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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Comments

  1. says

    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

  2. judy williamson says

    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.

  3. says

    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

  4. Karen says

    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.
    Karen

  5. says

    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

  6. says

    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

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