I wish I could remember the exact day my family changed forever. I wish I could remember the emotions that I felt in my 5 year old mind when my parents told me that my father would be traveling to Nigeria for a year or two. I’m sure my young mind didn’t fully comprehend the gravity of the situation, but I’m certain that I felt a sense of pride; my father was going back to his home country to make a difference! Although I don’t remember the day my father started commuting back and forth from Dallas to Nigeria, I do remember growing up without a steadfast male figure in my life. Even now, 12 years later, I still pause and try to decipher how “a year or two” morphed into over a decade and counting. My father’s absence in my childhood and adolescent years has and always will have both a negative and positive impact on my past actions, our relationship, and my present character.
During my early adolescent years, which showcased the conventional teenage rebellion and identity crisis, it was extremely difficult growing up without a father at home. My mother has always worked more than full time; leaving the house before the sun came up and coming home when all of her four kids were fast asleep. In a way growing up without constant parental supervision was a good thing for me, because I learned how to take care of myself and took the reins of independence. Constantly being surrounded by my older siblings made me more mature and all the conflicts we had made me desire to be a lawyer. However, I still yearned for that father daughter relationship that my oldest sister and father still shared and the guidance my oldest brothers gained from my dad at an early age.
By the time I was 14 my emotions started showcasing in my actions and I struggled with decisions; even now at age 17 I can honestly say I didn’t make some of the best choices. Some may say it was the lack of parental supervision, but I say what does it matter why I did the things that I did? All that matters are the lessons I learned from them. I overcame all that life threw at me and now I am a better person because of it! By default my father is the reason that I live by these three rules: Honesty is always the best policy, no matter what the situation is; One should always think first to understand, and then to be understood because no one is perfect; All things can be conquered through hard work.
Later in my teenage years it was very common to see me and my father butting heads when he came home to visit. If he said turn left I argued that I wanted to turn right. If I wanted to color a room white he wanted to color it black. It was a never ending cycle of confrontations and conflict, and almost overnight daddy’s little girl turned into daddy’s biggest rival. I made myself believe that my father and I were complete opposites and that was the way that it would always be. We saw each other’s faults and differences but shut our eyes to each other’s strengths and similarities. However, there are moments of impact that prove potential for change and these moments of impact can either make or break a situation, a relationship or a lifetime of negative emotions. My father and I had one of those moments of impact that turned our relationship around. Now instead of viewing my father as a stranger who visits every three months, I see him in his true form: a hardworking, strong, honest man of God who has sacrificed the luxury of his home and the comfort of his family to bring about change in his home country, and to provide me and my family with a better life. And because of that I will always be thankful.
So in the end, father and daughter saw each other’s true form and I was able to admire my traits that I see in him. Today I can say that I owe my efficient, determined, veracious and responsible character to my father. Now we are both able to appreciate each other for the good and even the bad; and I am and always will be proud to say that I am the daughter of Jeff Scott*, the man who strives to do it all.
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