I will forever say that it takes a special kind of man to be the father of daughters. Not that the fathers of sons are second-class citizens, but there is a special kind of patience for drama, periods and boys who can't get their crap together and we cry about it over and over annnnd over.
I was blessed to be the numero uno child and first daughter for my dad. And I have to admit that he should win an award. Front row seats in heaven to that man. He has been through a lot with 4 women, including my mother, under one roof. Last night I posted the following collage on Instagram and this was the caption: "I am a LUCKY daughter. This man who I call Dad continues to set the bar on what a good partner and parent really means. I absolutely adore him; his silly quirks and all. And the fact that I was gifted his genetics and have the widest calves ever really doesn't matter."
So I want to talk about five of my dad's character traits (or quirks to some) that have shaped me and also have given me a standard for the kind of man who will father my children.
1. Stand up, speak up, shut up: My dad is an post-secondary educator by profession. His main classes that we knew the most about (and actually cared) as kids were Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communications. One of the main points he always teaches is "stand up, speak up and shut up." Say your piece with confidence and sit the hell down when you're done. Don't wear out your welcome or everything you've said is null and void.
2. Smell is everything: My dad is insanely hilarious about smells. He drives my mother crazy with it but I think it is quite endearing and something I agree with. For the majority of my childhood we cut our own Christmas tree because my dad wanted THAT smell in our home. Oh so many years of sappy crappy mess, but it smelled like Christmas and we loved it. It wasn't until I was an adult that my mother finally won the battle and they purchased a fake tree. BUT, the compromise was my dad could burn the Salt City "Christmas Tree" candle to create the smell. To this day I still make sure I have ample holiday scents for my burner when the fake tree goes up in my home.
3. If there are dishes to be done, do them: My parents have never owned a dishwasher and they probably never will. That is a luxury that was just not on the radar. My mother's kitchen is also the size of a shoe box so one meal's worth of dishes and it is a nightmare. There were countless days when I was growing up that there would be a mountain of dishes when my dad got home from work and he would roll up his sleeves and do them. He has always been the kind of man who saw the need and met it.
4. Respect your mother: if there was one thing that would send my dad over the edge was disrespect for our mother. And he was incredibly proud of his own mother who was a military wife and the best cook ever. One of the most challenging times in my life was watching the intense mourning that occurred when my Grandmother passed away from breast cancer. I am so grateful that he always showed us that treating his lady love with respect and honor was his number 1 priority. And I don't think I've ever heard him end a conversation with my mom until he has said, "I love you."
5. Be consistent with your faith: my dad is a man of faith and has always been the consistent leader in family prayer and reading scriptures. Now this should not be construed as we were the pristine perfect family. We were/are not. But we sure tried our best. When we were running a million different directions (including him) we always managed to have family prayer to open and close our day. Even if it was the three-part short prayer. We also always prayed before we hit the open road for any trip. A life lived with consistency of faith (whatever that may be) is absolutely critical.
There are a hundred other things I could write about my dad, but these 5 things are really what have formed my opinion of what a good partner and parent means.
I want to add one more thought about dads. I know that there are TOOOO MANY children out there who will never have the luxury of their daddy hero. And to the mothers of those children I say, "carry on, wonder women. You are doing the work of two. Don't lose hope."
The moral of the story: Good parents are a gift from God so be one and thank the one or two or four who raised you.
Until next time, my lovelies!