As a child I had two men that shaped the way I thought about men. One taught me that I was nothing but an object that was to be used and abused, I wasn’t allowed an opinion, because I was a girl and certainly too stupid to have one. The other one taught me that I was smart, talented, that I deserved to be loved just because I was me. That it was okay to get upset and express my thoughts with out fear of being hit or even yelled at. They say that girls grow up and marry men like their Dad’s. I have a child and children with both of these types. This is a little about the man that taught me how I should be loved, how a man should love his wife, support his family, and do it all with love and never anger. In fact looking back, I’m sure he never yelled at me, even when I probably deserved it. He was always there, silently understand my struggle with not being able to give him hugs to often… It’s funny that you can look back, and understand more as an adult that sometimes when trying to restore the faith of a child, you have to do it slowly and usually with no appreciation from the kid. He did that for ME. He taught me that Dad’s don’t hurt their daughters, they nurture them and care for them.
My FAVORITE story about my “Foster” Dad…My Dad. Is funny, but taught me a lot. I had been wanting to go out with this guy FOREVER! I put all the usual hints out, and he had FINALLY asked me out. We had talked on the phone several times. I had explained that my Dad was an Italian and had certain requirements. That his hand shake was super important! “You have to look him in the eyes and have a firm hand shake” I went on to explain that he believed you could tell a lot about a man just from that. I am sure that I had told him over and over again. I really wanted my Dad to like him. The night came, I was so excited! We were sitting in the living room waiting for him to come…We heard a car pull up, then a HONK! YES A HONK! My soon to be date, honked the horn for me in my drive way!!! I jumped up to run out the door, my Dad stops me…He says “Let me talk to him.” I followed behind him, hoping that he would remember the talk(s) we had about the hand shake. Then this: He walks up to his car, and my Dad says to him,
“Hi, my name is Robert, and my daughter doesn’t date boys that honk their horn, she dates boys that come to the door and meet Dad.”
Boy, ” Oh, I’m sorry”, shuts off the car and starts to open his car door…
My Dad, stops him from shutting the door,and says, “Oh No, I’m sorry, my Daughter doesn’t date boys that honk horns in the driveway of her home to get her”, and gently shut the door and told him good-bye.
I was FURIOUS! I screamed at him, ” No one is ever going to ask me out again! You’ve ruined my life!” Funny thing is by then, 3 years of living with them at this point, I knew I could get upset at him, and still nothing, he wouldn’t hit me, he wouldn’t kick me out. I learned a lot that day, I had been acting out, sexually, pretty typical of a child that has been sexually abused. I wasn’t getting the respect I deserved. My Dad, stepped in and was DEMANDING, and did so in a way that the “school” and “guys” would be talking about it. He placed a boundary, a very healthy one, when I couldn’t. He showed me that I deserved RESPECT.
For some time my Dad had to be a single parent, my “foster” Mom was going to cancer treatments in California, he would go out as much as he could, she was staying with his Mom. We kids had school, this is the sacrifice they made because it was important to not disrupt our schedule. (as an adult I more appreciate this, We never knew that it was a sacrifice, not ever told that it was, I know now what a sacrifice it was.) We felt my Mom’s absence, but not in the way of laundry not being done, or dinner not being ready. He stepped up, we all did, because that is what a family does. You didn’t complain and whine about how HARD it was, you just did it, and that together, we could and DID HARD THINGS!
He use to always come to our rooms at night, not like my “birth” father had done, he didn’t’ touch me, and for many years he would just stand at my door and talk to me. Ask me about my day. At first I was super alarmed by this, but soon, I became “use” to this, he didn’t “want” anything from me, he just wanted to check in. I remember the feeling of “jealousy” I use to get, my foster sister would sit and talk with my Dad while he was laying on her bed next to her. “why couldn’t I have had a Dad that loved me like that…. I did but because of my own “birth” father, that could never happen, I could never trust a man, even My DAD, to have that happen…We both knew, then, and as hard as he tried, that scar would never be completely healed. My “birth” father had robbed me of that.
Like every little girl dreams, I had a beautiful wedding. My “Foster” Dad gave me away, I was nervous, I was so scared, I remember walking down the stairs, but he, My Dad, was there waiting for me, letting me know that I was doing great, that I was making the right decision. I mouthed to him ” I’m scared” he mouthed back, “I’m here”….I married his best friend’s son…. a man that is just like my Dad….(My Love story find it here-coming soon!) A man that exemplified everything my own REAL (meaning my Foster Dad) Dad had taught me:
- I was respected.
- I was loved.
- I was given a lot of patience.
- We could do hard things together.
I am so thankful that I was able to be raised for part of my life by this man, a man who showed me how a REAL man acts, and how a REAL Dad treats his daughter. I just wish I had written this 2 months and a day ago, not that he used the “internet” but I know Rene would have read it to him, or better yet I should have hugged him a couple extra times at our “last” dinner.