They say that a woman’s relationship with her father sets up the course for all of her relationships with men. It makes sense. The first relationship with the opposite sex that a girl knows is with her dad, so it would no doubt teach her what that relationship is supposed to look like. Unfortunately, not every father-daughter pair is a healthy one.
Many women, myself included, suffer from “daddy issues.” These are the underlying characteristics that most people blame for a woman having screwed-up relationships with men. They show up in the form of failure to trust, excessive flirting, eagerness to please, clinginess, and an attraction to much older men. I should know, I’ve exhibited all of those traits at one point or another.
My relationship with my biological father ended abruptly when I was a freshman in high school. After dealing with his alcoholic wife who began to treat me like an inconvenience rather than a member of the family, I decided to stop my every-other-weekend visits during what I still consider to be one of the worst nights of my life. My biological father let me go. His contact with me soon disappeared. He believed that I should be the one to maintain the relationship; I questioned when the roles of parent and child had reversed.
The good news is, I had a spare dad.
When I was in grade school, my mom began dating the man I consider my dad. He already had a son (my brother Zack) who was a year younger than me and we all used to have such fun times going to the local putt-putt course or up to Mammoth for skiing. A family was formed. My parents’ relationship was off-and-on until I was in high school when it was subsequently over. Regardless, the two stayed the best of friends and I was still daddy’s little girl.
As I’ve gotten older, my relationship with my affectionately named Dad-O has grown even closer than I could have ever thought and we enjoy “just the two of us” activities (particularly those that other members of the family have no interest in). We see movies and have dinner together just to have those rare moments where it’s just a father and his daughter.
When I turned 24, my dad decided to treat me to a skydiving trip. I had always wanted to go, he had always wanted to go, so we went together and it was incredible. Then a few months later, we went again with my brother to celebrate his return from the Army. What’s that they say? The family that skydives together…
Another time, we went to a nice dinner and saw the play Trying at one of the local theaters. When we got to the restaurant, I found a small vase of flowers waiting just for me with a sweet note. My dad had arranged everything. Even the play that evening was acted out by another father-daughter pair. There were some damp eyes at the end of the performance on more than one face.
And just this past Saturday, my dad and I went horseback riding. Every day on my way to work, I pass by a horse ranch and have mentioned to my mom how much I’ve wanted to go riding. I went a couple of times when I was a kid and have always wanted to try it again. Out of nowhere, I received an email from the ol’ Daderoo with a local deal that offered a discounted two-hour ride at the exact ranch that I drove by each day. He wanted to know if that was something I was interested in and I, of course, jumped at the chance.
I’m sure our father-daughter dates will continue for years to come, but I have come to appreciate them more than I ever knew. It takes a lot for a man to choose to be a father to a young girl that’s not his own and even more for him to want to maintain the strong relationship it took years to build. I’ve got something special with my dad and I definitely don’t take it for granted that he stepped in when he didn’t have to.
He’s awesome and that’s no lie.