Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers be good to your daughters.

...daughters will love like you do.

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today. Although my father is still alive and kicking, Father's Day is always a tough time for me, 

Growing up, my father was so good to my brother and I. He lived and breathed for us. He would take us on one fun adventure after another. He never missed a single sporting event or doctors appointment. His walls were splattered with every single photo he had of his kids. However, my relationship with my dad over the past several years has been less than perfect.

Maybe this could have all been prevented had I been more mature, stronger. Maybe if I’d contained my temper at 15 when I was strongly opposed to my father’s choice in his wife. Maybe. But that’s silly. It’s him, not me. He was the adult who made the decisions he did. I've come to realize that my dad pushes me from his life because he doesn’t want to face the mistakes he has made. I don't think it's ever good for a daughter to be without her father, but in this case, my father is not the person inhabiting his body right now. I'll be okay. I'll be stronger because of all of this. For what it's worth, I do love you.

At birth, fathers are given the powerful responsibility to influence the lives of their daughters – either positively or negatively. Having a child makes you a father but not a “dad." It’s a name that has to be earned; earned by being supportive of your child and just by being there. 

How a father treats his daughter will shape how she views herself and how she expects to be treated by other men for the rest of her life. I feel like my strained relationship with my father has impacted my relationships with men in my own life. I build up walls, afraid to get too invested and leave myself vulnerable, in fear I will be let down.

No expectations, no disappointments.

Why a daughter needs her daddy

to teach her to believe that she deserves to be treated well
to let her know that outward appearances of beauty mean nothing if your inside doesn't match
who will not punish her for her mistakes, but help her learn from them
to teach her what it means to always be there
to show her that true love is unconditional
to show her that a man can be trustworthy
to be the safe spot she can always turn to
to teach her that a man’s strength is not the force of his hands or his voice, but the kindness of his heart  
to help her take risks that will build her confidence
to be the standard against which she will judge all men

I'm sure many of you have stumble across the heartfelt list of 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters. If not, I recommend you check it out.. be sure to have some tissues prepared!

I just want to highlight a few he failed miserably:

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother.

2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.

3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion.

4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

8. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise

15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.  Do I spend nights wondering who will walk me down the aisle?

42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what. Packing my stuff in boxes and throwing me out at 16 probably wasn't your best call.

43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.

50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.

Do I miss him? Each and every day.  Thanks dad, thanks for being there the first 15 years of my life anyways.

"As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down... probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.  You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'll cry because time is passing too fast and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you have never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back."
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Savvy WorkingGal said...

I don't have a relationship with my father either and neither do most of my siblings. My sisters have arranged an outing with him next Friday. I could take a vacation day and join them. It would be a huge effort because I have a deadline on Friday. And the more I thought about it - it wasn't worth it. BTW - he failed almost all the items on your list and then some.

Brianne said...

This broke my heart. I'm so sorry Shane.

Vivianstonexo said...

You just hit completely home with this post. Never let a dad's lack of presence bring you down. That's what I've had to tell my self a lot!

The Rachael Way said...

Shane, I am so sorry such a sweet person like you has to go through this. I am thinking of you and I love you to the moon and back. xo

Shana Elliott said...

My heart is breaking as I read this. My (ex) husband left my daughter and I seven years ago. While he still sees her every other weekend, I can tell that she wants to see him more, yet he refuses to give her that time. I am sorry that you have had to go through this and that so many other little girls (like mine) continue to go through it.

Brandy said...

I thought this was a beautiful, real, transparent post. Thanks for sharing from your heart.

Caroline said...

I'm sorry that it has been tough for you. Beautiful post as always!

Kayla MKOY said...

I've never had a PERFECT relationship with either of my parents...and my Dad and I are by no means close. I'm sorry you've gone through some of your life without your Dad, but you sound so strong!! Meeting you over the weekend I can tell you have a love for life, with that smile!! :) have a good week.

Mai Tran said...

I so hope I'll win this! So many charity so little money.

Karrie S said...

I would be SO proud of you, if you were my daughter. You are a lot younger than me, and I love living vicariously through you. I remember how young I felt around your age.

I'm so sorry that you don't have a great relationship with your Dad. Mine is pretty good, but it doesn't have a lot of depth. But I think it's because he doesn't know how, not that it has anything to do with him not wanting to. When I had my daughter at 17, (and I didn't tell my parents I was pregnant), I remember how broken hearted he was at the hospital. But the next time I saw him, he was ok and gave me the decision on what I wanted to do...and that they would always be there to help me. I wouldn't trade that for anything. I guess I don't realize how special it is, and I take it for granted.

It's not your fault. It's not the kid's fault. It never is. I see my daughter struggle with her father, and most of the time, she is the more mature one. She has grown to stick up for herself and not deal with (emotional) crap from him because he doesn't get his way. Last Wed. was her 18th bday. He called at 10pm the night before, and I said if he called, maybe we could go to lunch. He called at 2, when we were out and was mad that she wouldn't come over his house. It was ok that he stopped by our house, but he wouldn't. We already had plans to have bday cake, with her bff and my Aunt was going to stop by. Very low-key, but very solid plans. The night before, he made plans to celebrate her bday coincidently on Sunday which was father's day.

My Dad and my daughter get along really well. My daughter has taken a liking to baseball and the Tigers. So they do that together. She is such an old soul! She has had borderline obsessions with phases of Elvis (my parents took her to Graceland one summer), the Beatles, and most recently the Kennedys, esp. Jackie. It makes me laugh. I'm thankful that she is who she is, without being afraid to show it. But I have seen her get into thoughtful discussions with him, just the two of them in the kitchen while he's making dinner, and I see that he fills the father role that she is missing from her own father. Ash even acknowledges sometimes. It's hard raising a child when you live with your parents. But I see some really great positives, like her relationship with my Dad, that came out of it, that probably wouldn't if we lived alone. She would be by herself a lot. While she spends lots of time alone in her room, she doesn't like to be all by herself.

Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am. But I see your hurt, even though it seems to be getting slowly better over the past few years. I'm also sorry about your cousin. I can think of so many times I could have died while driving, but haven't. I'm glad that you are able to see your Dad's downfalls and realize that it's really not your fault. It's like your Mom is SO awesome, it has to take awesome points from your Dad :) For some reason Feedburner is not delivering ANY of my blogs :/ So I haven't been keeping up like I usually do. It's driving me crazy. But take care :) I can't wait to see what you do in Australia, so I hope you are able to keep up with posting periodically!


Karrie S said...

PS: so to continue about my daughter and her dad: He made plans the night before to celebrate with her on Sunday. So on Wednesday afternoon, he called and gave her a hard time about her not wanting to come over. Their family is notorious for waiting to the very last minute to make plans. But he knew the plans and wanted her to change for him. He is another story, but he's really immature and didn't aspire to much. He started yelling on the phone, and she basically said, I'm not arguing with you. It's my bday. I'll see you Sunday. I'm not coming over. Then hung up on him. She used to cry when she had to talk to him on the phone, because he just bitches at her about everything. She would silently cry while he would scream that she wasn't talking. So for her to not get upset, made me really proud of her. Now she's able to see him for what he is, and not get upset about him. He is the most selfish person on Earth. He's not horrible all the time, but they can't be around each other for more than a few days without fighting.

So, yeah. Take care, Shane!

Elle Sees said...

i don't have a relationship with my dad. there is no bad blood; i just don't see the point in talking to someone drunk every conversation.