For the loving dad but not so perfect husband…

It is common knowledge that a considerable number of our Zimbo dads struggle as husbands….and when they struggle as husbands they ultimately struggle as dads. Struggle is an understatement. Intimate relationships are the most difficult things to master in a lifetime. They challenge us, humble us, break us, build us…they fulfill us…they make us feel inadequate. I have had my share of relationships with men…all good men I believe. When it didn’t work out, I think it was an issue of incompatibility and differences in values. Who is not good? Someone becomes bad when they deviate from what we expect them to be. So in a fair and inclusive world, the truth is that everyone has their reasons for acting the way they do whether twisted or straight. It is their truth.

I remember sugar daddies became popular when I was as young as grade 4. I remember them being an issue. They were fathers and husbands…all with potbellies in my mind…with money to spoil. They would go after young girls in school uniforms. Then we had the small houses era, where our fathers decided to have a younger unofficial woman…well the common belief was that shed be younger anyways. Then now he’s a “blesser”. He blesses the expensive lifestyle of a “slay queen”. The “blesser” is not necessarily a married and taken man but most times they are. The terms used to describe all these shenanigans have evolved throughout the years…but the issue is still the same. Our men, brothers, fathers…have an insatiable and almost unquenchable thirst for the other woman and for some…over the years, it becomes many other women.

Now the truth is some of these men forget their obligations at home while they have the time of their life. For some guys, he may be faithful but be emotionally unavailable…too much of a workaholic or doesn’t even know what it means to have a woman call him her husband…with whatever her expectations may be, which may seem impossible to fulfil for him. The reality for the husband is that if he ever messes up with the wife, he has pretty much messed up with the kids as well, especially when they get to find out. All kids are protective of their moms. That’s their heart. Its hard to see your mother crying because of the pain your father has put her through. Its a crime that is hard to forgive. I had a conversation with a friend who admits to how harsh he had been with his dad after finding out how he’d cheated on his mom. Now that he is a grown man and has his own family, he finds himself making the same mistakes that his father made, he is now standing in his fathers shoes.

As women, we sometimes use the kids to punish our men. Sometimes it may not be a case of infidelity but when two people have separated or divorced and a fight occurs, the kids are often thrown in the middle of the fight. They have to choose a side and that side is usually moms’ side because she is the vulnerable one. She is the one with the tears they can see. Men in our culture are not supposed to be seen as emotional. Most of us have seen, on very few times or never… our fathers dropping tears. We have intertwined the relationship between a man and woman with the relationship they have with their kids. Men with their “bad” behavior have traded their right to acknowledge their pain, for punishment for all their sin. In turn we have children with so many daddy issues. Its worse for the traditional kind of guy who then becomes an empty vessel with no emotion or real relationship with his kids because he feels so alienated from his own family and he resorts to just becoming a provider. Sometimes we forget the sacrifices our fathers have made for us because of what they have done to our mothers. We only remember to buy an outfit for mom and dad is always an after thought with a tie or a pair of socks because of the sins he has committed while we were growing up. To be honest I have never been aware of the plight of the father until I heard one speak. Its as if I never expect men to have emotion about these things. Most times we feel they deserve it but wow, what a punishment. We have to allow fathers to be close to their children no matter how horrible we feel they are as partners because no matter how much we feel we are good mothers, we can never replace and fulfill a fathers role. And the funny part is that our sons are perpetuating their fathers’ behaviors that they grew up loathing because they cant go up to their father and talk about manhood and their mistakes openly with them as they experience it so that they can learn from it because they are so distant from their dads…. and our girls become the wives and the cycle continues for eternity.

I have had a lot of father figures in my life who have not been the best partners but have loved their kids. They made mistakes that they cant take back because they are late now but the older I get, I appreciate them more and I wish I could have shown it more when they were still alive. It affects the way I look at my ex husbands’ relationship with our daughter and all I want is to foster and encourage a good relationship between them.

I’m looking at my biological fathers picture and my step dads picture above and its clear my mom had a thing for afros…lol

Sometime back was my late step dads birthday and something weird happened. Before I get into the weird events let me give you a quick background. This is not meant to be sad, so don’t be. Its meant to celebrate dads 🙂 The top left picture is a picture of my biological father and my little sister. He is late now and I didn’t have much of a relationship with him. He separated with my mom when I was a baby and remarried 2 more times after…officially that we know of lol. He apparently had a sweet tongue and handsome as hell which was a deadly combination for any man. I only remember seeing him 3 times my whole life. I’m sure I saw him more times but my brain only remembers 3 and the last memory I have of him , is of him kneeling while hugging me, apologizing and crying and me standing there like a statue, not sure what to say or do. I think I was 8, im not sure…but I was really young. The top middle black and white is a picture of my grandmother and my late grandfather, my mothers parents. I heard from “rumour” that when my mother got pregnant with me, her dad did not speak to her the entire pregnancy. Then of-course I must have melted his heart the moment I was born and he became an instant father figure in my life. He would let my mom take groceries on account at his friends store to make sure we had what we needed. He insisted on taking care of me as the main guardian. I lived with him even as a widower until the day he had an accident which left him sick and incapacitated and eventually led to his death. We had a money song that we would sing together that we composed and weirdly enough, my breakthrough in business was with an institution that he worked for for years before he died. Sometimes I wonder if he had anything to do with that breakthrough.

Then the picture on the top right is one of my sister and my late step dad, the man who raised me. We fought a lot in my teenage years, I definitely didn’t make it easy for him. I always admired the way he was one of those dads who were accessible emotionally to my siblings. I remember him and my sister swaying from side to side, closing their eyes and singing “True Colours” and my brother and I laughing while watching them. He loved the song. When he died, it was sudden, found dead by my mother and sister. And the thing that rose suspicion was that my sister had sent him a message and he hadn’t responded which was unlike him. He was the kind of dad that would reply. The last conversation I had with him, he called me “My Simomotswane.” He said “…I miss my Simomotswane” which was a nickname my mom used when I was young to show endearment. When he called me that, I thought he was drunk because him and I were never really openly emotional toward each other…unless we were screaming at each other of course. We cared but we just never expressed it often. To me he wasn’t the emotional dad, he was the cool step dad. The one who allowed me to drink and would insist that when I go partying I tell him so that he picks me up or sends a cab so that I wouldn’t have to be driven home by a drunk boy. Little did I know that sign of endearment was a goodbye. The week before his death, I kept telling people around me I kept feeling like checking up on him but I never did for some reason. And when my sister called me to tell me the news, like a lunatic, I tried to call him hoping he would answer 1 last time so I could say everything iv ever wanted to say to him. The phone rang and rang and rang…he did not answer. It was too late.

His death was the worst thing I have ever experienced. When life got tough id drive somewhere and sit in solitude and pray and cry and pray and cry with the car radio playing in the background to drown the sound of my own weeping. One day on one of my pray crying sessions on a Sunday morning, the DJ on radio that day played “True colors” his favorite song. This happened to me at least 3 times after his death and I don’t believe that it was a coincidence especially considering the lyrics to the song. It would be what id be needing to hear in that moment. My step father was not the best husband to my mother but im yet to see a man with as much love as the love he had for his children. So on his birthday, about a month ago, more than 6years after his death… around 7pm or so, my sister apps on our group chat that she found a white feather on her bed and she thought it was from dad. So my brother says its probably from your pillow and my sister says, nah…I don’t have any bedding made of feathers, I know its him. I respond saying I always tell my daughter Ava that when we see feathers that they are from angels, even though I made that up, I believe my lie lol. So ofcourse I also thought the feather was from dad… and I kid you not, my daughter who was bathing in a different room…in the same moment we are having this conversation on app…oblivious of what im typing on app, shouts out randomly that when she was playing with her friend, a bird died. So im like “guys, you wont believe what Ava just said. She said a bird died when she was playing today, just as we are having this conversation.” That was weird to say the least. So anyway time passes and we are off app then my brother sends a pic on the group hours later. By the way, my sister at that time was in UK and my brother on a trip in Italy, and im in Zim…so we were all in different countries….And you will not believe what the picture he sent was. It was a white feather on the floor!!!! He was about to put away his shoes and saw a white feather and ofcourse we are like WTF… no way!!!! Apa my brother was the doubting Thomas earlier on but this left him speechless. So in that moment, I ask my daughter why she told me about the bird then she says,” I just thought you should know. Its sad right, but the bird will have a new life…” and she turns away and continues watching youtube with absolutely no clue of what a profound thing she had just said… as young as she is. So I do a laugh cry laugh cry in disbelief of the days’ events…grateful of the love we all could feel from him even after his death.

The bird will have a new life…wow.

The other pictures are of the feathers my brother and sister found.

God bless all dads, the perfect and imperfect ones.

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