Was My Father Emotionally Reserved and Stoic? At 24 Years of Age, I still Wonder…
Truth be told, sometimes even today at 24 years of age, I have complaints about my father being emotionally reserved and stoic. As a child, I was worse. I often wondered if my father really loved me unconditionally or if his love was conditional on how much marks I received in my exams and how many hours I dedicated to studying each day. He is not one for physical affection whereas I happen to be very physically affectionate. He is not one for praising or congratulating me on my successful endeavours. I often interpreted his parenthood as something the universe had dumped on his shoulder and if society had directed his life towards me. I was ashamed when I realised that ever since I was conceived, every step he had taken and every breath he had breathed has been for my sake. Slogging for hours at work, only to return home and sit with me and my lessons so that he could provide for my needs and I could grow up to provide for myself. So that I could become a better, educated and wise soul who could shoulder life with all its ups and downs. While he had accepted me for who I really was, I had failed to love him for his stoic yet caring personality. He has taught me the most crucial lesson- that life is unforgiving. He has spoiled me while imparting the practical realities of life.
A man would also want to be the first to hold his baby, and witness the baby’s “first” everything but often has to miss out on the milestones due to societal norms and work.
I have undervalued my Father as a Parent, as a Guardian, as a Protector and as a Caregiver
My father has never defended himself for all the times I have blamed him for not loving or caring for me enough. Never has he bared his portfolio of all the things he has done only for me to have a better life. I have undervalued him as a parent, as a guardian, as a protector and as a caregiver. I have found love in his “Have you studied today?”, “How was school?”, “What do you plan on doing in future?”. His love language is concern and in his unwavering support of every decision I have made. I have learnt to decode his silence and actions. We have a silent deal of never expressing our love for each other and just keep going and doing. I am proud of him and I hope he is proud of me too. I hope he knows that he is my rock and without him, I would be lost but all the years with him will help me find my way back.
Fathers typically have the connotations of being the family’s primary provider, the enforcer of rules, the alpha male, and the reserved kind. Like our mothers, our culture has assigned certain roles to fathers as well. Compared to mothers, fathers are considered and expected to be less sentimental. “Men don’t cry“, and according to the saying, they are not encouraged to display their emotional outburst before their family members and are typically taught to hide their emotions, hardships, and overbearing responsibility. Their suffering goes silent. However, that does not exclude them from sensing the frailty of parenthood. A man becomes a father only after he holds the little monster in his arms whereas a woman becomes a mother ever since she conceives the baby, and naturally, it would take a lot longer to ace parenthood in comparison to the latter. A man would also want to be the first to hold his baby, and witness the baby’s first-everythings but often has to miss out on the milestones due to societal norms and work. Just like the mothers, fathers too spend sleepless nights coaxing and cooing their bawling babies to sleep.
A father is a stable entity. He might not always provide the kids with vocal guidance. He travels the path and leaves his mark for his children. A father must therefore be aware that his children look up to him. On occasion and when needed, he might assert his tough love.
Fathers are Underrated as Parents
Fathers are underrated as parents and whatever the reasoning, it is admirable to celebrate paternity in order to acknowledge a father’s contribution to his children and society. Mothers frequently receive praise for the things they do for their offspring and households. However, moms and fathers are equally crucial members of a family. A family cannot survive without either pillar, and children cannot have a decent and happy existence.
Today, we are ambling towards a society that is soft and flexible with gender roles. Parenting is a shared job. A teamwork. The society is nurturing mothers who are as work bound and fathers who are as comfortable with voicing their emotions thus equalising parental roles for both mothers and fathers. As long as the children understand that they are loved by both unconditionally, it builds a healthy family unit that in turn strives for a better society and consequently, a better world.
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My dad cried near the very end of his life. It was not of weakness. He is one of few men, I will ever know, that showed so much gratitude. His tears were of gratefulness, for laying eyes upon me in the morning, for sustenance, even for the simplest of meals. Perhaps, we should all rejoice thusly of appreciation for the things we so often take for granted. Before the end, I saw him cry only twice within my life. Once, in compassion for the human condition, in particular, the suffering of his sister (who, without his help, was declared paralyzed), and again in respect to those deceased for America & overseas, in regards to their adoration for what their country stood for, or meant to them, the suffering of all peiple in the wars our governments chose, and the care the fighters had for the people residing therein. This is a great post you have shared. I really miss my dad.
Thank you so much for sharing! I am glad it touched you. Nobody will ever be able to take his place in your heart but you have all the beautiful memories with him to embrace. Take care 🌻