This is about my dad. The man who taught me to be strong, independent, stubborn. The man who never tells his wife or daughters that he loves them but who cares a great deal about the happiness and safety of his girls.
My relationship with dad is one complex ball of unspoken emotions and feelings. And if we let ourselves fight with each other (at least that is what happened a lot before), we don’t fight much now but that is probably because I am living my own life, building my own family, a couple of hundred miles away from him. Anyway, we are similar: caring but demanding, loving but strict, tender but only with the closest people and only when we feel absolutely safe to put down our guards.
Over the past years I have been trying to work on my anger towards things he did or say when I was growing up. I wanted to finally accept him as he is completely, despite the wrongs there were between us. That is because I know that all the things he did, he did out of love (and he didn’t know how to do them any different way).
One of the things that I was able to accomplish during my acceptance journey is becoming more open with him about my feelings. Especially when it came to showing my appreciation and love towards him in particular. The other day, my husband and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary and I invited dad to join us since he was in town that week. I didn’t think he’d come. He told me he was tired from work and might not be able to make and I was totally okay with that. You should’ve seen how happy I was when he arrived with a bouquet of beautiful red roses (which are his favourite). It was so special to me to share that evening with him, to see him watch and listen my friends who are much more progressive and multiple times less conservative, observe his reactions to our conversations. It was so great to see him laugh and make jokes.
After the dinner, when everyone was waiting for their cabs, I went up to dad and I just openly said: “I am very happy you made it tonight. Your colleague kept telling me how you always talk about us, your daughters, and how much you love us. I want you to know that we love you very much too.” (and if usually I’d bawl my eyes out while speaking of my love to someone I held it together this time! yay me!) He said: “Of course I love you” and we shared a hug.
I didn’t know my husband saw all that but when we came home I was telling him about that moment as if I was a little girl telling someone about shooting stars. He smiled and said: “Yeah, I saw. I know it means a lot to you. Glad you told him.”
You never know when and if you’re ever able to simply say ‘thank you’ or ‘I love you’ to the closest people in our life so I took my chance and I spoke up. Keeping it in mind is good, but it is euphoric to let those loved ones know once in awhile too.