Father’s Day brings up a lot of emotions for me. Almost 10 years ago I celebrated what I considered for a long time to be my last Father’s Day.
Less than a month after Father’s Day in 2006, my dad passed away. For years after, the holiday became a painful reminder of what I had lost. I was unable to celebrate or acknowledge how lucky I was to have had such a wonderful dad, no matter how painfully brief my time with him was. There was nothing happy about watching other people celebrate their fathers when all I wished was for mine to be alive.
When my daughter was born in 2013, I realized that I would have to start celebrating Father’s Day again. I admit that I have not done a great job of celebrating my husband these past couple of years. I believe my association with the holiday as a sad day has prevented me from creating new memories and associations in my new phase of life.
This year I want to change that. As I prepare to celebrate what a wonderful father my husband is, I am reminded of all the ways he is so similar to my own father and why I am happy I ultimately married someone who is so much like him.
I was always a daddy’s girl. My dad spoiled me and made me feel like I was special. I knew that he would do anything for me and took comfort in his calming presence. Whenever I was worried about something, he would reassure me. Whenever I needed an ear to listen, he was there for me. He also worked really hard to take care of our family. I admired his work ethic and took pride in his accomplishments. He always put my family and me first and I knew that everything would be ok, as long as he was by my side.
Growing up I remember hearing something along the lines of “women are more likely to marry someone just like their father.” The thought sounded strange to me and I wasn’t sure I believed it.
While I loved my father dearly, I didn’t know anyone else like him. I didn’t believe I could find someone who could live up to him and I thought that was ok.
To prove my point, I consciously or subconsciously dated people who were the exact opposite of my father. These people did not make me feel special or worthy of being treated well. My self worth and self esteem suffered during that phase in my life, especially after my father died and I no longer had his presence in my life to remind me of how loved and cherished I was. I resigned myself to a life of misery without him.
When my husband came in to my life, I had essentially hit rock bottom. An upsetting side effect of losing my father at such a pivotal age (I was 22 when he died), was that after he died I had no direction or vision or hope for my future. I couldn’t imagine myself getting married and having a family without my father there to see it.
My husband instantly changed that for me.
Suddenly I could see a future for myself and I was shocked to see how similar he was to my father. He was overwhelmingly loving, exceedingly kind and thoughtful, intelligent, and gentle in his nature. I immediately knew I wanted him to be the father of my children, because having had a father with all of the qualities I admired in him, I had confidence in his ability to give my children the life and love they deserved.
When my daughter was born, I knew I had made the right decision. My husband didn’t want to take his eyes off of our daughter after she was born. His protective and sweet nature with her brought tears to my eyes. My daughter has always loved me fiercely, but I know in my heart that one day she will be a daddy’s girl, just like I was.
She will know that she is loved deeply and my husband will set her expectations for how the men in her life should treat her. He will be the safe place she comes back to when she feels lost. He will never leave her side, even when they are not physically together.
To watch my husband love our daughter is an amazing privilege. Almost 3 years in, I am ready to fully celebrate the wonderful father he is, and in that way also honor my own father. One day my daughter will look at the impact my husband has had on her life and I know without a doubt she will not be disappointed. The greatest gift my father ever gave me was his love and attention. My husband’s greatest gift to me and my daughter has been the same, and I’m so thankful that my daughter will grow up with the same type of father I had.