Thank You For Being PERSONAL Dad

Friday, April 14, 2017
After a heart wrenching conversation I had with a friend of mine this week, this post just seems fitting. We were discussing children, their relationship with their parents, and the impact the relationship (or lack thereof) has on a child. In the mists of talking about generalizations, we started discussing more personal information. I started talking about my husband because of a conversation that took place the night before. Justin and I were discussing his day and the things that occurred. He then shared that a battle buddy of his was asking questions about Justin's family and Justin quickly noticed that he could not answer some of the questions he was being asked. My husband said he just brushed it off casually stating that his family wasn't close. The dynamic of their family wasn't "that way". I could tell that saying that out loud to someone probably bothered my husband a bit. After taking some of this in.. I asked one question. I said, "Do you want a more personal relationship with your father?" His reply? "It is what it is. Can't change the past. I'm just going to be the best damn father to the children we have. I'll be personal with my kids." 

My heart broke. Literally. It just broke. My husband is an incredible man. He's smart, funny, independent, caring, giving, goal driven, just an extraordinary human being. I can't even fathom that ANYONE would not want to be personal with this man. Especially his father? A man biologically connected to him. I didn't push the issue after I heard his reply. I just sat there and let the heavy feelings resonate with me. A moment or two after, I started thinking about my own dad. My father that has literally fought tooth and nail to have a strong, PERSONAL relationship with me my entire life. I was by no means an easy child - a precocious babe, but difficult as well. Getting close to me has been such an uphill battle for my dad (product of divorce and not understanding how to organize my emotions) and even still, my dad has always made his presence known and he always extended the classic disclaimer, "I am here if you need me. I am here if you want to talk. I am here, Leilani. I always have been." 

I thought about the conversations I've had with my dad throughout my adolescence and adulthood. I've come to my dad to talk about sex, love, breastfeeding, and loss - topics most probably have never discussed with their fathers. I thought about my 16 year old self telling my dad I wanted to be put on birth control - but begging him not to tell my mom about our conversation. I remember having my heart broken and crying on my dad's couch because I just didn't know what to do. I clung to his advice like listening and following would make everything alright. I remember the first time I took Justin to meet my dad. He met my dad before he met my mom. I wasn't surprised when my dad welcomed him with open arms. I had expected him to. Since marriage and becoming a mom, our conversations have changed, but never lessened in depth or "personal" touches. Instead we talk about grieving after losing my mom, uterine surgeries, and the "What ifs" in life. He tells me how proud he is of me, my family, and his favorite son (running joke since Justin is the only "son" he has). 

Going down memory lane reminded me that even though my dad doesn't have to take care of me the same way he once did, appreciation needs to be given. So many like my husband don't have the same relationship dynamics that I have with my father. It makes me sad, but it also reminds me to be grateful. My dad has never put limitations on the things we discuss or the things we share. He has never put up walls with me, He has always let me know that we can talk about anything. So thank you, dad. Thank you for always being personal with me. I am a better woman for it and my children will be better humans for it as well.

♥- Leilani

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