As much as I try on different personalities – Manhattan chic, REI tomboy, casually comfortable, overworked engineer – I find I am at peace with acknowledging I’m a girly-girl. I like high heels and skirts, ruffly things, purses and shoes, shiny sparklies, and cats (I do love my pups, though). But I don’t like pink. Or hearts. And, whether or not it comes with the territory, I am and will forever be my Daddy’s little girl. Although, come to think of it, maybe I’m just Daddy’s little-girl-all-grown-up.
I don’t know how it is for everyone, but there’s a difference in my relationship with my parents. Don’t get me wrong – I love them both and I’ve never felt anything less than love from either of them. But it is different. My mom is like my pal – we talk, on rare occasions we may butt heads, and we have fun together. But it all kind of comes with the territory. Moms are born to be proud of their kids; they know how to pick the smallest detail and talk you up like nobody’s business.
But when your Dad tells you he’s proud of you, you know you earned it and it means that much more in the end.
My whole life has this undercurrent running in the background; decisions are made (maybe not consciously) with the thought of “Would my parents be disappointed if I took this path?” So, maybe there’s this alternate universe where my 18-year old self ran off with some guy to travel the world and live a hippie lifestyle, only to return broke and in need of a bedroom. But in this world, I went to college, found a nice, stable job, and pay my bills. I maintain a savings account, invest in CDs (well, I used to when the rates were better), and virus-scan my computer. I learned to stand on my own two feet and then found a guy who is both sweet and practical enough to make both my parents happy. I don’t regret my life choices; how else would I have gotten to where I am today? But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I’ve been influenced by my parents.
Here’s a fun fact: did you know way back when I had a Novice ham radio license? My dad was totally into it, talking over the air waves to people all over the country, scanning difference frequencies, and dit-dit-ditting Morse code into the night. I thought it would be fun to have this hobby in common; we could talk to each other or discuss bandwaves or something. I tried to learn Morse code, I really did. But anything over 3 dot-dashes just got scrambled in my brain. However, I do know SOS, so if I get stranded somewhere I can signal for help.
My dad taught me to drive and semi-successfully how to parallel park (even after I killed the car battery with all my back-and-forth). He taught me how to ride a bicycle and how to retrieve change from under a vending machine with a yardstick. He set me up with e-mail when I went off to college and we would write letters to each other. He’s always been there for me.
And today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you.