I’m a Daddy’s Girl!

This month marks the second year since my Dad passed away. My grieving process has been a personal one and I have mostly kept it to myself. There have been a few moments where the sad part of my grief has bubbled over, but mostly, my grieving process has been an internal, reflective process. However, as I think back on the past two years, I feel compelled to share some of my experience and some of the thoughts I have about my Dad.

I grew up a Daddy’s girl. I really can’t explain what this really means as it is just a connection I felt for my Dad. I loved to spend time with him, I thought he was funny, I enjoyed pushing his buttons, I was amused by getting as close to that line of aggravating him and often didn’t feel satisfied until I got the “over the glasses look” from Dad. This would make me giggle and walk away as my Dad would then just shake his head in exasperation. I particularly loved talking with my Dad. I loved debating with Dad, I loved using his own points against him. Debating was a verbal and mental game I loved playing and Dad was always up for the challenge. I loved listening to his stories – especially when they became more and more elaborate. I loved rambling on and on while he listened to my own stories. I equally LOVED the way Dad would end a conversation. There was no predicting the wrap up…likely because there was NO WRAP UP….mid conversation Dad would simply say “okay” and just like that we were finished talking. This always made me laugh as it was hallmark Dad. Anything else would have felt wrong. I LOVE my Dad!

I’ve heard many girls talk about their Dad being their Hero. I’m not sure if it will seem weird, but I wouldn’t call my Dad my Hero, I loved him fiercely, but I also knew he wasn’t perfect. He was a hard man in many ways, opinionated, strong willed, stubborn as all get out, lacked some of the finer skills of social grace, a bit proud and he was certain he knew most everything. But I loved and admired him in spite of the complete collection of his character traits.

One of the things that has occupied my thoughts recently is how much weight Dad put on parenting, as he measured the worth of his life. This concept ran very deep with him, it was a spiritual, social, personal responsibility to him. He wanted each of us to be successful and worked very hard to provide what he believed would best help us achieve this. As I think about my Dad and how much I miss him, I can’t help but think about each of his TEN children…my siblings…and I feel a sense of celebration that so many of his character traits are still here and LIVING LARGE!

Rose Ann – My Dad had a certain sense of wisdom. He was a methodical, probing, thinker. While my Dad was a talker once you got him going, he was often quiet and observed what was going on around him. Since Dad’s passing, there have been a few troubling situations I have wrestled with and Rose Ann provides the calm, thoughtful wisdom I would often get from my Dad. I love Rose Ann for this!

Cristy – My Dad was fiercely loyal. We were his family, his responsibility, his people! Cristy is my sibling that will keep us all together and loyal to each other. When I do something stupid…I can count on Cristy to point it out, knowing she will accept and love me anyway. Cristy loves to take care of her family just like my Dad did. I love Cristy for this!

Dave – My big brother! Many identify Don as the sensitive brother, but perhaps because Dave was my big brother and present for all my little girl, emotional hurt feelings, he is MY sensitive brother. He would pick on me, make me cry but would also try to console me once the tears started flowing. Even as an adult, when hard life things happen, Dave is still a place to go to find a compassionate, tender ear for a crying little sister. I love Dave for this!

Danny – When we were younger, I often made it my personal quest to aggravate the beejeebers out of Danny. He was my brother that was just older than me and I was the quintessential little sister. Much like the joy I felt when I would drive Dad to that aggravated state of shaking his head with exasperation, I loved pushing Danny to his limits. Danny has the place of honor of enduring more than his share of little sister torture. I love Danny for this!

Mike – Much like the connection I felt with my Dad, Mike is my brother that I have always had an easy relationship with. I like being around him. There is a comfort I feel when spending time with him. I assume there are specific personality traits, but through Mike I get to preserve that intangible feeling of connection I had with my Dad. I love Mike for this!

Deanne – My Dad was always one to hold firm to the convictions he had. I always admired his strength of character in not allowing what others would think of him to dictate his expression of what he believed. Deanne is my sister who carries on this legacy. She is bold and brave. I love Deanne for this!

Dennis – My Dad loved to debate. Not everyone loved to debate with my Dad, but he was always up for a good “argument”. Dennis is my brother that I can discuss even the most difficult topics with. He will talk with me when we have views that are polar opposite. Sometimes the debates are just for the fun of verbal play and other times they are on matters of deep personal issues. I love Dennis for this!

Don – My Dad loved being a protector of women. It’s possible he spoiled his daughters – I think the boys would unanimously agree. He helped each of us develop into strong independent women. He allowed us to be opinionated, speak our minds, and be assertive to our needs. I never felt Dad was threatened by the intensity of the women in his life. Don shares this trait, and as sisters, we have sometimes exploited it. We often made a game of asking Don to do things for us and would giggle as he would comply. However, Don has never been threatened by the strong women in his life. This is a type of strength many men don’t fully understand. I love Don for this!

Melissa – Melissa is the other Daddy’s girl in the family. She is my sister that “GETS” how I feel about my Dad. It is not necessary to explain it to her. In much the same way, it is most difficult to find words to describe the connection to my Dad I feel because of Melissa. It is as intangible as the “Daddy’s Girl” feelings I have for my Dad. Perhaps, there is comfort in knowing she misses him in much the same way I do. As someone who always has words…LOTS of words… to express my feelings, these very words that have always been my friend have been woefully inadequate in expressing my feelings of loss. I take comfort in knowing Melissa knows how I feel without the pressure of articulating it. I love Melissa for this!

So, as two years have passed, I feel more like celebrating than grieving. I feel more like remembering all Dad gave to me during the time he was here. I feel more like expressing joy for the thousands and thousands of good memories. I feel more like honoring his efforts by living my life to the fullest. I feel more like shouting my gratitude to the heavens that while I miss him, so much of him remains in the lives of each of his children. From the bottom of my heart….I Love you Dad. I will live, I will laugh, I will celebrate until we meet again!

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