It was Father’s day this past Sunday, and I was feeling a bit nostalgic. Missing the father I had lost, wishing I could also celebrate Father’s day with him.
Social media doesn’t make it any better, the pictures and messages remind you of your difference. However something else struck my attention on father’s day, a Facebook status that read “happy father’s day to my mom-who has been both my mother and father to me”
This statement bothered me a bit, I’ve always maintained and probably said it to my mom in conversation that a mother can never be a father. The statement almost glorifys single mother hood, as if our mothers have always dreamt of successfully raising children by themselves.
This made me wonder, if the relationships we have (or lack there of) with our fathers have an impact on the way we interact with men. The men we choose to date or marry, the men we work with, the men who we perceive as friends. Do we go around trying to fill voids that our fathers were suppose to fill?
I had an amazing relationship with my father, when I was eleven he was already telling me about sex, boys and relationships. He taught me how to drive when I was twelve (two months before he passed away), and if there’s anything I will never forget is that I can’t remember a day when my father told me I was beautiful. I remember an incident where I walked towards wearing a new dress, I had a test in my hand for him to sign for school. Now the eight year old me expected him to compliment my beautiful dress, instead he looked at my test paper and said “you are so smart, I wonder who you take after”.
I did not understand than, that he was teaching me to value more than just my beauty, because that’s what the world will see first therefore I need to remember I am more than just that. He contributed a lot to the person I am today, how I think, my ambitions and I will always be thankful for that because had I not had a relationship with him, I would probably have the perception that my mother is both mother and father to me.
I think as women we need to evaluate ourselves, if you are able to heal and forgive, you’re saving yourself from a domino effect of mistakes that would have fed into your children’s lives one day. No matter how much we deny it, the relationships we have with our fathers shape our perceptions. Hopefully as time goes by we will learn to nurture those relationships so we can learn from them.
Grace, love and peace be upon you.
(This article is a dedication to my late father Vusi’zinsizwa Churchill Msimang – my legend thank you for speaking life into my future, I will never forget you. And to my uncle Tebogo Kwape – for always being there as a second father. Your support and love overwhelms me.)