He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~Clarence Buddington Kellend
This weekend is Father's Day, so naturally I wanted to pay some sort of tribute to my dad in this week's post. I'll be honest, after sitting in my office looking at quotes and listening to songs about fathers for several hours I am still searching for the appropriate way to (a) describe and (b) honor my dad. It's just not quite as easy for me as writing a Mothers' Day post. Don't get me wrong, it's not because my dad doesn't have some great qualities...he is kind, generous, hard-working and has an endless desire to learn new things (which I really admire about him). He is absolutely a man who provided well for his family and who loves to look at the bright side of life. There is no dwelling on the negative with my dad, and maybe that's where I got my laid-back, optimistic attitude. In addition, once in awhile I can really bullshit people, so it's likely I also inherited a bit of his sales charm.
Unlike the relationship I had with my mom growing up, things with my dad weren't as smooth sailing. Although, from what I recollect, they were great when I was little girl. I often remember my dad taking my brothers and I out "snipe" hunting on winter evenings so my mom could clean up the kitchen after dinner (at my house "snipes" were 3-legged birds whose tracks you could see in the snow on the sidewalk...they had to be caught in a large brown paper bag from the local grocery store...for some reason we continued to hunt them even though we never caught one. Actually, I never even saw one now that I think about it). On Saturday mornings he'd take me with him to run errands (which I thoroughly enjoyed), and I know he tried his best to get me to love the game of tennis as much as he did.
But, as I got into my teen years, things changed between my dad and I. Our relationship became defined by how well I was doing in school and how much make up I wore, rather then on just spending time together talking about anything but those two topics. I actually recall my teen years as a series of groundings with intermittent freedom (wherein I would inevitably break the rules and in turn get grounded again). Looking back, I honestly don't think my dad had any idea how to relate to me. I know for certain he loved me, but that wasn't bridge enough for him to understand where I was coming from. I wish he'd have had this book:
Dr. Meeker wrote this book in 2006 (although I recently saw it at the Super Target with a new edition cover) which I believe is a MUST for any father of a daughter. Meeker has spent more than 20 years counseling adolescent girls and is well versed (with lots of additional sources to back up her findings) on how critical the father/daughter relationship is to the overall physical and mental health of a growing girl. It is written in a very easy to read manner, and has lots of real life examples to refer to throughout the pages.
The rocky teen relationship I had with my dad came to a head when I got pregnant with my son at the age of eighteen. There was no question he was very disappointed in me. But because of the way I chose to take on the responsibility of parenthood he gained a new respect for me and has since told me numerous times how very proud he is of where I am today. I can honestly say I have learned a great deal from my dad, not just from what has come out of his mouth, but from his actions. In turn I know my dad has learned a great deal from me as well.
Because I love you dad and because no one else could ever be your "coco bean" "princess" or "stinky" (I will explain that one later...), here is a special father/daughter song for you...