My father has always been a person I've admired; not cause he's my dad, but because he is a great person? If I had to describe a person who is actually morally righteous, nobel and all that jazz, he would be the first (and perhaps) only person that comes to my mind.
For most of my life there has always been this uneasy feeling of undeserving, like I don't deserve someone like him in my life. There were many things I did wrong - I bailed on swimming (albeit I had other reasons for quitting), I got really fucked up, I screwed my exams and the like. Then there were also the expectations I did not live up to (things you'd expect to enjoy with your sons once they're of age.. but eventually they chose shopping over golf) - golf, nature, being smelly and sweaty playing golf, being sweaty and smelly surrounded by nature etc; although I must say I do enjoy nature and to a lesser extent golf, as long as I get to go home to a comfy room and a shower equipped with a consistent stream of properly temperated water.
As I grew older I thought that the greatest (sober) feeling I would ever feel was getting my dad's approval. I constantly shoved what I thought were accomplishments in his face, and one day (after he had a few glasses) I was finally rewarded. I would never forget the first time he told me he was proud of me.
Then it hit me - I had daddy issues.
Perhaps it was his slight distance from me when I was younger, or his alcoholism that gave me nightmares on end, or perhaps how I knew that everyone held him in high regard (and sucked up to him like liches drinking steroid-tainted blood) before I even understood why; I needed his approval.
For a good two years I was a lost cause, and my dad finally broke down and found me. My mum had long given up, not that I would blame her, I've given her a lot of grief and she's given up on me at least 3 times, but it's been so long since I've longed for her approval; I don't actually feel like it's consistent enough for me to want it anymore. And since my dad was the one who came for me I've always wanted to prove him right over my mum, and I guess this may have been when my need for his approval really started to show. Afterall, he gives me everything I want, fetches me anywhere I need to go, and allows me my little rebellions as long as they're not crossing any lines; he has been trying to please me since day 1 (even when he was a drunk businessman 6 days a week) (Sundays were his sober days when he would spend time with me ahahaha).
Half a year ago, I realized something else. I've made peace with this need for his approval, and I realized that me needing his approval was something that he wouldn't approve of in the first place. He would like me to be a proper person, not because of his approval, but because of him, and because of who I am. I remember skipping new year eve clubbing (OMG) to stay home and watch movies with him. I remember skipping (what would have been fun) outtings with friends to spend time with him. I remember ditching an afternoon of shopping for golf at the driving range with him, how his eyes lit up when I asked him if I was holding the driver right (duh I was), and expressing genuine interest in his favourite sport.
I learned something that day while pretending to love golf with my father. I learned that even if I had to give up something that makes me happy, my father's happiness more than makes up for it, and I feel even happier than I would have if I went.. drinking with my mates (for example). I realized that it extended to a few more people in my life, my grandma, my mum, my sister etc. I learned what it meant to love someone properly.
I have no real love for golf. But I do love golf, like how my father loves shopping. I love seeing him happy like how he loves seeing me happy, even at his own expense (it's always been at his expense though). And regardless, I owe it to golf (and my father) for teaching me one of the most important things in my life.
Thank you, I love you and happy father's day pa.