Thursday, October 8, 2009

Daddy's Girl

Growing up, I was a mama's girl. I was prissy. I liked the things my mom liked, reading, sewing and not getting dirty. My sister on the other hand was a tom-boy and total daddy's girl. When I was in the kitchen helping my mom can preserves, my sister was out riding the tractor with my dad. As we morphed into teenagers, that pattern remained consistent, I went to mom for advice, she went to dad. I fought with dad, she fought with mom.

I don't know if I was a mama's girl growing up because I naturally shared my mom's interests, or by default because I didn't get along with my dad. I know when I was very small, I adored my daddy like all little girls do. But as I grew, adoration changed to fear. My dad was very critical. He was a perfectionist. He was demanding and loud and often in a bad mood. So many of my memories of my dad from when I was young were of him yelling at me or punishing me. Because of this, I grew away from my dad. By the time I was in high school I was an angry, bitter and messed-up teenager who thought I hated my dad. I thought he hated me, to be honest, and I was just returning the favor.

I put my parents through a lot of grief as a teen, and now as I look back I realize the one I hurt the most was my dad. Because under his cold exterior he loved me more deeply than probably anyone else on this earth ever has. Now as an adult, I can understand why he was the way he was when I was small. He grew up poor, with a verbally abusive mother. He served in Vietnam. He worked in an environment where he was hazed for years. Basically, he lived through and with a lot of awful things and he was trying to figure out how to deal with them while also being a provider, a mentor, a father. A son, a husband, an employee. A Christian, a servant, a human. Basically, he was just like everyone of us on this planet! But as a child, we don't see our parents as human. Father's aren't allowed to have problems. They aren't allowed to have their own traumas and ghosts to deal with. As a child, I held my father to such a high standard that their was no way he could avoid falling in my eyes. Why did I do that?

As an adult, I understand so much more than I did back then. I empathize with his struggles, his issues, and his way of dealing with life. I forgive him his mistakes, and I pray that he forgives me mine. I see all the good in him, I see the depth of his compassion, grace and love and know that I am blessed to have such a wonderful father. As an adult, I have become a daddy's girl.


Alicia said...

I'm happy for you. Happy that you've forgiven and that you understand. It's never too late for that. You'll always be his daughter. Always. Can you imagine how proud he would be of you right now if he read this? Seriously.

mom911 said...

Great post. Thank you.

Jess said...

Beautiful post Chrissi!
I think you should tell him all this, I bet it would mean the world to him.