“Oh, is this your son and daughter in law?” the sweet waitress asked my father as we sat having dinner.
Seems like a reasonable enough question, right? It was, save for one simple fact: She was not speaking about my brother and his wife. She was referring to me and my husband. Me- my father’s daughter.
It’s safe to say, I pretty much married my father. Not only are they similar in personality but in looks as well. They are both handsome, dark haired, dark skinned men. I’m sure some people might find this odd and ask me if I have “Daddy Issues.” I can assure you I do not. The better question is, my father is one of the best men I know, so why wouldn’t I marry someone like him?
Growing up, I was very much a Daddy’s Girl. Not in the sense that he spoiled me or that we ganged up on my mom and excluded her from things. But I always had a soft spot for my dad, a special relationship that was just ours. He understood me in a way that no one else in my family could. My love of music came from him, I think. I remember laying on our green shag carpet listening to his Beatles 8 track, singing along to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” I also remember the day I learned what that song really meant. I have beautiful memories of driving down the freeway in his 1969 Mustang Fastback belting out The Mamas and the Papas. To this day I find myself humming “Monday Monday” at the beginning of each week. And I will never forget the Saturday night we sat on the couch watching a movie and I turned to him and said, “I don’t know why teenagers want to go out on the weekends. I’ll be happy to just be here with you watching t.v..” He turned to me, smiled indulgently and said, “I’ll remind you of this conversation in a few years, as you’re running out the door to meet your friends.” He was right, of course.
My dad spent hours trying to teach me algebra and, worse yet, geometry- even tackling “New Math.” Having my own kids makes me truly appreciate the fact that he never lost his cool. Unfortunately that is not a trait I inherited. I know for a fact that my love of history and desire to become a history teacher was born and bred in my parents’ home. I will never forget the look on my dad’s face when I was accepted into Honor’s US History and Government. And it’s entirely possible he was more thrilled than I was when I got a 4 on my AP Government test. He taught me to drive, showed me how to check the oil in my car and made sure I had AAA because he never wanted me changing a tire on my own because it wasn’t safe for me to be on the side of the road alone.
My relationship with my father, like most relationships really, has evolved over the years. As a little girl he was my hero, as a young woman he was my rock, as a wife he is often my teacher and as an mother he is my mentor. And he’s the first person we call when something stops working in the house. He’s definitely had a positive influence on my marriage. “Vick, I’m going to be honest with you. If you’re waiting for him to ‘just see’ or ‘just know’ what you need, you’re going to be waiting a long time. We will never see or know anything. So cut the crap and just tell him.” Well, there you have it. That’s about 10 hours and $1,000 worth of couples therapy in 30 seconds or less.
My dad doesn’t get all the credit for our special relationship, though. I was a pretty awesome daughter. No really, I was! I never did all those stereotypical “teenage girl” things. I didn’t sneak out of the house. I didn’t go to parties. Well, except for that one. I didn’t drink. Well, there was that one wine cooler when I was 16. I didn’t wear inappropriate clothing. But I guess that was because my mother never would’ve let me out of the house, though.
And there was that one time I lied and said I was sleeping at my friend’s house when I was really sleeping at my boyfriend’s house and I was so nervous about lying that I forgot to engage the emergency break and take the car out of drive when I got there and the car rolled down an embankment and crashed into a neighboring fence. But who really remembers that?
And there might have been the time that same boyfriend and I decided to take my dog for a walk to the park and decided it was a good idea to spend a little time “getting to know one another” under a tree and my dad drove by on his way home from work and caught us. To this day I find it a bit suspicious he just “happened” to come home early that day and “coincidentally” drove past the park we were at.
I should probably also mention the time my college boyfriend and I came home for the weekend and my father caught us canoodling in my bedroom when he came us to tell us that dinner was ready and sternly suggest we “cut the activity.”
Please note: I recognize each of those stories makes me seem extremely, uh, popular with the boys. Sadly, that can not be farther from the truth. The 2 boys in the above stories were the only boyfriends I ever had before I met The Hubs. I’m pretty sure I can thank my father for that. I think he somehow made it known that dating me wasn’t worth the risk because I always got caught.
In spite of a few “poor choices” in boys and my inability to sneak around, I’d say I was a pretty great daughter. I graduated from college, I’ve been gainfully employed, have a great husband and so far my children seem pretty normal. The daughter-induced gray hairs have truly been kept to a minimum. If my kids can reach the age of 40 with a resume like that I’d consider myself a successful parent with an awesome kid. Wouldn’t you?
Then tell me this, people. If I was such a great kid, what did I do to deserve this?
Does $3,000 in damage to the car warrant this kind of punishment?
Does bad taste in boys really deserve instructions such as these?
Is a little innocent making out under a tree 20+ years ago deserving of this cruelty?
I guess my dad’s rational, calm reaction to my past “indiscretions” was all just an act. It seems he was saving his revenge to inflict upon me when I was least suspecting.
Well played, Dad. Well played.
I’m a Daddy’s Girl.
That’s just my normal.