Daddys and Their Daughters
“Daddy, no! I’m going to run into the prickly bush. I can’t do it,” I whimpered. I was teetering precariously on my new, pink two-wheeled bike.
My dad – patient, understanding, wise yet firm walked up to me and steadied me on my bike, holding the back of the seat.
“Gracie, you’re going to have to trust me. We start small, then pretty soon you will be cruising around the block. No problem.”
I didn’t believe him, but I did trust him. Little did I know, my dad had slowly let go of the back of the seat while coaxing, “You’re going to be fine. You’re going to be fine.”
The prickly bushes, lining our sidewalk in front of the house were looming in front of me. I think I closed my eyes and I probably was screaming, but all I heard was my dad encouraging me on. I passed those prickly bushes and gasped, realizing he wasn’t holding on and I was riding on my own.
To this day, my dad remembers my “hooting and hollering,” for excitement. To this day, I remember the way my dad’s eyes twinkled, his chuckle and the way he proudly ruffled my dark brown hair and kissed me on the forehead.
Daddy’s and their daughters hold a lot of weight in our society. I feel immensely lucky, to have a dad who loves, supports and challenges me.
Beyond these moments of letting go of my bike seat so I could ride on my own, he created and ran his own business from scratch, but still had time when he was in town and not traveling for work to come to horse shows, watch me lose and win in basketball games, be patient through teenage years of boyfriends, arguing, slamming doors, holding me and listening through heartache, then dropping me off at college 1500 miles from home and encouraging me to spread my wings, travel and relocate. He has helped me negotiate my first raise, shared mistakes he made while growing up, discussed finances by bringing me into his business, sharing our love for our Italian culture, writing guest posts on my blog, learning to tweet, traveling around the world together and talking about what death and life means to him.
I feel equipped for life and love, because of my dad.
The Impact Daddy’s Have On Their Daughters
I care about what my dad thinks. Father’s also have a strong impact on influencing their daughters’ body image, thought process and relationship in terms of communication, trust and sexuality with their partners, for years to come.
Luckily, from a young age my dad recognized this. He lost his mother when he was just 20 and fighting in Vietnam, against his will. Six years later, he father passed away. Before finding success, he started four businesses and failed each time. I look at my dad’s life as one enormous, steep learning curve that he passed onto me.
Science Daily reflects on a study between Father-Daughter relationships that “the fathers’ involvement, rather than the mothers’…seems to be paramount to the age of the girls’ development.” Furthermore, “researchers believe that girls have evolved to experience early socialization, with their “antennae” tuned to the fathers’ role in the family (both in terms of father-daughter and father-mother relationships).”
Largely, the relationship you had with your dad (or lack thereof) has one of the biggest impacts on the adult you. How has this affected you? Positively or negatively?
*Photo 1, with Dad in France. Photo 2, at my college graduation