“Do you celebrate Father’s Day?”

I was asked this question once by a friend who knew about my family’s past. With an “interesting” history like mine, I tend to get a series of questions especially when Father’s Day rolls around. 🙂 I don’t mind it at all! I would have asked the same things to someone else. It’s only natural.

Yes, I do still celebrate Father’s Day. Why not?

Despite what happened, my brother and I still do acknowledge him as our dad and we do meet him for a meal once a week mostly. As I mentioned before in my previous posts (http://brokenbeautiful.org/daddys-little-girl/ and http://brokenbeautiful.org/unashamed-determination/), I do not have anything against my father.

“But wouldn’t it be awkward?”

Well, it depends on my dad’s mood. Most of the time (when he is in a relatively okay to good mood), my brother talks about politics/business/sports news with my dad while I usually just listen in. Dad usually asks about my job and health, sometimes about my mum, and I answer politely. I don’t talk much with my dad, don’t know why (this is something I hope to improve on). Just seems that I don’t want him to overthink details, so best to not tell him so much. My dad is a tough character. He is hard-headed and sometimes does not accept things well.

Dinner is then followed by grocery shopping which my dad usually offers to pay for (even though the items are not for himself). If he’s in a bad mood, we just listen to him talk/nag/complain and try to let him calm down.

“Are you emotional whenever Father’s Day comes around?”

Hmm, yes and no. I used to get really affected last time when I was younger. The sight of happy families, especially of good fathers with the family, is a little heart-wrenching for me. But now that I am able to come to better terms with my situation, it doesn’t affect me as much anymore – though this does come with effort. I still have to mentally tell myself not to self-pity or be envious of others who are “better off”. However, this isn’t specific to only around Father’s Day. It just comes and goes.

“You must still have emotional hits. What triggers these?”

Yes, I admit, I do. I am just really good in concealing them in public, but I do let it out in front of people I trust. In fact, one happened yesterday at church.

As it was Father’s Day, I watched as the fathers who were present at church form a line up front. The Pastor asked for anyone who had their father present to collect a small gift which the church prepared and pass it to their own father. I remained seated as I watched others, old and young, passing out the love gift to their dads with smiles and hugs. I certainly felt something in my heart. Victor, my fiance, was attentive to the change in my body language. He laced his fingers tightly around mine in reassuring comfort. His own father was the Pastor up on stage, so he didn’t have to hand out the gift to him. I smiled at him, but couldn’t help entertaining the sad thought that came through:

I wish I could be up there with my dad too…

Instead of pushing away the thought, I worked through the emotion. I told myself that yeah, it would be nice if my father was there, then I prayed that one day it would happen. Maybe next year, or the year after next. I told myself to continue hoping and having faith. And just as swiftly as the sadness came, it went away. What remained was peace and contentment.

Then, the whole church stood as the Pastor led us in prayer over these fathers and their children who stood by them. I stretched my arm out towards them and felt genuinely happy for these fathers and their sons/daughters. I prayed that their relationships grow stronger with God guiding them in everything they do!

“What irritates you the most about Father’s Day?”

When I see fathers who don’t talk to their family at the meal table. Yesterday evening, my brother and I took my dad out for a nice Chinese dinner at nearby restaurant. My dad was in a good mood. They talked mainly about some Malaysian politics and then on football, since the 2018 World Cup just commenced a few days back. As I am neither into politics nor football, I turned my attention to the table next to us.

It was a 4-seater rectangular table. The father was seated across his young girl toddler, who was in a high chair, and his wife was seated beside the toddler. As they waited for the food to arrive, the father was on his phone all the time. The mother was left to attend to the little girl on her own. The girl was still in good spirits, though, and she continued jabbering happily in her oblivious state. The mother responded and played a little with the girl. The father continued to be engrossed with his phone. Not a single word came out from him.

I am not perfect, and I try not to judge from the outlook of things. I thought to myself that perhaps he was working on something urgent and that when the food came, he would engage his wife and daughter in somewhat of a conversation.

The food arrived… and the father remained quiet through the meal. The only noise was coming from the little girl and the mother as she tried to feed the hyper kid. The father brought out his phone here and there during the meal, but not a word from him to his wife/kid. He did not pick food to serve them either. It looked as if he was a stranger wrongly placed with them at the same table. Wow. What kind of relationship is that?

Needless to say, that’s the start of many broken marriages/families. Communication is key in any relationship. Show of love/affection can be a form of communication too, not just words! I get it if someone is just naturally of few words, but what’s your excuse if you don’t show your love and attention?

A father figure is very important in the family – and this is coming from someone who has a broken family. I am sure, if you asked my father what his biggest regret is, he would say that he wished he could have been a better father and husband. Fathers lay an important foundation for the upbringing of their kids and the well-being of the household. Fathers tend to forget this known fact: that no one can buy happiness. But anyone (you) can create happiness in so many ways – many of which do not cost anything but time and effort.

I had a good Father’s Day with my dad, and I hope you did too. Although my dad and I are not having the ideal relationship, I continue to have hope that we will one day have that kind of relationship. Till then, I seek refuge in my relationship with the Heavenly Father above!

“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” Psalms 68:5

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