I informed my dad that I am writing a series of posts on fatherhood. I asked him about all the emotions he had felt as a dad. He thought for a while and then replied, “Love.” Well, but that’s natural, all dads love their kids. So, he re-thought and came again, “I love my daughters than anyone can imagine, that is the only emotion that stands out from all the years of raising you both.”
There was a point here. Because love is spoken of too very often, because love is like a next-door neighbour, because everybody loves – it didn’t sound a valuable emotion to me at first. However, from a father’s thirty five years of memory, if that is the only thing that stands out, then it needs to be celebrated. Here’s a small celebration for a big phenomenon – Daddy Love!
I am not sure if I thought about that tender emotion of our dad towards us until I left home for college. While mom’s love was apparent through food and in other everyday occurrences, dad’s was just somewhere in the corner. I remember the first time I felt touched by my dad’s love, I suddenly felt guilty that I had overlooked it all the while. From walking long in the sun for my college admissions to making sure to have got all that was required for my new hostel life, my dad did everything possible for my first stay away from home. I can still recall that moment when my mom and dad stood at the door of my hostel room to leave. Apart from the feeling of home sickness, I felt a profound understanding of my dad’s love. My mom could cry while dad struggled heavy at his heart with difficulty. And it touched me! Ever since then, my bond with my dad had grown increasingly stronger. There was mom with us all along. But from the time I was on my own, dad’s love, concern and care was visible from behind the years of curtains.
Well, I was to write about fatherhood emotions but I have filled half the page with daughterhood emotions 🙂
Experiencing father’s love as a daughter and watching your man experience love in fatherhood are two different things. I don’t remember my infant and toddler phases. So, I have no awareness of what my dad felt when we were kids. In fact I had always doubted if fathers can bond with children in their early years. When I was carrying my first child, I couldn’t figure out if the father carried some love in his heart for the baby. When he touched my belly and spoke nice words to the moving bundle inside, I doubted if all that nicety was genuine. When he held the baby for the first time confused of which finger of his holds which part of the baby, I wondered when he would begin to bond with the baby without apprehension. May be my motherly arrogance blinded the scenes then. However, four years past now, I understand a dad’s love much closer than how I did as a daughter. I have witnessed the mutual love they feel for each other – yes, the father and the son. And from my experience I would say, one emotion that men are most vulnerable to is the love that they experience through fatherhood. And most often such experiences happen in simple things.
Ask a dad who returns home after an exhaustive day of work and driving to see the baby squeal in excitement to see him. Ask a dad who quietly bears the pain when his little son is entertained by curling and pulling his dad’s hairs. Ask a dad whose face the baby recognizes for the first time to give a smile. Ask a dad whose hands his daughter refuses to part on the first day of the school. Ask a dad when the baby sleeps on his chest like a royal king. Ask a dad when his little one asks, “Do you want to a bite from my chocolate?” Ask a dad who receives a paper of scribbling as the birthday present from his little one. Ask a dad who looks into the screen to see his baby the first time over a skype call. Ask a dad when he gets ready to office but his toddler son would not let him go.
They all will tell you that they simply felt that something which they don’t know how to explain. As a matter of fact, the essence of fatherhood lies in many such small things. Feeling loved by these tiny beings who were created from you is wholesome for they know nothing but love. The very feeling that they anticipate your presence when it is time for you to return from office can take you to mountains. And when you meet them back at the railway station after a month’s vacation can take you from the mountains to the skies!
This post is the third in The Secret Emotions of Fatherhood series I am attempting to write about. Please share those little moments of love with your fathers or as fathers with your little ones below. The intention of this series is to value, recollect and celebrate fatherhood. Please join in!