When I was small, I didn’t have the best relationship with my dad. He was a high ranking police officer and was seldom at home. I was so much closer to my mom, so I was never daddy’s little girl and can never understand the concept of being pampered by a dad. In fact I don’t remember liking my dad until I grew up and graduated from university.
I remembered we moved to Tapah when he was appointed as the DO sometime in late 70s. The house that we moved into was an old bungalow and behind it were rubber trees. I swear the house was haunted because we often hear knockings at the door and when we opened the door no one was outside. We also often hear the water taps being turned on. One of the maids told my mom that she saw a black hairy thing under the bed.
Anyway, I was 5 years old when we moved into the bungalow. I remembered that I was a very careless child. I would put my water bottle containing milo in my schoolbag and the milo would somehow spill and wet all my books. In one year, my parents went through I think 4-5 sets of books. When my dad asked me to take something out of the car, I would often lock the car and accidentally leave the car keys in the car. So I was often punished by my dad for being so careless. It was not the normal “ketuk ketampi” or “no tv for a week” kinda punishments. My punishments include standing in the hot sun without any slippers or shoes on for a few hours till I felt dizzy and both feet scorched by the hot tar road, sometimes the clothes hanger would land on my hands and sometimes he would make me stand at one corner in the house for few hours and not talk to anyone.
Because of all these punishments, I hated my dad when I was growing up. He’s not the kind of person who would come and pacify you after the punishment and actually tell you that he’s doing all that because he loves you and is teaching you a lesson. My dad was a hard man. I guess being a police officer he has to be very tough and not show any compassion. My siblings and I turn to my mom for everything. We relied on Mama for everything, be it money or love.
After my dad retired from the force, he spent more time at home, going to the mosque and praying. He is still fierce sometimes and expects people to follow what he says without question (he sometimes treat his kids like his subordinates. Giving orders instead of asking for help) but over the years he mellowed down and after getting grandchildren he learned to be gentler. I’m not saying he totally changed for the better but I can see the effort made.
My relationship with my dad is complicated. I respect him as a father even though I disagree with some of the things he does. I do love him but not in a loving sort of way. It is more like an obligation as a daughter kind of way. We’ve never celebrated Father’s Day. We’ve never given him a card on his birthday. What we siblings would do after all of us have started working is to take him out to dinner/lunch on his birthday or buy him a gift or give him money. I know he appreciates the effort and always thanked us for celebrating his birthday.
Sometimes I envy people who are close to their fathers, especially some girlfriends of mine who totally worship their dads. I don’t think I will ever have that kind of relationship with my father. I will always pray for him. I will always respect him. I will always do anything I can to make him happy. That’s my duty as a daughter as far as it goes.
This weekend is Father’s Day. I suspect my siblings and I would go about our daily lives and will not even remember the day. And I suspect my dad won’t even care or expect us to shower him with gifts. To him there is no need to celebrate Father’s Day to show how much you love your father. These days he’s content with us just buying him food or stocking up the fridge with chocolates and ice cream. It’s easy to please my dad these days, to which I am so thankful. So please don't judge me. Not all of us have perfect families. I love my dad, in my own way and will never wish him harm. I've made peace with my feelings for him. Allah knows best.