I have come to believe that, growing up, a girl’s identity is mostly shaped by her father. In fact, this might be true for all children, boys and girls. I often use this personal belief system as a threat to John, that if any of our kids need therapy one day, it is likely to be more his fault than mine. But the fact is, I really truly am not worried about the kind of man Eliott and Carter will each marry one day. Whoever he is, he’s got some pretty big (and pretty good looking) shoes to fill.
I’m not saying that I was a “Daddy’s girl” growing up, because I hate that term. (For one thing, I never called my Dad “Daddy” after the age of 4, and when I went to Baylor I mostly wanted not to be one of those girls.) But the truth is, when my mother threatened us with, “Just wait until your father gets home,” it usually evoked more relief than fear. (I think subconsciously she knew this, but was sometimes just tired of always being the “bad guy.”)
Now, I can safely say that the majority of the self-confident women I met in and after college, especially the ones with unusually high husband standards, all had really freakishly awesome fathers. I count myself among these women.
There’s not much I can say to my dad that I probably haven’t already said at some point. I actually hoped to post a list today of the “Lessons, advice, and words of my Dad” that I apparently wrote down sometime in college. Unfortunately, I can’t find it. A better late than never post will hopefully follow, but for today, my main message is this: Dad, it is difficult to put a finger on all of the little things you did outstandingly well as a father, or outstandingly terribly. But you need to know this: it might be true that when the garbage disposal stopped running 3 days ago, my husband told me to call you. And it might also be true that my husband –for a few months– didn’t catch the “thermostat” problem in my car that you diagnosed –in a few seconds– as an empty coolant problem. However. In about a hundred million more ways, he is the most outstanding man for me on the planet Earth. And whether I knew it at the time or not, I wasn’t actually holding out for someone who resembled Jesus. I was always holding out for someone who resembled you.
If you ever wonder “how good” you were, as a father to three daughters (I can’t really speak for Jeff here, he’s a boy), I think all you need to do is look at who we chose for husbands. I’m pretty sure that’s your fault.
I love you.
And Happy Father’s Day.