A Father Figure
A Father Figure
By: Caroline Simpson
There is a myriad of females in my family. Starting with my Mom; she has three sisters. Out of my ten cousins, there are only two boys, and I am one of two daughters. I love being from a female-full family. The girl power factor is unbeatable. There was always an opportunity for late night girl talks on the phone, not to mention the never-ending understanding associated with female companionship, and, of course, the ability to cathartically cry for absolutely no reason. I am one very lucky girl, and during this time of year, I am forced to think…my poor father!
I frequently wondered if the fathers of all these females: my dad, my uncles, and my grandfather, ever truly wished for sons. Even if they never outright said it, isn’t it is common knowledge that a father wants a son? Playing ball, burping, and getting dirty are all elements of that father-son relationship that my dad never experienced. Does he regret it? Is a prerequisite to feeling like a successful father the ability to share a love of bugs?
I think not! Sure, daughters are different, more challenging, even. Playing ball was not my thing, but my dad made it a point to figure out what my thing was. One of my favorite memories is our visit to the Museum of Natural History. I loved rocks, and Dad spent a small fortune on a pre-organized rock collection from the gift shop that I still have. Then there was the time when Mom had a morning meeting and Dad helped me get ready for school. He was not prepared for the drama that was my hair, but he gave it his all. Five barrettes and a can of hairspray later, I walked to the bus stop with a bumpy helmet head of ponytails.
Growing up, I didn’t go to dad with typical female needs….When is it time for me to wear a bra? Can I wear lipstick? My boyfriend dumped me. I dumped my boyfriend, etc…thank goodness I have Mom for the ins and outs of being a girl! Although, I may have spared Dad from some of the minutiae, I was always able to turn to him for the big stuff. He taught me to be strong and independent. He showed me how to stand up for myself and give everything I do my all. He showed me the value of working hard and the necessity of playing hard. Our time is not spent playing catch or talking stats; instead, we have deep conversations about applying for a promotion or buying a house.
The male point of view is an interesting and essential one. For example, I remember the time I complained about PMS; Dad shared that he didn’t want to hear me complain, because between myself, my sister, and my mom, he experienced PMS three times a month. That put it in perspective for me. My dad is clever, too. Although I don’t like to admit it, there was a time when I was not perfect. For example, I got in trouble and lost phone privileges. The element of gab is required when you are a teenager, and I was sure I stumped my parents when I told them that the phone in my room was a gift from my grandparents and they couldn’t take it! Ha! Well, Dad countered with the point that the phone jack in my room is his, and he could take it. Needless to say, I didn’t chat on the phone for the next two weeks.
Bottom line up front (a true Dad-ism,) my dad is the reason that I am who I am today. He may not have had sons to raise, but he has two daughters who look to him as their role model for the male species, in general. He may have wished we could have bonded over bugs, but instead, we bonded over life. A father, if he does it right, is a figure for sons and daughters, alike. My dad did it right, and I am proud to say to him – Happy Father’s Day!
Publishers Note: Caroline agreed to let us reprint this piece she wrote for our June 2007 issue annually each June. Since she wrote this, she has given her father two more females to watch out for. Caroline and her husband Jeremy have a beautiful 6 year old daughter, Evelyn, and baby daughter Cora who turns 8 months old this month and a crazy little 2 year old son, James.