We’ve all heard of it before, “Daddy Issues.” People say that the man a girl chooses to be with will be determined by the relationship she had with her father. So, if her father abandoned her or wasn’t there for her as a child, supposedly she’ll be drawn to a guy who will eventually abandon her, date a creepily older man, or she’ll date some other classically shitty man who reflects the way her father treated her. If this concept is true I can certainly blame one thing on my father. My standards are too damn high.
Let me start this by saying to any girl out there who had a shitty dad, my heart goes out to you completely. I am certainly one of the blessed ones. My dad, who is known to everyone as “Pops” is probably the single best person I’ve ever met. There’s no way having kids is easy and I don’t know how parents don’t flip out on their little brats all the time. I have this distinct memory from when I was 5 years old was being a total brat. I was kicking my bedroom door against the wall then waiting for it to slam back at me just to kick it again…if my kid did this for no reason I’d want to kill them. Poor Pops yelled at me to stop, which of course I ignored and kept kicking the door, and then finally after counting to 10 he spanked me and sent me to bed. My mother said when she came home and found him, he felt so bad about yelling at me that he was crying. It’s strange how clearly I remember this incident, and for the record I totally deserved to be yelled at and it wasn’t even a hard spank. Maybe I remember that day so clearly because that was the last time Pops yelled at me…EVER. I really can’t remember any other moment when he yelled at me, my mother, my brother, anyone. The guy is a saint.
When he was growing up my dad was a great athlete and got offered a full scholarship for track to a college in Washington. Having already met and fell in love with my mom, he turned the scholarship down to stay put in Chicopee, MA and marry her. So we can also cross off married high school sweet heart and stayed in love for over 30 years…check. Of course having never gone to college, his job opportunities have been somewhat limited but somehow he never complains about work. There are times I don’t know how he puts up with some of the jobs he’s had to do, people he’s had to deal with, or times where even I felt like he should have been making more money, but still not a peep of negativity or regret. I get paid pretty damn well for a 25 year old and I probably complain on a weekly basis how I wish I was making more money!
Then of course there’s everything else he did as a father. He coached my t-ball, basketball, and soccer teams when I was younger. When I got to high school, he somehow made it to almost every single volleyball game, and of course every teammate and my coaches referred to him as “Pops.” My father taught me how to fish, ride a bike, and if I paid better attention I could have learned how to change the oil in my car, but that one is my own fault! Long story short my Pops has always been there for me, taught me so much, never complains, never yells, and is so genuinely sweet to every person he meets you’d think he’s made up.
So how exactly is he ruining my life? Because, how can anyone else in my life live up to that? My poor boyfriend would have it so easy if I had even a mediocre father or some dead beat dad, but instead he has to live up to super Pops. I know it’s unreasonable to ask my boyfriend to love me endlessly, always put me first, never get mad at me even when I’m being dumb, teach me new things with the patience of mother Teresa, support everything I do, brag about me to all his friends, some how show up to everything always even though he has work, oh and did I mention love me unconditionally? A lot to ask maybe, but my dad does all those things every day!
I know, I know I’m his daughter so of course I’m sheltered to a few things and my mother probably sees a whole other side of him. I’m sure he complains about life privately to her and for sure there have been times my parents fought while my brother and I were sleeping. But still, the side of my father I know is pretty unbeatable.
What I need to do is not compare everyone to my father but rather learn from him. I definitely need to learn how to complain less and try to never yell, but unfortunately I got my mother’s temper so we’ll have to work on that one. I also need to cut my poor boyfriend some slack. If I expect any man to live up to the image of my father it actually will end up ruining my life and I’ll let a perfectly good guy slip by. And I need to realize that because of my father I’ve clearly already picked the best man out there to be with, I’d never settle for anything less! I guess the bigger question I’ll need to ask myself is not how to make the person I’m with live up to my father, but instead to ask myself “Would my (future) daughter think of the man I marry the same way I think of my father?” Hopefully the answer will be a yes. You just can’t compare the relationship a girl has with her father to anything else. Either way, I have to say thanks to Pops for ruining my life and giving me such ridiculous standards when it comes to my relationship, and I mean that. And to any girls out there with shitty fathers, all I can say is to just make sure you pick a good man who can be a Pops to your future daughters.
By: Tina Densmore