I am a man living a life of quiet desperation in my own home. I don’t know if there any more like me out there. Hope there aren’t too many. I’m not desperate for money for I’m not in any financial trouble, nor am I desperate because of a death threatening situation, I’m in the pink of health. My desperation is of another kind.
I had been a self-assured and confident man as regards to my role as a father and to the discharging of a father’s responsibilities. I was sure that I had shown enough love to my children, that I’d given them adequate care and concern when they were growing up. I seen myself having provided adequately for them in material comfort and that I had given them enough guidance on how to be responsible citizens. Having done all these I assured myself that I had done a more than adequate job. Or to confess, deep in my heart I have always thought I had done a pretty decent job. Reaching this stage of life which I am in now, I thought I could sit back and reap the harvest for the work I had put in. I had envisaged a zero-barrier relationship with my children. I had always dreamt of a chatty, light-hearted, carefree and cheerful relationship.
Boy, was a surprise lay in store for me!? I could never had created a bigger surprise for myself! I’m bewildered at how things have turned out. I’m amazed at how reality can be so different from what I’d envisaged. Had I lived in a fantasy world of my own, dreaming my own sweet dreams, deluding myself to believe I had done well and enough and could now expect some rewards.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that my children are bad, or that they don’t love me, not that they don’ care for me or are not concerned for me. Nor are they an irresponsible lot. They do love me, they do care and are concerned for me and they are responsible people but there is something missing, something I wish for. That something is meaningful conversation between us. This is something I dearly want to have in our relationship and I’m sure this is what all other fathers also wish to have.
I am now in a daze. Where have I gone astray, what have I missed? Am I expecting too much from the children? I don’t think so for I see no gap in my children’s communication with their mother. My children can be chatting with their mom and laughing merrily away, while I am left out in all of this even though I am physically in the vicinity. This merriment and gaiety can just clamp up as soon as my presence is felt. Or more correctly put, as soon as the shadow of my presence or a slight sniff of my presence is felt. I witness this happening in other families too. Come to think of it, I’m certain there are many in my category. Now, I”m quite sure I’m not the only poor chap suffering in quiet desperation.
What has gone wrong along the line? Has the communication connection been wired wrongly? Is there a lesson to be learnt here for young fathers? A lesson not to be over confident in your own efforts, opinions, not to assume too much, not to give too much credits for your own deeds. A lesson that all fathers shouldn’t place too much expectations from children-parent relationship? I think there is also a lesson for the children here.
I believe we are all ‘works-in-progress’ and I also view this relationship of mine with my children also as a piece of work-in-progress, so I am certain things will work out alright in the end. May there be joy, happiness and warmth in all children-father relationships around the world.
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