today, we celebrate the male half of the parenting equation. yep – it’s fathers day. this day is not as culturally celebrated as mothers day, i’ve noticed. but for me, this is the best hallmark holiday of them all.
i get to tell the world about the man who is my lovin’ daddy.
my daddy is a rock star. i know a lot of only daughters feel this way, but i mean it sincerely. daddy played music for a living at the time of my birth. but when it became obvious that the record deal wasn’t coming, and with a little baby girl to support, he gave up the dream and got a job in alabama. that’s how i got from new jersey to the deep south. there’s no way in hell that he wanted to do that. come on – a thirty-something with a music career, just south of manhattan, just north of philadelphia, cashing it all in to go to the buckle of the bible belt? in the COUNTRY? in the 80s?
jesus. i don’t think i could’ve done it.
and that’s the first of a laundry list of sacrifices daddy made for me over the years. i had pretty much everything i wanted, within reason, as a kid. i got a bike, an american girl doll (the late, lamented samantha), dance lessons, expensive extracurriculars, a car at sixteen, the whole works. i was sent to college on a full ride, but daddy sent me off with his credit card to cover my fun money. it wasn’t until much later that i realized how broke daddy made himself to give me everything. a sacrifice like that sticks with a girl. you realize the level of thorough and complete unselfishness that goes into being a parent. he subsumed everything – EVERYTHING – he wanted to do just to make sure i had the happiest childhood possible.
he also gave me the greens with the dessert. he forced my hand when i didn’t want to be challenged. he made me take calculus, and he fussed at me when my grades at it weren’t great. he never, ever let me give up, even on things i hated. but when i wanted to leave college, transfer and come home, he let me. then when i got home, he gave me the summer to rest and enjoy my friends, then he told me to get a job for the year when classes started. he taught me how to work, and he taught me how to work well. he showed me how hard it is to hold two jobs, but also that it’s nothing you can’t handle. and when i moved out of the nest for good, he did nothing but support and encourage me, emotionally, and only financially when i was really in trouble.
in other words? my countercultural, knuckeheaded, stubborn and wacky daddy also built a daughter who has succeeded. i have an iron will, a work ethic, and a rock-solid sense of right and wrong. my daddy busted hump his whole life to give me everything. all i can say now? thank you. love you, daddy!
the leader of the band is tired
and his eyes are growing old
but his blood runs through my instrument
and his song is in my soul
my life has been a poor attempt
to imitate the man
i’m just a living legacy
to the leader of the band
– dan fogelberg