On Sunday I’ll post something online praising the most significant Father currently in my life – the Father of my children. But today? I thought I’d write about my Dad who has been gone 8 years now. He was The Best and I thought I’d share some lessons from him as a single Dad raising an insane daughter before the age of Google.
- Take your daughter shopping. It’s a job that normally falls on the Mother but since I was raised by my Dad, he was the one that had to take me shopping for clothing for special events. Sometimes my friend’s Moms would step in and when I got older he just sent me with the credit card. But there were a few formals/proms where he was sitting in a chair outside the dressing room in Maurice’s at the Mall and doing his best to pretend he had any clue as to what to say or do each time I stepped out of the stall. He always told me I looked beautiful, even if I knew I didn’t. And he always pretended like it was fun. He even offered to take me wedding dress shopping once, which meant more to me than he ever knew, since by age 23 I was very aware of how much he actually hated shopping.
- Stay up for the chatter. My Dad always waited up for me when I went out and then was ready to talk when I came home. He wanted to hear the gossip and the scandal. Well, he didn’t really, but he knew that’s what I wanted to talk about – “Who kissed whom?!” – and he obliged while I gushed all that all I could.
- Hang with the girls. My Dad sometimes just sat and listened and laughed when I was hanging out with a group of girlfriends. Because he laughed at our jokes and our antics we liked having him around and now I have great memories of him just quietly cracking up at our lunacy.
- Be a chauffeur. My Dad always felt better if he was driving. He didn’t care where we were going or when, he always offered to drive. Once he drove an SUV full of giggly high school girls over an hour to get to a performance for a charity event and he spent many years after, fondly recalling that night and listening to our incessant giggling and singing the whole way.
- Buy makeup. My Dad didn’t know how to teach me about makeup so he bought me a subscription to Seventeen magazine and offered to once in awhile (he wasn’t going to spend more than about $5 a pop) pick up some random cosmeic at the grocery store for me. It was such a kind gesture considering he knew absolutely NOTHING about makeup. He would stand in the aisle with me and listen to me prattle on about the value of blue mascara.
- Always offer an ear. My Dad knew nothing about 90% or more of my childhood experiences. Not only was he a boy with boy experiences, but he also grew up on a farm in a poor family and I was going to Catholic School as a solid member of the middle class. But he always listened. And I didn’t need him to offer input or advice, I just needed him to show me that what I was saying was important, that it mattered, even if he knew deep down inside that it didn’t.
Miss you, Dad.