Father’s Day will soon be here and after 34 years without my Daddy, I still miss him. Since the death of my Father back in June of 1973, I haven’t been anyone’s little girl. I am a woman, but no matter how old we get we never loose the desire to be loved with that unconditional love that a Daddy can give his daughter. I was his Princess, he had a way of making me feel so special and cared for. I was chubby, shy and awkward but to him i was beautiful. I am a Mother and I have children and love them all, but I am not a man and haven’t any idea of what a father thinks or feels when he holds his child. Does a man love his children differently than a woman? My children have a Father but he was never a Daddy. To me there is a difference. Technically a sperm donor can be a father. Someone that gives hugs, kisses and is there through a child’s challenges and joys is a Daddy. My Father was my Daddy.
Technically when during the act of sexual intercourse, one of millions of sperm expelled , join with and fertilize a woman’s egg, the man can become a father. The same thing though can be said of any animal or living creature that procreates. Being a father does not constitute being more than the biological culmination of an act. Being a Daddy is a commitment.. It is a promise to be there to teach a child to hit a ball or ride a bike. Daddy’s sit up all night on Christmas Eve putting together a train set or a doll house so that their child can experience the magic of Santa Claus. A Daddy walks the floor with a colicky baby and frowns helplessly as he listens to that child scream in his arms. A father, a biological one, can just pretend that that child doesn’t exist and could care less that he or she does. I am so thankful that my father chose to be a Daddy.
I inherited my love of reading from my Dad. I like he, read anything I can get my hands on. I still remember when he and my Mom moved from their last home before his death, both of us standing in the basement, going through hundreds of hard backed books. I love books and I love writing and I like to think that I owe that to my Dad. I also love the ocean as my Dad did. My Dad often told me that the happiest time of his life was when he served in the Navy and got to be on the ocean. He loved to walk the beach and pick up small, colored pieces of sea glass worn smooth from countless waves. He would often bring home small unusual looking pebbles found on a beach and place them into my hand to keep as if they were coins of gold. He told me stories of his experiences and made me laugh. He taught me to swim and had a great trick of flipping his lit cigarette backwards into his mouth and then diving under the water and coming back out and smoking that cigarette. He never burned himself and if he did , I never knew it. He danced with me standing on his toes. We sang songs together as we went for long Sunday drives.
My husband and I are raising our three year old granddaughter as our own, and we have had her since she was only a few months old. My husband has no biological children of his own. He had never taken care of a small baby, nor changed a diaper. He also had expressed that he had no desire to do so. It’s amazing how as the commercial on T.V. says, “Having a baby changes everything.” It really does. Ask my husband. He has grown from a man that had no desire to be a father, let alone a Daddy. He has rocked the baby when she screamed in pain from colic. He has learned the differences in diaper brands and pacifiers types. We have strolled through hundreds of toy aisles looking for the exact toy that our child is crazy about at the moment and must have. At the age of most men when they are getting ready to retire, he crawls around on his knees pretending to be a valiant steed while our little girl shouts gleefully, “Horsey-ride, Papa, horsey-ride.” We smile at each other over her head proudly when she does something cute. This man who never wanted to be a father has become a Daddy. I don’t think he would trade it for anything in the world and I know that someday she will know she had a Daddy too and she will be grateful.
I sit sometimes and try to remember what my Dad looked like. I know down inside because I see pictures of him and I also have my memories, but I have forgotten so much. The thirty four years he has been gone is longer than I had him in life. I have a favorite picture of him that represents who he seemed to be as a man, at least to me. He is sitting in and old wooden chair in front of an old general store somewhere in Ohio. The picture is black and white, actually it is sepia colored, because it was taken so long ago. He is leaning back on the rear legs of the chair, balancing himself carefully on two legs with a rather rakish look on his face. He is smiling and I love him because he was handsome and cocky and looked care-free. He would eventually become a father to my three sisters one of who was not his biological daughter , but for years I never knew this, and my brother who would be his only son. Best of all he would become our Daddy. and after thirty four years I still miss him. “Happy Father’s Day, Daddy, or should it be Happy Daddy’s Day? To all of you who have known the blessing of having a Daddy in your life, or if you are one now, or have been one in the past a Happy Daddy’s Day to you too.”