I lost mine two weeks ago. My sister and I were very close to him. He was very different from most fathers of his generation. A father who completely trusted us and our ability to take decisions. A father who shared and discussed his value system but never forced it on us. One who let us develop our own identities and personas. A father broad minded enough to tell his daughter leaving for higher studies to not commit to her boyfriend but keep her options open.
A hands on father – he packed our lunches all through our school lives. One who made the perfect glass of milk – the perfect temperature, the right balance of Horlicks and sugar and no lumps left after mixing. Even now, he was the one who gave us our night glasses of milk!! (Have been skipping milk now for most of the last two weeks).
We discussed everything under the sun with him – science, the big bang, evolution, history, geography, Agatha Christies, politics, religion, sex, relationships – you name it. Our relationship with our parents was highlighted by its openness. Not once do I remember ever having to lie to them or to hide anything from them.
Anyway. My meandering mind will keep dredging up memories and this blog will end up becoming about just one father. I wanted to write about fathers and fatherhood. No expert on parenting or relationships, I just wanted to write about how fathers have added meaning to their relationships. And I feel it is especially important in today’s context, as more and more fathers are becoming hands on parents. Many of them will not have similar reference points from their own childhood.
- Be yourself. A cliche but true. The person one is, will define the kind of father he will be. Don’t try to be something different as a father. No point being a disciplinarian, if you are someone who lives life by the moment. Just be yourself, and let the child evolve into herself.
- Respect – Before love, care or anything, the emotion that comes first is respect. I believe, that the foundation of any relationship, is respect. And if you respect those around you, your child learns the same. I think that was one of the first values we were taught at home.
- Love with all your heart – Traditionally men have been conditioned to restrain their emotions. No need to. My husband is one of the MOST soppy fathers I have ever seen. And he is not ashamed. And his kids absolutely love it!
- Keep your promises – One of the most vivid memories my husband has from his childhood is when his father kept his promise of buying him a bicycle. His father worked in a different city and he took a special leave just to come back to his home town and buy his son the bicycle on the promised date. You keep your promises – your kids will learn to keep theirs.
- Fun time – I once stayed at a relatives’ place. The next morning, I woke up to see him and his kids excitedly getting ready for a walk. The amount of excitement, energy and fun there was in the air, will forever remain etched in my mind. Making the mundane and the trivial fun is an art. And fun is what makes our memories bright and sunny.
- Labour of love – Its not only the mom’s job to do all the physical work. Bathe your baby, feed him, clean him, oil his hair, cook for him, help him with homework and crafts and basically everything. My brother in law does it all. Respect.
- Alone time – Just have some daddy – baby time together. Go and eat out. See a movie together. Chill out at places you both like. My son loves this time he spends with his dad.
- And the list can go on….. But I don’t plan to do all the work. Please share your own experiences with your dads or as dads yourselves. Would love to hear from you. So Long!