There is something to be said about a relationship between a father and a daughter. I am not a “Daddy’s girl” by any means, but my experiences with my father have made me into the person I am today, perhaps moreso than my experiences with my mom.
My dad taught me how to be strong. My parents divorced with I was five years old due to my father’s adultery and alcoholism. I learned of this as a fact only recently, but there were many instances where I knew things were not right. I remember standing on the side of the freeway with my brother, waiting for my mom to come pick us up because my dad had gotten pulled over and was being arrested for his third DUI. While my dad was in handcuffs and being carted off, I was calming my brother and telling him that everything would be okay. By the time I was twelve, I had learned the signs of drunkenness vs. sobriety, and I knew when to call my mom to pick us up instead of risking mine and my brother’s life by getting in the car with my father.
My dad taught me how to drive. He fell asleep behind the wheel once when I was ten, and I had to steer us over to the side of the road whilst frantically trying to wake him up. To this day, he refuses to believe this really happened.
My dad taught me independence. As I aged, I realized that I didn’t have to see him every Tuesday, Thursday, and every other weekend like the courts had agreed upon so many years ago. I learned that I had a say in my visits with him, and I chose to take a hiatus from his presence for a few years.
My dad taught me how to stand up for myself. I learned that sometimes, it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to go against the advice of an elder, especially if you don’t think they know what’s best for you. And mostly, it’s okay to talk back and stand your ground if you don’t believe in what they are preaching.
My dad taught me forgiveness. Despite his shortcomings, he is my father. There is nothing I can do to change his actions of the past, but I can do anything I want about the future. I learned how to forgive nights spent entertaining myself while he was passed out on the couch. I learned to forgive the fact that he slept with my babysitter while my brother and I were waiting for him to take us home. I learned to forgive his faults, his past actions, all the things he has said and done. But I will not forget.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Despite everything, I still love you.
Holly, not Hollie