BETTER PARENT? IN HIS OWN WORDS . . .
By Adrian Fanus
The windshield of fatherhood is often tainted with dirt and grime from the experiences of mothers and children who need a remedy for the bitter and still potent sting of an absent father. Today we will start the engine, turn on the wiper blades of a different perspective and drive down the road of a paradigm shift.
Confusion grew with each step I took. A few yards seemed like a hundred miles as embarrassment and hurt crept in. In my hand was my prized the joke. That was the only physical thing my father ever gave me, but the sentimental value of the lesson still resonates daily.
“I'm pregnant.” Those words still sound as clear today as the first time I heard them fourteen years ago. Armed with the weapon of not wanting to be like my father, there was no hesitation in my reply. “I will take care of my responsibility.”
Just a child, I had no idea what those words meant, but after years of hurt and pain my defence mechanism and ego sprang at the first responsibility of parenting.
Experiencing those emotions made me more compassionate towards my father, but those walls would be built stronger than before, to protect me from succumbing to that desire.
Staring into my son's eyes and seeing the innocence of his smile would cause a tsunami of emotions in the abandoned boy inside me. How could he ignore me? How could my very existence not matter to him? How could I be reduced to a mere glance interrupting his game of dominoes? His friends must have thought it was funny. Would that little boy ever get the answers to his questions?
In fact, the answer would come from the most unexpected place.
“Dad, why don't you love me? Why do you spend so much time at work and neglect me?”
My foot weighed down a little heavier on the accelerator pedal and clarity filled my view. I was paralysed by the words coming from the mouth of my son. Where did I go wrong? Where did I drop the ball? Am I a bad father? Am I just like my father?
The questions came quicker than the answers, and with each one, I found that little boy on his walk to return the grapefruit. Maybe we are the same person. Maybe that's what unites us.
My son: I have worked all my life to be better, stronger, more responsible, more loving, more attentive and more present than he ever was. I have made sacrifices so you would never have to go through what I went through. I don't ever want you walking down that road of shame. Judge me by my actions, my son, and when you do, I want you to have a complete view of the road I travelled.
This quote give me some comfort: “By the time a son figures that his father was right, he usually has a son of his own who thinks that he is wrong.”