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.
Sometimes love means letting go of my ego/my pride (that part that wants to “do it all myself” and not be wrong)...and instead give myself more permission to receive, let others (and my dad) help me and focus on the love in the present, rather than the pain of the past.
I say pain because physically, I spent a lot of years in a great deal of pain but the thing I remember was how my dad was there with me. He was present then. Driving me to every appointment. Up with me in the night when I couldn’t sleep and my head felt like it might explode with pain and I cried but couldn’t cry because crying made the pain worse. He didn’t leave my side. And he stayed up worried most nights and that was painful for him too. He felt helpless like there was nothing he could do to “fix it”, or me or make it better.
But with all that pain, it came from love.
It wasn’t always easy for me to receive that love because I felt weak, I felt like “I had to” rely on him when I just wanted to rely on me or have my own life, one where I didn’t need my dad quite so much.
So sometimes I really hated the fact that he wanted to support me and help me and be there for me in the ways I needed him. When I wished he could let go and let me fly.
It’s not easy to let go when there is so much love there and when you got to hold a baby from the first moment they were born and then let go and watch them grow. I get it.
I know it wasn’t easy for my dad - and I also know I am really lucky and grateful to have a dad who cares about me so much. Not everybody has that. And for some, they have a dad who cares and loves them but isn’t always there.
Whether that be physically, emotionally or in the ways they need. I think a lot of people had that experience and this time at home has given many families a chance to reconnect, to have more “presence” with their parents and to connect and really play together.
When I think of kiddos, all they want is for their parents to stay and play with them. So that they know that their dad can be there with them when they’re feeling sad, sick, scared, happy, playful, silly and all of the above. They want to know they are there with them, through it all. And seeing that more than anything, kids like to play, maybe that is the love language of your child. What do they want to receive and what is their love language?
And what is yours? How do you like to give and receive love?
You can make up your own love language. (Like maybe it’s the special moments you spend together that you do in your own way or the ways you PLAY!!)
Or maybe it’s music like the way my dad loves music and some of my fave memories together are when we all embraced the music.
So today I am choosing to focus on the love and see all the ways that “the masculine” holds, provides safety, provides structure and shows me love in the ways that he does and chooses to. And I choose to accept it. And rather than controlling and changing you to be who I want you to be, I am choosing to love and accept you exactly as you are and let you love me like that too.
And I am sending this to you too <3
A little more love, a little more acceptance...and a lot more music and memories together!
Happy Father’s day to the dads, the moms who also play the “dad role”, the men, the boys and to the masculine inside of us all who continues to hold, support us and be there with us in all that we need!