My father is a humble man. He sacrificed his dreams to raise two children of his own, my brother and I, and my two older siblings my mother had had before meeting him. Growing up, I knew three things about my father:
1. He was absolutely hilarious. 2. He loved me. 3. He was sad.
These three things influenced a great deal of my childhood. My father’s sense of humour, for example, is buried deep in my mind, and often shows itself when I tell jokes. He didn’t laugh often, but when he did, I swear, I was on top of the world. I loved him so much. My huge, childish, heart tried so hard to make him happy. I helped him do renovations, I helped him build things, and I hugged him as hard as I could when I saw him cry.
It was evident how hard my father worked to support us. He was dealing with his own depression, and unfortunately, alcohol was his vice. Now, knowing the absolute hell my father has been through, I don’t blame him for turning to drinking. The man he became when he drank was not one I admired. He would yell, and enforce levels of discipline I can’t support. When I visited him in his garage workshop, I would always know when something was wrong; he would have his head down, and a glass filled with Smirnoff Vodka and orange juice grasped between his hands. He was dealing with his own demons, much like I was. I tried not to be around if he was like that. I knew he was hurting, and the only thing my mind could assume caused it was his parents. My grandparents weren’t, and aren’t, a part of my life. They left him behind, and he fought to keep up, but when he realized he couldn’t, he gave up. I watched it break his spirit.
When my father would enforce the aforementioned extreme levels of discipline, I would cry. I cried with all of the anger that filled me. I felt betrayed. I didn’t understand how a man I loved so much, and a man who made me laugh, could make me hurt so badly. By the time he’d leave my room, after a yelling match between the two of us, I would swear that I hated him. I swore I’d never speak to him again, and I knew I definitely wasn’t going to show my face to him for the rest of the day; a perfect example of how stubborn I am. After about 15 minutes, a brief cool down period for the two of us, he would come back, sit on the end of my bed, say sorry, and hug me while we cried together. It may seem silly, but I knew he loved me in those moments. That’s something I received that my siblings didn’t; he always apologized to me.
Now, after all of that being said, I love my father. I’m a daddy’s girl. I am, quite proudly, my father’s eldest daughter. He and I, though we don’t admit it, are very similar. I just hope that he can find contentment in the family he created, and stop living his life in the shadow of a family that chose to abandon him. He is loved, though maybe not in the way he hoped. He and I are very similar.
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