I Am My Father’s Daughter Because…

fathers day, fathers and daughters, missing my father

My father and me, 1987

I look in the mirror and there he is, my father. He follows me wherever I go, his eyes gazing back at mine in every reflection I see. I feel him with me when I see The Godfather playing on TV, or when I hear Leon Russell singing A Song For You. Or, heaven help me, when I watch Bill O’Reilly – which is pretty much never, now that my father is gone. Though he died nearly 7 years ago, I feel him with me every day.

I hear his voice coming from me when I’m angry, my temper flaring as his did – fast and fierce and then done, chastising myself for what I can’t always control – though I’m much, much better at it than he was when I was a child. His temper was like a living entity in our home, just waiting to be awakened. Where does it come from, that fury? That’s something I’d ask him if I could bring him back.

And then, in a flash, they would be over, his tantrums. Mine too. A blaze and then just embers.

I clean my house and he’s by my side, straightening and wiping and spraying – both of us incapable of sitting among clutter or mess even for a few minutes. Up he would jump when he finished eating, rushing to do the dishes. Quickly I grab the piles of newspapers and magazines, placing them in baskets, as though they were never read at all. My father would vacuum on Saturday mornings at 7:30 am when I was in high school, waking me as he made his way around the house. I hate to vacuum now.

I grow impatient so quickly- waiting, being delayed, getting put on hold, standing in line…I even open the microwave before the cycle is over, anxious to be done with the infinitesimal amount of time it takes for the popcorn to pop. My father was never late for anything, and neither am I. Impatience was coded in his DNA, as much as his blue eyes, his dislike of coconut, his passion for chocolate. I’m the same.

He liked to laugh, loved a good joke or a funny TV show. He had a great laugh, my father. It was like his voice, deep and booming. I laugh loudly and often, trying to find humor where I can – but like him I also laugh at the absurdity of things with the eye of a cynic.

My father’s loyalty to his children was unshakable. Though there were times when he was absent when I was growing up – whether because of work, or his personal issues, or his frequent need for distance from the world (oh how I’m like him that way!), when I was grown, he would show up when the chips were down.

When my baby boy was in the hospital for 6 days, my father was there, rotating shifts with my husband and me so we could get some sleep and a shower.

When I had  moments of despair, fear, doubt- depression overwhelming me- my father would sit and talk with me, giving me one of his trademark pep talks. I try to be that kind of parent, too. I think I am.

At the center of him was a basic and genuine kindness and likability that drew others to him all his life. I hope I’m like him in that way.

June 16 of this year would have been my father’s 75th birthday. He would have wanted barbecued steaks and a chocolate cake, a day with his kids, sitting outside next to the pool, sunning himself while we reprimanded him for not wearing sunscreen on his bald head – “Don’t worry about it!” he would have said, laughing.

He thought he was invincible.


Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.

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34 Responses to I Am My Father’s Daughter Because…
  1. Haralee
    June 2, 2013 | 8:41 am

    A nice tribute. It is the questions that come up after they are gone that we all think why didn’t I ask that!
    Haralee recently posted..National Cancer Survivor Day, Sunday June 2, 2013My Profile

  2. Cathy
    June 2, 2013 | 9:34 am

    Oh, my my my. That was a 2 Kleenex post.

    Beautiful, honest and loving post. He was a caring and wonderful man. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

    It’s amazing how much we pick up from our dads without really trying.

    Wonderful, Sharon.
    Cathy recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Feeling Stressed? Try The Rat Pack For Fun!My Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      June 2, 2013 | 11:36 am

      Thank you Cathy – we are all flawed and perfect in our own ways, aren’t we?

  3. grownandflown
    June 2, 2013 | 10:10 am

    So lovely, Sharon. I feel like I know you dad after reading this post.

    It is so interesting to line up our own traits against those of our mom and and dad. For better or for worse, we can trace the inheritance line of some of our most dominate characteristics. Your dad possessed a loyalty to his children which you treasure and have in abundance, too. I know you will be thinking of him on June 16th!
    grownandflown recently posted..Fatherly Sayings for Father’s DayMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      June 2, 2013 | 11:37 am

      Thanks so much! And of course, now I see my traits in my children as well…

  4. judy williamson
    June 2, 2013 | 11:45 am

    Yes, he was all that you wrote about.
    Glad you have such clear memories of a complex (sort of) man. The sure thing was how much he loved his children and grandchildren, Aren’t you fortunate to have that to hold on to.

    • Sharon Greenthal
      June 2, 2013 | 4:13 pm

      Thanks Mom! And I’m fortunate to have you who loves us the same way. xoxo

  5. Sue
    June 2, 2013 | 2:05 pm

    Hi Sharon, Likability that drew others to him – yes, you are like him in spades. Your love for your father and the life you had growing up as his daughter shines in this article. This is such a nice Happy Father’s Day tribute to your Dad. Thanks for sharing.
    Sue recently posted..Call The Midwife – A Superb TV ShowMy Profile

  6. Maritza Martinez
    June 2, 2013 | 3:33 pm

    You were very blessed Sharon, beautiful post.
    Maritza Martinez recently posted..Teachers of TangoMy Profile

  7. Kathy Marris
    June 2, 2013 | 4:20 pm

    Oh Sharon, how fortunate you were to have such a great relationship with your Dad. He sounded like a wonderful man.
    Kathy Marris recently posted..Bountiful BurleighMy Profile

  8. Carpool Goddess
    June 2, 2013 | 4:30 pm

    Beautiful post, Sharon. It’s always interesting when we see our parents in ourselves. And yes, you’ve definitely inherited his kindness and likability traits! Love the photos too.
    Carpool Goddess recently posted..Throwback Thursday: Got Milk?My Profile

  9. Ginger Kay
    June 2, 2013 | 6:13 pm

    Such sweet memories – and I LOVE that last photo.
    Ginger Kay recently posted..Now I get it, Dad.My Profile

  10. Connie McLeod
    June 2, 2013 | 6:37 pm

    Beautiful. You have the same eyes.
    Connie McLeod recently posted..Large and PurpleMy Profile

  11. Karen
    June 2, 2013 | 6:54 pm

    Oh, that was a great post, Sharon! Your dad came through so clearly and honestly. Like you, I hear my father when I bellow my anger…it’s like he’s standing in the room with me.

  12. Karen D. Austin
    June 2, 2013 | 7:15 pm

    What a great legacy. Oh, that last picture is a tear-jerker. How wonderful that you have that picture (and the relationship that it demonstrates). Hugs to you as you remember your dad on what would have been his 74th birthday.
    Karen D. Austin recently posted..Life with Father: Ship ShapedMy Profile

  13. Raquel @ Organized Island
    June 2, 2013 | 8:36 pm

    Oh your dad sounds wonderful Sharon! Love the tribute and the photo!
    Raquel @ Organized Island recently posted..Thanking Dad for the Gift of PatienceMy Profile

  14. Helene Bludman
    June 3, 2013 | 6:16 am

    What lovely memories you have of your dad. It sounds like he had the same kind of charisma you have, the kind that draws people to you right away.
    Helene Bludman recently posted..I am My Father’s DaughterMy Profile

  15. Amanda Fox
    June 3, 2013 | 8:52 am

    Your dad sounds like mine. Can’t sit – must clean. Funny, I don’t like vacuuming either. Great story Sharon. You sound and look very much like your dad – good people. :)
    Amanda Fox recently posted..My Dad and I: A Special Kind Of CrazyMy Profile

  16. Pam Houghton
    June 4, 2013 | 6:02 am

    I really liked this one, Sharon! Really good job.
    Pam Houghton recently posted..Ordinary fathersMy Profile

  17. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs
    June 4, 2013 | 7:27 am

    Showing up when the chips are down is one of THE very best things a father can do. Your dad did that and so much more. A loving tribute to a loving man, Sharon. Thank you for sharing.
    Lisa @ Grandma’s Briefs recently posted..What I learned this week: I must make time for life… offlineMy Profile

  18. Nikki | Days With Us
    June 6, 2013 | 4:10 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your father and your relationship. Wow, you brought me to tears with your words and your emotionality. How wonderful that you look like you Dad, and are able to see the similarities you share. I look like my Dad too although my personality is more like my Mom. Thank you for sharing your post. I loved it, and look forward to following your blog and reading more.
    Nikki | Days With Us recently posted..ARNOLD ARBORETUM: a photo-walk with my familyMy Profile

  19. Pat
    June 7, 2013 | 9:17 am

    Sharon, what a beautiful tribute to your father. You must miss him dearly. So nice that you share so many of his attributes including the twinkle in your eye.

  20. Cherise
    June 7, 2013 | 10:14 am

    Beautifully written! I think it is so amazing all of the times that I said I would be so different from my parents and yet they are imbedded in me forever. I hear my mother’s voice when I yell and it still scares me. My dad’s creativity has followed me through college and even more so now that I have children.
    Your dad sounds like an amazing person and I feel like I knew him just from reading:)
    Cherise recently posted..You Get Nothin for Nothin, Advice From DadMy Profile

    • Sharon Greenthal
      June 7, 2013 | 10:32 am

      Thanks Cherise – our parents are part of us for better or worse, that’s for sure.

  21. Karen Moody
    June 8, 2013 | 6:12 am

    What a great tribute, Sharon. The love for your father and his for you shines through your post. Yes, it sure sounds like you are your father’s daughter through and through. Thank you for sharing.
    Karen Moody recently posted..On Bawling and PerspectiveMy Profile

  22. Caryn/The Mid Life Guru
    June 8, 2013 | 8:59 pm

    What a nice tribute to your dad. It was fun reading all the traits of his that live on through you.

  23. Vivek Baghel
    July 18, 2013 | 4:10 am

    Hello Sharon Greenthal, It’s nice to read this article! The Title of this article is really meaningful & it inspire me lot. hats off for pic with your father… :)
    Vivek Baghel recently posted..How to Make Your Teen to Get Ready to Start the BusinessMy Profile

  24. Marcia @ Menopausal Mother
    June 13, 2014 | 8:04 pm

    Ohhhh my heart just ached when I read the last part. I miss my father, too. What a beautiful tribute to him. He would love this, Sharon!
    Marcia @ Menopausal Mother recently posted..My Father’s ChairMy Profile

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