Dedan K. Bruner
A Tribute to Oliver
As I sat down to write this, the words would not come as easily as I expected. I discovered my relationship with my father is more complicated than I thought, than I want it to be. Sure, I know what you’re thinking: Everyone’s relationships with their parents is complicated. And this is true. But my revelation was I tend to present my relationship with my father in a pretty traditional, straightforward way. And we are anything but.
I am, for lack of a better or blunter term, a bastard. That’s right, folks. If I was born in a fictional land called Westeros, I’d be a Snow (or probably a Sand, since I’m from the South). But back to my point. My parents were never married but did have two fantastic daughters together. I did not grow up in the same house as my father and, for a large portion of my childhood, did not grow up in the same town as my father. Enter the complication.
What I realized was my story, my relationship with my father is one not often spoke of. I am not a daddy’s girl. I am also not some forlorn daughter with an absent father. I am an independent, free-thinking soul, and I think some of that credit goes to my father.
He has always been present when needed, always reliable when called. But I never was raised to need and rely on him on a daily basis. I grew up knowing it just wasn’t necessary to have a man in my life on a day-to-day basis to live and thrive. I’m proud of that, and I think he is too.
He has always moved to his own drum and has told me stories of his independent streak. He was never afraid to strike out on his own, defying the wants and expectations of others. In many ways, I am the same.
But, and here’s the kicker, it would be expected that our relationship is one of distance and little trust. Nothing could be further from the truth. I may not call as often as I should, and do get chastised for that when I do call. But I know with 100% certainty, that if I need my dad — to talk through a problem, to send money, to have my back, to send just any kind of help — he will be there for me. He will never let me down.
And that’s what a daughter, or son, should have. Clarity and assurance in the love and protection of their parents. I’m glad I do, complications be damned.