Hi everyone, this week’s post will give you a look into my relationship with my father. I hope you enjoy this one as it took me quite a while to find just the right words to describe the mighty man my father is!
To begin with I must tell you a bit about our language and culture. In Sri Lanka, depending on the region you call home, you call your parents by different titles. My siblings and I call my father “thathi” which loosely translates to ‘daddy’. As I mentioned previously, I grew up in Zambia where my father worked as an accountant for over ten years. Most of the 1980’s, the bulk of my childhood, was spent travelling from Zambia to Sri Lanka with one trip down to South Africa with friends. While my father showed us the world with our travels, he taught us much more at home. From the Sunday school classes I learned about Buddhism and in participating in Sinhalese cultural events I learned about my rich heritage and culture. And most important of all he helped me with my homework, especially maths and science. Actually he helped all three of us with our studies; whether we remember much of that is another question!! To be honest, there wasn’t much he didn’t do. He even cooked amazing meals and took care of me when my mother had gone back to Sri Lanka to have my brother. For someone who spent that much of her childhood with him you’d think I would have an awesome relationship with him.
The truth is that my relationship with thathi resembles more of a roller coaster. Isn’t that true for most people though? Who can honestly say they have the best relationship with their dad?? No relationship with parents is anywhere close to perfect. I had my rebellious phase and was probably the one who ticked him off the most, and was punished swiftly and appropriately. A month of no TV was the result of one such episode!! I know, a small price to pay until much later in life I learned how books would be much better!! Of course after my sister was born his relationship with me changed ever so slightly, which sort of led to a few jealous episodes from seven-year-old me pushing her away and taking away her toys. Despite those episodes back then my sister has become my best friend and confidante. But this post is not about her, it’s about our thathi.
I think out of the three of us I’m the one who’s known thathi the longest, being the first born and all. My relationship with him has several deep layers and is a bit complicated. I’m not sure if my siblings agree but I find that thathi and I share similar traits. We’re both persistent, stubborn, and determined to do the best in everything. We both put 150% into our work and commit to anything we put our minds to. Our family and close friends mean a lot to both of us. Although I became a librarian and preferred reading books to applied science and numbers like him, I’ve inherited his love for our Sinhalese culture and heritage. I know now that despite the turbulent episodes in my life with him, he’s given me a rich and bountiful childhood which acted as a strong foundation to building my character. With everything both my parents have taught me I try really hard to live my life according to the traditional Sinhalese values while growing up into the modern world we live in now.
Okay, enough of the past. It’s safe to say that our thathi has done an amazing job bringing up all three of us and making us into the adults we are today. He must have done a good job because I see so much of him in my brother now. Just like thathi, my brother is a very dedicated father and hard-working husband. Although he’s been working non-stop most of the last year at his high-flying job, my brother always has time for his two daughters. My brother-in-law is quite similar in the way he spends time with his daughter. Both these younger dads, in my opinion, are doing a great job as fathers in this new age. Sure technology has advanced and the ever-present smartphone is whipped out to calm down a fretting child during meal-times, but the level of engagement and encouragement these young girls get from their fathers to be the best is truly remarkable. I can’t help but be proud of both of these young dads. Although their parenting methods and disciplinary actions are different from thathi’s generation, they do get the job done. And my brother is quite unique in the sense that he gets genuinely interested in the latest craze the girls are into and spends way too much time, in my opinion, watching Disney movies!! If you ask me, they have more tools, resources, and support around them to be an amazing role model for their young children.
I hope this post about my father and the young fathers in my life was enjoyable for you. My life is much richer for having them in it, and I’m ever so grateful for them all. Honestly, I wouldn’t trade my past with them for anything in the world and look forward to more memories in the years to come.
Stay safe everyone