There’s just something about fathers and daughters, as there often is between mothers and sons. While the mother-daughter relationship can be estranged, the father-son connection can be equally strained. I have friends in my circles who know all these combinations very well.
Across the 54 years I had my Dad, our bond wasn’t without its ups and downs. In fact, there were whole stretches of years where I secretly set him up in my mind as the cause of all my woes. I’d silently rail under my breath, “If it weren’t for you…”
Especially during the last dozen years of his life, I came to see things differently. In hindsight, this is a couple who probably should not have wed. They were ill-suited. Each experienced considerable sorrow as a result. But they stayed together for me, like so many traditional marriages cast in the 1950’s.
Even with both gone, I’m not entirely certain they should have remained for me. It was Hell on wheels when my father yelled and my mother cowered emotionally. Still, I can readily summon three snippets from Bill’s 89 years on Earth that capture the essence of the man I called Daddy.
Am I a Boy or a Girl?
To this day, it’s a bit fuzzy around the edges as to whether he wanted a boy or girl for his only child. I write these words with a smile. For, I believe he actually enjoyed having a daughter. As fate would have it, I preferred dressing my Barbie dolls over shooting basketballs or throwing a Frisbee. I just never had the heart to tell him. We met in the middle bike riding and going to hockey games. I love my 1970’s vintage Toronto Maple Leafs jersey even now!
Standing Up for Justice
Doing my father’s laundry was just one way I progressively became involved in his aging care. While monitoring the 1970’s vintage (!) washer through its jerky cycle, we’d share “Laundry Room Chats”. That’s when I learned of his mettle playing in a 1940’s baseball church league. When the audience taunted a black team mate, my Dad marched center field and ordered the game stopped. Do you know what guts that took in segregationist Canada? Wow!!!
Always Championing Me
No matter the trials and tribulations that went on in our household, I always knew I was genuinely wanted. Indeed, if I had a dollar for every time my Daddy recounted the story of the day I was born and his proud announcement to the congregation that Sunday morning, I would be infinitely wealthy! My legacy is deep of the countless instances he was thrilled over my accomplishments. He even helped me sell my first book to his friends and banker!
How Will You Acknowledge Father’s Day?
Just as I did on Mother’s Day for the Mom’s out there, I gently encourage even those of you with “bad” fathers to acknowledge him in some way in your mind. Gosh knows, there are plenty of absent and irresponsible men out there; I understand.
On June 21st – the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere – my heart is as sunny as the weather with fond memories of the enduring legacy my Dad managed to leave through our meaningful conversations. I repeat it was NOT always like that!! We came to reconciliation OVER TIME.
If you’re curious to learn more about how I overcame my intense sadness contending with a father who battled alcoholism during most of my early years, please reach out at (905) 822-2503 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org