Sunday, June 15, 2008

Daddy's Girl

My father departed today, and I now fully realize why I am a divorced, middle aged woman. I am a daddy's girl, and I make no bones about it. So while I yearn for companionship, struggle to date, and modify my expectations of men, I know that I am the way I am because I am the eldest daughter of three girls, and I am the apple of his eye.

Now I know that my two sisters are probably puffing out their cheeks right now. But hey, hold on a second and let me explain. I am the second child, but the first daughter. So while my mother maintained the patriarchal covenant of producing the male heir as the first born and securing the Simms bloodline, she produced me second. I can only imagine how my father marveled at me, that baby girl laying in the layette. My father has a photograph of me in the layette with my 23 month old brother peeping in; I am small, innocent, and trying to sleep. Although my next sister was born 17 months after my birth, and with red hair just like my father's was when he was a child, and another sister was born 17 months after my sister with red hair, I was the first daughter.

This past weekend with my father, whenever he introduced me to someone, he said, "this is my number one daughter, Michele." And I found myself quipping, "yes, and #2 and #3 need to get over it." We would chuckle together because on some level we have been saying this most of my life.

So while there are advantages to being "Daughter #1," the disadvantage is that a dad's dreams, hopes, and aspirations are equally embodied in that daughter as they are in a son. Thus, the pressure to achieve, to measure up, to marry with my heart, but also to a man who could provide for me the way my father did, seemed overwhelming at times. I recall as a younger woman deciding it will never happen, and had vowed to spend my life alone and childless until my father visited me while on travel for business, and later expressed concern to my mother that I was "alone."

In many ways, I felt that I was not only Daughter #1, but son too, as my father kept me by his side and honed my entrepreneurial and business skills. It wasn't uncommon for me to be granted the job of posting accounts for my father for the various businesses that he ran when I was a child and teenager. And whenever I sought advice involving anything in the business world, I consulted my father first. But both of my sisters were equally shaped in this manner, it's just that by virtue of birth order, I was the first daughter my father took under his wing.

Well, this "Daughter #1" just spent three glorious days with her father. I am rejuvenated, calm, and very happy. My father always reminds me of my value as a human being and how a man should treat a woman. I am my father's daughter. I am Daughter #1. I am a Daddy's Girl, and I love being so.


Nina said...

My dearest sister,

Now that my cheeks have returned to a more normal shape, I realize how truly fortunate we are to have a father that made each of his three daughters feel like "daddy's girl" regardless of birth order. lol

Being last in the birth order had it advantages of them being having you as a "big sister" and role model. Though yesterday, at the ripe old age of 47, I was still referred to as "Michele's little sister" by a former Cass Technician.

To our father on Father's Day!


E. said...

That is precious. And you have a pride and dignity from that position that most of our people pretend to posess.

I'm not sure how such empowerment doesn't lead to amazing relationship after amazing relationship......

I am always trying to spoil a woman, be chivalrous, kind, and gentle because my mother was so thoroughly abused.

For some matter how much you do, its never enough.

I wish all little girls were "daddy's girls".

But I think the little boys are being tossed aside, and treated as something less than sacred and precious, even when they're no longer little boys.