I was always a daddy’s girl. Growing up I idolized my dad. I was sure that he knew how to do everything, was the strongest man in the world and could absolutely do know wrong. I was devastated when I learned he was human.
My father was my first true love. He worked all the time so when I got to spend time with him, it was magical and I loved every minute of it. The first time I saw him dive off our high deck into our 4ft deep pool, I thought he was a superhero. He was the one who tossed me in the pool, over my moms objections, and let me figure out on my own how not to die. I sputtered to the surface, listening to my mom holler at my dad while my dad held her back from coming to my aid. Once I realized I was breathing and floating, I remember laughing with my dad at my silly mommy for being afraid. We were in cahoots, dad and I.
Every Christmas Eve, my dad would take my sister and I shopping for gifts for mom. He would literally buy everything on her list and so many things that weren’t on her list; he also gave each of us a crisp $100 bill so that we could buy stuff, too. When we were old enough, my sister and I were charged with wrapping all of moms bounty. I cherished this ritual and was so proud to be part of it. I had no idea we were swimming in debt, I was the richest little girl in the world.
In my teens, I rebelled, always against my mom. She was too strict, she worried too much, she had too many rules – and my dad always talked me into submission. He would tell me how I only had one mother and she meant well, but most importantly, that family was everything and I needed to respect my mother.
My father, the workaholic, was also a dreamer. He would often pursue “the next big thing” spending money we didn’t have on get rich schemes. He bought into a precious gem factory, a water purifier, a vending machine business…all without my mothers permission…I can’t even imagine how angry/sad/scared my mother was each time.
He was frequently stressed as the bills piled up and he would take it out on my mom. He would yell at her for reckless spending and mishandling of the checking account when she was buying things for the house or for us. Never mind what he was doing. My mom always put us first and would go out of her way to ensure we never went without; even if it meant suffering the wrath of my father.
My sister and I were always respectful to my dad…my mom got the short end of the stick from everyone. Our frustration, raging hormones, teen angst – it was all reserved for mom. My father worked hard all day, mom “protected” him from us.
I always wanted a man like my dad, a relationship like my parents…until I didn’t. Viewing my father from the perspective of the woman he encouraged me to grow into, changed everything. Unknowingly, my father raised me to be fiercely independent and to know, with absolutely certainty, how I deserved to be treated. This extended to ALL women…including my mother. Within this lens, my dad did not fare well.
At some point, the romanticized vision of childhood evolved into the wizened view of a woman who dated her fair share of toads. My father was merely a mortal.