Daddy Issues

In appreciation of all the dads out there, I’d like to say from the bottom of my heart—we all have daddy issues. As a full grown woman, I can honestly say I have a great dad who continues to inspire and amaze me. Everyone loves my dad. He’s a gooooooood guy. To this day, his words still ring in my ears even though he lives hundreds of miles away. I often think to myself, “W.W.D.D.?” – What would DAD do? I’m lucky, fortunate, and blessed beyond words, but that doesn’t mean I’m absolved from daddy issues. I don’t mean daddy issues in the weird ‘somebody better call Chris Hansen’ way. Let’s face it—dad is the first man in our lives. He sets the gold (hopefully) standard for how we allow men to treat us and how we see ourselves in the world at large. I grew up with a father who adored and cherished me. He set the bar pretty high for quality control. I’m the Queen of Introspective Navel Gazing and Self-Torture and sometimes wonder if perhaps I may have possibly sort of had a wee tiny bit of commitment issues that may or may not have involved some daddy issues. Maybe, just maybe I was waiting to find a man like my dad. They are hard to come by….trust me, I looked. A lot.

Before you get Hansen on speed dial—our relationship was pretty basic father/daughter love. He was a role model not only for how men should (in my young mind) act, but also for how men should treat women (with respect). Granted—it wasn’t a cognizant search effort. I didn’t have my dad’s stats listed in my Match profile, but I’m sure there was some subconscious filtering happening when it became clear that some of my dates didn’t share the same value system, character traits or work ethic. I think that’s probably a good thing, but I wonder about the women who didn’t grow up with that male figure in their lives. I certainly am aware of some women who grew up without dads and who outwardly appear to have navigated through life just fine which makes me want to bow at their feet and kiss their rings. Amen, sisters.

Dating and relationships aside, Dad, along with Mom, kept me in check all throughout my young life—heck, for most of my adult life. It was their practical advice and leading by example that molded us little people (me and my 3 brothers) into the full blown versions of ourselves. While Dad told me I could be whatever I wanted, he filled it in with sensible advice—“take typing—you’ll always need it. If you train to be a secretary, you’ll always have a job.” I have a plethora of dad’isms to fall back on…

It will ALL work out – IT always does;

Thanks, Dad. I worry less because of you.

Pay your bills on time;

I have a phenomenal credit score – thanks, Dad!

If I say 11:00 PM, I don’t mean 10:59 or 11:01 PM.

Thanks to your strict curfews, Dad, I detest being late.

You’ll see who your real friends are when you don’t have a car to drive them around in.

Right again, Dad. True friends stick with you through thick and thin – even summers when your car is in the body shop!

Stand up for yourself – no one else will.

It’s not always easy to speak up, but it sure feels good when you do.

My house, my rules.

Thanks for the motivation to get my own house, Dad. Your rules were the pits! Financial independence = freedom to come home whenever I want as well as leave dirty dishes in the sink!

 

I grew up in a very middle class neighborhood – out in the ‘burbs with lots of kids. Our house was the place everyone congregated after school for a pick up game of wiffle ball. Whether we liked it or not, Dad was out there every afternoon, sitting on the cinderblock retaining wall with his glass of sweet tea ref’ing all the games. Over the back fence = automatic out. Over the side fence = foul ball. Any unsportsmanlike behavior = bench. I think most of the kids were slightly afraid of him while simultaneously being in awe of him. He was not a small man and could give you the evil eye like nobody’s business, but one thing is for sure – everyone respected him. I remember once when I was about ten, I witnessed a fight between my best friend’s parents who lived next door. Her dad had stayed out all night (drinking/gambling?). When he came home that next morning, the fireworks were flying. At one point, the fight moved outside, and I heard the Mom yell (as did the rest of the neighborhood), “you wouldn’t see John Welch acting this way.” And—she was right. Dad not only set the rules, but he followed them. Always—even when no one was looking.

I hear a lot these days about kids feeling entitled. I was the youngest of four children and the only girl. No doubt I was spoiled on some level, but I don’t think any of us ever felt entitled. My brothers and I all share a very strong work ethic and I have no idea how we learned that except for watching my dad get up and go to work every single day without fail. I can’t recall a single time that he called in sick EVER or went in late—not for doctor’s appointments, hangovers, hooky days, etc. I’m not saying my dad was a saint by any means—after all, he’s human. If my mom were alive, I’m sure she could point out a flaw or two. They definitely had their share of ups and downs, and while I used to take his side a lot, I now see mom’s point of view a little better on some things. As a husband, I’m sure he frustrated the you-know-what out of her on a daily basis, but I’m also confident, she loved him with all her heart as do many of us. When Mom passed back in 2006, Dad picked up and started a new chapter in his life after 52 years of marriage. He’s shown us yet again that happiness is a choice and we are responsible for finding our own—even after loss. My only daddy issue these days is that I don’t see enough of him.

Thanks for everything, Dad.

Blessings to all the Dads out there—and for the Moms who are filling both sets of shoes.

Written by: Lori Welch Brown

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