Saturday, November 17, 2012
Instead my Dad sat me on his lap in the car when he drove me to the creche in the village we were living back then.
What else he did I don't know but probably not too much. That's the impression I get from the stories my Mom and Dad tell me. And well, since they got divorced when I was only 2 years old I can't really rely on any of their stories because they are mixed with their feelings about their own relationship at this time. But I can tell you that:
My Dad didn't spend regular weekends with us but he was there for our birthdays and Christmas. During winter and summer holidays we spend weeks at his parents' - our grandparents'- house in the countryside and he came and visited us there quite often.
From what I remember he cared for our education and later kept asking how things went in school. He was there when I finished High school and supported me throughout my studies - despite his opinion that women don't need to study at all. Yes - he has his views on life and I have mine. Many of them differ but we know that, we talk about them and we respect them.
When I split up with a boyfriend he asked me if I wanted to talk about it.
When he calls me he knows within a minute how I feel and even says things like: "I hear you are not in a good mood. Do you want to tell me or shall we talk later?" I am 34 and it still surprises me how well he knows me.
When I was a student I regularly went to visit my Dad and stayed with him for a night or two. It wasn't rare that we'd spend the night talking up until 1 or 2 a.m. And by talking I don't mean the weather. He told me about our past. About his divorce from my Mom. How he felt back then and what went wrong. He told me his feelings about my brother's sudden death and about everything I am doing. He talks about his parents and their relationship. And I know that I can tell him everything. He knew when I was in therapy and he knew that it would do me good.
When I was little my Dad took my brother and me to football matches or other sports events. I always thought he did that for my brother. But I enjoyed it too and later when my brother was dead he still took me. At some point I realized that he loved to go to sports events and enjoyed it that I joined him.
I was the only one supporting his crazy hobby of riding a motor cycle like a maniac until the age of 60. I supported his crazy decision of buying a new one after he crashed his and was flown to hospital where I visited him at the ICU. I won't deny that I was relieved when he sold the machine but I also knew that if he would have died riding it - he would have died doing something he loved.
He loves his grandson and is sad to live that far away so he barely sees him. He does not agree on all parenting decisions we go for but he tells me that, we talk about it and he respects them.
He supports my decision to ditch my Diploma and the job I had and I studied for with (partly) his money. Because he wants me to do something I am happy with.
He has the best sense of humor - one, that sometimes only I understand.
So no, my Dad may not have been the best Dad when I was little. He cheated on my Mom when she was caring for their children. But that is their story. When it comes to what - FOR ME - was a good Dad I wouldn't trade him for the world.
And therefore I don't care if a Dad is carrying his baby in a sling or pushing him in a pram. I wish for every child to have a father that - from birth on - tries to understand him and his feelings. That is a person to look up and talk to. Talk about the good and the difficult things in life. One to laugh with but one to be quiet with too. One to share joys with. And concern. One that knows his child. Even if that means getting to know him again and again over time.