How do you give and receive LOVE? And how can we feel that with our “Fathers” today 💕
So I sat down to write about Father's Day and I immediately started thinking about music and how some of my favourite memories with my dad revolve around music.
At first, I thought “I could share about all my favourite memories with my dad: growing up Saturday mornings with his guitar out, singing. We would sing songs from: the classics like “Twinkle twinkle little star”, “Old McDonald Had A Farm”, “Don’t break my heart, my achy breaky heart”, to his own songs and also any songs we asked for.
We would sing, dance and I remember my sister doing demi plies in her ballet outfit in the background and me in my Barney bathing suit just shaking my hips (just living my best life).
We had a lot of fun. And then it also made me think of the time my dad and I really bonded when I was little where we recorded our own song together, my debut single: “The Cat and the Dog”.
(PS: the lyrics went something like this: the cat and the dog, one drooled and one ruled)
Clearly it was a classic!!!! 🤣
And maybe at the end of the day, my dad and I were like the cat and the dog.
Different in many ways yet at the same time, the same.
If I had chosen to only share the happy memories, it wouldn’t be the whole truth and it wouldn’t reflect the truth of how we may feel about our dads, the men in our life and all other people. Life is full of all the moments, all the feelings and sometimes acknowledging that actually brings us closer together and helps us find the words when we have troubles.
This was also an e-mail I had troubles writing, troubles finding the “right” words. It wasn’t until I let go, allowed myself to do it totally imperfectly and also listen to music and open my heart...that the words followed.
The words may not have flowed but the truth was able to come out. Just as I needed to allow myself to do it imperfectly, I think we also owe it to our dads (and parents) to let them off the hook for parenting us imperfectly too.
I think we get to feel our feelings and then open our hearts and really realize that “we are all doing our best” and that is what matters.
There is still a big part of me that doesn’t feel like I will get it “right” or I might overshare, and that’s okay. I am letting it be okay. I am also letting the feelings that want to arise be okay too. Are you?
I know “Father’s Day” may not be a happy occasion for all or you may love your dad a lot and still have troubles experiencing the love or relationship you desire with your dad - or the men in your life.
So if today is hard - I hope you let your feelings be felt and lean into what type of relationship you truly desire. And if it’s easy, soak it in and enjoy every moment. Whatever your personal experience, it’s safe for it to be as it is.
I have a dad who truly cares and loves me with his whole heart - and yet still, sometimes I have troubles with our relationship. I don’t always love the way he “loves” (or controls, worries about me or tries to do things for me rather than trust that I can do it myself) but that is the way he loves.
And I can’t control the way others choose to love me and it’s not my job to. (Something that isn’t always an easy one to remember...)
For anyone who knows me, you may know that life has been a bit of a rollercoaster - as was my relationship with my dad over that time. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but I think deep down, we will always see heart-to-heart. Because we both have big beautiful sensitive hearts. I just think as a woman, it’s easier for me to own that than it is for men. But there’s something about parenting that children choose their parents to learn and I think I chose to be in my dad’s life so we could mirror and learn from each other. Even if that isn’t and hasn’t always been the easiest.
Sometimes the things I remember about my dad are clouded by a lot of pain. His pain. My pain. His ego. My ego. His feelings. My feelings. Both of our desires to be “right” or not be “wrong”.
But above all, there was love. There IS love. There is a lot. Of. LOVE.
I don’t think I know anyone with a beautiful, giving, loving heart like his and sometimes this part of him comes out best through music. It’s his love language. Among his other love language of “doing things” for me (acts of service), taking care of me in the way he does and it wasn’t always easy to see that. Sometimes we are loved in the way that others want to love. But not in the way we wish to receive.
For instance, my dad recently gave me a “gift” that he found while out in the forest with his friends. I look at it now (only somewhat thinking): “what was he thinking?” because he found this clown looking puppet with a big umbrella and it now sits in my home. But at first, I didn’t want it and I then really got that this was him loving me, this was him thinking of me in that moment, wanting me to have something... that was him showing his love. So I received it because he really wanted me to have it and I always believe “it’s the thought that counts”.
And in that moment, he thought: “this makes me think of Amanda and Amanda would love this”. Seeing as I love kids and have plenty of toys and stuffies in the work I do, I can see why he thought I might love it and that is sweet. I appreciate that and so now when I look at it, I think of that. And it makes me happy. I can see how much he loves me and just wants, more than anything, for me to be happy.
That’s what unconditional love is.
Sometimes we need to remember that there are two sides to relationships and we all give and receive in our own ways. I needed to learn to receive in the way that he wanted to give.
So next time you think “does this make me feel good”, also ask the other person too. It’s equally as important to share how we want to receive love as much as it is for them to share too. We all give and receive greater love when we open up and feel safe to share.