The father-daughter relationship is fraught with all the possibilities a therapist could wish for. Even in my family.
Well, except for my relationship with my father.
“You go ask Dad …” was one of the enduring sounds of my childhood.
I only asked “why me” once:
It was a hot summer day when I was about four. I was happily cooling off in the puddles on the sidewalk. I didn’t even really want to go to the beach. My brothers and sister did, though.
“Go ask Dad if he’ll take us to the beach,” Judy commanded.
That summer, Dad, already working two jobs to support his wife and five kids was studying to take his insurance licensing test.
“Why me?” I whined. “I always have to ask Dad.”
“Because when you ask him, he always says yes” Bob responded. Judy and Fred agreed.
So I went in and asked him. Sure enough, he packed up his books, loaded the four of us up into the car, and headed off to Beardsley Park, where there was a delightful stream that formed the most wonderful pools of different depths, where we would each be happy and cool. I can still see Dad sitting on a rock ledge in the shade, his pants legs rolled up, his feet in the water and a large black binder on his lap.
I never again asked “Why me” when it came to getting Dad to do anything. Because I realized that my brothers and sisters were right. Dad always said yes to me.
Somehow, the fact that I was the clear favorite in Dad’s eyes was rarely held against me by my brothers and sisters who all had far more complicated relationships with Dad. It was pretty much accepted by everybody. That’s just how it was.
I don’t have any recordings of his voice, which was deep and scary (to everybody but me) when we were kids, and became deep and comforting when we were grown. But this song, while he never heard it, always makes me feel close to Dad, who died in 2000. Today would have been his 98th birthday.
I love you, Dad.