I've been thinking about my father lately, and about how I felt about him. It may sound strange but I had a somewhat irregular relationship with my dad. Many little girls have their father as their first love. I don't think I did. I'm trying to remember the first feelings my father instilled in me and I'm pretty sure it would have to be fear. You think it's sad? I don't. My father raised me the way he had been: it wasn't all lovey-dovey, far from it. Now that I'm thinking about it, I have to say I was almost brought up like our dogs. Seriously.
I remember playing with friends in the alley behind our restaurant. I would hear a whistle and would recognized my father's; that was his way to call me home. Clients of ours would be scandalised by that. My dad would even challenged men to give it a try and see if I would come. For some reason (I'd say fear!) I would pick out his whistling among others, strange huh?
He wasn't the most affectionate father. He was a provider. He was the master of his domain, and my mother and I were his to do what he wanted with. Yep, he was old school, there's no doubt about that. He did forbid my mother to work after they got married, and she listened (she was also from that generation of women who did listen to their husbands), she stayed home and raised me.
He wasn't even really affectionate verbally. No cute name calling. He wouldn't offer much praises either. When I would complain to him about his lack of encouragements his standard answer was "If I don't tell you anything it's because it's right!" I've learned from that. A lot. It wasn't easy at all. I knew if I did something wrong I would know, and I did.
My father was abusive. Some of the things he'd say and do to me, made me the way I am today. I know that. I came to accept it. Despite it all, I've always loved my dad, that is, when I wasn't hating him! Maybe it's like those kidnaps victims who fall in love with their abductors? I don't think so. Despite all his lacks, my father did love me, and that I knew. He had a lousy way of showing it and I came to accept that. I did wish for him to be "warmer" or more demonstrative, but then again that wasn't my father. He was mad and his anger was his way of expressing his feelings. I'm not excusing his behavior, I'm just acknowledging it.
He was a very generous man, and that's one thing I did take from him. He was very realistic so much so he would be pessimistic about life in general. He would always expect the worst of people. He took a lot of chances. If he wanted something he'd make sure to get it. He was a proud man.
Throughout the years, and especially since his death, I've had to work (hard) at changing my way of thinking and feeling. I had some serious learnt behaviors that I wanted to change. I did manage to change some. I understand him a little more now than I did a few years back. My father wasn't my best friend, nor even a friend. He was my father. He was someone I respected (at one point out of fear alone) and someone I loved dearly (that much I realised after his death, sadly enough).
I kind of believe we are here to learn, to better ourselves. In having that father I did learn a lot. He taught me lessons like nobody else could. It is true what they say about something learned with our body one remembers, trust me on that one! My father taught me to persevere, to be respectful, to be proud, to be honest, to love, to be myself and to live life. My father was just a man trying, with the tools he had. I had a good father, I know that much.