Fathers and Daughters

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.”

“‘Cause 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.

Dad and Me in Geneva, June 1998.  You have to guess which is me.

Dad and Me in Geneva, June 1998. You have to guess which is me.

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.

55 Comments

Filed under Baby You Can Drive My Car, Birthday, Crazy family members, Dad, Family, Father-Daughter Relationships, Geneva Stories, Holidays, Humor, Love, Missing Folks, Taking Care of Each Other, Why the hell do I tell you these stories?, Writing

55 responses to “Fathers and Daughters

  1. I can think of nothing else so pure and civilizing as parental love. I too was fortunate to have a father whose love and protection were never in question. Nicely done, Elyse.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful song. Beautiful tribute, Elyse. It was wonderful that your siblings realized you could all benefit from acknowledging you were the favourite.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have always loved that song, I can see why it fit for you with your dad. Beautiful tribute Elyse.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a beautiful tribute. Still trying to guess which one is you though. ;0). J/K

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  5. Cudos to your siblings for not holding his favoritism against you. I hope my daughters write something like this about me when I’m old and gray. Oh… Wait… I’m already gray. Well, then, old. Oh… Wait…

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  6. It’s been interesting to read your post (very movingly written, by the way) and the responses of other readers. In my case, I was pretty lucky at home in that we all got on very well with each other, even though we were pretty different in many ways. No matter how grim things sometimes became in the big bad world beyond our front door, at home we always had each other.

    I’m not sure my Dad had a favorite — he seemed pretty even-handed most of the time — but he and I did share a very similar sense of humor, which meant we could usually find something to laugh about together.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We both have Leo dads … just another similarity.
    I love that picture of you two, it’s a great memory indeed, but what really struck me was the acceptance of your siblings to your favorite status. Highly unusual, unless of course you have siblings who know how to work that detail to their advantage. Very clever clan you have there Elyse!

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    • Oh they sure did, Tops. There were few times when it bothered any of them, and they always blamed Dad.

      Dad was visiting Beth in New Orleans right after the D Day museum opened there. Beth overheard a man chatting with Dad. “Pretty good museum they have here,” the man said. “Yeah, my eldest daughter brought me. My YOUNGEST took me to the REAL Normandy.” Ouch. (See it was Dsd’s fault.”

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  8. Beautiful – you made me all teary-eyed! I’ve never had a relationship with my dad even though my parents have been married for 60 years! It’s just how it is. I love him, but he never knew how to be a dad or something. It’s really weird to be honest! I will stop now lol

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  9. Sounds like you were the apple of his eye. Nothing wrong with that at all. 🙂

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    • I was, and you know, I am NOT ashamed of it. I think a big part of it was that I always assumed that whenever my dad said something harsh — which he often did, he was a gruff guy — I took it as a joke, and responded accordingly. My sisters always took him at his word. Things worked out better for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ll bet you’re the pretty one on the left. It’s nice you had such a good relationship with your father. I had a good relationship with mine, also. However, he and my mom divorced when I was too young to remember. So my relationship with him was infrequent. Too infrequent.

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    • You’re the only one who won the prize! Nobody else guessed correctly. That may just be because nobody else guessed. Still, if only one person enters the raffle, they win.

      I’m sorry that you didn’t see your dad often — it is important to have both parents in the life of any kid. Often when parents divorce — possibly even more so when we were kids and divorce was less common — the relationship with the Dad suffers. Which sucks. But I’m glad that you still feel you had a good relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful, Elyse.

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  12. Beautiful memories, Elyse. My father would have been 96 just a few weeks ago (he died in 2013) and I miss him terribly too. He always said that I was his favorite daughter (of course I was his only daughter, but let’s not quibble). What a wonderful tribute to your daddy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I use that line with my son, too. You’re my favorite son. You’re my favorite child. Unless we count the dog, he’s the only one of both! Still, It works.

      So sorry for your loss. It is so very hard to lose folks. I don’t know about you, but I don’t take it well. (Possibly it is the spoiled little girl in me.)

      Thanks for your kind words. I hope you listened to the song; it makes me feel close to my dad.

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  13. That was beautiful… sniff…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dana

    Aw! You’re both so cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, but which one is me????

      We look a lot alike, but never more so than in that picture. Because it looks like neither of us has a chin. In real life, we both did/do.

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  15. Nice tribute to your dad on his birthday … and peace & joy to you on this day.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. To your dear dad, Elye, on what would have been two years shy of his centennial. He sounds like your true treasure. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • He was wonderful, Mark. I miss him.
      But my sisters had more difficult relationships with him, which I frankly never really understood.

      But to me? He was always patient, funny and goodhearted.

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  17. Paul

    Your story left me with a deep sense of peace Elyse – as if that were the way all things were supposed to be. You had a wonderful Dad. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I DID have a wonderful Dad. Strangely, I have a hard time writing about him. A hard time pulling up his voice, and the nutty things he was always saying.

      But boy do I miss him!

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  18. Such a great tribute to your dad from his “favorite. ” Did he admit it? Most kids know who’s the favorite, but parents swear they love everyone equally. 😉 Dads and daughters. I still think of mine and I hardly knew him.

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    • Funny that you should ask that, Lorna. I don’t remember him ever saying so. But really, it was completely obvious. He was gruff, and his automatic reaction to any request was “NO!” Unless I asked. Then it was “Sure, Sweetie.”

      I remember the story of your Dad. It breaks my heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. cortney

    Beautiful, Elyse.
    And your tags win the day 🙂

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    • I’m assuming that you particularly liked “Baby you can drive my car.” That one cracks me up. It was on the list when I scrolled down, and I had to include it.

      I got my drivers’ license in 1973, weeks before the Arab Oil Embargo. My Dad’s comment was: “You get your drivers’ license and suddenly, there’s an oil shortage …” My sisters, who were far more sensitive, would have been crushed by that comment. I thought it was hilarious (and still do).

      Dad taught me to assume that folks were joking when they said something that sounded harsh. And he was right — they usually are.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, I’m going to be seeing our mutual friend, Ruth in a couple of weeks!

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  20. As a father of a daughter I can completely relate with your father.

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