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My Father's Child

After an intense conversation with wearied eyes, my Dad said, " When you forgive me, you'll start to heal." Confused and emotional, I vertically shook my head and hugged him so tight. I did not understand what he meant, but the more I prayed about it, God helped me understand that the long battle I thought I was having with my father was a war with myself.

Growing up, Dad and I never understood each other's points of view. He has a hard exterior because he was forced to. On the other hand, I've always been soft because I was allowed to be. He always aimed to toughen me up while I tried to soften him down.

Not knowing that God would accomplish our desire for each other over time, we mainly bumped heads. I used to confuse his rashness as unconcern, and even when he made sense, I did the opposite. How can he tell me what to do? I murmured and sometimes said out loud. Man, sometimes I wished I had listened to him more.

With his hindsight, he could see the pitfalls approaching, and although his words were not cushiony, I did not grab hold of the warning. I was so wrapped up in contentment and resentment towards him for not being what I wanted him to be. The audacity of me to expect my Dad to perpetuate what I thought a father should be while never thinking to take accountability for my actions and inactions toward him.

My Dad is an honorable man of his word. His role in my life has been the fixer, so that's what I expected him to be. Because he's human, he was not always in the position to fix things; in my mind, those were the times I needed him most. He was my superhero, and he could do no wrong. I promise you he wasn't human until my early 30s, prior to that when I saw or called him my mind would project the following:

Although all of the above was true, I created a fantasy world and did not deal with the reality of some of the abandonment, actions, and inactions, which later grew thorns of disdain around my heart toward him.

He had been asking me to forgive him for years, and I convinced myself that I did. However, whenever he said something, I felt instant rage. What I felt I was missing from him, I tried to find in other people. Some of the stuff I wanted from him was outside of his capacity. I hardly gave him credit for the times he did try, and to be honest, he did the same.

The reason for these reciprocal actions is that we are very much alike. People said it, and I denied it. I'm nothing like him. Looking back, attaching his characteristics would force me to admit my shortcomings. It would make me realize that I am doing the same things I am condemning him for. On the flip side, if I'm similar to him, I also have his resilience, work ethic, and motivating qualities. I, too, am a charmer who can attract success and deeply believe in Christ.

Majority of his actions were rooted in love. I understand that now. Remember, he had to have a hard exterior, so hardness is all he knows. I once asked God why he made me soft, and I believe he did it so my Dad could experience it. He assigned me to him because he knew we would sharpen each other. For years, I resented our differences and ignored our similarities; however, today, I'm showered with gratitude for them.

After that intense conversation and him saying what he said, I prayed, cried, and released. Some unexpected and some realizations of certain behaviors helped me understand him and myself more. At the big age of 40, I go through my Rolodex of Dadisms, and when I can't find one, I'm still blessed to be able to call him.

Don't get me wrong, we still laugh at each other for our differences, but it's all about love, not resentment.

I'm learning that no relationship will be what we want it to be. We can't control people, and they can't control us. Wisdom is being receptive to the relationship and working with it as is. Anything you put work into will improve, and I'm so grateful God revealed this to me while my Dad is in the land of living.

I'm my Dad's child, and I'm proud to wear that hat. I'm my Momma's child, too, so don't play with me there. However, amid their traits, God throws in some characteristics unique to me, and with all that combined...I'm one bad; shut your mouth!

Don't Be shy? Can you relate? If so, please share your story? How did you repair or heal from your relationship with a parent or caregiver?

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