Flying in the wind
Dad, I just want to tell you that this family had the potential to break down because of your absence. But because of your love for me, I didn’t turn out to be screw-up kid without a dad. Instead, I grew up wise, healthy, and most importantly, I grew up to be strong. Like a seed planted in a dry, yellow desert, I blossomed gorgeous, red-tinted petals with beautiful leaves out the stem, surrounded by nothing but dirt and dry air. This family had every potential to break down without a good foundation, but you never left us to ourselves. You continued to feed us, to nourish us, and to watch us grow. And I thank you for that greatly.
Ever since I grew up, I was “Daddy’s little girl”. At only four years old, I would wait patiently, but so eagerly, for my father to come home from work. Is it eight o’ clock yet? I’d watch the clock tick and if he were just a minute late I’d worry, where is he? Why is my daddy not home yet? Finally, the doorknob would shake and my eyes would grow wide open to see my father’s presence. My dad would open the door, and I’d run to him and hug him with arms out spread out wide like a bird flying in the wind. Daddy! I’d yell. My face would smile so hard that the edges of my cheeks would burn, but I didn’t mind. I watched my father drop his bags and pick me up, throw me into the sky, and I’d fly like a bird.
Life was exciting until one vague day my father left to China. All I could recall from that day was going to school, learning how to add numbers together with my fingers. I was in the second grade. I came home from school and my mom told me not to wait tonight for my father to come home. Why? I was so curious. Because he is on a business trip, she’d say. I didn’t understand what that really meant, but I just said okay. Dad will be home in a week so I’ll wait, I thought.
10 years passed and I went from seeing my father every day, to most of the time, to a good 50 percent of the time, to only three or four times per year. I am now 17-years-old and the relationship I have with my father is difficult. Going up, down, fast, slow, upside-down. Feeling so happy at one point with my arms raised up high, and then to feeling completely nauseous at another point wishing I could just step off of this excruciating ride already. Our relationship is like a roller coaster.
Once my father started leaving for his work in China, he became a stranger to me. When he wasn’t home, I was not disciplined. I made terrible choices, never had a single A nor B on my report card, went out with friends who never influenced me for the better, and lied to my mom and brother constantly. I was a rebel and I didn’t care what my family thought. Family was last choice for me. When my father came home, he tried straightening me up, but that caused more disputes. You don’t even live here so don’t tell me what to do, I said. I threw out hundreds of “I hate you”s, but he never gave up on me.
Years passed and I grew out of my rebellious stage when I started high school and began going to church. My father was still a stranger to me, but I didn’t say much to him. He’d be so happy to come home from China to see me, but I didn’t really have a mutual feeling. I shrugged his presence and absence off.
After maturing immensely, I look back on my relationship with my father like a piece of shit (excuse my language). But, it turned out to be the greatest piece of shit in the whole world. I learned so much about myself and about my father without his being home. He taught me great things about myself that I had no idea existed inside of me, and I know that I taught him a lot about himself that he had no idea about either. Our fights were violent and uncalled for, but the end result of all the mushed up anger and resentment lead to something beautiful. And no one can see the gorgeous view of the world without struggling to reach the top of the mountain. You must, indeed, struggle for something to see the beauty of it in the end.
I look back on my father’s relationship and mine and cherish it more than anything. I was always “Daddy’s little girl” growing up and hell, I still am to this day. He sure does love me, and I’m confident about that. Knowing that 50% of my friends have parents who are split up, mainly because of their father’s choice to leave, leaves me the most thankful because my father never left. He always came back and helped support this family. I never realized how going to China was so important to him, but like my mom, brother, and me, he sacrificed a lot of his time as we did.
All in all, the pain, the tears and the hopelessness molded this family into a beautiful piece of art. I know now where my limits are and how I can be a good daughter and a good mother in the future. Without my dad’s hope in me, this family would have been left shattered into pieces.
Thank you Dad, for everything. You never gave up on me when this family reached rock bottom. That takes a lot of strength, courage, faith, and hope. I grew up in the right direction, I’m sure of it. I am a much stronger girl now, going through the pain and hardships I was left. I can now fly through the wind like a bird as an individual. Except this time, I don’t need you to lift me up because you’ve set me free. Happy father’s day, dad. I love you.
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