The Definition Of A Dad!MY VIEWS, PARENTING | Nirasha Jaganath | June 16, 2012 at 6:39 am
When I was around 14 years I remembered a friend asking me if I missed my dad, who had died a year ago. I took a split-second to reply that I missed having a dad. She misunderstood it to mean I missed my dad so I quickly corrected her that I missed the concept of a dad, but not mine. You know those romanticized images that movies help to instil (take me fishing, to a ball game, father-daughter dance etc)? Except well fishing involved worms and I was not a worms kinda girl, and there were no such ball games that I knew of in South Africa (or not in my colored little neighborhood) and father-daughter dances were not around, but still I loved the notion. I loved the notion of the warmth and protection, and the feeling that I was loved. My own dad gave me none of those feelings and now in my wiser (older) age I can concede he had some redeeming qualities (he was a born entrepreneur) he still did not live up to any of my ideals. Absentee dad would be almost forgivable if I ever felt loved, which I did not. I am also never one to romanticize a person’s life when they are dead.
Of course saying it was not considered very loyal, but since I bore the brunt of his cold ways I felt entitled to my feelings. Needless to say I had tall expectations for the person I married. I never imagined someone as the “future father of my children” but more as someone who was a good person, which made them a good husband and also a father. No matter how much you think you know someone, throw a screaming baby in their lap, with a heavily soiled diaper when no-one has had sleep, and you could test the limits of saints, let alone parents. Truth be told, it also is a great testament to how true that whole “equal relationship” concept that was boasted while dating is.
So while I approached everything parenting (and otherwise) with a “hope for the best but expect the worst” attitude, it seemed like nothing would faze him. Nothing rattles me more when I am losing my cool to see someone not losing theirs. Yes, the man was the first to hear the kid cry at night and he still practically walks in his sleep as we play bed-roulette at times. I mean, you have to admire a guy who folds his body like a pretzel in order to fit into a bunk bed with zero complaints and would still, without fail, give little butterfly kisses to the sleeping kiddo as he moves her to her correct bed.
Of course there are things he does not do perfectly, well according to his girls anyway. The list would start off from those poor looking braids (bless the teacher who takes pity on them when I travel), or that he has an obsession with animals, in fact the girls have banned him from any animal sketches. Thankfully he does love playing sport, something I may do out of necessity, but never out of love, and so he covers those angles. When the curve ball came in the way of my oldest’s Autism diagnosis I spent no time pondering his dedication or evaluating the direction things may take. But while I was in the waiting room while my child got therapy, a mom mentioned how hard it was going it alone since her husband wanted her to deal with “all of this stuff”. I could not even fathom what it would be without that support.
I am not surprised how he takes it all in his stride, in fact I would be surprised if the man I chose to be my partner did not. As it impacted us financially and emotionally we did not falter and am glad to say that love and support has yielded amazing returns. As we dream and grow together, so do our children. While I can’t see him going fishing with the girls (can you imagine him with a worm?) or drawing any awards when the father-daughter dance comes around (what can I say, the man has 2 left feet), ball games he has not only turned up at, he even coaches them. I feel confident that if I had to look up the definition of the perfect dad, his sweet face would be sporting a silly grin back at me. Now that is a definition that makes sense to me (and to his little girls).
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, and part of me being a “Hallmark, Life is a special occasion ambassador”. Personally loving the opportunity to share a window to my life.