Notes on being a daughter

I imagine it’s not easy to be a dad.

My own Dad continues to teach me about happiness. Always, simpleness is happiness. He advocates sitting on the porch, asks if I’ve gotten to run outside, and talks about really small details. Things that have less fuss, to my father (and to me), are things that make you really happy.

So when Father’s Day rolled around, ice cream was the most logical gift: unfussy luxury that totally reminds me of sitting around with my Dad during summer usually, at Lake Chautauqua and, always, with a sundae in our hands or on our minds.

My Dad’s a simple guy.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is also fabulous, innovative, and super simple to order online. This was a Father’s Day success.

Which brings me to some notes on being a daughter: it’s also hard.

I want it to be simple because it’s easy (for me and I don’t doubt that I’m lucky in this respect) to love my Dad unconditionally. But figuring out how to sort through the muchness and just be thankful for my Dad, isn’t always easy. I mean, it’s not easy to make time for the phone call, to help him figure out the details of FaceTime, and to have patience for some of his more old-fashioned ways.

This week, I did cull through all my complaints and had a conversation where my Dad and I talked about how long it’s taken me to grow up in my career-thinking. Wanting less and wanting happiness, the values he taught me, sometimes neglected necessity or the real reality of having to “give up” a little in order to have easy-living.

So we talked about it. We talked about how maybe some of my dreams are too-big, aren’t really rooted in simple living. We talked about it and we both cried about the really difficult position of realizing that dreaming big and living small don’t always match up.

That’s not to say either of us suggest giving up or not dreaming big, it’s just to say that both my Dad and I are learning a paternal attribute of being practical. It’s tough.

In this way, we’re both a bit father and daughter.

This year, so many friends are celebrating their first Father’s Day and I can’t help but think that my paternal figures include more than just my father: Walter. Albert. Mac. Jesse. And these aren’t the only people who taught me strength, protected me, and offered that kind of guidance we associate with masculinity. And I’m proud of my father for letting me, sometimes, father him a bit.

The lines aren’t as clear as we’d like them to be.


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