The first man a little girl falls in love with is her dad – Author Unknown
I grew up in a house with typical old-fashioned values. My mom stayed home and did the women’s work, my father was the provider. And never the twain did meet. My mom always did all the cooking, cleaning, laundry. My father did all the yard work, house painting, etc. They had clearly defined roles.
My father was also the disciplinarian. “Wait till your father gets home” is a mantra I know all too well. So I grew up with a healthy fear of my father. Always knowing just how far I could push my mother before my dad would get involved. Because I did not want my dad to get involved.
As I grew older, I fought with my dad, resisted him at every turn. I wanted to be different than him. I wanted to break free from his tight control and yet secretly, when I saw him standing in the high school gym with his FBI type overcoat, and his threatening stature that he developed in the military, I felt safe.
The boys in high school knew my father well. I think I may have lost out on some dates because they knew they weren’t going anywhere with me until they met and were approved by my father. At times I resented his rigid control, and at other times, I was relieved by it.
My father was strong, opinionated and stoic. It frustrated me to never quite know what he was feeling. Was he happy with me? Was he upset with me? Did he love me? I spent most of my years wavering between trying to please my father and trying to defy him. Whatever worked to get his attention.
My father’s expectations were high, and I rarely felt as though I was living up to them. But my father walked the walk. He had high expectations of himself and he met them. He was honest to a fault, impeccable with his words. A man of integrity and I admired him and strived to be like him.
Even today, my father is still the person I use to set the bar for myself. Because even though I rebel against him, resist his ways, and even pick fights with him, I can’t find a better role model. So I work to reach that bar, I push myself, place high demands on myself, because it’s the only way I know to show my father that I love him…I just wonder if he knows that.