Fire Fighter's Daughter

By , Independence, MO
My childhood was pretty good overall. There were scattered events that definitely affected who I am. My father and mother never had your typical parent relationship. There were custody battles and court and I spent many years hating the man I refused to call dad. But now as I look back I know that those events shaped me and that without my dad I would not be who I am.
Music was my biggest connection and form of understanding. Kelly Clarkson’s Because of You explained my outlook on life. Eminem’s When I’m Gone portrayed my emotions so well. And I remember riding in the car one night and turning my head towards the open window to hide my tears as Chuck Wick’s Stealing Cinderella played on the radio. Taylor Swift’s Mine was such a beautiful idea to me. I wanted someone to come in and save me, to make “a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter”.
When I was little there were so many nights that I would stay at the window just waiting for his truck to pull in the driveway, only to be disappointed. My mother always tried to soften the blow and lie for him, telling me he had to work last minute. And when he did come and would leave I would hold onto his legs and cry, begging him not to go. There were times he came through, though they were rare and short. My seventh birthday is one of my favorite memories; he brought a moonwalk and gave me my first bike without training wheels. But usually he was your typical holiday dad.
Boys are another problem for me. I tend to gravitate towards the addicts, funny how that is. They say we marry our parents. I always thought I could fix them. Save someone else from going through the pain I did and to this day I vow never to do drugs. The ones that I fall for have the art of manipulation mastered. My own father was the king of talking his way out of blame, mind games were his specialty. And I cannot stand if the boys have big hands because the hands of my father were once used as restraints instead of protection.
In school I generally avoided the subject of parents and family. I remember in eighth grade we had to fill out a worksheet about our parents and on the section for father I wrote “NONE”. In 11th grade we read the book Captivating, and upon reading its chapter about fathers and wounds I bawled into my pillow.
But at sixteen I decided to get over the hurt, to let it go because there were more important things- my half brother and sister. I had watched them age from a distance but never was really involved in their lives. My father was overjoyed that I wanted to come see them. He was clean and had done some growing up, a different man than the one I knew. And we had our moments now and then, but mostly just avoided talking about the things that mattered. I know it killed my mother to watch me go back to him, she was scared to death that he would hurt me all over again. To this day they still have their own versions of every event and the truth is hard to perceive. But I decided to wade through all the pain because Cassidy and Kyle were children that deserved a chance; and a big sister to catch them.
One day my father and I had a talk for real. I asked him about the things that had bothered me my whole life. The breaking point of my parents’ relationship and the decisions he made. Some things we will never see eye to eye on. But now he understands a little bit more, I believe. I looked him straight in the face that day and told him that all that really mattered to me was that he was a better father for them than he was to me. And those words cut him deep, but not as deep as the news that I had once held the knife on his account. Cutting had been my vice off and on through out my youth.
My father is a fire fighter, so was his dad, and his grandpa before him. So he has this fascination with being a hero. And I think he always dreams that one day he will sweep in and save me, his baby girl, his first born, his heart. He is learning, though, that I do not want to be saved. I do not want him to try and make up for lost time, because it cannot be done. I want him simply to be a good man. And he tries, which is enough for me. He calls me beautiful when he talks to me. I need to hear it, which is something I wouldn’t admit to him, but every girl wants to know that their father thinks they are beautiful. And I know he would do anything for me now. From letting me stay on the couch when I fight with my mother to building sets for the school play to holding me when I cry.
There are countless tears I shed for him. But now they are not all out of sadness. I look forward to going to see him and my siblings each time. I have found we have a lot in common and we seem to have the same attitude. He is noticing that I am not the type to be silenced but the one that will stand up no matter what. That I am just as stubborn, if not more than he is. And I am learning that he loves me, far more than he shows I know, but just the knowledge that I finally have a father is all that I was ever really looking for. It still hurts me to think of all that we’ve been through but I know now that it was necessary and I would not be who I am today if it was not for him. My father. The first man I ever loved.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback