My Take on Father & Kids

February 23, 2011

Last Saturday, I got to moderate #PeekAbook talkshow, a regular event held by Buah Hati and Mommies Daily. The topic was about Father & Kids, so unlike any other parenting seminar I've been to, half of the attendee was the dads, including Oki (and the kids who were playing at Giggle). Najelaa Shihab was the speaker (along with Trias and Sogi as the representative of Dads), so of course we went home with practical tips that could be implemented right away. But I'll leave that for report on Mommies Daily :D

Mbak Elaa talked about the roles of a father (there are four: player, teacher, protector and partner), some admitted that they looked back to how they were parented in determining their own parenting style. Some were inspired by how they were raised while some were totally the opposite. They didn't like the way their father raised them so they try their best to do what they wished their dads had done to them growing up.

..and I can't help but to look back to as far as I could, to remember every detail I can recall about my childhood. Sadly, there wasn't many childhood moment I have with my dad that's still in my memories. I don't even have pictures together with him when I was little, which makes me pondering if he had ever hold me when I was a baby. I think one of the first pictures of me and him was when I was already in high-school, or was it college years?.

My dad was more of a functional dad when I was little. He provided us with the essentials, but he wasn't there emotionally and physically. I remember there was one time when I was in kindergarten where I asked my mom on why I felt like I didn't know him at all, even though he was my own dad? Then my mom scolded me :(. But that's how I felt. I didn't feel close to him, I didn't feel the warm and the security a dad can give to his daughter. I was never daddy's little girl. I believed he knew nothing about me at that time, maybe not even where I went to school. The most involvement he had with my school was when he signed the report card at the end of a semester. I don't think we've ever gone somewhere to have fun together as family. I don't remember anything fun and memorable I did with my dad even though I can still picture vividly the laughter I share with my friends in kindergarten.

He just felt like a stranger to me that one day when he went home when my mom was Surabaya, and no one was home except me and my grandma who was sleeping in that afternoon, I pretended to not hear the knocks on the door. I remember I peeked from the window, I saw him standing in front of the gate where he waited for a few minutes..and then he walked away :'( . I felt bad afterward, and I still do!.

When I was in high school, things got so much better. The universe seemed to conspire in making us to be like a normal loving family. Too bad I quickly left the country for 10 years so I didn't get enough times to get closer to him, but knowing that he was a better dad for my sister and brother is good enough for me. I didn't look for father material in him anymore, but I began to see him and respect him as a person. He was indeed a remarkable individual, an inspiration in both professional achievement and social works.

So, do I hate him for my *practically* fatherless childhood? Nope, not at all!. There were times when I wished he was there in the playground to catch me at the end of the slide...but I believed everything I experienced from the day I was born contributed to shape and mold myself..and I like who I am today. So if anything, I should thank him for giving me room to make the best out of the situation, to challenge myself, to go beyond my limit, to hone my leadership skill and to reach for my dream. Thank you dad, I love you and I'm proud of you!

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