So yesterday was Father's Day. I have my father (baba) to thank for lots of things, particularly for dealing with me during years of softball when I thought I knew everything, for my sometimes stubborn but always passionate approach to life, and for being there through thick and thin. Growing up, especially in middle and high school, I had plenty of friends and acquaintances whose parents were divorced and who had a schedule of weekends or particular days that they would get to see each. I was a minority in this regard, but in the best sense of the word. I felt fortunate to wake up and go to sleep under the same roof as each of my parents day after day.
So now I really feel like a minority, still in the best way. Father figures in South Africa are absent more often than not in the lives of their children. As unfortunate as it is, it seems almost cultural to get pregnant at a young age (I pass many girls in the morning who drop off their children at day care or grade R and then proceed to walk to high school where they are still studying) and end up alone as a single mother, hopefully with the help of family members to raise and care for the child. If the mother stays in the same home or village as the child, I feel like that is a rarity as well. I can't tell you how many learners in my class do writing assignments and tell me about a mother in Joburg, or a father in Empangeni, or a sibling in Durban. People go where work is available (when it is), and that often comes at the expense of keeping a family intact and together.
This blog post is not meant to be long, I just wanted to reflect on the fact that I feel lucky. Not only to have both of my parents present, but to have a dad who I can talk to and who can help me grow as a person and supports me in every single endeavor I have ever undertaken, regardless of how much he agrees or disagrees with it.
I hope all the fathers out there had a nice day. And Dougiss, I can't wait to see you in a week. To laugh and talk about things that are "classic" and catching up on a year. Love and miss you.