My father and I were never what I would call close. I honestly thought he didn’t like me. Being myself around him was hard because I didn’t feel comfortable or emotionally safe. As a little girl, I was starved for his attention. I think my efforts to get him to see me just pissed him off. It wasn’t until I was 28 that I had the courage (after years of not speaking) to ask him the one thing I really wanted to know. Did he like me? It may sound silly, but I wanted to know the truth.
He told me that he loved me but that he NEVER really liked me. That I was so much like my mother (not really true) and that’s just the way it is/was. At the time, the adult part of me felt a kind of relief. When you believe something to be true, it’s good to get that affirmation. At least I wasn’t making it up. The kid still inside me was hurt, understandably.
Several things became clear to me on that day. For one, his anger towards my mother affected our relationship and two, it’s hard for a person who doesn’t like themselves to like anyone else. Lastly, I didn’t care to have a relationship with him anymore, although I did after he found out I was pregnant. He passed away when our daughter was one-year-old and in all honesty, I felt relief and still do.
My stepfather ‘stepped’ in when I was nine and we had a very contentious relationship. On top of that, my brother and I didn’t get along. My formative male relationships left me insecure and craving a real connection, especially with guys and then later, men.
It took a long time to let all of my husband’s love in. It was hard to let go of the impressions left with me from the men in my life. Thankfully, love is more powerful than anything else in the world and I no longer see myself through my fathers’ eyes.
When I see dads loving their children, especially girls, it’s brings tears to my eyes, not sad tears but tears of joy. Dads are so important overall but I think especially for girls and how they feel about themselves.
It was hard for me to listen to John Mayer’s song “Daughters” the first few times I heard it. I think it’s very apropos for this blog post:
For all the wonderful fathers who are great dads to their kids, I hope you had an incredible and loving Father’s Day. As John Mayer says, “Fathers, be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do…
A special thank you to my husband who loves our daughter fiercely and shows me every single day what I loveable person I am.
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