Wednesday, January 11, 2012
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.