Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad

I have a complicated relationship with my dad.

I am my father's only biological child, and the only girl. I bear a strong physical resemblance to him, although I look more like my mom as I get older. Dad doted on me when I was small, and I idolized him. I was 8 when he and my stepmom married, and I can mark that as the point our relationship began to deteriorate. The development of my strong personality over the next ten years didn’t help matters. My dad is very traditional, and he has simple values. He’s not one to spend a great deal of time discussing feelings. He works very, very hard, and just wants to come home to dinner and no drama. My introspective (and sometimes confrontational) nature is confusing to him.

When I first saw the Steve Martin remake of “Father of the Bride,” I was a sophomore in high school. I dreamed of my own engagement, not because I wanted to be married, but because I thought my dad would behave very much like the Steve Martin character. It didn’t turn out that way, and I was disappointed. My dad has made a lot of decisions and done a lot of things that hurt me. These were not malicious; my dad made the best choices he knew how, and – like many men – he tends to be clueless. Things that I notice or that matter to me completely elude him. But I’ve done things that were hurtful to him, too. We just have such different thought processes that it’s sometimes hard to relate to each other.

Over the last couple of years, and especially over the last six months, I’ve been making a real effort to put the past behind us. My dad will be 61 in August. His dad and granddad both died before they were 70, and since my dad has never taken care of himself, I have to face the very real possibility that we don’t have that many years left.

My dad was the first man I ever loved, and the first man who ever loved me. Even when we don’t agree or understand each other, I know he’d do anything he could for me. Even at 35, I’m still thrilled to be Daddy’s little girl.

In honor of Father’s Day, here are some of my favorite photos of my dad.

January 26, 1979 - Dad was 28 and I was 2:

Spring 1999 - Dad was 48 and I was 22:

May 14, 2011 - Dad is 60:

Happy Father's Day to my favorite dad!

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