Q&A: How did you mend your relationship with your father? Happy Father's Day!


When I was young, my dad lived in Clevland. He would pick me up and we'd go on adventures all over the city. Well, they were probably just errands he needed to run, but to me, they were secret missions, and I was just happy to be along for the ride.


In the winter, we would walk to the bus stop. He would wrap my little hand inside of his fist and put it in his coat pocket so I wouldn't be cold. I had to be around 5 or 6, but I remember loving that feeling so much. I was happy, I was protected. I was loved.


When it was time to learn to ride a bike without training wheels my dad took me to a parking lot and worked with me until I had it down. I remember weaving in and out of parking cones, showing off my newly acquired biking skills. Doing tricks and bragging to whoever would listen that I could ride without training wheels!


I remember my dad carrying me into the house when he would take me back home to my mother. I would pretend to be asleep so he would hold me and tuck me into bed. I loved my father with my whole heart; I was the definition of a daddy's girl. So when he broke my heart, it changed me. It broke me in ways that I didn't fully realize until I became an adult, changing my life forever.



 

Welcome back to a very special Q&A post! I don't talk about my relationship with my parents too often, but I felt the need to tell this story in particular, especially with it being Father's Day!.


If you've spent any time with me, then you know I have a great relationship with my father. That man is consistent, steadfast, and shows up for me whenever and however I need him. We have arrived at a place in our relationship I hadn't thought possible. He is one of my best friends, but that hasn't always been the case.


This time five years ago, we weren't even speaking. I was so angry at him for things he'd done or didn't do in my childhood. For how he'd let me down and hadn't been what I needed him to be.


He'd hurt me. He was my very first heartbreak, and it affected me in every aspect of my life. As a teenager, I looked for love in all the wrong places. I sought validation to cover the sting of the rejection I felt from his actions. I didn't feel loved, protected, or happy for years.


We went through these cycles where we'd talk for a while then go radio silent for one reason or another. These silent periods could last weeks, months, even years. This went on throughout my adolescent to young adult years. We couldn't figure out how to communicate with each other. I was angry at him for what I perceived as his failures as a father, and he wanted the respect that I was too hurt to have for him. It created a painful cycle that left us both reeling and wanting; waiting for the other to realize how wrong they'd been.


So how did we fix it? I'm sure that's the question brewing in your brain. Well, it took a few things to get us to the place we are now.


Proper Timing

We were both in a place mentally and emotionally to truly allow healing to transpire. We realized the errors we'd both made over the years. He had been doing the work on himself, and I'd been working on me. Yes, that means therapy! Without knowing it, we'd both been in therapy as individuals. This helped us to be ready for the conversations needed to heal our relationship.


Letting go of the Blame

For me to heal, I had to let go of the blame I placed on my father. It's not an easy thing to do. I saw the connection my relationship with my dad had on the rest of my life and I wanted to blame him for every bad thing I'd gone through. But at some point, we have to own our stuff. As an adult, my decisions became mine, I couldn't keep blaming my parents for the choices I made. It was time for me to woman up and take control of my life.


I saw my father as a man, not just my dad.

There's a liberation that comes with hearing your parent's story. You get to see how they were just a person, doing the best they could with what they had at the time. You begin to understand that they couldn't give you what you needed, simply because they did not have it to give. I've had the privilege of knowing my father as a person. I know what he was going through as a man while I needed him as a father. And while it doesn't absolve him of the mistakes he made, I can understand why he couldn't be there the way I needed him to be.


I had to stop looking at my dad from the hurt child perspective within me. I began to see him as my equal, another adult doing his best. I remember how clueless I was at 21, and how at 29 I'm still figuring this parenting thing out, and I can't help but give grace. Our parents aren't experts. They aren't all-knowing just because they are a bit older than us. They are working through things just like we are, and if you want a healthy relationship with them, you have to accept and acknowledge that fact.


Once we'd re-established the lines of communication, we were able to work toward healing. We hashed out the things that needed clarity, and we let go of the things that had no place in our present or future.


Letting go of that pain was the best thing I could have done. Now my dad and I have an amazing relationship. Not only is my dad a wonderful father to me, but he's an even better grandfather to my kids. They love their Poppi and he adores them in return. Watching my father love my kids gives me sheer joy, knowing they have a full village showering them in love is all I could hope for.


Five years ago, I never would've imagined my dad and I would have the relationship we have now. As long as you both are alive and willing, you too can work towards having a healthier relationship with your father. For those of you longing for that, don't give up. Stay open, it can happen!


Finally, to all of you amazing fathers out there, trying your best to do a job you may have had little to no preparation for, we salute you!


Happy Father's Day!


As a gift to my readers, take 20% off your purchase when you visit our store in June.

Use code: DAD


 

As always, thank you for tuning in with me today! I hope you have an amazing Juneteenth and Father's Day weekend!


Until next time, stay blessed.



Love,


Dina Shanae

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