You might think that because I am the product of a single-parent household that Father’s Day would be a day like any other. However, in my case, you would be wrong. Although my parents separated and divorced when I was 4 years old, my father, Jimmy Lee Lyttle, has always been a constant presence in my life.
No, my father has not contributed as much financially as my mother, nor has he spent as many hours checking homework, dropping me off at school, braiding my hair, or tucking me in at night. But he has always expressed how much he loves me.
I do not question his love for me because he tells me every time he gets a chance, “Love you, baby girl” in that eastern Kentucky accent.
Father’s Day is a day that I celebrate the man my father is, and I am truly blessed to have him in my life. My father taught me how to whistle and snap my fingers, he stayed home with me when I had the chicken pox, and he even escorted me to the Annual Father-Daughter Dance when I was in the fifth grade.
I would be remiss if I did not credit some of my dad’s progress to my mom. She was right there reminding him of dance recitals and choir performances, informing him on what I would appreciate for Christmas and birthdays.
As a young adult, I realize what is most important- – our relationship – not the amounts of monetary contributions he made. I can call my dad and talk to him about anything from the political happenings in the capital to my own relationship queries and concerns. He is very supportive of everything I do, and always offers his honest opinion about everything we discuss.
It is critical in a young woman’s life for her to have a relationship with her father. A girl’s father is her first image of manhood in her life. The interactions a girl has with her father shape her outlook on men as well as herself.
My father and I have not always seen eye to eye and we were not always as close as we are now. I believe growth had to take place on both our parts. Forgiveness requires maturity, and so this is a charge to everyone who may have some unresolved issues with your father. You never know when your time is up on this side of the journey, and it would be tragic to have missed out on an opportunity to have that one conversation that could change everything.
Father’s Day is not just a day to celebrate the man who made biological contributions to my existence but also to the father figures. I have been fortunate to have men of noble character in my life to help guide me through this journey we call life. So to every man who has helped father me, I say thank you for the time and energy you invested in me.
Nyomi Lyttle is a senior mass communication major from Cincinnati.