I can’t relate to people who didn’t know their dads when they were growing up. Meka describes her father almost as a force of nature in her childhood. A lot of people say their dad was aloof, apart from the everyday functioning of the family and – like most forces of nature – was best left alone. No wonder ugly ties became a cliché of Father’s Day; it was the gift of the last resort for someone unknowable.
On the other hand, I knew all too much about my dad growing up. I was bothered by the fact all these other dads I heard about were almost God like in powers. They could fix things. They meted out praise and punishment based on a set of rules most likely hewn into living rock. My dad did not fix things around the house. He wasn’t omniscient; while I didn’t get away with murder, I managed to skirt around a lot of things that – to this day – he probably knew nothing about. He was just this life size human being. He made mistakes and I had to grow up and deal with it.
Since I’ve become a parent, I’ve seen my dad in a whole new light. He wasn’t perfect, but he did the best he was able to do. I think that’s all anyone can hope for. He screwed up, but I managed to turn out – more or less – okay. I am better with tools than my dad, but I am hardly a God like force of nature in our home. I make plenty of mistakes when dealing with Daniel, but so far he’s – more or less – okay.
I hope that I’m accessible to Daniel, someone who is a life sized human being. I hope that someday he can look back the way I look back now and say that I wasn’t perfect, but I tried my best to make him a better person. Perhaps we will share an understanding when he’s older, the way I have a connection with my dad now that I didn’t have when I was younger. At the very least, I hope to avoid ugly ties on future Fathers Days.