One of my most favorite pictures in the world is a black and white photo – the really old kodak square photo with the white border – that was taken just after I was born. My dad is holding me, a little white bundle, and he’s looking very suave in his dark suit and really skinny dark tie. The backdrop is very recognizable for anyone from my home town – it’s a picturesque park with a rock garden, on the edge of the escarpment that runs through the middle of the city.
My dad looks really young in that picture, very thin with jet black hair. In the white bundle, you can see a bunch of the same black hair. Like my own kids, I must have been born needing a haircut. I think the reason why I love the photo so much, is that my dad is looking down at me. Not looking at the camera. And in that moment captured by film, you see a brand new dad enamored with his brand new daughter.
Over the years there would be hundreds of photos taken with my dad. Most of them would be family photos, including my mom and my sister. But not too many of just the two of us. As the owner of a fancy home movie camera in the 1970’s and a really cool 35mm camera in the 1980’s, my dad was often behind the lens too. Which might be one of the reasons why there are so few photos of just the two of us.
And even though I get most of my physical looks from my mother, I am my father’s daughter. We are so very similar in personality – social, joyful and kind, and at times, emotional, stubborn and hot headed. Over the years, because we weren’t as even tempered as my mom and sister, we had our run ins, but I always knew he was there for me.
And he has been the consistent male influence in my life, and occasionally offered his opinion on my relationship choices in life, but ultimately he offered his support. He was not pleased when my first marriage ended because he feared what would happen to the 3 year old daughter and 1 year old son, but always came every Tuesday to pick up my kids from school and prepare a family dinner. When I had troubles with the alcoholic second husband, he welcomed me back into his home while I tried to make an impossible situation better.
And even though we didn’t really talk about my year of online dating, I knew he was following the blog. I’m not sure what he thought of the candidness of the posts, but when the blog was nominated for an award, he was one of the very first to say congratulations, and that he was proud of me. I know my dad wants the best for me, which is to find the love and happiness that I write about.
My dad always lives his life on his terms, making his own decisions. And because I’m my father’s daughter, I have tried to do the same. We make the conscious decision to wake up happy every day, and make the most of each day. And that’s what we try to do.