Daddy. My own.

The other night was a bad night. Just the kind of night where I needed to bitch and vent and cry a little. Stomp around the house and slam some doors, then take a breathless walk around the block.

When I did, I called my dad.

“I see,” he said after every ugly word that escaped from my lips. “I hear you.” “I know.” “I hear what you’re saying.”

It was all that needed to be said. It was perfect.

I felt better.

Afterward I couldn’t stop thinking about my dear friend Catherine who’s just suddenly, unexpectedly lost her father and will never hear, “I see…I hear you…I hear you” anymore, in that perfect daddy way that will make it all go away. It breaks my heart.

We talk so much about our mothers, as mothers. It’s easy to do. But fathers are so very, very important. Mine certainly is.

What’s the greatest thing about your dad?


77 thoughts on “Daddy. My own.”

  1. The greatest thing about my dad? He loves me unconditionally and has proven that time and again.

  2. Oy, how do I type this without crying?

    The best thing about my dad is that he showed me how to roll with the punches with a joke, a smile and a belief that even though life may not go as planned, that's ok, too.

    I feel for Catherine very much b/c I know too well how it feels to lose a Daddy. Hugs yours tight, Liz; he's a great one.

  3. my dad is quite plainly, the best man I know. I can always count on him to be fair, and to wisely point out the errors, or limitations in my thinking. We can sit and talk for hours in ways that I never could with my mother, and while we don't speak much (because phone calls are monopolozed by my mom), I always feel better after we do. It is a joy being with my dad and seeing him with my children just deepens that bond. I am so sorry for anyone who has a lost a wonderful father, or who never had one to begin with.

  4. The greatest thing about my Dad is that he is wholely and unabashedly his own independent person/thinker and has taught me how important it is to be true to self even when it goes against the grain. And he is the only person who thinks the moon shines just for me. 🙂

  5. My dad taught me to fight my own battles. And I, too, know what it was like to lose him. To this day, dad stories make me cry faster than anything. My deep sympathies to Catherine. It sounds like she had a really great one.

  6. I'm delurking, because I can't pass up an opportunity to praise my dad.

    My dad is the smartest person I know. When you are a kid, you think your parents know everything because your idea of “everything” is very limited, but now, as an adult, I realize that my father really does know everything. He could be a Jeopardy champion, but he is too humble about his intelligence.

    He also taught me how to be self-deprecating and sarcastic; things he learned from his own father, who is probably the second best father I've ever known, after my own.

  7. The greatest thing about my dad….just that he is MY DAD! My dad has ALWAYS been there for me, thru my first divorce and making sure me and my kids weren't homeless. He continues to be there for me no matter what. He is easy as pie to talk to and sometimes calls me out of the blue to tell me something just silly.

    My heart aches for your friend, prayers being sent. I will need them too, when my dad's time to go with God comes.

  8. Everything. He didn't become my dad until I was about 14. And then he fgathered me into his heart as if I were born to him. He is the best guy in the whole wide world.

  9. My Dad is an incredibly kind man, and very funny. And like a true daddy he'd do anything for me, despite living 5000 miles away. I'm really sad that I don't see him much at the moment.

  10. Besides his most totally awesome pair of plaid bell-bottom Christmas pants, my dad has a calm presence that is instantly soothing. And he beams with more pride than anyone at everything my siblings, kids, and I accomplish.

  11. My Dad: simply awesome, and I can't pick just one thing. He was a brave fire-fighter who also worked two other jobs to put me and my sister through college. He was there to cheer me on for every game, concert, and dance recital.

    Now he’s my favorite person with whom to share a couple of drinks, and we laugh for hours. I used to love when he would bring home NY System wieners late at night after we had returned from our separate outings. We’d stay up into the wee hours eating and talking about our dreams.

    Best of all, many years ago I had gotten myself into one hell of a mess, he helped me fix it (I'm not talking $$). He didn’t judge, he didn’t scold, he didn’t express disappointment; he just helped me when I needed him most, and I am forever grateful.

  12. He lets me make my own mistakes, and is always there to pick up the pieces beside me.

    He is his own person, and despite driving me crazy, also gives me reason to thank God every day I hear him laugh.

    He made my son a stepstool for his first birthday, is currently amassing the largest collection of building blocks known to kid-dom, and always brings a loaf of fresh baked bread when he visits.

  13. My Dad died when I was 18. I have no idea what kind of adult father-daughter relationship we would have had, and it makes me sad beyond belief that I can't find out. But this is what has stood out to me most about my dad. He had a terrible temper and would blow up at us from time to time, which always led to us crying in our rooms. But without fail, he would always come to us and apologize. And his apologies were heartfelt and sincere. He always felt so bad for losing his temper, but that's who he was. He never pretended to be perfect, and he never hesitated to own up for his mistakes. It was a great lesson that he probably never intended to teach us.

  14. My dad. My dad taught me to keep my chin up. To be smarter than the next girl. To be kind to that other girl. To throw like a boy, tackle like a boy, and catch like a boy. And to switch it up at the plate on Pitch #2. He taught me to respect myself and marry a guy who would do the same. He taught me to be a businesswoman. A tough one. And how to change a tire.

  15. I love that my dad loves my husband almost as much as he loves me. Our family visits are so much fun because of it. I wish all of our in-law relationships could be as easy and enjoyable as theirs is.

  16. My prayers go out to your friend. The road ahead is a difficult one.
    I lost my father two months ago and miss him more and more each day. He was a simple man but always there for me when I needed him. Funny how the one who you could rely on to comfort and support you during difficult times can't get you thru his absence. I write about him weekly on my blog, it helps to create a memory of him for my children.

  17. Like Catherine, my father is no longer around. I miss being able to call him and talk about football. Or going over to his house why he whipped up something good to eat on the BBQ. He was also a good teacher when it came to fixing cars and using power tools. I owe my DIY skills to my dad.
    Wishing everyone a scent-sational Monday!

  18. Like many others, I'm so especially sad for Catherine because I lost my own dad too. It was so different, of course – I was only 16, he and I lived together all alone, he had a six-month bout with cancer before he was gone. But still, that loss? It's just heart-breaking, always.

    The greatest thing about him was his sense of humor, and his dedication to his students. I hope now that I'm following in his footsteps with my own humor, and my own dedication to my own students. Time will tell if I can have anything even remotely like his legacy.

  19. Oy ve. My dad and I have many, many issues. However, he loves me despite them. He is also extraordinarily patient with my kids while teaching them something.

  20. I call my mom when I need a parent to talk to. My mom is my best friend but she turns on her mommy warmth when I need her to. I love my dad but he's my buddy and I don't think I'd get the comfort I'd need from him.

  21. the best thing? he'll do ANYTHING for me and won't freak out about it until the crisis has been averted.

  22. This is a better topic for a post than a comment. Let's just say he's the reason I'm not in a mental institution.

    I can barely read Catherine's posts and tweets because when this happens to me, I will not be able to handle it.

  23. You have no idea how much Catherine's loss has touched me. My father died 17 years ago and there are still so many times I've wanted to do just what you did, call my dad.

    He'd understand. He'd have great advice. He'd care.

    The best thing about my dad was that he loved me actively. And while he was alive I knew I was never, ever alone.

  24. I totally here you. My dad is so great and I am so much a daddy's girl. Thanks for the reminder not to forget our dads. I think I might just go call him now!

  25. I loooove my dad. I can talk to him as freely as I talk with my mom. As an adult, I can now understand his imperfections, his drive to do what he does, and his positive outlook for his children.

    I do find it hard sometimes to not compare my husband to my fix-it father 😉

  26. My dad would do absolutely anything to make his kids – and now his grandkids – laugh. We all laugh a lot when my dad is around.

  27. My dad was not a perfect father. He had a hair-trigger temper and a penchant for blaming us for his failings. He left us with a lot of emotional scars. He also had tremendous wit and was generous to a fault, positives we also inherited. Most of all, I knew that, even in the midst of his worst moments, he tried really hard to be a better father than his dad had been. And he was.

    And thus I try really hard to be a better parent than he was. I consider the knowledge that I can be, because he was, to be his best lesson.

  28. It's really hard for me to pick out the greatest thing about my dad. For most of my life, he has pretended to be invisible. Living four hours away, but rarely, if ever, showing his face. I do appreciate that he showed up to see my daughter the day after she was born.

  29. There are so many great things about my dad. Just one of them is that he adores his grandchildren and plays with them. I love seeing the joy he gets from them.

  30. My dad passed away unexpectedly when I was 11. He was the age I am now (33). It's the one event that shaped me as a person more than anything else. I wish I'd known him as an adult, and I wish he'd known his grandchildren. He would've loved them so much. I miss him, in some way, every single day.

  31. The greatest thing about my dad is that I was able to spend 17 wonderful years with him. He taught me that it's important to laugh and enjoy life because life's too short.

    We lost him to cancer on April 1, 1993. How very fitting it was for him to go on April Fool's Day!

    I miss you, dad!

  32. After my dad comes for a visit he always calls a day later to tell me how much he liked the visit and he always compliments my parenting.

  33. My dad was absent, by choice, for most of my life. So it thrills me to no end to see my husband and daughter have the kind of relationship I'd only ever dreamed of. My husband works about 12 hours a day, and no matter how tired he is at the end of the day, he will play and play and play with our daughter until they drop from exhaustion. I feel blessed to be able to witness their special relationship.

  34. My dad always gives thoughtful, sound advice–and only when I've asked for some.

    And in the middle of possibly the darkest moment of my life, he flew across the country to help me drive my two children and my dog 1500 miles so that we could be where we needed to be.

    My heart goes out to Catherine. I cannot fathom the pain of her loss.

  35. It makes me so happy to see all these tributes to our dads. Mine has been gone since 1991 and I still think about him every day. I used to call him “the Jewish Atticus Finch” and no one ever disagreed. He was a great example and dear to his grandchildren as well as his daughters.
    One thing I'm grateful for: in the Jewish tradition there are several times during the year when we light candles in memory of loved ones. It's sad, but a gift, to send a little love and memory his way – not that I need reminding. The act though, is an enormous gift. Just as he was.

  36. The best thing about my dad was his calm demeanor… he never got mad, he just dealt with things. Man I wish I would have inherited that. Also he could fix anything!

    Miss you daddy… he went to heaven 8 years ago now after losing a battle with prostate cancer.

  37. My Dad doesn't know 'how' to be a dad. He doesn't really like to play, he is all business. He walks away when the grandkids start making too much noise and he is really impatient. But he amazes me just the same, because when I REALLY need him or just want to talk – he is always there for me and helps me pick up the pieces.

    He may not be the guy everyone else writes about, he doesn't garner laughs, he isn't sought out for comfort . . . . but he shines whenever I need my daddy. And I love being Daddy's little girl – even at 36!

  38. My dad is the smartest, most talented, nicest man in the world.

    He doesn't know it though and it is one of his best qualities.

  39. I can honestly say that I can't answer this. I grew up with my dad and he was around my entire life…but I really don't know him. He's a quiet introvert and we seriously rarely speak. It's such a sad situation.
    And worse is that I see him have a normal relationship with my sister. I'm not sure what it is about me that makes him not speak, not show affection, not presume to care much.
    Could I have your dad's phone number for those hard times where I just need a dad to listen? 🙂

  40. My father committed suicide when I was 10 . but a wise old soul ten, as life had happened much in those years.
    He suffered from what would now be attributed to manic depression, but people remember him as someone who always questioned “Is this all there is”
    In his short time as a minister I wish someone could have prayed back to him that of course not, live in faith till called to better.
    After much struggle, the reason for my blog largely, I now know the point must be that we should all live and share with each other , the heaven here in our days.
    I knew you would post about this, you are a good soul, I love reading your posts.
    What a horrible tragedy for Catherine.

  41. My dad taught me the right thing is not always the popular thing and sometimes you have to create your own path in life.

  42. It took me forever to come to terms with my dad. I thought he didn't love me because he couldn't say he loved me. But then I realized that his way of showing love was through actions, not through words.

  43. Well, I had a pretty good dad. But, the best has to be my husband. He is deployed in the Middle East right now and he is still an amazing father. He skypes them everyday, he recorded Fly Me To The Moon on video before he left because that is what he sings to them every night, and he bought books to read to my girls on skype.

    I could go on and on…we miss him so much!

  44. my favorite thing about my dad is that when I ask him for help, which is not often at all…(I'm a bit stubborn in the “independant” department) he, with absolute certainty, no hesitation, no making me feel guilty about it says “of course!” like there was no other answer in the world.
    That is insanely comforting to me… especially since my request always comes with a price with my other parent.

  45. I'm quite jealous of everyone's depictions of their fathers.

    Best thing about my dad? He produced me? That is about as positive as it gets.

  46. Growing up, my dad always told me that what other people thought of me was none of my business. It only mattered what I thought of myself. When you are 13 years old and wearing Sally Jesse Raphael glasses and dying for the popular kids to like you, it's the last thing you want to hear. But he was right.

  47. Oh, my Daddy. He was Dad most of the time up until he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Now, he's Daddy. I get shivers around Thanksgiving, because we got so lucky with him getting to stick around and all. I get irate when I see him eating poorly. I hate that he so predictably asks me about the weather when I really couldn't care less. But I love that when I was going through hell after my second child was born, he was the one who told me everything would be ok. And because he is my Daddy, I believed him. And it was.

  48. My Dad is both the man I respect for all he sacrificed to allow me to grow into who I am and the man I would sacrifice anything to show him how much I appreciate just that. He is the humor that holds our family – 41 years strong – together. 🙂

  49. Never really had a Dad to speak of. You are blessed. But I am very thankful for my great husband all the gifts that come from a good marriage!

  50. It's true, I'm blessed. And I'm so happy to see that those of you without great dads have managed to find fantastic ones for your own kids.

  51. My dad has always stood up for exactly what he believes in, and is shocked when other people think he's special for doing so. When he refused to go to war in Viet Nam, yet he also refused to be a 'conscientious objector' or take the routs that Clinton and Bush took. He took his lumps, because he thought that the government didn't have the right to draft ANYONE, not just not him. He has a felony for protesting with a union. He was almost lynched for talking to people in the South about voting rights for blacks. He wrote for progressive newspapers. He now writes grant proposals for Indian tribes and other non-profits in Oregon. He still delivers Meals-On-Wheels once a week, though he is in his 60s himself and works full time. He doesn't seem to think any of this is extraordinary, just that it is what people should and do do. Many people do not, however.

    AND he has his flaws, admits them, and loves his three daughters in spite of ours.

    I lost my mom last year, and I mourn her bitterly. I am so thankful that I still have my dad.

  52. In spite of my father's quick temper and gruff demeanor, there was never a question in my heart as to how much I was loved. He made that evident all the time. He just had a way of doing that.

  53. I only met Catherine briefly at BlogHer but I felt her pain palpably when I heard about her dad. I miss my dad tremendously (he died 4 years ago).

    I'm not sure I can point to one greatest thing because in a way, I feel as if I was growing to know a whole new person in the last year of his life. But if pressed, since it's relatively close in memory, I would have to say seeing my dad — despite cane and immobility — asking to try to rock and comfort Laurel when she was crying endlessly at their house during one visit when she was an infant.

    I wish I could say his efforts ceased her cries, but they didn't. And I didn't care; it was such a beautiful thing to witness.


  54. My dad (and mom) were actually here last week when I cried for two hours about so many things. I will never grow out of needing to cry to my parents. And that was one of the things I cried about — I know they won't always be here, and then what will I do?

  55. Hits home for me because my dad died in January-when I was 8 months pregnant in addition to having a 16 month old. The best thing about him is how much he loved his kids and grandkids. Also-he would fix anything in my house or car (and my husband does not have the same fix-it ability). I miss him every day and makes me sad he won't be around to see my daughters grow up. Dads are great-hug them at every opportunity.

  56. The night before I boarded a plane for Iraq in March 2003, my dad said, “Going to war is something you would never choose to do, but after you're back, you won't take anything for the experience.”

    Having the kinship of deploying for our country and his confidence in my coming home was exactly what I needed then.

    He's always been there in a pinch.

  57. My dad is wonderful, has endless patience and tolerance and continues to be there for me despite his senior years. The best grandfather a grandchild can have. Thank you Mom101

  58. The greatest thing about my Dad is exactly what you just explained. He's there when I need someone to listen.

    Sorry for Catherine's loss.

  59. When I was a kid I only got to visit my Dad a few weeks per year, during the summer or holidays. Even when I would go visit, he worked long hours and I would go spend time with my grandparents because I hated my Stepmom.
    Now that I'm an adult and I see my Dad, I'm always amazed at how our personalities, body traits, etc., match so succinctly and that anytime I need advice, he knows what to say since he was once in my shoes.

  60. Growing up I remember my dad being extremely stern and serious, so I treasured even more those moments when he would smile.

    Now as an adult looking back, I am in awe of how he could/can silence an entire room with one look.

    I also love his humor (which I did not inherit, sadly). I love how he can make fun of someone to their face and they have no idea.

  61. I could go on and on about my dad. He is my hero, really – he has been my entire life. Now he is sick with terminal cancer, and I have been trying to squeeze in as much time with him as I can before I lose him. He is my emotional touchstone, and I am scared to death of what my life will be like after he's gone. He is really an amazing person. Not to mention he is funny as hell, even as sick as he is he always manages to crack a joke. I love my dad!

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