I must confess that I’m what’s called a ‘Daddy’s Girl’ even at forty plus years old. Not the kind of ‘Daddy’s Girl’ that requires therapy, but a well-balanced fully away type. My father means the world to me. He is indeed a ‘Rock Star’ in my book, and I dare say that of my older brother and my younger sister.
What I saw growing up was not only my father as a provider, protector, and teacher but also as a husband, hard worker and God fearing man. Being raised in a two-parent home; solidly middle class and in a middle-class suburb of Maryland, my father was self-employed while my mother worked for the federal government. Because my dad was self-employed, he often was the one that accompanied me on field trips and attended parent-teacher conferences.
He was so involved with my activities and education that my principals knew him by his first name, my guidance counselors understood he was a phone call away. My teachers knew what to say to get me to focus, “Ms. Lewis, you don’t want me to have to call your father, do you?” Back on the right track for me. My dad’s influence was so tremendous that it got me off the hook when, during my senior year of high school, I was caught skipping school.
I willingly participated in one of the rights-of-passage senior skip school days, yes the now Reverend skipped school, and the vice principal found out where we were, and he came with suspension slips in hand. He looked as if he was the local police writing parking tickets. Looking back now it’s funny, but it was no laughing matter then. When it was my turn to get suspended the vice principal whispered in my ear telling me to get home because he knew if he suspended me, my father would kill me.
For the record, my father is no demigod. He is 100% human. He has made mistakes. He didn’t get it all right. But he admitted his mistakes and shortcoming. He apologized. He would tell us that he was doing the best that he knew how. When I was in my senior year of high school, heading to college that’s when I heard his story. His ‘why’ he was the man, the father I had come to know and love. His why.
He explained that his father wasn’t always the best father or example of a husband. His parents divorced when he was very young. His mother was left to raise three children alone. And he admitted that he wasn’t always the easiest of the three. He didn’t see his father as often as he would’ve liked.
He vowed to himself that he would be different from his father. He promised himself that he would be a better man. Be a better husband. Be a better father. Be a better provider. Just be better.
I had no one to compare my father too. In my eyes, he was like all the other father’s that I saw in my neighborhood. He was there. He was involved. He was Daddy.
Today, I’m the parent of two young adult children, a daughter, and a son. My father set the bar very high but nonetheless, I want my son to be an even better man. Better than his dad, my ex-husband. Better than my dad, his grandfather. Just better.
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