They say a girl either marries someone just like her father, or the complete opposite (I think the same is true for boys and their mothers). I believe this, because I married someone very much like my father. My husband, J, has all the characteristics of my father that I love. J is my rock.....and so is my Daddy.
If I had to pick an adjective to to describe Daddy, it would be unflappable. Not in the sense that he never gets excited or ruffled (trust me, the man gets high emotions: just being in a room with him watching a football game is a roller coaster ride), but in the sense that nothing I could ever do would ever cause him to lose faith in me.
Over the years, I've given him lots of scenarios where he could have reacted negatively, but he didn't. I remember one time in high school when I came home drunk. It was one of my first times drinking; I was pretty much a goody-goody in high school and didn't even take my first sip of alcohol until my senior year. Anyhow, I came home, stumbled in, said (or slurred) hello, walked into my bathroom, and proceeded to vomit. Most dads would have had a fit; Daddy helped me clean myself up and got me into bed. I don't remember a reprimand. I never asked him, but knowing him the way I do, I'm sure he figured that the vomiting and subsequent hangover would be punishment enough.
For a few years in my early twenties, I was part of a women's group that met once a month on the full-moon. They practiced a kind of spirituality; they called it witchcraft, even though they weren't Wiccan (which is an organized religion). When I told Daddy about it, he went out and bought a book about witchcraft so he could understand what I was interested in. Who does that? My Daddy, that's who! He was interested in what I was interested in. Another time, I went through my experimental phase in my twenties and desperately wanted to be a lesbian (I was doing an internship, doing psychotherapy, at the local Gay and Lesbian Community Center and loved the community so much that I wanted to be a part of it. Alas, it turned out I was heterosexual after all). Anyway, once I told my dad about one particular woman I had kissed. The only question he asked was, "is she nice?" He didn't care if I was gay or straight, only that I was with a good person!
My dad has always been supportive of whatever I want to do. He is especially supportive of my running and triathlon habit. He's thrilled I am working out consistently (especially given our family history of heart disease). A few months ago he gave me a gift card to iTunes, the perfect treat for a runner. He knew the way to his daughter's heart! He was so proud of me when I finally broke 2:30 in the half marathon a few weeks ago. Although he lives halfway across the country and is therefore not at my races, I know that if he lived locally he'd be at every finish line cheering me on. He's that kind of dad.
Daddy loves teaching---he's taught me many, many things over the years---all about football and baseball, how to shoot craps, how to play the guitar, just to name but a small few. He always knows what I'm capable of, even when I don't know it myself. One poignant moment for me was once when we went skiing. It was one of my first times, and at the end of the day he took me on an intermediate hills (I'd been skiing beginner hills all day). I was scared to death, but he told me, "I wouldn't let you do anything I knew you couldn't." And you know what? I got down that hill, and subsequently skied many intermediate hills. He taught me how to get down any hill safely--even if I accidentally found myself on an expert hill--by simply snow plowing and/or slowly zigzagging down the mountain. In that, he taught me a metaphor for life. I can get through anything if I try hard and break things into little chunks.
Daddy always told me that when I met the person I wanted to marry, he'd give me his opinion once and that would be it. I knew right away when he met J that it was a match made in heaven. My husband and my father get along so well.....he approved of J as soon as they met. He was thrilled when we got engaged. At our wedding, my plan was to surprise J during the reception by going up with the band and singing "Stand By Me" to him. Before the ceremony, I was a nervous wreck---I was excited about getting married, but was very emotional and overwhelmed. Before we walked down, he suggested that I sing "Stand By Me" with him, out in the vestibule. And I did. Singing with him, and a few other family members, calmed my nerves enough for me to walk down the aisle. He knew exactly what I needed. (By the way, later during the reception, my rendition of the song to my husband was a huge success!)
Because of the kind of man my father is, I sought out a similar man in my husband. J, like my dad, is also a rock. He unconditionally supports me, especially when I'm overwhelmed with my half marathon and triathlon training, when I overcommit in my volunteer work at the kid's schools, when I'm crying because the house is a disaster, the kids are driving me crazy, and the dog is acting hyper. Like Daddy, J can talk me down from the ledge and emotionally support me until I find my way again. Had I had not a father like the one I have, I'm not sure I would have searched such a man out. Daddy gave me the blueprint for the perfect man for me.
On today, Father's Day, I want to wish my Daddy a very happy Father's Day. Although I have tried, words truly cannot express the love I have for him.
I love you, Daddy.
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