Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Redefining Daddy's Girl

I have written and re-written and re-written this because the subject is one that is dear to my heart and I wanted to express my feelings fully. I know that unless I had a lifetime to write this, I could never say everything on this topic that I would like.  So, after a lot of editing it is.

As much as I love both of my parents, I have always considered myself a Daddy's Girl, but not necessarily by the definition given by, which states:

"Daddy's girl is a phrase that can be interpreted in two ways. First, a daddy's girl can be the result of the way in which a man dotes on his daughter, coddling and protecting her and giving her whatever she wants. A daddy's girl knows that she is her father’s life and often takes advantage of the fact that he can’t stand to see her cry. A daddy's girl can never do anything wrong and is as innocent as the day is long.
Because a daddy's girl is the light of her father’s life, she may be under lock and key. In fact a daddy's girl may proudly - or not - declare that she is owned by her father. A father might try to shelter his daughter from all the unsavory aspects of life, preventing her from developing her independence."

Actually, I'm not at all any of those things.......and I'm okay with that.  I was rarely given whatever I wanted, because a strong work ethic was instilled in my sister and I from an early age.  I always knew my Dad loved me, but to say I was his life would be stretching it a bit; there was never any doubt in my mind that God and my Mom were the most important things in his life (and I cherish that about him).  I could do a lot wrong (and did)...A LOT!!!---but, his graciousness and love forgave a multitude of sins.  I was never innocent, but I sure could have done a lot worse.  I was the light of his life (or I like to think I was) and we all grew up in a somewhat sheltered home where we were protected from a lot of what is wrong in the world, but to say I was under lock and key was not at all the case.  I was given freedom and independence.  I was allowed to make my own mistakes, knowing that if I fell flat on my face my Dad would still love me....and it would be no less than ever before.

At 33 I still call my Dad, "Daddy".  The relationship between my Daddy and I was one where we would butt heads because we were too much alike, but I always knew I was honored to be so much like such an amazing man.  I wanted him to be proud of me, even when taking my own path didn't always fall in line with what he wanted for my life.  I wanted him to look at me and know that he and my Mom did something right; I wanted to be a source of happiness. 

He and I still watch football together and from the time I was very little I can remember crawling up on the couch with Daddy to watch a game.  Some of my most valued silent moments were spent with my Dad, neither of us saying a word; just watching the game and glad to be in each other's company.  It was so nice to grow up and know that he and I had something we appreciated that no one else in the house cared anything allowed for quality time. 

When I was young.....probably Reagan's age (4 yrs old).....I had a standing date every Saturday with my Dad.  It was always either Dunkin Donuts or McDonald's, but those few hours that I got to hang out with the coolest guy in my life were the minutes I lived all week for.  As I got older and we would go toe to toe over, looking back, some of the silliest things, it was the memory of our Saturday date that would break my heart as he nor I would back down, both determined to be right.  I remember thinking, "How did I go from once walking in his shadow to now we are facing off?"  I knew that I always held a special place in my Daddy's heart, but WOW.....was it hard to push through some of those teenage years.  Neither of us probably had it any easier than the other!  

I know that still, to this day, I can count on my Daddy to love me no matter what, and never less than any moment in the past.  I know that I still want to make him proud, this time though as a mother who instills the same sense of independence, self-worth and can-do-itness in her daughters.  More than longing for the reassurance that my parents feel they did something right, I want my Daddy to look at the relationship I have with my little girls and know that they have been blessed with a wonderful example of how to love and parent. All because of the father, and the roles throughout my life he modeled, I have the needed tools to be a wonderful parent.  I want my daughters to be proud to carry on the legacy of the relationship I have with Daddy.  I want them to know that there is nothing "weak" about being a Daddy's Girl.  That because of the relationship I have with my Dad, I am more independent, strong-willed and determined than I think I would have ever been without that special bond....and none of those qualities are anything to be less than proud of.  Even if they defy the definition of "Daddy's Girl"!!!

This is one of the few pictures I have with my Daddy and I will, one day, probably regret disliking having my photo taken so much