Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Daddy's Girl...

All parents have hopes, dreams, and expectations for their children.   These may include playing sports, or being a lover of the arts, or having a positive outlook on life, or going to college… (hmmmm, maybe I should be using the word AND instead of OR). :)  So, while Blake and I find that we have many hopes for our quickly arriving little girl, I have one that I am extremely excited about.  I want our daughter to be a Daddy’s Girl.  And she will be, because I know that Blake will be the type of Father I never had.   

It’s difficult for me to remember my Dad as just one type of person.  I have 3 “Dads” in my memory.  The first Dad was fun when he wanted to be, but was also extremely scary, depressed, and an alcoholic.  This lasted until I was about 14.  The second Dad was happier and began to mend our relationship by reaching out to us and being more affectionate.  As a teenager I was put off at first and eventually learned to appreciate it.  But by that time, I was so busy doing all my activities that I didn’t make him a priority and then I went away to college.  The third Dad started when I was 22, and it’s ultimately what he is today.  Obviously there are various stages of Alzheimer’s and he progressed pretty slowly but it feels like it’s been years since I was the daughter, not the caregiver. 

Let me be clear though…  our Dad ALWAYS loved us and continues to love us today.   Of that I’m certain.  We just had a strained relationship.
Obviously this was the way life was meant to be for us, and I don’t get upset thinking about it because it shaped me into who I am today.  And it will shape the future that I want for my Daughter.  She will have the relationship that I didn’t have….

My daughter will be able to look at her Dad with admiration, love, and respect.  She will be able to go to him when she’s upset or needs to feel safe.  He will challenge her in her schoolwork and coach her soccer team.  He will help shape her into a beautiful young woman who can debate politics, but also be the life of the party.   I know the man I married, and nothing is more important to Blake than family.  The future I see with the two of them is endless.  And I’m so excited. 

Megan and I talk about how we missed out on that type of special relationship.  We wanted someone who would check the oil in our car before we headed back to college, or who would give an approval of the new boyfriend, or who could have an intellectual conversation with us.  But hey, it’s life.  We turned out all right!  And it’s not like we didn’t learn anything from our Dad.  Because of our strained relationship and this wonderful disease, Alzheimer's, he has, in a roundabout way, taught us to forgive, to take care of family, and to look for certain attributes in a partner.   Those are pretty important lessons to learn.

Oh, and I’m pretty certain that as a Grandfather, he would have had those Father attributes that I always longed for.  It’s just too bad he never got that chance.  He doesn’t know I’m his daughter.  He doesn’t know what the word daughter means.  And at 8 months pregnant, he hasn’t even noticed my belly.  He’ll never know or understand that he is a Grandparent.


  1. I have so much admiration and respect for the two of you. You are both so strong and compelled and have left a lifelong impression on me. I'm sorry I haven't posted sooner, but I do check in time to time to see how you are all doing. I have been affected by this disease personally as well, it is heart-wrenching and a blessing simultaneously.
    Just remember there are always people that are thinking about you and praying for you (ones that you aren't even aware of like me) :). I am so excited for this new chapter in your life, Kristen! You are so beautiful and I am sure your daughter will be gorgeous as well. Megan, you will be an awesome aunt! Best of luck to the both of you :)

  2. You don't know how adversity will effect you until you face it straight up.

    Dana, my cousin, and I have faced adversity and, I think, have become stronger. God bless you Kristen.

  3. Beautiful Kristen. I know exactly what you mean, I was raised completely void of a father into my adolescent years and by then had major abandonment issues so that even my step-father (who was a very closed off and unaffectionate person) couldn't fill the void. I found an amazing man to marry and I am often envious of the relationship my daughters have with Steve, they are so very lucky, as your daughter will be. From the moment I met Blake I was astounded how at such a young age he was so drawn to and natural with children. You two will be wonderful parents!

  4. Hi Kristen:

    I've been reading your blog. I'm 28, and I have two younger sisters. Our Mum has young-onset Alzheimer's disease, and we are going through the same thing as you are. My sister is pregnant with her first child. She's been trying relentlessly to find a way to help my mother to understand that she is going to be a grandmother. Mum - of course - doesn't even know who my sister is, and hasn't for a while. It's hard to watch my sister struggle with this. Much like you, I think it's mostly sadness that my Mum won't know the thrill of becoming a grandparent. I like to think that although she may not know it, it's just as important that she is there to experience it. If nothing else, my sister (and I suppose all of us) now has a better understanding of the importance of family. Raising a child with that appreciation for family is a wonderful testament to the life of a grandparent.

    Keep strong - I'm certain you will be a wonderful mother. You have a lifetime of caring to guide you. -Stacey

  5. Hi Kristen,

    I'm so sorry you didn't get the kind of dad Blake will be, but your child will be so lucky! You will be amazing parents, and grandparents some day! :-)

    Emily Stewart