“You look nice. Have a good day.”
And thus began a typical day for me.
It was the ‘70’s, I was on my way to school, and my dad was driving.
Fathers of this time were of a different generation. Their sole concern was that there was enough money to clothe the family, feed the family and educate the family. It was the mother’s job to raise the family.
My dad was not into reading books to pontificate parenting practices. Dads of this time were just in their kids’ lives –they didn’t worry about all that “bonding stuff” we worry about today.
For this reason, I enjoyed my rides to school with my daddy. Having him and his full attention to myself was a treat. And everyday it was the same routine. As we pulled into the school, I would kiss him on the cheek, at which point he would say the lines I had grown to expect, “You look nice. Have a good day.” And, I would exit the car, ready to start my day, full of the knowledge that my daddy thought I looked nice.
This routine remained unchanged for years, with the small exception of when I started Jr. High School. This was the time I informed him I was going to kiss him goodbye while he was still driving, before we actually got to school. This, of course, was due to my adolescent anxiety, fueled by the fear my classmates might realize I actually had parents, and heaven forbid, even liked them.
And he humored me and continued to reply those edifying words.
It was such a simple thing, but I am certain from that original exchange, blossomed a belief I was worth something. Years later, before I found my prince, while shuffling through many frogs, I remember on more than one occasion being displeased with something one of my dates might have said. The first thought to pop into my head was always, “My dad wouldn’t treat me that way.”
How true it is, that the first man in a little girl’s life is her daddy.
So, this year for Father’s Day, I know just what I’ll do. I am going to go right up to my dad and proudly say, “You look nice. Have a good day.” And then I will kiss him on the cheek.
No matter who is watching.