Growing up, I had the best dad. I am the oldest and only daughter with 2 younger brothers. I had my dad all to myself for the first 5 years of my life. I might have been a bit spoiled, but don’t tell them I told you. I can remember walks on our 40+ acre property at the cabin with wooded area and trails to check on the deer blinds, go mushroom hunting in the spring or just hiking the hills. My dad and I would take the 4-wheeler out together or the snowmobile in the winter just to shoot around the property. During the week, my dad would make dinner or have it started for when my mom would get home from work every night. No matter how tired he was, we never wanted for anything.
He has a bachelor’s in Engineering so you can imagine how helpful he was in math. I can remember one time he was helping me with my math homework the night before and when I turned it in the next day the teacher said I got the right answer but I didn’t show my work correctly. “If I got the right answer, how can it be wrong?” I asked. She said that I needed to show my work like we were learning in class. Needless to say, I got a bad grade. Which I thought was funny because the way my dad showed me was so much easier.
When I started driving my own cars, my dad turned into master mechanic. They were older cars and I drove them into the ground. We always found ways to “Polish Engineer” the car so the parts were there and doing what they were meant to, but let’s just say, they would not win a beauty contest. I remember I got stuck at work for some reason and my car would not start. I called my dad to help. He got out at the same time I did and worked 10 minutes away. He came with his tools and a mat he had in the back of his truck, laid on the gravel parking lot in his work cloths and fixed what was wrong under my car. That was not the last time I made that call.
When I got pregnant and started a family of my own, I think it hit my dad hard. His little girl has grown up and was having a child. It took him a bit to come around but I think when he saw this little girl in his arms, his granddaughter, he fell in love all over again. He would always try to come over to our house to fix things (my then husband didn’t know what a hammer was unless it was a prop on the computer). He insulated our house for the winter, crawling under the house, even sometimes in his work cloths to fix things. He was always there for me and my daughter. When my marriage fell apart and my daughter’s father left us, he stepped in as much as he thought he should. Not giving me the easy way out but a hand to hold when times got rough.
While I was trying to put my life together, my parents were always there to take my daughter when I needed a break or if they just wanted her for a weekend to play with. We would travel to go see family or go camping, my mom and dad, me and my daughter. This was family time. My two brothers would come visit when they could and loved playing with my daughter just as much as my dad. My dad was always available for us and made arrangements to help when I called with a problem. It might not have been that day but he came the next day. They only lived 15 minutes from where we lived so visiting them was a weekend thing. My daughter would go down to the “man cave” to play with her toys and play with grandpa. This was priceless to me. She had found a father figure in my father.
When my daughter was in preschool, I would sometimes need to work late and my dad was right there to pick up my daughter and take her to the Burger King Playplace for dinner and a bit of exercise until I got out. When I would show up, he would put $10 in my hand and tell me to go and get something to eat knowing I had a hard day. These were the times that meant so much to me. He has always been so courteous and caring. He has the best sense of humor (p.s. we are Polish, need I say more) and he is so friendly and personable. I am proud to be his daughter and thankful for everything he does.
When I made the decision to move from Michigan to Florida, just me and my daughter, he was heartbroken but he knew this was my decision, he accepted it and supported it. I haven’t seen them in over two years, except over skype and it has been hard. My daughter did have the opportunity to go and visit without me last year and I know that they had the best time. My dad has been the only father figure in her life for as long as she can remember and I am so grateful for all he has given us. Even now when we talk on the phone, he is eager to hear about how things are going and can spend an hour talking to my daughter. He likes to send us “care packages” of our stuff that they have in our house. It is cheaper than a storage unit and they have room for, for now. They also add a few extra things for my daughter and me like cards, candy or toys for my daughter to play with.
My daughter is now turning 10 and after 8 years of being single, looking for the right guy not only for me but my daughter, I found him. This man has chosen to accept my daughter as one of his own and treats her as he would one of his own. This man is goofy and loving and smart. He has such a huge heart and gives us the room to let us be us. My daughter has slowly accepted him as someone who cares about her and someone she respects. He has the same personality that I see in my dad. He pokes fun at her, gets her the food she likes and helps to make sure she wants for nothing. Everything my dad did for me. I guess what they say is true: when looking for a mate, you tend to want and find someone like your father. If that is the case, I am so lucky to have found him as I know he would be such a great role model for my daughter. His whole family has accepted us as one of their own and I could not be more blessed. Even though my family is far away, they take comfort in knowing I have found a family to add to the one we miss so much. I could not ask for anything more.
Kristina Long is owner and operator of www.SelfHealthWeb.com. She strives to support and teach nutrition and living happy, healthy lives through interactive and informative posts that cover a wide range of topics. As a single parent, her hobbies include special mommy and me time with her daughter and hiking around her Kissimme Fl home.