Positive father-daughter relationships are as equally important as that of a mother and her daughter. 13 years ago, my uncle sat me down one evening to inform me of the passing of my father.
He did that with every death in the family. He would make us (the children) sit down and read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. But by the first sentence, I already knew. The hurt I felt that night was in no way justified. I mean, I hardly knew the man. Yes. he was my father, but I knew nothing else beyond that. My aunt had to get me a glass of sugar water because I was so frantic, and I was struggling to breathe. It made no sense why my heart was so sore.
I knew him as my father. He was Herbert ”Chico” Motsiri. The man that married my mom and had 2 children with her. He left my mother shortly after my birth.
I never had the experience of a happy family. I grew up with his sister so now and again he would come for a visit and stay for a weekend. I remember the joy in my heart when I saw him pull up to our gate. I would happily run up to him and give him a tight squeeze. He would bring a packet of fruits.
That was always meant to excite me, and it worked every time. He would settle in and then send me for some booze then chill with his friends. His friends got just as excited when he was visiting. He bought loads of alcohol for everyone and the gents always had a good time.
I would excitedly write him love letters and give them to him, or sneak it under his pillow in hope that he would find it. Sometimes he would let me know if he found the letter, other times not. I would at times ask him in hope that he found it and liked it. I yearned for his attention.
Sometimes I would get it and sometimes I wouldn’t. One thing was for sure, we never had a relationship. It was nonexistent. We never went out for ice cream or passed by the mall to buy my favorite t-shirt. We would never sit and have conversations about how school was going. I occasionally saw him during the visits he would make, just to give my aunt more money.
Today, I get so emotional when I see the relationship between my husband and daughter. That’s because I never had even a portion of what my daughter has. I was forcibly taken away from my mother and never lived under the same roof as my father.
I never thought I battled with daddy issues, but it seems like maybe I did, subconsciously. What I know is that I envied girls whose dads attended school events. I struggled with confidence for the longest time because I didn’t grow up with a man that reaffirmed me. A positive relationship with my father would have resulted in my confidence. I believe.
I grew up feeling unseen and unworthy. Why doesn’t he love me like he loves his step-daughters? I was fuelled by rage and resentment. I didn’t know or understand any of it. I just know that I met a pretty cool guy during my varsity years and I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. 9 years in, the family has grown and we are going strong.
My husband like myself, never had the best relationship with his father. But, that’s not my story to tell. I just know he made a conscious decision to be a present and involved father and he hasn’t skipped a beat.
He has held my hand from the moment we found out that we were expecting, to the birth of our gorgeous daughter, our sleepless nights and even now through our hyperactive toddler days.
They have so much fun together that sometimes I want to crash the party.
Their relationship is important to me.
I need him to be her first date because she needs to know how a lady is meant to be treated. I need her to want for nothing. She needs to have the confidence to say ”my dad can get me that” when a rich old man is trying to manipulate her by offering her the world. I need her to understand that in her dads’ eyes she is the world. No other man will boost her confidence by telling her she is pretty because it will be her daily bread in our household.
She will hear how amazing, talented and intelligent she is all the time and she will believe it. Because her father believes it too. She will never feel unseen because her father would teach her that she is God’s child and she is made in his image.
All my daughter will know is love because she will have it in abundance. Her father will shower her with so much of it, that she might even start getting annoyed. It is important for my husband to raise his child in a loving environment.
This is why a father-daughter relationship is so important to me. It is something I never had, and something I truly yearned for. His selfishness deprived me of that opportunity.
I am beyond happy that my daughter will never go through the same. She will always have her father right next to her whenever she needs it.
Karabo Motsiri is a first-time mom, over-sharer, lover of life, chronic napper and married to her best friend. She loves a good party because the dance floor is her happy place. She enjoys good food, good conversations, laughs a little too hard, and cries during every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. She started her blogging journey because she wanted to share all the ups and downs of being a young modern mama in South Africa. Her blog Black Mom Chronicles has been featured on Ayana Magazine & SA Mom Blog. She has enjoyed airtime on Power FM and frequently writes for the parenting section of Saturday Citizen She also works with MamaMagic on their Product Awards, Milestones Magazine, Heart to Heart blog, and the Baby Expo, which is South Africa’s biggest parenting expo.