The relationship between kids and parents can never be equal. I know that today more than ever because I myself am a parent.
I also miss my father more than ever today. I miss his shoulder that I knew I could always lean on. I miss the gait, so full of life, always a spring in his step. I miss his laugh that could brighten up the darkest day. It was more a loud giggle, so contradictory to his coiffed demeanour, giving away the fact that he was always a little boy at heart. Most of all I miss not having someone who flaunted my every success, no matter how small. My biggest motivation to achieve was to see the pride in his eyes, which said ‘that’s my daughter’.
He celebrated my straight A O levels result and world distinction by keeping a copy of it on his office desk and showing it to everyone who wanted to (or had no choice but to!) see.
When my first newspaper article was published in the Friday Times, Abba made copies of it and gave it to all my uncles.
He was well travelled himself and always encouraged us to see the world. I travelled with friends, for conferences, for leisure and he was always more than supportive providing detailed advice on what to eat, see, do. And ofcourse dishing out more cash than was needed. Always. It was like having my very own walking, talking lonely planet.
I miss the fact that someone could be more excited about things I did than me. It gave me a surge of motivation. A surge that’s just lost somewhere, not that he’s not there to validate my actions.
When I travel today, most places I know he had been to, too, I can only wonder what all he would’ve told me to see and do. Maybe he had walked on the same road, crossed the same crossing.
I miss him because I needed him. And that’s what makes parents different from kids. If I had gone instead of him, he would’ve missed me too. But for a different reason. Not because I was his motivator but because I was his extension. He lives vicariously through my achievements. Achievements he had worked on his whole life to lay the ground work for.
This was the time to reap the fruits of your lifelong labor of love, Abba and your orchard misses you. Today. Everyday.