I just spent a weekend with my Dad. Just the two of us. It was marvelous. I must admit, though, that father/daughter relationships seem complicated.
Growing up my Dad was my hero. He could do no wrong. He could think no wrong. If you dared disagree with an opinion he had, well, you were wrong. If I’m being honest, these ideas continued well into my adulthood. As an adolescent, my dad was the person in my life who made me believe that I could do anything if I was willing to work. He allowed me to have a voice and always made me feel heard. I knew that whatever was happening in my life and in my little world, I always had a safe place to fall in our home. My dad had the unique ability to make myself and my siblings feel that we were each his favorite. He kept us close enough to teach and guide us, but when the time came he made sure we had wings to fly.
After I got married, my relationship with my Dad changed. It was just the cycle of life. That transition that was supposed to happen. My dad honored my husband and stepped aside and allowed my husband to fill the role of Protector that had been his for 22 years. It was no longer my Dad’s job to make sure my oil was changed, car fueled up, and that I’m making wise financial decisions.
Over the last several years I have come to understand that I idealized my Dad and while he is wonderful, he is not perfect. It was difficult for me to come to grips with this. The thought was foreign to me. As I have tossed this around my mind, I realize how silly it was for me to ever think he was perfect. Truth be told, though, if Dad’s are doing it right. . . all little girls will feel this way. My family has experienced some really tough times over the last several years. Heart-wrenching, soul crushing times. Through it all my Dad was consistent, protective, and strong. He remained a rock in our family when it seemed all else was falling apart. I realize that I have a gift in my Dad as so many have such different experiences.
For me, I am who I am, in part, because he is who he is.
I am so thankful that through the years my Dad continues to be a safe place for me. He continues to allow me to be who I am and makes me feel heard each and every time we talk. I am thankful that he loves me enough to love my husband and encourage us in our life together. I do believe that Father/Daughter relationships are complicated, but more than anything I believe they are beautiful.
And you know what else? I am so thankful that the man I married will give my daughter the same safe and beautiful relationship that my Dad gave to me.