I wrote this a while back. I thought I would share:
This will be one of the most challenging entries I have ever attempted to write. To date, I have attempted to tackle this subject 18 times and alas, I could never commit my thoughts on this subject. My draft posts are almost entirely devoted to this subject and there is huge potential that this would be yet another unsuccessful attempt. My commitment to being authentic makes this entry unimaginable difficult but its time. So, I take a deep breath and allow this story to write itself.
My fondest memory of my father: it is summertime, a very hot sunny day and if my memory serves me well, it was late in the day. My father worked long hours and we saw very little of him, except in the summer. As a family, we would travel to wherever he was working and as such, we would get to see more of him. I saw my father pull into the driveway. It was hard to miss the great big, red truck. My sister was not at home, perhaps she was still playing with a friend? I really can’t recall but I do remember thinking how lucky I was because I would get a chance to show him how much I loved him! I must have been pretty young because I do remember it was difficult to open the fridge. Once I got the door open, I grabbed an ice-cold beer, this would make my father happy!
My father opened the door and there I was, an Ice cold beer in hand and smiling from ear to ear. I loved him so much, it was hard not to run to him and hug his legs but I didn’t want to make him mad. My Mom had always warned me to allow my Dad some time to decompress after work, and not be annoying. My Dad was not a hugs and kisses kind of guy.
He saw me standing there. I held the beer forward and said: “this is for you”! He kinda smiled or at least that is how I choose to remember…he told me to hang on as his hands were full, he was carrying a lunch pail and some work stuff, I think he had a hard hat under his arm. I remember scolding my self and thinking how stupid I was, of course he couldn’t grab the beer. I was already wrecking this opportunity to prove I was a good girl.
He went through his routine of rinsing out his Thermos and containers and placed the lunch pail on top of the fridge. I was doing a pretty good job of not being underfoot, I do remember that this was an issue with me, I was always in the way.
My father made his way to his favorite chair and sat down. He said ” you can bring me that beer now”. I almost ran but stopped myself, I had a bad habit of tripping and making messes. I took a deep breath and walked over. He took the beer and said thank you but that I forgot to open it. Oops! I forgot the opener! I said that I would get it for him and to stay where he was. I think I told him that it was important for him to relax after such a long day!
I remember being really happy, I remember thinking that this could be the time that would help him see that I was good and that he would have no choice but to like me. Kinda makes me sad to remember how desperate I was for him to like me…
I came back with the opener and said that I really wanted to open it for him but I didn’t know how. My father said that it was okay and took the opener from me. He positioned it on the cap and it made that wonderful summer time sound. He took his first gulp and said: ” ahhhhh, nothing better than a cold beer on a hot day”.
I asked him if I could take off his boots. He asked me if I knew how and I said I sure did. My hands were little and not all that strong but I did my best to tackle the double knot that secured my fathers work boots. Slowly, but surely, I loosened the laces. It must have taken awhile, because I noticed my Dad had already finished his beer. I didn’t even ask. I got up and went to the kitchen to fetch another. I brought him a new beer and took away the empty and placed it in the case. I hurried back and found him about to take off his boot and told him not to, that it was my job. I know he smiled at that.
So, I struggled, and grunted, and tugged with all of my might and after much effort, I got that sucker off! I was very pleased with myself. I moved on to the other boot and almost gave myself a black eye when it hit me in the face when it finally popped off. My Dad laughed and in doing so, gave me permission to do the same.
I remember taking off his stinky, wool, work socks and we had a laugh over that as well. It may seem silly to anyone reading this post that this little memory is my favorite but sadly there were so few good memories. Just because a man is your Father, there is no guarantee that he will like you.
It took me years to come to terms with the fact that I would never have a good relationship with my Dad. I gave up trying many, many years ago. I decided to let go of all the shit that was holding me back. I woke up one day and just took control of my feelings, put on my big girl panties and said: “enough”.
If you are a father of a little girl, please know that you are her first love. The way you manage this relationship will have a profound impact on her expectation of how all men should treat her; her employers, male colleagues and eventually romantic partners. Are you setting her up for success? Do you want a confident and balanced daughter or do you want an insecure woman who questions her sense of worth?
Fathers have such a huge role to play in the healthy development of your children. Please take it seriously or do not have children. It really is that simple. You will forever damage the purist love you will ever receive. Choose carefully. Little girls remember everything…
To all the wonderful men that take this role seriously and make a real effort to offer love and guidance to your progeny, Thank you! You are everyday heroes. Your efforts will make this world a better place. Fathers everywhere, be present, loving and kind, these behaviors will create strong, emotionally centered women. To all the wonderful Fathers that raised your daughters using this approach, keep being a force of the awesome; the world is a better place because of you.