The relationship between a father and daughter could be a special relationship, especially one which nurtures trust, love, and respect. The photo above at the instant I took the pictures (near Malibu, Ca) I felt those emotions come through me as I watched a young father and daughter enjoying the beach, digging their hands through the sand, watching the waves come in, but never letting his daughter get close enough, as a way to protect her. I treasured the moment from beginning to end as I thought about my childhood with my father.
Growing up with seven siblings; four brothers and three sisters was a challenge for both my parents and unfortunately, the relationship I dreamed of having with my father quickly dissipated in my early childhood because of all the fighting between my parents from the pressures of making ends meet.
We had family traditions which we all looked forward to because it was a time of peace. I know I did, when we attended Catholic mass on Sundays, or went to the movie theatre or the park to picnic and play sports with relatives. Those were the best times. My father is a stoic type of man, more so when it came to discipline, which at times, required lashings and verbal abuse which consisted of being spoken down to and being made feel worthless. Then there was the time I began dating a boy in High School, who wasn’t allowed to visit me beyond the sidewalk of our home, which I disagreed with because I couldn’t understand my father’s logic because I didn’t have those boundaries while in school, at school. It seemed like every conversation with my father was an argument, walking away feeling completely misunderstood until I just gave up trying to communicate my feelings, my questions and confusions, never feeling content with anything which was a part of my life, whether it was sports in school, or friendships. I felt like I just couldn’t connect with my peers and isolated myself much. At times focusing on art to distract myself, which is still part of my life today.
As my parents have aged, they now reflect on the things they could’ve done different with all eight children, and although the past seems so far behind now, there are traces in my memory of the not so great times, and how it changed each and every one of my siblings I feel, in phases of my parents marriage as we got older. There were times I wanted to talk to my parents about serious personal issues, but I just couldn’t bring myself fully to do so because the trust wasn’t fully there. The fear of being judged and physically lashed hindered my relationship with both my parents. There was nothing I could tell my mother, without her discussing with my father. Therefore, I kept most things to myself not being able to relate to my fellow peers and their happy lives.
I love both my parents, and although it may still be difficult at times to discuss personal issues with them, I can’t help but notice with every year that passes, their level of need for medical care increases, and what I’m left with is who I am, what I value, and the nurturing side of my human spirit which takes over. My conversations with my parents have much more depth and carry advice at times. Sometimes a little too late, but better late than never.