This is a post sponsored on behalf of Bentonville Film Festival.
I’m a full blown daddy’s girl. My dad and mom had me when they were both fresh out of high school and later went on to marry when I was a couple months away from two years of age. I still give them grief about not having me as their flower girl, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. In my father’s house, I had moments where I thought they hated me. I thought maybe they regretted the fact that they had me so early, and the sacrifices that they had to make because of me, but the deeper I get into these trenches of parenting, the more I realize that they sacrifices were out of love, and pretty much from winging it as they went along.
I can’t even begin to explain how tough it was when Mr. Houseful and I met, and went through our phase of dating. I thought that my dad wanted to ruin my life! He sent Shomari through every test, trial and tribulation that you could think of, and in the end, Shomari prevailed, even if we had a Rachel and Ross break up thrown in there. Through my pregnancy, the death of his daughter, and some tough years thrown in for good measure, I’ve learned that while I may not have a father that oozes with sugary type love, I do have a father who loves me unconditionally. Even if we both get on each others nerves sometimes. Me with absolutely thinking that I know the right way to do things (and most of the time I’m right – just have to throw that in there) to him having to relinquish all of the parenting that he wants to do to see me make mistakes. The key is, he’s never disappeared. Ever. And I’m eternally grateful for that fact.
The funny thing about dads is that most people feel like they have no place in the family. They are just a breadwinner, and nothing more. They get to come home and sit in “the chair” and get the big piece of chicken and everything runs smoothly. They are not shown nearly often enough as having a soft spot. The hardest thing that I’ve ever had to witness was my father breaking down after learning about the death of my sister. It was the first time that I had seen him in my life totally give himself over to grief and frustration and anger all at the same time. Not caring who was around. Letting those tears drop as they did, and cradling my sister in his arms. It was that moment that I knew he was all flesh and bone, and fully human. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I think that he and I couldn’t POSSIBLY be cut from the same cloth, and then I’ll have a thought or say something that sounds JUST like him, and I know for sure he’s my daddy.
Watching the documentary In My Father’s House, which documents the search and finding of Cheland “Rhymfest” Smith’s father who had gone absent when he was a child, really put some things into perspective for me. This documentary has won many awards, including last year’s inaugrual Bentonville Film Festival, and it’s not hard to see why. The filming of it is reminiscent of what you may record for family videos, so you fall into a familiarity right from the beginning. Taking you through the neighborhood that he grew up in and where his father now resides as a homeless man, we see the ups and downs of trying to start a relationship that’s been on pause for more than 25 years. I must say that I was taken aback because I’ve always had my father around. It’s hard to see someone who didn’t have that security. It also serves to show that even after so many years, it’s never a bad thing to want a connection with your father (or mother if she happens to be the missing parent) because as Che says, “a part of you is them.”
You can find In My Father’s House at your local Walmart now.