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My Relationship with My Dad Personal Essay

The Dad I Always Wanted

Someone once said, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a dad.” The definition of a father is “A man who has begotten a child or children” (Webster’s 493). The father I have known for the past 29 years meets this definition but falls extremely short of my definition of a dad.

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Kenneth David was born to a working-class single mom in the run down crime-infested neighbourhood of Hamden in Baltimore City. Growing up, my father never had the luxuries that kids have today. From a very early age, he worked a full-time job rather than attend school, to help support his six younger siblings. As a result, my father wasn’t a scholar, but what he lacked in formal education he made up for with his knowledge of the streets. The money he earned working full time as a fourteen-year-old boy wasn’t enough to support his entire family, so he turned to alternative methods of making money. This resulted in many run-ins with the law ending in a two-year sentence in a forestry camp for boys. During this time, my father turned to homemade alcohol as his only means of pleasure.

My father’s passive non-defensive attitude at work leads to many stressful drunken altercations at home. He has always been a hard worker. Married at age seventeen, he had two children before he was twenty, so there was little time for anything else. Father worked ten to twelve hour days’ six or seven days a week. As a result of his dedication to work, his family suffered. It’s almost as if he lead two lives: his work life and his family life and in this order. At work, my father is a very passive, patient non-confrontational man, but at home, he is an aggressive, abusive, impatient, alcoholic. Coming home one day fueled by alcohol and anger from a mistake he made at work, he searched for someone to vent, I was always his vent.

I sat on the floor watching TV; I accidentally spilled the glass of Kool-Aid I was drinking on the carpet. Seeing this, my father became enraged he began tearing doors off their hinges, and punching holes in walls all the time getting closer to me. I was crying and trembling in fear. Then when he was about ten feet from me, my mother jumped in front of him all the while trying to calm him down. Realizing he couldn’t reach me from that distance, he grabbed a glass ash tray off the table next to him. Hurling it at me, he missed my head by a fraction of an inch.

My father’s abusive and alcoholic lifestyle was not what I think a normal dad’s should be. My father drank at least a case of beer a day. By the time he turned forty-five the combination of stress and his lifestyle caught up with him. He suffered a heart attack, but surviving this heart attack only caused more abuse. Depression set in and for the next year and a half, he became meaner and more physically abusive than ever. I was not allowed to speak with my mouth full at the dinner table. If I did my father would slap me.

After his heart attack, he would find reasons to make me talk. My father would wait until I took a bite of food, and then he would ask me a question. If I answered him, I spoke with my mouth full, so I got slapped. If I didn’t answer him, I didn’t “Speak when spoken to,” so I got slapped either way. All-day and night I would sit in my room just to avoid crossing him in the house. If I was unlucky enough to pass him, any conversation we had turned into a two-hour Nazi lecture followed by a street fight in my living room. His lectures consisted of him screaming two inches from my face, and bringing up things that happened years earlier. I can’t remember any lecture that ended peacefully. Nothing I did ever satisfied him.

My father and I never had a typical father-son relationship. We never spoke; any problem I ever had I handled myself. He was never proud of any accomplishments I made in life. The proudest day of my life was the day I graduated basic training. I was overcome with pride and emotion, and the first words out of his mouth were ” Now that your finally doing something, don’t fuck it up.” I was only 17. I don’t remember ever hearing “I love you” from my father unless he was extremely intoxicated, and feeling guilty for punishing me. It’s not that I was looking for a best friend, but perhaps a kind word, a congratulation, anything.

My father is now sixty and resides in Hatteras, North Carolina, where he spends most of his days fishing. From what my mom tells me he’s now taken Prozac, and has calmed down a lot from when I was growing up. I never returned home after the army, so my father and I rarely see or speak to each other. The few times a year we do speak is usually around Christmas, and only last for several seconds. My father supported me financially until I was an adult, and for that I am grateful, but he was never at any time in my life a dad.

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My Relationship with My Dad Personal Essay. (2021, Feb 07). Retrieved June 19, 2021, from https://essayscollector.com/essays/my-relationship-with-my-dad-personal-essay/