Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

For whatever reason, Father's Day carries more import and significance than Mother's Day. It seems like less of a Hallmark Holiday than Mother's Day, probably because my own father expects nothing out of the occasion.

In retrospect, I was blessed. I don't remmeber my bio dad, as I was apparently at the desired age of divorce. I don't have early childhood memories of my bio dad and he was long gone during my childhood and teenage years. I vaguely remember a court proceeding when I was 5, asking me who I wanted to be me dad. How fucked up was that? I remember saying that I wanted my stepdad to be my dad, as, at that point, he was the one I saw every day. My bio dad (jazz piano player) was altogether willing to sign off on us, so no harm, no foul.

Except, maybe, there was. My mother married a man from Texas, who had strong opinions about child rearing (except he had never done it) and was forceful in his implementation of said opinions. We were beaten, berated and bullied into submission. My step dad was close to 30 when he married a woman with two small kids. Hell, I am 36 and I can't imagine inheriting that, and I certainly wouldn't have been at 30.

Thing is, everything I am as a human being as attributable to my dad. Technically step, but fuck technically. He raised me in every sense of the word. He is, 180% my dad, and even my "daddy." He was the parent I called when I got my period, he was the parent I called when I first entertained the idea of getting married, and hell, he was the person B called when he proposed.

Girls have strong, strong relationships with their fathers. I am so acutely aware of that right now. My relationship with my father defined every relationship I have had with a man. Whatever flaws I perceived in him, I adored my father for his unconditional love and support. I remember a time when he and my mom were on the outs, and him saying to me, in no uncertain terms, "K, I want you to live with me." Mind you - step father, no blood relation, but had my folks broke up? Yes, would have gone to him, no question.

When we talked tonight, he wanted to ask me a hundred questions about my present personal life, but he and I have perfected a dance where I invite him to ask questions about me. I didn't. I asked him questions about his life, and perhaps most revealing, he told me that his job was kicking his ass professionally. My dad is in his late 50's, and he should be coasting. Except he isn't, because my dad has the work ethic and desire to be the best that has informed my entire life.

This is going to end as a love letter to my dad, and the fathers I so admire. I will compare every man I ever meet to my father, who is flawed and was awful and is now one of the men I most admire. Dad, thank you for setting the bar so fucking high and for making me feel like the most desirable woman on the planet. If I can see myself through your eyes at least once a day, I will strut accordingly. Thank you for teaching me that no man is an interesting as the woman he loves, and thank you for instilling in me a confidence that no one could ever take away from me. Thank you for teaching me that I determine my own worth, and that I had the skills, smarts and beauty to do whatever the fuck I wanted. Thank you for those many moments where I could see in your eyes that you were so proud of me and thank you for tonight, where I know you wanted to ask me questions about my personal life but restrained. I love you and love who you made me. You made me this way.

I also want to write this as a love letter to my bio dad, who died way too young. Bobby, I will miss you every day of my life, as you were my biological soul mate. We didn't grow up together, but you taught me so much about myself. You were the best friend a daughter could hope to have, even though I didn't really consider you my "dad." You were my roots, my biological father, and every day since you died, I miss you more than I could ever express in words. Thank you for everything -- for loving us, for sacrificing us to a two parent house, for opening up to me when I was old enough to get it, and for being one of my best friends on this planet. I have missed you terribly every day since you left us and would give my life for one hour to talk to you again. I love you and miss you and wish I could talk to you. I loved you so much, and seriously? Every day? I think about you and wish you were still here. I miss my close friend and biological soul mate. I miss you.

Being a father to a daughter is so much more than anyone could realize. I so appreciate that and tip my hat to the good men who love their daughters. You have no idea how long that lasts for us.

I know what it means to be a good father and am in love with one of those

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