The Joy of Being My Father’s Daughter

House of SticksFor much of my life, I’ve had a pretty complicated and sometimes unhealthy relationship with my biological father. There have been many times when I’ve needed him to be my Dad (you know, that solid, dependable guy who gives his best to his child) and he’s been unable to fulfil that need. As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to understand more about the imperfect adult he is (that we all are), and how fear can be powerful ruler of our lives if we let it. I’ve also had the privilege of witnessing my father’s journey with himself, which is taking him to some really good and brave new places in his interactions with others, including myself.

Recently he flew up the country to spend the weekend with me. This was the longest amount of time we have spent together – really together, really hanging out, just the two of us – for at least a decade. It was the first time I can remember feeling genuinely excited about seeing him, instead of my past sense of obligation, when I saw visits as a “good” daughter’s duty.

My father did not disappoint me. All weekend, he was present as my Dad. He was trying to provide me everything I needed – he helped me practically by being Mr Fix It around my house, he fostered my creativity by gifting me with an easel for my painting, he showed his love for me by simply sitting with me in quiet companionship.

What I love most about having my father in my life is that he reminds me to never, ever give up on people; to accept them as they are even if that means you have to let go of some of the things you had hoped for in your relationship with them; and that it’s never too late or you’re never too stuck in your ways to change, if you truly want to.

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