stiff and hallow, but is it just how I am seeing it? He could have at least asked about her or shown some interest in my life. I don’t hold it against my father. That is just how he is. But this is what I had to deal with growing up, and it hurt.
My father never praised me. But when he did I never saw it as praise. It had a wooden feel to it like his words above. He didn’t acknowledge the kinds of things I was interested in. Nor did he try to foster anything in me. For example, I liked to draw but he never asked if I wanted to take art classes. I had brought this kind of stuff up to him months ago, and his excuse was that I had others in my life that provided support. After my parents divorced, of course I felt hurt. My father felt that if he tried to tend to those feelings I wouldn’t have listened. So just abandoning your son was the better path? I just don’t accept his answer. It was a mistake on his part. It forced me to bear the responsibility of my life at a very young age.
So instead of being a role model or emotional support, my dad was essentially just a provider. And because I saw him as a provider and not my own father, I treated him poorly and took advantage of his kindness. My freshmen year of high school was largely one where I skipped school. I played a lot of video games and stayed up late. My grades were poor because I never studied either. My dad didn’t care. He let me do whatever I wanted to do.
I grew up hating him for many years. People would wonder why I complained about my father since he was a kind man. While he did provide support, he was extremely protective. It sucked away my independence that I needed to grow. He worried too much and it caused me to worry. I grew up sheltered. I didn’t know how to socialize or interact with others. So I grew to avoid them like my father.
Moving away from home and living abroad has been a rough experience, but it strengthened me as a person. I also grew to see and appreciate my dad for who he is and how he expresses his support. He may not be the kind of father that I always wanted, but I know he does care for me and would gladly provide anything if it meant my wellbeing and happiness.