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So Lucky to Have a Father

Jul 31, 2008
Did you know that 1 out of 5 American children are currently being raised without a father in the household?

It's sort of sad, don't you think?

Sometimes when I was a kid, I was glad that my dad was at work and perhaps not at home to catch me doing something I shouldn't have been doing in the first place. There were always greater consequences when you got in trouble by your dad. It was far more of an ego crush than when your mom had a few cross words for you.

My dad, like so many fathers out there... set the stage for what kind of a man I should one day marry. Most little girls look at their father as the king of all men... and they want to marry someone "just like him."

During our teen years, we often decide that we want to marry someone exactly the opposite of our fathers. This is the time in our lives when we start to see their faults and realize we want nothing to do with them, most of the time.

My dad was a very hard worker. He worked a full time job and then came home, grabbed his tool box and went over to one of many investment homes he bought, fixed up, sold or rented out to people. It seemed as though my dad never quit working. He didn't seem particularly happy working that much, it was more of just what was expected of him, I guess.

Every so often, I would accompany my dad to one of these investment properties... but when he would ask me to get an Allen wrench or a Phillips screwdriver... the blank look on my face made him realize having me around wasn't necessarily very helpful.

My dad was the father of five daughters. He had one son, my brother Tim. Other than that, it was girl territory at my house. In those days, as I suppose remains the same today - my dad was always nervous that some rotten, unruly boy was going to come along and get one of his girls in trouble. God forbid if one of us came home pregnant! I think that was his biggest fear.

I suppose a lot of dads these days are afraid of the same thing.

My dad feared a lot of things, I think. As an adult now, I can see that my dad wanted his girls to grow up and be able to support themselves. He didn't want our lives run or controlled by the men in our lives. If he said it once, he said it a million times, "You should be a nurse."

Of course, nursing meant a dependable pay check and lots of job security. "I hate hospitals!" I exclaimed. "Be a nurse anyway!" he answered, not wanting to argue the point.

Two of my sisters did become nurses - they both had solid paychecks and job security - until one turned in her nursing degree and became an engineer instead. My dad liked that occupation too.

I have a sister who is a principal and another who is an entrepreneur.

That career, my dad doesn't quite understand the meaning of... but he doesn't worry too much because her rent is always paid for.

I won't soon forget the day my dad set my sisters and I down at the kitchen table one hot Iowa July evening and he made it very clear what was expected of us. I was about six at the time - so the thought of no drinking, no drugs and no boys - didn't really seem like much of a sacrifice. My two older sisters - who were jocks and not into any of that either- also seemed disinterested in his demands.

Then, one day - when I was about thirteen - one of my sisters mentioned above, came home from college and announced that she was gay. That did not mean "happy," I was to later find out... and needless to say my dad was not happy about that either.

Shortly following that bit of news, my dad came stomping up to my room and set the record straight, "Look, I don't want you going crazy with boys... but that doesn't mean that I want you to like girls, either!"

I wasn't sure exactly what he meant by that - but I got the feeling that my dad took the blame for my sister liking girls. I was supposed to like boys... just not too much. I got the drift.

Over the years, as I grew into a woman - I noticed that I valued men that held similar qualities to my father.

I was attracted to men who were smart, worked hard and had a lot of ambition. I liked men who could hold a conversation with almost anyone... and laugh a hearty laugh when something seemed funny enough.

I am happily married now to a man who seems more biologically connected to my dad than my own brother does. My brother and I laugh when we see the two of them together in their matching Nebraska Cornhusker baseball hats. I married a man just like my dad, I know this now.

I'm thirty nine years old and I've also never gotten pregnant, more by choice than anything else.

I didn't become a nurse like my dad would have wanted. Instead, I chose a career in sales making more money some years than my dad could have ever imagined... with that money, I bought investment homes...the only problem is that to this day, I still don't know what an Allen Wrench is.

What I do know is that as much as I wanted to marry someone like my dad, I've realized in the end that perhaps I turned out to be like my dad too.
It's a shame that only 1 out of 5 American children have a father in their household.

I'm sure glad that I was one of the lucky ones.
About the Author
Jackie Mahaney is a dating & relationship journalist as well as an inspiring author of a novel titled, "Meet Delaney" and host of "Everyday Woman" found on Women Web TV. Mahaney writes about life's personal relationships with honesty, integrity and of course, humor! To learn more about her books, relationship events and web tv show, visit Jackie Mahaney.
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