In “Those Winter Sundays,” Robert Hayden is too young to acknowledge the unspoken love that his father has for him and too ignorant to appreciate his father’s efforts to provide and support his family. However, by the time Hayden is old enough to understand everything that his father did for him and his family, it is too late. This leaves Hayden overridden with guilt, as he regrets not being able to show his father the gratitude he deserved. I can relate to Hayden’s relationship with his father and the regret he felt once he realized how underappreciated his father was. The opening line of the poem reads “Sundays too my father got up early” (1). Every morning, I remember waking up to my father gone. He’s always had such a strict morning regimen. He would wake up at six in the morning, hop out of bed, get ready for work, and be out of the door by seven. This meant my siblings and I rarely ever got to see our father in the mornings growing up. This also meant we wouldn’t be able to say a word to him until he got home late at night, usually around seven. I believe this was one of the biggest reasons my father and I were never that close. Similar to Hayden’s father, my father was not one to verbally tell us how much he loved us. Instead, when we were younger, my father would bring us home various toys and trinkets from work. I remember how excited my siblings and I would be, waiting by the door to see what dad would bring home this time.
Of all the times he would bring us home these small gifts, I vividly remember this one time when my father brought my sister home this beautiful snow globe of Grand Central in the winter. My sister Maddie, who had loved New York City from a young age, especially loved the gifts my father would bring home because he worked in the city; so all of her gifts would be city related. I remember how my brother and I begged my father for this snow globe, but he insisted on giving it to my sister. For whatever reason, Maddie had been in a terrible mood that whole day; she had been yelling at my mother for, what seemed to be, hours on end. Thinking back, my father must have known this and thought that the snow globe would make her feel better. However, when he handed her the Snow Globe that night, she instantly took it and threw it against her bedroom wall. Everyone in the house heard the glass shatter as it hit the wall. I’ll never forget seeing that sad look in my father’s eyes that night. It was the first time I had ever seen my father look like that. When Hayden says, “No one ever thanked him” (5), I immediately think of my sister smashing the snow globe against the wall. Not only did my sister not thank our father, but, she basically spit in his face. After that, my father stopped bringing gifts home for us.
As my siblings and I got older, we started to see less and less of my father. He was always working, and we were always out or too busy when he got home from work. However, the times when I was home, my father was constantly yelling at me. Whether it was for hanging out with my friends too much or not getting good enough grades, it seemed like he was constantly on my back about everything. It got so bad that I was trying to avoid seeing him. I knew if he saw me he would start questioning me, and most times that lead to a prolonged shouting match that usually ended with me marching up to my room and slamming the door.
When Hayden talks about, “fearing the chronic angers of that house / Speaking indifferently to him” (9-10), I think about how I would go out of my way to avoid my father. But, when I couldn’t avoid him and he began asking me all…