Emotional distance

“My father – a stern man. There was a great emotional distance to reach him or for him to reach me. He found greater satisfaction in work than in family. Nonetheless there were those rare moments in the evening, in which he’d loosen – cold problem-solving analysis broke away to something warmer, more expressive, some would say more human. On the plush persian rug won by his long work hours, the smaller children would get an „elephant ride”. Sitting astraddle his back as he’d stomp around on all-fours, occasionally letting out a trumpeting „bbRRRrll”. These moments, lasting only a few minutes, nonetheless held power in cherishment for me. They re-connected me more meaningful ways with him. Perhaps they gave me insight in a part of him few ever saw? If I connect it with my present-day insecurities, these moments perhaps re-vitalized my sense of descendency, and reassured me of a humanised, humanistic fathering. Today it impacts me still. Soon after my last elephant ride I was too heavy, and my dad’s back too weak, to have any more. For me, I turned to daydreaming on my bicycle. For my younger siblings, the youngest 10 years my junior, I can’t help but worry they missed out to an extent. It propels me today that, if I am to have children (and, like my parents, surely many!), I mustn’t begin too late, lest this old elephant’s back be too fragile.”

Antonius, 37
July 2019